Amsterdam – Canals, Color & Light

Whether you’re a fan of baked goods or just getting baked, one finds diversity in diversions in Amsterdam.

In the morning, as sunlight bursts across the canals and bending roads of the central Jordaan, bakeries of the district offer fresh delights like warm stroopwafels, while pancake houses serve a multitude of sweet and savory flapjacks. Flower markets sell their colorful seeds and plants, recalling a time long ago when the Dutch lost their minds in speculative tulip trading.

It’s enough just walking through the city center to enjoy the sights, so long as they’re enjoyed slowly. Much can be seen from Amsterdam Centraal, the central station, to Museumplein, where one finds many a, well, museum. Rent a bike to cover more ground and branch outward. A picnic in the sprawling Vondelpark opens up encounters with strangely adorable fowl. A foray into the bohemian quarter De Pijp is recommended for an eclectic and international experience.

The dark and dank “coffee shops” in Amsterdam aren’t actually cafes but rather locales for the purchasing and consumption of cannabis (or weed or hash or whatever you want to call it, so long as you’re over 18). Thankfully, excellent cafes brew craft coffee in the city as well.

Speaking of brews, Amsterdam is the home of Heineken Beer, and their Heineken Experience is a top attraction for tourists. It’s an immersive tour into the brewery’s offerings, replete with interactive exhibits for your beer education.

The learning continues in any of the city’s numerous world-class museums, such as the Rijksmuseum (the “museum of the Netherlands” housing notable works like Rembrandt’s stunning The Night Watch) and the Van Gogh Museum, which needs no explanation. There’s also the very poignant Anne Frank House, the 17th-century canal home where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II. Heavy but important stuff.

Come nightfall, a canal ride is a pleasant and romantic option for any visitor. Of course, there’s the infamous Red Light District, which doesn’t feel so infamous anymore, though the ladies of the night still sell transactional romance from behind their red-lit door windows. It’s more surreal than anything if you’re not used to it. Still, don’t try to snap a photo; besides being rude, rumor has it you might find a cup of mystery liquid drenched upon you. 

C’est la pee.

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