Travel Drugs and Rock and Roll

Amsterdam has long had a reputation as being the den of iniquity among Europe’s major cities. Groups of lads have for decades flown out for a hedonistic weekend of smoking weed and losing their Gilders or Euros around De Wallen, the city’s infamous Red Light District.

But there’s a lot more to Amsterdam than its often seedy reputation suggests, and those travelling to the city on a weekend break will have plenty to explore in this historic city of tightly-packed houses and attractive canals. Here, Andy Jarosz from 501 Places shares just a few things you can do in Amsterdam that you won’t have to hide from your mum:

Rijksmuseum on MuseumpleinAmsterdam is blessed with some of the world’s top art collections. The Rijksmuseum holds one of the world’s leading collections of artworks, with an emphasis on paintings by the 17th century Dutch masters. Having recently reopened after a near decade-long renovation, it’s a big year for the Rijksmuseum. And housing around one million works of art (yes, one million!) you should allow a full day to do the museum justice.

If you want to focus your attentions on the work of a particular artist, the Van Gogh Museum holds an extensive collection of the 19th century artist’s paintings.Haarlemerstraat, Amsterdam From still life and rural landscapes to some of his rather curious self-portraits, the paintings on display cover the full range of Van Gogh’s work during his very short (10 year) career as an artist. The museum has also just reopened after extensive renovation.

If you prefer your artists from the Dutch Golden Period, you should head over to the Rembrandt House, where you can explore his canal-side dwelling where he lived between 1639 and 1658 in the debt-fuelled, stress-ridden manner so typical of famous artists. The exhibition within the house tells of Rembrandt’s life as well as providing an insight into the development of the city of Amsterdam in the 17th century.

If you want to learn about the history of Amsterdam in an entertaining, engaging way, visit the modern and thoughtfully-designed Amsterdam Museum. A walk through the exhibits becomes an interactive journey, where you swipe the bar code on your ticket at various stations and learn more about your chosen aspect of Amsterdam life.

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