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Travel to Amsterdam

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Wd40
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Travel to Amsterdam

Postby Wd40 » Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:10 pm

My new company is sending me to Amsterdam for 2 weeks training in Feb :)

Any tips on what to do in the evenings and weekend?

I read that it is coldest month of the year like 0 degree and wet snow. Something I have never experienced before. Any tips on clothings to carry? Living in Singapore I never wore even a jacket since a long long time.

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Last edited by Wd40 on Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby x9200 » Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:25 pm

There is no real winter in the Netherlands just some powdering and slush on the ground so your new experience will be very limited. What to do? I have no better idea than go and drink some local beers. For the weekends, visit around Amsterdam one day, Utrecht is also nice. Den Haag, Scheveningen beach to see what is the North See alike, then also in Den Haag, Madurodam (google it out). During spring time a good place to go is Keukenhof (tulip garden) but I understand you are going now so it would be closed.

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby JR8 » Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:32 pm

Wd40 wrote:My new company is sending me to Amsterdam for 2 weeks training in Feb :)
Any tips on what to do in the evenings and weekend?
I read that it is coldest month of the year like 0 degree and wet snow. Something I have never experienced before. Any tips on clothings to carry? Living in Singapore I never wore even a jacket since a long long time.


Oh nice! :) Well there's lots of pubs and bars, and a thriving live music and arts scene if that appeals. Perhaps you can find a 'What's on in Amsterdam' site?
You won't be starved of 'spice', as there is a notable Indonesian element in society there, dating back to their colonial days. So in your shoes I'd be looking into suggestions for Indon restaurants. Also the Dutch have a very outward and global perspective so I'm sure there'll be some authentic Sub-Con food to go and enjoy.
For sights to see etc, I'd look at Tripadvisor/Amsterdam/Attractions, and see what's top-rated.
Zero degrees, sheesh that's ok, it's forecast to be -16C here this weekend, before adding in wind-chill :o
For clothing, seeing as you have no single jackets that are viable you're going to have to rely on layering. So at an extreme that might be vest, t-shirt, shirt/polo-shirt, sweater, jacket.
For your legs get a pair of thermal 'long Johns', they're like girls leggings, made of stretchy cotton blend. They're not expensive and easy to find in Europe. That'll be a good starting point under any trousers.
For your feet, the heaviest foot-wear you have, that won't allow water to soak in.
Top it off with gloves, woolly hat, and a scarf, and you're set for the low arctic, never mind 0C. Though of course flying in from SG even 0C is probably going to feel like Siberia :)

p.s. when out carry a day-pack, so if you go and sit in a cafe/pub you can peel off a couple of layers and stow them away.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby nakatago » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 5:26 am

* You can get a Lebara sim card at Schipol airport. 3G, 1GB may suffice but YMMV
* If you still want to be able to use your phone (y'know, maps, guides and stuff), get a pair of 'conductive' gloves
* If you find yourself in the red light district or any street with the windows, put your camera away
* Look for Trappist beers and try them; they can even be found in supermarkets. They're brewed by (or under the supervision of) monks. NEVER DRINK HEINEKEN.
* If you're going to try the coffee shops, the stronger ones are towards the bottom of the menu so at least you'll know what you're getting yourself into
* Gawk at the buildings and wonder why their facades are leaning forward
* As a fellow Asian, yes, layering is the key
* You can take the train to Delft--it's a smaller town but more charming and intimate than Amsterdam. The streets (and canals) are smaller and thus, more interesting, IMHO. Also marvel at why the old church is leaning forward
* Don't act like a tourist and be aware of pickpockets
* Try stroopwafels

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby Wd40 » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 8:36 am

Thanks X9200, JR8 and Nakatago, very helpful indeed! I will research each day of these items in detail.

JR8, -16 degrees! Where are you right now? Last I read you were somewhere in the middle East.

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby MikeJones » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 9:21 am

If you're into museums there are a fair few interesting ones in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum for general history/culture stuff. The Van Gogh and Anne Frank museums for more specific topics. For the latter two I'd recommend booking your tickets in advance to skip what can be very long queues for tickets on the day.

You might be familiar with the hop-on/hop-off bus tours round many cities, well Amsterdam has these and also hop-on/hop-off canal boat tours which is a pleasant way to spend a few hours and many of the stops are near other interesting attractions. Never been in winter though so might not be quite as nice in the cold and wet :)

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 11:34 am

If you are doing the cultural stuff, head towards the Central station, there's a great tourist information center where you can buy a 24hours etc tour card that lets into into everything but the Rijksmuseum. Definitely layer up, after all it isn't just about 1 big heavy jacket. Uniqlo maybe quite good for that lightweight duvet jacket. Umbrella - with that spitting drizzle they call rain.
Jordan district have tons of nice little cafes and restaurants.
For your Anne Frank, go early in the morning or else the queue to get in goes around 2/3 blocks.
Otherwise have fun

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby x9200 » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 1:38 pm

I suggest you visit Anne Frank museum only if you know who she was (read her diary). If not, the Sex Museum could be a better target. Lot's of interesting artefacts.

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 2:11 pm

^^^^ And you guys think 'I'm' the dirty old man? Who would've thunk! :lol:

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby MikeJones » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 2:24 pm

Well I vaguely knew who Anne Frank was but had never read her diary and still found the museum interesting. As it is effectively an old house, it is pretty small and cramped with the number of visitors so if standing in queues (not just for tickets but as you make your way round as well) is not your thing I'd skip it. As for the sex museum, I was last in Amsterdam with my septuagenarian mother so didn't add that one to the itinerary :)

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby x9200 » Fri, 22 Jan 2016 2:52 pm

The popularity of Anne Frank is IMHO based on the fact that she wrote a very good diary and her tragic story gives some insight into the Holocaust. But the truth is her story and faith were nothing really special for what happened in Europe under the Nazi occupation. Tens of thousands of Jews had to hide this way to survive. American and Europeans consider this (WW2 in general) as a part of their history so if one never visited anything related to the Holocaust, then this could be even a mystical experience, but for most Asians I doubt it carries any of such value.

I am writing it exactly for the reason of the long queues. It is a different thing you can just step in and visit, but after spending some time outside in the winter time, one may get pretty disappointed when he manage eventually to get inside.

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 23 Jan 2016 5:42 am

Sex museum was eye-opening (and not just the eyes, also open up all kinds of avenues :o ) and not something you can easily find in the local HDB estate :mrgreen: . Or anywhere else. Indonesian food and falafels were very tasty.

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby nakatago » Sat, 23 Jan 2016 6:13 am

You can also check out the MC Escher museum in the Hague. Escher in Het Palais.

It was so trippy; I went to the toilet on the basement but when I got out, I ended up on the top floor!

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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby JR8 » Sat, 23 Jan 2016 6:21 am

Wd40 wrote:JR8, -16 degrees! Where are you right now? Last I read you were somewhere in the middle East.


Yep that's right; and one aspect of the culture shock is how shockingly cold it gets in winter. If you saw the film Bravo Two Zero, you'll remember how fleeing across the Syrian desert in winter almost finished all of the surviving members off.
I'm laughing with relatives up in Scandinavia re: how nice and toasty it is up there compared to here. I'd never imagined such a possibility until I got here... hence my advice re: layering, it's simply what I find I'm having to learn afresh for myself.
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Re: Travel to Amsterdam

Postby Wd40 » Sun, 21 Feb 2016 12:31 am

Just about to board the KLM 777 flight. 13 hrs straight! Was hoping I would get an upgrade to business, asked the check in counter too, but the flight is full. I seem to be the only Indian on this flight with a sea of Dutch/Europeans.

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