Interview about Amsterdam with an American Living in Holland
I recently interviewed my friend Tegan, an American citizen who married a Dutchman, and has been living in Holland for the past 1.5 – 2 years. I also lived in The Netherlands from 2008 to 2010 and visited Amsterdam many times. It’s a great place to spend a few days or a week and gives a glimpse into the Dutch culture.
Visit at least one museum
Asher Fergusson (Me): I believe you’ve been there to Amsterdam quite a few times as have I. So what would you say are the best things to do or see in Amsterdam?
Tegan Jung: I personally would recommend going to at least one museum. There is something called the Museumplein that conveniently has like four major museums all in one place.
The Van Gogh Museum is really good. That’s there. He’s Dutch and also the Rijksmuseum is huge. It was closed for like 16 years or something and they’ve been renovating it this whole time and they just opened it last year.
So it’s really the time to go and enjoy it being all fresh. It covers all sorts of art and it’s really interesting and beautiful.
There’s also the Maritime Museum which has a life-size replica of like this huge ship that they used to explore the oceans with. It’s pretty fun and also the NEMO Museum. It’s popular. It’s a science museum.
Ride a boat down a canal
Also Amsterdam is full of canals and so getting on some kind of boat tour to be able to kind of go around by canal and see more of the city is pretty unique. Not everyone has the time to do it but I would recommend that.
Enjoy some amazing restaurants (with ginger poop)
Asher: Awesome. And what about food?
Tegan: Well, our favourite is the Amsterdam Café and Restaurant.
Asher: The one that has ginger poop? Note: Ginger Poop (Gember Bolus in Dutch) is the name of an incredible dessert available at this restaurant.
Tegan: Yeah, the one that has ginger poop. We especially recommended the desserts.
Asher: Yes, I can vouch for that.
Stroll through the Red Light District
Asher: What about the famous red light district in Amsterdam?
Tegan: There’s a really good Thai place in the red light district. I was just going to mention that.
Asher: Like I assume for a tourist, it might be fun to just walk through the red light district?
Tegan: Yeah. I think that’s a pretty popular thing to do. I think a big part of the appeal or going to Amsterdam is seeing the red light district and also partaking in some illegal activities that are legal in Holland.
Asher: Like going to “coffee shops”?
Tegan: Yeah and buying some “products”. Note: It is legal to use marijuana in Holland and that is what Tegan is referring to when she says “products”.
Asher: There’s also a lot of street performers in Amsterdam usually, which can be fun – there tends to be pretty good ones that I’ve seen. There’s also a wax museum.
Tegan: Yeah, that’s kind of crowded though and not that good.
Asher: Good to know.
Tegan: There’s also the Anne Frank House. The one thing about that is that it’s super popular, so there’s always going to be a really big line. So if you want to go, make sure you go early in the day.
Visit Jordaan, a less touristy area
Tegan: What else can I recommend? Oh, yeah, there’s this area called the Jordaan which is quite special. It’s relatively close to downtown Amsterdam and it’s really beautiful. It’s a little bit more off the main tourist area. But it’s full of nice little restaurants and stores and picturesque canals. I think it’s the most beautiful area of Amsterdam.
Be sure to get an OV-chipkaart to use on trains, trams & buses
Asher: You can get through the whole town of Amsterdam just by walking, can’t you?
Tegan: Yeah, totally. I also recommend for any kind of travel tips in Holland, if you pick up an OV-chipkaart (travel card), it works on anything. You can use it for the trains. In fact, they recently just changed this where you can only ride on the train if you have one of these cards. You can’t get paper tickets anymore. Oh, and bikes are fun too!
Tegan: So if you get one of these cards, you can get an anonymous one. Normally you get one with like your picture on it, but that takes time. So you can just get an anonymous one. It costs about seven euro and you can use it on trains and on buses. In some parts of Holland such as Amsterdam there’s also trams which you can use it on. So that’s a really easy way because you don’t have to worry about the language barrier or anything. You can just kind of click in and click out.