STAY
The Conservatorium was recommended by our darling Dutch friend, Anna Sophia van Zweeden and it was the perfect spot.  The renovated Conservatory has a modern lobby and generous rooms.  The location on the Museumplein was great.  We walked to the museums and restaurants and enjoyed strolling down the nearby shopping streets such as the P.C. Hooftstraat.

VISIT

When we first arrived we hopped on a 75 minute Canal tour offered by the Blue Boat Company.  It was a fun way to get some fresh air after our long flight and see the city.

      Wondering what Rembrandt’s daily life was like?  A visit to The Rembrandt House Museum       (Jodenbreestraat 4/1011 nk) is certainly worthwhile.  We loved seeing the house he bought at the       
height of his fame in 1639. 

Amsterdam is full of spectacular museums (and I hope you get to see them all) but if you only have a chance to visit a few, be sure to include the newly renovated Rijksmuseum and let yourself wander.  The crowds are there any time and day you go so be prepared – but I promise you it is worth it!

My favorite visit of the week was our time at the Museum van Loon, a canal house built in 1672.  We loved seeing the beautiful home set up as it would have been in the seventeenth century.  We were lucky enough to be there during an exhibition of portraits that spanned the centuries.  It included portraits of the van Loon family from the seventeenth century up until today.  It is the first place I would send a visitor to Amsterdam!  

I’m so happy we had the chance to visit Keukenhof while we were there.  It is only open in the spring so I’m grateful we had the chance to see the tulips that spread as far as the eye could see.  Every color and every variety covered the gorgeous gardens and it was the worth the trip overseas!  It was about an hour drive away from Amsterdam and on the way to the airport so it is a great thing to do on your way in or out of town.

SHOP
The Frozen Fountain (Prinsengracht 645/1016 hv) is full of amazing Dutch designs.  It is full of unique modern items from tabletop items to desk organizers to mirrors and porcelain sculptures. We shipped a few treasures home!  Give yourself time to visit and shop!  Store owner, Dick Dankers, is a great guide and shipping home was easy.

The Flower Market is a feast for the eyes!  Tulip bulbs are everywhere and atmosphere is full of energy.  Sadly, you can not ship tulip bulbs back to America but there are still lots of other treasures to be found.

We loved stumbling upon this artist painting porcelain at Kleikollektief in the Nine Streets

The best shopping area in Amsterdam is called the Nine Streets.  If you are looking to find Dutch brands and things you might not be able to find at home, this area is for you.  I would compare it to Soho in New York or the Mare in Paris.  Just like it’s name implies, it really is a series of nine charming little streets that you can wander through.  
I fell in love with this modern blue and white tulipiere at Corien Ridderikhoff Keramiste – Kleikollektief Hartenstraat 19/ 1016 BZ

For beautiful handmade gifts from smocked baby dresses to hand-made iPad covers, stop in to the Tesselschade- Arbeid Adelt or TAA (Leidseplein 33/1017 PS.)  It is a non-profit women’s organization that is keeping it’s traditions alive through the sale of hand-made products as it has done since 1871.  I was thrilled to shop there and help them in their support of women’s economic independance and to find treasures to take home!

DINE

Please don’t leave Amsterdam with out tasting one of their famous Dutch Pancakes!   It is worth every calorie!

Once again, we turned to our friend Anna Sophia van Zweeden for advice on our meals!  We had some great ones!

Here are a few of our favorites:

                                          Izakaya – Japanese fusion with a great scene and great cocktails. 
Okura  – The best japanese food in the city. This traditional restaurant is exquisite and there is a Tepanyaki area as well.
Cafe George – This was my favourite lunch spot. French and easy. 
Brasserie de Joffers – This was another favourite for lunch located on the Cornelis Scuytstraat. This street is like the Highland Park of Amsterdam.  Everyone knows each other and it was surrounded by some nice boutiques too! Shoebaloo, ENNU, and the local florist, Menno Kroon are all there.
Palladium Amsterdam – This was another favourite for lunch on the Liedsesquare.
Restaurant Blauw – This is clearly a  favorite with the locals! It was fun to just have them bring out the most popular Indonesian dish –  the RijstTafel. So good! 
Taiko – We also took advantage of this amazing new restaurant right in our hotel.  The Conservatorium’s Executive Chef, Schilo Van Coevorden’s Taiko is creating buzz around Amsterdam and we loved every bite!

For more great tips on Amsterdam, check out this wonderful travel guide from Elle Decor.

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