After the glitz of the previous excursion, find respite in this hidden courtyard protected from the madness of central Amsterdam. Beyond the Begijnhof’s humble doors, an oasis of 14th century houses, gardens and relic-filled churches provides quiet escape from the buzz of the city. Once a residential sanctuary for the Bengijntjes, a Catholic sisterhood comprised of women who took no monastic vows but dedicated their lives to educating the poor and taking care of the sick, it’s now a place where people still gather to worship, marry and reflect.
When in Amsterdam how can a canal ride not be on your agenda? Created in the 17th century to keep the sea out, either book a canal cruise from the various types on offer - hop on hop off to romantic candlelight dinners, or use the city card for a free one. With over 100km of canals around, enjoy the ride as you hear the history of the city.
Museum van Loon
You can step back in time at Museum van Loon, one of the best preserved of Amsterdam’s canal houses, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of 17th-century Holland. Built as a private residence in 1672, the museum was once the home of painter Ferdinand Bol (a pupil of Rembrandt). In 1884, wealthy merchant Hendrik Van Loon purchased it as a wedding gift for his son Willem, a founding member of the Dutch East India Company, whose grandson became mayor of Amsterdam. Today, its ornate detailing, historic paintings, exquisite furnishings, and precious silver and porcelain are reminders of the splendor of an earlier era. In the rear, a garden laid out in formal style borders a coach house where the Van Loon’s collection of historic carriages and harnesses is displayed.
Museum De Dubbelde Palmboom- CLOSED
De Dubbelde Palmboom, is one of the three locations that make up the Museum Rotterdam. As you probably guessed the museum focuses on things about Rotterdam. The exhibitions change over time but on this particular visit they focused on technology through the ages, recycling, rooms and shops from earlier time periods and a couple of smaller exhibits. You aren’t allowed to take photos in the museum which was really disappointing because not only were the displays worth taking photos of but so was the building, a double gated warehouse from the 19th century. We had a great time. We started off playing with the old phones, as I attempted to connect RC’s telephone call to another telephone in the area via the old fashioned switchboard. We played records on the turntable, laughed at the Sony discman, attempted to beat each other at Atari and left messages in morse code for future guests. Downstairs we printed off stickers, dug for broken artefacts and walked down the carpeted street complete with life size, old fashioned shops and home interiors.