Ron Winjgaard recommends you:
Amsterdam; Explore Dutch Culture Through our History and Fine Foods
#Amsterdam is a vibrant, #culture filled city, and an #art lover's paradise, attracting tourists from all over the world. Grab a bike (all the locals do!) and navigate the canals, reflect on our rich #history, and indulge yourself by tasting our artisan #cheese. It won't take you long to figure out why this city is one of the most visited in Europe.
Amsterdam has far more to offer than cannabis friendly coffee shops and an infamous red light district. The city itself is beautiful, made up of canals and quaint bridges, colourful row houses, bustling squares and bicycles galore.
The city itself is beautiful, made up of canals and quaint bridges, colourful row houses, bustling squares and bicycles galore
Aesthetically, travellers and locals alike can get a sense of the longstanding heritage Amsterdam bestows as the cityscape consists mainly of historical structures.
If it is your first time in Amsterdam there are some obvious “must sees” that should be on your itinerary. As a cultural hub, Amsterdam boasts some of the most relevant and awe-inspiring museums across the globe. You really can’t see the city without having visited The Rijksmuseum (or The State Museum in English). The Rijksmuseum is home to Rembrandt’s famous “Night Watch” along with numerous pieces by Vermeer and Vincent van Gogh. The Vincent van Gogh Museum is also a must, with two buildings dedicated to his life and work. Then there is the Stedelijk Museum, which hosts one of the largest collections of contemporary art in world.
Hotel InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam
Amsterdam Canal Cruise
You can’t miss a trip to the Anne Frank House, which is sure to be a humbling experience. Explore the modest annex where two Jewish families hid for 2 years from Nazi persecution until they were found and sent to concentration camps in 1944. Anne Frank’s famous diary is also on display in this museum. It is a very sombre, but important historical site in our city. There are nearly 100 museums and galleries in Amsterdam. If you want to visit any of the aforementioned spots, I recommend buying your tickets in advance to avoid spending hours inline at the entrance.
The city, itself, can be explored in many different ways. You can blend in like a local with a rented bicycle, or book a group cycling tour. Or, if you would like journey through the city via canal than you can always buy a ticket for one of the many boat tours. I believe it is nice to see Amsterdam from all angles, so my recommendation is to join one of the daily 360 Amsterdam walking tours. These tours are informative, easily accessible and best of all free (tips are appreciated).
And if you would like to stray from the slew of tourists, Amstel Hotel offers little salon boat trips that can be reserved privately, which is overall a much nicer experience than touring on one of the larger commercial boats.
In my opinion (which may be biased), the best way to experience a new culture is to indulge in one of its culinary specialities.
the best way to experience a new culture is to indulge in one of its culinary specialities
I am a member of the Wijngaard family, which has a long history of producing authentic Dutch artisan cheeses.
Our ripening process is still a family secret as our craftsmanship has been passed down from generation to generation. Our cheeses are aged in the same warehouse on the same wooden boards used by my forefathers. The products have a distinct flavour, which is a result of the unique micro flora that has accumulated in the wood, beams and shelves of the warehouse over the course of many years. You can book guided tours of our warehouse to see the aging process of hundreds of rounds of cheese from ceiling to floor or you can sample some of our most prized selections in the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room.
The Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room is located in the centre of Amsterdam, just in front of the Torensluis Bridge. With the guidance of experts, you have the opportunity to sample six different cheeses accompanied with a handpicked assortment of white, red and vintage port wines.
sample six different cheeses accompanied with a handpicked assortment of white, red and vintage port wines
The tasting teaches you how to detect the underlying essence of the cheese and relish in its distinctive flavours.
Red Light District Tour
Although, I thoroughly enjoy all of our cheeses, I must admit that my favourite is the Reypenaer VSOP hard cheese. Reypenaer VSOP is our prized piece. It has been aged for roughly 2 years and sheds almost 25% of its original weight in the maturation process. It is a sharp and tangy flavour, yet it is subtle enough to be enjoyed on pastas, salads and even alone with bread.
Reypenaer VSOP is our prized piece
If you are still hungry after visiting The Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room, I recommend visiting Café Loetje. Café Loetje offers authentic Dutch steaks prepared in traditional Dutch ways. The steaks are baked in the oven with loads of butter and a sauce we like to call, “grandmother’s gravy”. It is not so expensive and is a great introduction into typical Dutch fare.
Although our weather might not always be agreeable, Dutch people are very relaxed, friendly and open-minded. If rain and lack of sunshine is an issue for you, I recommend visiting in the spring or summer. Amsterdam is an amazing city, but once you have seen all there is to see, The Netherlands is home to many other wonderful spots waiting for you to discover.