When asked to choose among the top destinations for a weekend break in Europe, most people would have Amsterdam pretty high on their list of priorities. Holland’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city has long attracted people from around the world due to its liberal-mindedness and well-earned status as one of the most important cultural hubs on the European continent.
While most people come with the best intentions of getting to know the city on an intimate level, in many cases, they end up either spending too much time glued to a sofa in one of the many coffee shops or simply following the crowds to the biggest tourist traps. This is exactly why we have decided to write this article; to draw your attention to some of the amazing things that you can find that are somewhat removed from the main drag. Enjoy!
- Get Involved with the Plastic Whale
Amsterdam’s canals play a central role in conferring personality and character upon the city. When you head downtown, you cannot get anywhere without crossing one of the hundreds of picturesque bridges that form the connective framework of the city’s streets. But as beautiful as these canals are, there is one thing that they seem to attract even more than tourists, and this is garbage! Urgh!
One of the most altruistic experiences that you can have in Amsterdam is to take a boat trip with the Plastic Whale company. They will equip you with garbage picking sticks, rubber gloves and plastic bags and take you around the canals so that you can lift the offending articles out of the river to do your bit for the upkeep of this awe-inspiring old dame of a city.
- See the World in Mini at Micropia
Science freaks should not miss out on the Micropia museum. Dedicated to exhibiting all things microscopic, Micropia uses the latest tech such as 3D imaging equipment, virtual reality and computer microscopes to take visitors on a weird and wonderful journey into the world of the very small. You will never look at microbes in the same way again!
- Dine in Darkness at CTaste
If you are looking for some unique dinner options on your trip, why not book a table at the fabulous CTaste restaurant? The concept of the restaurant is simple. You eat your whole meal in complete darkness, free of the distractions of the sights, sounds and other distractions that one normally encounters in a restaurant.
“But how do I order with no light to read the menu by?”, I hear you ask. The answer is that diners are required to preorder before they get to the restaurant. The result is a culinary experience that is exciting and disturbing in equal measure.
- Get Psychedelic at the Electric Ladyland
Although the owners of Electric Ladyland will inform you that their creation is a museum, in reality, it is not much larger than a large basement. The secret to the colorful exhibits in the museum is the black light that makes the oddities that it contains glow with strange fluorescent lights.
- Get in Touch with Your Feline Side at the Cat Museum
Another strange museum that no cat-lover should even think about missing is the KattenKabinet feline museum. Dedicated to the memory of a cat that went by the name of John Pierpoint Morgan sometime back in the 1980s, the museum houses cat-related exhibits of all shapes and sizes. It may just be the largest collection of feline memorabilia anywhere on the whole planet. The owner and curator of the museum lives above the museum itself with his numerous cats, and you will still see some of them wandering around the museum and its grounds from time to time.
The list of activities compiled in this article is available to all, no matter your nationality. Nonetheless, travelers from the United States and Canada should be aware that the process of acquiring a tourist visa to Europe is set to change in 2021 with the introduction of the new ETIAS visa waiver scheme. All very confusing, we know, but if you take a look at this excellent ETIAS visa guide, everything should begin to make sense. Once you have got your visa, you are free to roam the streets and bars of Amsterdam to your heart’s content – just do not spend too long in the coffee shop – there is a whole world out there for you to explore!