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Re: Amsterdam Master Thread ‘Schiphol Amsterdam Airport’ was designed as a transit hub so everything is basically one big massive hall with a lot of shops and things to do. Just in case you (or you wife/fam) get tired sightseeing the city, you can always go back to the airport and relax or shop there. If you have carry-on luggage you don’t want to take with you into the city, you can lock them up in a safes which are scattered around the airport.
Taking a taxi into the city is quite expensive (around 50 euro’s). The cheapest and easiest way into the city is by train which leaves from the train terminal right under the arrival halls. A one day return ticket cost 7.50 Euro’s. It takes about 15-20 min to get from the airport to the center of Amsterdam.
When you arrive make your way to the ‘Arrivals 2’ area. Over there is a store called ‘Holland tourist information’ there you can buy train tickets to Amsterdam central station and a day pass for the public transportation in Amsterdam itself.  Ask for a return train ticket to Amsterdam and for a 24 hrs ‘gvb’ unlimited day pass. Pick up a map of Amsterdam’s tourists attractions while you are there. Can’t hurt!
After that follow the signs to exit or the meeting point. That’s basically a big red and white, piece of art in the middle of the arrival plaza. (Right there, are machines to buy train tickets to Amsterdam if you haven’t done so yet. There is also a desk there) trains to Amsterdam leave about every 5-10 min. ask or look at the information screens on which platform the next train leaves.
Once you come out of the central train station make your way to trams (not buses!) on your left hand side before you cross any bridges. If you haven’t bought a 24 hrs (or more) ‘gvb’ unlimited day pass you can do so in the central station. Maps of the tram routes are available there too. In general most conductors on the tram speak English and you could ask them for help and ask them to tell you where or when you need to get off for the various attractions. Most people in the Netherlands speak a decent English and you could always ask people in the street for help.
In front of the central train station, across the bridges are many boat companies who offer boat tours around the city’s famous many canals. There are different tours available and some companies let you hop on and off at the major tourist landmarks (such as the Anna Frank house, Heineken Experience etc). so you could use it as a form of transportation. It might be a little bit more than a regular boat tour though.
Here are some ideas where to go. I include a web address when available, which tram# to take there and a little info about it.

Old Portuguese shul from the 17th century. Completely original and intact. A must see when coming to Amsterdam. Take tram # 9 or 14 to get there.
Anne Frank Museum. Another must visit. Visit early in the morning or order tickets online. The lines get very long in general. Take tram #13 or 14 to get there.
Flower market located by the ‘Singel’ and ‘Muntplein’. The Dutch are famous for their flowers and here you can buy flower bulbs and other stuff (like marijuana plant seeds!! Etc. in Holland you are legally allowed to own 2 marijuana plants for personal use. Don’t buy the seeds and try to bring it to the US. I’m NOT responsible). Cool place to go past if you have time. Lots of trams stop here. # 4,, 9, 16, 24, 25
Leidseplein. A famous square with a lot of coffee shops…. Take tram # 1, 2, 5, 7, 10 to get there.
Van Gogh Museum: Famous Dutch artist. If you like historic paintings etc. not a  must but lot of people go there. The building itself is a funky design and it’s located on a nice square to take a rest and grab a beer. take tram # 2, 3, 5, 16, 24
House of Bols is located right next to the van gogh museum. It’s a fun museum/bar about the dutch dring ‘Genever’.
Drinking traditions
Jonge jenever is sometimes served cold from a bottle kept in a freezer. However, the higher-quality oude jenever (and korenwijn) is usually served at room temperature. When jenever is drunk with beer (normally lager) as a chaser, it is referred to as a kopstoot (headbutt) or duikboot (submarine) in Flanders. Traditionally, jenever is served in completely full shot glasses taken directly from the freezer. As the glass is very cold it is advisable to take the first sips without holding the glass, leaving it on the table and bending one's back to apply one's mouth to the glass
Albert kuyp market. Famous Amsterdam daily market where you can buy literacy anything. If you want a real local experience, go here. Take tram # 16, 24 to get there.
Heineken Experience is the famous Dutch beer brand museum. I remember the days that they gave you free unlimited beers at the bar, during and after the tour. Now they only give you 2 or 3. (or soda/other drinks if you don’t like beer) take tram # 4, 7, 10, 16, 24, 25 to get there.
Kosher food
They don’t have many kosher certifications in Holland. There’s a list with kosher products which they update all the time so it’s hard to know what kosher or not in the regular stores. There are small kosher sections in some supermarkets like the ‘Albert Heijn’ or ‘C1000’. The few kosher stores are located in the Jewish area which is a tram ride away from the city center. There are two kosher restaurants closer to the city center.
1)   Sandwich shop Sal-meijer. This is actually a famous kosher sandwich store in Amsterdam with some good stuff. My wife (from the US) liked their French fries very much. It’s  great place for brunch/lunch. There’s a train station down the road (10-15 min. walk.) so it’s a great location for a quick bite before heading out to the airport. Just ask the owners for directions. They are very nice people. take tram # 12, 25 to get there.

2)   Hacarmel kosher restaurant. (Amstelveenseweg 224 1075 XT Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Israeli style meat restaurant. Take tram # 2 or 16 to get there.

There are more kosher restaurants in the jewish area. Pls see the google maps link for that.

Here is the closest shul to the city center with a daily minyan.
Synagogue Kehilas Ja’akov
Gerrit van der Veenstraat 26
it’s a regular house, so you won’t see there’s a shul. Check out their website or let me know if you are interested in going there and I can find out the exact times for the minyanim from my family. Both my father and my brother daven there. Here’s another usefull link they have on their site.

google map of main tourist attractions in Amsterdam

if you really want to experience Amsterdam, rent a bike instead of taking the trams. You can rent them outside the central train station and other various locations, only rent a bike if you really know how to bike. There are a crazy amount of bikers in Amsterdam and they all do crazy things. Roads a re small and cars and bikes have to fight for their space. Be very careful.
If you like herring than you should definitely stop at a herring stall. Dutch herring is the best in the world !!! harring stalls are scattered around the city. There’s one at the ‘Albert kuyp market. They only serve herring and only one type, which is kosher. Just don’t order a herring in a bun. The bun is not kosher! Just order one whole herring with onions and a pickle and eat it whole. Like the dutch people do!
Enjoy your trip and don’t hesitate to ask for more info if you need.
Be safe!

November 09, 2011, 05:03:00 PM