Spotlight: Amsterdam

The seaport of Amsterdam is the second largest port in the Netherlands behind the Port of Rotterdam.  Amsterdam serves almost 700,000 ocean cruise and river cruise passengers annually making it Europe’s third busiest.  The port is located in the center of the city in close proximity to the airport, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and train station, Amsterdam Centraal Station.

The Port of Amsterdam has two terminals with the Amsterdam Passenger Terminal, known as “wave” and its other which is split into the Ijmuiden Felison Terminal and Felison Cruise Terminal.  Ocean cruise ships typically will sail out of the glass-structured modern Passenger Terminal while river cruise vessels dock either at berths on the opposite side of the terminal or closer to Centraal Station.  The Ijmuiden Felison Terminal, “old” ferry terminal, is only used for small crafts while neighboring Felison Cruise Terminal which opened in 2012 has the capability of servicing larger ocean cruise ships.

The city itself is one beloved by tourists young and old.  “The Venice of the North” is small enough to walk most by foot.  Rijksmuseum featuring works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, Van Gough Museum and modern works at Stedeijk Musuem are three impressive art institutions; Amsterdam is known as one of Europe’s major art capitals.  Across the street from the Van Gough Museum is the House of Bols, a unique cocktail and Genevere experience; guests are able to take a self-guided tour of Amsterdam’s oldest distillery in operation since 1575.  Along with visiting the numerous art galleries and world-famous museums, guests to the city flock in droves to the Anne Frank House.  Tickets for the landmark in which the Frank family hid during World War II in attic rooms and houses her original diary as well as additional manuscripts are suggested to be pre-purchased online due to the vast waiting lines. 

Two-thirds of the hotels for one of Europe’s most popular destinations to visit are located in the center of the city.  The narrow tree-lined canal streets of the city which led the Dutch Enlightenment during the 17th-Century have historically been one of the world’s most liberal cities.  Close to 7,000 historic buildings remain from the Golden Age with much changed as merchants’ mansions and gabled facades still inhabit the magical city; the elaborate canal belt is made-up of five concentric circles.  The culture-filled streets are filled with boutiques, antique shops and bars, referred to as cafes.

Anne Frank's House

Kalverstraat is the longest, busiest shopping street in the heart of Netherland’s capital; the best antique shops are found on Nieuwe Spiegelstraat.  Along with high end department stores, the city features open-air markets, such as the Albert Cuyp Market which is open daily.  In addition to the many cafes, the multicultural city offers plenty of ethnic restaurants including Indonesian and Mediterranean.  

The most popular Dutch fare includes Hollandse Nieuwe; those travelers who enjoy fish are suggested to at least try once.  The Dutch tradition is herring served raw with chopped raw onions and gherkins, small pickled cucumbers.  While some may resist giving Hollandse Nieuwe a taste, many tourists do visit and try the many Holland cheeses produced.  De Kasskamer is one of Amsterdam’s finest cheese shops; the “Cheese Room” offers young, old, local, goat and sheep cheeses which can be shrink-wrapped for the trip back home.  The king of Dutch cheeses is Gouda.  Named after a small town near Amsterdam, the semi-soft distinct yellow cheese is produced with butterfat cow milk and aged from three months to five years; Gouda goes great with fruit and wine.   

Van Gogh Museum

While guests enjoy walking the narrow streets and shopping during the day, Amsterdam offers a diverse nightlife.  The city offers music and performances of all types in low-key establishments as well as more vibrant venues.  The world-renown Royal Concergebouw Orchestra performs in one of three halls known for having the best acoustics in the world.  Those looking for a faster-paced environment will not be disappointed by Jimmy Woo, located near Leidseplien.  The luxurious club is acclaimed for winning the “Dutch Design” prize and having the best club sound in the Netherlands; guests at “the Woo” dress to impress for a night out dancing to the DJ downstairs or just relaxing, drinking in the intimate lounge upstairs.  The multitude of venues offer some of the best nightspots in Europe from the party in the city’s center, to hidden neighborhood watering-holes and post-industrial warehouses on the outskirts of Amsterdam featuring music. Boom Chicago is an improvisational comedy group which performs inside the 250-seat Rozentheater.  Each night is a unique experience for travelers to the “Venice of the North.”

One of the World's Finest Clubs - Jimmy Woo Amsterdam

Special Needs Group is pleased to provide service to those cruising out of Amsterdam on ocean as well as river cruises.  In addition, SNG can also provide Hotel pick-up and delivery at the start or close of a cruise when the guest is staying in the Netherland’s capital city. Transportation from Schiphol Airport may be taken via train and bus or taxi to one of the cruise port terminals with most of the cruise lines offering shuttle service prior to embarkation and following disembarkation.  For more Amsterdam vacation information, please visit us at www.specialneedsgroup.com.




The Accessibility Advocate - July 2017 Newsletter Full Article