The Rijksmuseum Guide: (Tickets, Skip the line, Artwork) [2018]

The Rijksmuseum, meaning “state museum” in English, is the most visited museum in the Netherlands and for good reason. There’s a lot to see and admire. This article will take you through some of the highlights of the Rijksmuseum’s artwork and show you how you can book tickets and skip the line!

If you’d like to go straight to finding Rijksmuseum tickets click here. 

Intro: Rijksmuseum

The museum, which was originally built in 1885 and recently underwent a €375 million renovation, hosts Rembrandt’s most famous works along with the works of  several other famous artists, such as Johannes Vermeer and Van Gogh.

The thousands of art pieces are brilliantly displayed throughout this immaculate museum and visitors will often find the rooms and corridors housing these timeless art pieces to be equally as impressive as the pieces themselves.

Rijksmuseum entrance
The entrance to the Rijksmuseum.

The Museum’s exterior

The first thing that will impress you upon arriving is the exterior of the museum.

On the outside you’ll find a combination of Gothic and Renaissance architecture along with an artful mix of bricks and sculptures which pay homage to the greats.

Once you’re inside, the decor gets a little bit modern with state of the art lighting and beautiful glass ceilings that cast natural white lighting throughout the lobby area.

While the recent renovations that were completed in 2013 took a whopping 5 years longer (10 years total) than expected to complete, suffice to say, those renovations were quite worth the effort and the wait.


Rijksmuseum Lobby

Go early… and bring your camera!

We arrived about 5 minutes before 9am, the time that the museum opens.

I highly recommend you arriving at opening time because there will only be a couple of handfuls of people in the museum for the first 30 minutes.

Also, after we had been in the museum for a couple of hours (around 11am), the crowds were picking up pretty heavily and I was told that it only gets worse until about 3-4pm. So again, if you want to experience the museum without battling the crowds do your best to line up at opening time.

If you plan on visiting you should probably book your tickets online.

You won’t save any dinero but it will allow you to bypass the cashier desk line and so you’ll be able to save a few minutes. One adult ticket is €17.50. And don’t forget to bring your camera, as the the Rjkmuseum is one of the few museums that allows cameras!

The amazing presentation of the Night Watch

I always take advantage of arriving early and head straight to the premiere exhibits to see them before the crowds begin to gather. In this case, it was clear that it would be Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

The quickest route to the Night Watch is through the doors on the right side of the entrance area (if you are facing the “Iamsterdam” sign).

From that entrance you head through a couple of galleries towards the stairs and you pop out right next to the painting. (The museum is arranged by centuries on different levels and the maps are great so you should be able to find your way around relatively easy).

Rijksmuseum Rembrandt's Night Watch.
Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

The entire presentation of the Night Watch was brilliant.

I thought they did a superb job of centering the painting in a huge room with other large works and completed it with a beautiful Rembrandt Moniker across the top.

My one complaint with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris was that the presentation was a bit mediocore, and I think the Rijksmuseum did a more-than-sufficient job of paying tribute to this famous artist.

Rijksmuseum Rembrandt's Night Watch.
The Night Watch

The real name of the Night Watch?

For any reader not aware, “Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijnis” is the most famous Dutch painter of all time and one of the greatest painters (and printmakers) to ever walk the face of the earth.

The Night Watch is Rembrandt’s most famous work of art and is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 most famous paintings in the world. It depicts a captain (in black) telling his lieutenant to get the troops moving as they move into formation.

For the purists out there, the real name of the painting is Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch. 

The name “Night Watch” was erroneously attributed to the painting because it looked as though Rembrandt was depicting a night scene due to his heavy use of shadows and the presence of a dark varnish on the painting (that varnish has since been removed).

Because it’s a shorter name and it is how everyone refers to it, I’ll just stick with: Night Watch.

The Night Watch Rembrandt
Rijksmuseum Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

Why is the Night Watch famous?

The painting is famous because it’s huge, it showcases Rembrandt’s profound skill for using light and shadows, and also because it was one of the first paintings of its kind to portray an “action scene” with multiple subjects essentially caught in a snapshot.

It’s interesting that a portion of this large work was in effect cropped when it originally appeared at the Amsterdam Town Hall.

Luckily, there’s a small re-creation of the painting to the right so you can see what aspect was cut off the canvas.

The painting has also endured some other “croppings” as a few individuals had the audacity to slash the painting with knives and one individual even threw out acid on the painting. Clearly, these were some very disturbed humans but the good news is that you really can’t even tell that the painting has undergone such damage.

Replica of the Night Watch with the full original scene depicted

After Rembrandt finished this painting, his popularity began to dip significantly (most art historians attribute this to a change in artistic taste by the masses).

In fact, Rembrandt’s later life was actually pretty sad as he went bankrupt and lost pretty much everyone he cared about including his wife, later mistress, and his only son.

While the National Gallery has several of his works, there are many other Rembrandt pieces of art to admire at the Rijksmuseum. In an effort to not spoil everything for readers, I’ve only included a small fraction of the photos I took at the museum.

Below are a couple of my other favorite Rembrandt pieces I came across.

Portrait of Johannes Wtenbogaert, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1633
Self-portrait, Rembrandt
Self-portrait, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, c. 1628

After taking a close look at several of these paintings, I really was able to finally comprehend the level of mastery that Rembrandt had of manipulating light and shadows.

I later learned that this technique of using light and shade to produce such stunning effects is called “chiaroscuro” and was pioneered by Leonardo da Vinci and later perfected by Rembrandt. It’s pretty phenomenal and is something that is hard to appreciate by just looking at photos of his works.

I tried to capture this element of Rembrandt’s paintings in my photos but it’s just not the same.

I think you actually need to be there standing only a few feet away from these paintings to actually comprehend how legendary of an artist Rembrandt was. And once you finally do get so close, it’s almost impossible to deny Rembrandt’s legacy.

The “Gallery of Honour”

The Gallery of Honour
Stained glass window in the Gallery of Honour
Stained glass window in the Gallery of Honour

After viewing the Night Watch and other Rembrandt works we wandered through the “Gallery of Honour.”

This is a grand corridor where many of the other famous paintings from renowned artists of the 17th century are hung in the alcoves. Apart from Rembrandt’s work, Johannes Vermeer’s work is the most renown that you’ll find.

Vermeer’s work was largely unknown and even attributed to other artists up until sometime in the late 1800s.

His work focuses on everyday scenes with women usually serving as the subject. Personally, I’m not sure the biggest fan of his work but his painting The Milkmaid, is one of the most famous paintings in the world and that’s intriguing in its own right and worth your time.

The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1660

Apart from the two stars of the museum, there are of course a number of other exceptional paintings to check out. Again, as tempting as it is for me to go on a posting spree of these paintings, I’m just adding a couple of them here to give you a taste of you’ll come across at the museum.

A Ship on the High Seas Caught by a Squall, Known as ‘The Gust’, Willem van de Velde (II), c. 1680

At the Rijksmuseum you’ll also find a lot of Biblical scene paintings.

Rembrandt painted many himself, though the ones that caught my eye were not by Rembrandt. The painting below depicts Adam and Eve and what was fascinating to me was noticing some of the background details.

For example, the animals at the bottom and the white cloud man in the bottom left who is actually supposed to be God warning Adam and Eve about the fruits in the Garden of Eden.

The Fall of Man, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, 1592

Another painting that grabbed my attention was Lot and his Daughters by Hendrick Goltzius, 1616, a painting relating to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. What I thought was most interesting was that this particular artist was a skilled painter despite having a deformed drawing hand. It’s amazing to me what humans are capable of despite what others would view as great hindrances.

Some of the other paintings that struck me were the still life paintings.

You don’t typically think of looking at painting of cheese and grapes to be engaging but the detail and realism in many of the still-life paintings was pretty phenomenal.

The other thing that was interesting was finding out what the messages were behind these paintings. I was pretty amazed (and usually completely wrong) at what some of these paintings were meant to depict, but hey that’s art, right?

Banquet Still Life, Adriaen van Utrecht, 1644

As a side note, I recommend that you download the free Rjkmusuem app from the app store.

I put it on my iPhone and actually listened to it on the train the morning I left for Amsterdam so I had a pretty good idea about what was going on in some of the paintings and other works of art. The app is a great tool not only for the audio commentary but also for helping you get around the museum and search for specific works.

Dutch culture on display in miniature form

In addition to the paintings, there are several exhibits worth noting that give great insight into what Dutch culture was like over the past few centuries. I think my favorite thing to see was the model of the Dutch ship William Rex. 

It’s an intricate work and gives you a great look at how Dutch war ships looked in the 17th Century. You can see the extreme attention to detail that went into building this model ship that interestingly enough was actually built at a shipyard where other war ships were being built.

There are also a number of other war-time objects like a canon, some giant clunky firearms and many others.

Model of the William Rex, Cornelis Moesman, Adriaen de Vriend, 1698
Cannon of the Amsterdam Admiralty, Gerrit Koster I, 1615

The museum also has a large display of Dutch furniture throughout the galleries.

Many of these desks and cabinets are pretty exceptional with intricate carvings but what I found most interesting were the doll houses.

This one called the Dolls’ House of Petronella Oortman exhibits what an affluent house back in the 17th century looked like. The rooms and all of the furniture inside of the houses are exactly proportional and if you just looked quickly at some of the photos of the rooms you’d think you were seeing a life-size display. Definitely check that out.

Room from one of the doll houses


The famed delftware was interesting and some of the objects, such as the violin and the flower pyramids were pretty cool.

Before coming to Amsterdam I knew of delftware ceramics but never realized how rooted it was in Dutch culture. There’s a variety of ceramics, glass, and other decor inside the museum and if you are interested in such things you’ll have plenty to see.

Violin, Anonymous, c. 1705 – c. 1710

The bibliotheek (library)

The library in the museum is pretty stunning and I felt as if I was in a movie when I walked in.

And it’s not just there for show; it’s an actual art history library with the biggest collection in The Netherlands. You’re not allowed to talk in the library so make sure you’re aware of that upon entering because it’s pretty much a vacuum of silence in there.

We first entered the library from the third floor.

I didn’t see any “no photography” signs and several others were taking photos as well so I went ahead and got a few shots. Later, we entered the library on the first floor and there was a no photography sign.

Perhaps they just don’t allow photography on the first floor where others would be distracted at the reading desks?

Nonetheless, here’s a shot of it.

The bibliotheek (library)
The bibliotheek (library).

Van Gogh

There’s only one work of Van Gogh at the museum but you can’t really expect there to be much considering that the Van Gogh museum is literally next door.

Van Gogh painted a lot of self-portraits and I’m not sure if there was anything special in particular about this one, though I do think it’s a great painting.

Self-portrait, Vincent van Gogh, 1887

It was actually my first time to see a Van Gogh painting in real life so I got pretty excited even to only see a small taste of his work.

I originally had intended on visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam as well but they were wrapping up some renovations and I decided that I’d rather wait for those renovations to conclude so that there wouldn’t be any missing pieces of art when I finally visited.

Rijksmuseum Tickets

I highly recommend that you purchase your Rijksmuseum tickets online to make your life easier. Also, you might want to consider skip the line tickets if you really want to make your visit as smooth as possible.

Skip the line tickets

You can purchase skip-the-line tickets here

Standard tickets

  • Adults: € 17.50
  • Children aged 18 and under, Museumkaart holders, I Amsterdam City Card, members of ICOM, ICOMOS, the Rembrandt Association (Vereniging Rembrandt), KOG, Stadspas, Vrienden van de Aziatische Kunst, Vrienden van het Rijksmuseum, BankGiro Lottery VIP-KAART: free admission
  • Holders of CJP or EYCA: 50% reduction on regular ticket price

Package tours and tickets

Consider lumping in your museum tickets with other attractions in Amsterdam.

Canal cruise tours

Hop-on Hop-off Bus & Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum Hours

  • The museum is open : 9:00 to 17:00 daily, all days of the year: so the museum is also open on Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s day
  • The Rijksmuseum’s ticket desk closes at 16:30
  • The Rijksmuseum Gardens, Rijks Shop and Café are also open to visitors without a ticket from 9:00 to 18:00.

Hotels near the Rijksmuseum

Here’s a list of hotels near the Rijksmuseum you might be interested in checking out.

  • Van der Valk Hotel Sassenheim-Leiden
  • Van der Valk Hotel Hoorn
  • Bilderberg Hotel Jan Luyken
  • Max Brown Hotel Museum Square
  • Amsterdam Marriott Hotel

You can search for hotels near the Rijksmuseum here. 

A perfect size 

I think that the size of the museum is great. It’s just large enough that there is plenty to see but not too big so that you’re overwhelmed with options. I stuck with my approach of focusing my time on about half of the museum so as to see that half more in depth.

Because of that I was not able to see much of the different exhibits in the museum, such as the Asian Pavilion and some of the special collections. If I could go back I would have designated a full three hours instead of two so that I could have seen more.

Overall impressions

Overall, I have to say that this was one of my favorite museums that I’ve visited.

Recently I’ve been on a bit of a museum kick and while I had highly anticipated my visit to see this one, I had no idea how impressive it was going to be. If you’re a fan of some of the greats, such as Rembrandt and other Dutch artists and if you’re interested in Dutch history then this is a must-see destination in Amsterdam.

Visiting Lovely Amsterdam: 13 Things to Know

Amsterdam is without a doubt one of my favorite spots I’ve visited to date. While I found the getting around the city and enjoying myself there to be a relatively straightforward experience, there are a few things that you will want to know before you visit. Here are 13 things to know about Amsterdam.

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1. Bicycles, bicycles everywhere…

Undoubtedly, the first uniquely Amsterdam phenomenon you’ll encounter is all of the bikes (and their incessant bell ringing). There are bikes everywhere and not only that but people on them like to travel quickly sometimes. Everyday I witnessed at least three collisions between pedestrians and cyclists and by the time I left I wasn’t even paying attention to it anymore.

Bikes lining the canals Amsterdam at night
Bikes lining the canals in Amsterdam

Now, there are bike lanes so if you stay out of those lanes you will be okay most of the time. However, sometimes it’s not clear which lane is for cars, bikes, etc. and sometimes there’s no where to go except for in the bike lane because the sidewalks are taken up. It can get a little crazy but just pay extra attention when crossing any road or walk area and you should be okay.

2. Tons and tons of great snack food options

I had a ton of great food while in Amsterdam… mostly snacks, but food nonetheless. You have to try some of the local foods like bitterballen, stroopwafels, Koffie verkeerd, and all of their other amazing pastries and foods. I also had some fantastic Chinese noodles and pizza while there. See my post of places to eat in Amsterdam for recommendations.

Bitterballen in Amsterdam

3. The city of Amsterdam is absolutely beautiful!

I’ve never felt the need to just be outside walking around like I did in Amsterdam. The closest city I can think of is Paris but even that doesn’t compare to the walking experience in Amsterdam. I think it also helps that we caught Amsterdam on a flawless fall day. Seeing the yellow leaves hanging over the canals, and passing by beautiful bridge after bridge never got old to me. And just when you’ve think you’ve seen all the canals have to offer, you stroll upon some swans sitting majestically in the water and it blows your mind even more. Add in the Dutch architecture and it’s easy to see why this city blew me away.

So plan some time for just walking around and taking photographs and maybe even consider booking a walking tour of the city.

Buildings in Amsterdam
Canal and church in Amsterdam
Canal in Amsterdam

I found walks around the central canal areas to be great and I also liked the central-western area of the city, known as the Jordaan. Many say that the Jordaan is the most scenic neighborhood in all of Amsterdam but I found just about every area of Amsterdam to be full of noteworthy architecture and sites. Below are some photos of the Damrak, a canal area that you’ll come across as soon as you step out of Central Station.

Buildings line canal in Amsterdam
Buildings line canal in Amsterdam at night
Buildings line canal in Amsterdam at night

4. Consider a canal ride but I’d think twice about bike riding

Many recommend a canal ride or bike ride in Amsterdam. I think a canal boat trip would be great. We saw a lot of different places where you could jump on a cruise or rent paddle boats to take down the canals. There are also websites where you can reserve your canal cruise tickets. The usually last about 1 1/2 hours and start at about €12 but they also have dinner cruises or packages that include museum admission so consider those.

Boat in canal Amsterdam
Boat in canal Amsterdam

Bike riding through Central Amsterdam just didn’t look like it would be a ton of fun to me because there were just too many things going on. Sure it would be cool just to say you did it and you can get around the city quickly. However, if you want great photos I just recommend walking because it will be 10x easier to stop and appreciate all of the beautiful sites without having to worry about wrecking your bike and body in the process. Of course, we were there for the weekend so I’m sure that things would slow down a bit in the middle of the week.

Just be sure that you’re realistic with your bike riding abilities before venturing out in central Amsterdam on a bike. If you’re even a little uncertain, perhaps stick to the outskirts at first. Like I said, it looked a little tricky navigating the pathways around other cyclists, pedestrians, vehicles, and trams and I saw a number of tourists who looked like they had no idea what they were doing. I’m sure bike riding could be a lot of fun in this city, I just don’t necessarily think it’s for those visitors imagining a peaceful stroll along a river side.

5. The train system was a bit confusing but just ask questions — the Dutch are nice and speak great English!

I’d read online somewhere that the rail system was ultra-simple getting from AMS airport to Central Station, but I found it to be a little confusing. For example, it’s a straight shot on the the train from Central Station to AMS but we had to transfer going from AMS to Central. There was some construction happening so maybe it was just that the straight line from AMS was out of service. I put the confusion more on us not researching thoroughly but I still think the stations and trains could use a bit more route maps on display.

Luckily, they speak great English in The Netherlands and you’re bound to find at least one person who knows how to explain the train routes to you so if you get confused just ask. While a taxi would definitely be easier, Brad and I got from AMS to Central Station for only €10 total via train and there’s know way you’re coming close to that with a taxi ride.

6. Central Amsterdam is definitely a party mecca

Central Amsterdam reminded me a lot of a mini Las Vegas, with tons of people collected along a couple of main streets with the primary intention of partying into the late hours of the night. One group of partiers right below our hotel repeatedly broke out in song with “Don’t you want me baby” until the wee hours of the night.  And come Saturday morning, the central streets looked like the day after Mardi Gras with trash sweeping through the streets. To be fair, this was all cleaned up by street cleaning trucks pretty quickly in the early morning.

While there is definitely a lot more to Amsterdam than partying, if that’s the atmosphere you are looking forward to then I don’t think you will be disappointed if you visit on a weekend. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a quieter experience (at least at night) then I definitely recommend you staying away from the central streets.

7. You must check out at least one of their museums (but do everything early)

Amsterdam has some amazing museums. The top three for include: the Rijksmusuem, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank House. Either one of these three will be well worth your time. See my recent article on the Rijksmuseum if you don’t believe me. My only bit of advice is to book your tickets online, especially if you are planning on seeing the Anne Frank House. And second, do everything you can to arrive when these places open in the morning (usually 9am). That’s pretty much the only guaranteed way to beat the crowds and will cut down time wasted standing in line.

The Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
The Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum

8. Dutch steps are crazy!

Dutch steps are basically stairs that are as steep as they possibly can be without being a ladder. Sometimes you’ll ask for the bathroom at a restaurant and the next thing you know you are climbing up four stories of steep spiraling stairs. I found it quite fun, but just be prepared for it, especially if you estimate that you’re not going to be in the “clearest of mindsets” during your stay in Amsterdam.

9. Keep Euros on you

A lot of the shops, cafes, and coffeeshops only take cash, so try to always keep some cash on you.

10. Souvenir shops

I always feel the need to comment on souvenir shops because I know a lot of people want to know about them and Amsterdam is definitely a place where you will find unique souvenirs. A lot of the souvenir shops are like 30% sex-shop (mostly innocent type stuff) and 70% actual souvenirs. They also sell Cannibas candy bars and other items of the marijuana-inspired nature. Overall, I felt like most of them had reasonably priced items and a great selection of tulips, delftware, clogs, and vast selections of little Dutch building magnets along with all of the typical stuff. I did hear some talk about vendors ripping off tourists so be aware that that could be going on, though I didn’t have that experience.

Gift shop Amsterdam
Gift shop Amsterdam

11. Amsterdam is very LGBT friendly

I saw a lot of openly gay couples in Amsterdam and it should come to no surprise that Amsterdam would be a very open and LGBT friendly place. There were a number of gay bars but we weren’t able to make it to any of them so perhaps next time.

12. Coffeeshops

Almost everyone wants to know about the coffeeshops, right? Well, I’ll just have to say that they are exactly what they are advertised to be. Places where visitors can go and buy and smoke Mary Jane along with consuming other food and drink items. And the coffee shops are pretty much everywhere. Some of these places were extremely packed on the weekend, so I suggest trying a lesser-known place or getting further from the central area if you’re interested in checking them out.

Most bars do not allow you to blow the “do-jo” in them but there were some that I saw that did. They were located behind the Damrak on “Warmoesstraat” street. It’s kind of funny because they only allow weed smoking and not cigarettes. And you will know when you’ve come across one of these places because it will be clearly marked that you can “drink and smoke here!”

Cannabis plant in window

One last thing, I would personally recommend keeping the weed-smoking in the coffee shops/bars, open parks (away from children), or in your hotel room (if that’s permitted). It seems that some frown on weed smoking in public and perhaps it annoys many of the locals. I always try to err on the side of not appearing to disrespect locals so that’s why I wouldn’t do so in the streets. But don’t get me wrong, I still saw plenty of people toking up along the streets. So if that’s what you want to do you likely wouldn’t encounter any trouble, especially if it was on a weekend night in the central areas.

13. One last thing: don’t acknowledge the shady people at night

I’ve heard mixed reviews of how safe Amsterdam is. Personally, I felt completely safe at all times near the central area. Of course, if I was a solo female traveler that could have been a little different at times. But even still, I think Amsterdam is a pretty safe city due to the amount of people out on the streets all the time. One tip, though, ignore the sketchy folks who will approach you at night. They’ll try to get your attention to sell you some kind of drugs. Apparently, even if you are interested in getting drugs you don’t want to get them from these people because their stuff is bogus. I have no idea whether that’s true or not but my advice remains the same: just stay away from these people.

8 Good Eats in Amsterdam and Where to Find Them

Brad and I recently had some great food on our weekend trip to Amsterdam. While we didn’t really focus on finding any fine Dutch cuisine we did come across some of the great snack food that Amsterdam is known for. In addition, we found a couple of street food joints you may want to hit up if you’re looking for some great food on the go. Here’s a rundown of some the food we had and recommendations for places to eat.

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1. Bitterballen

There was no way  I could go to Amsterdam and not try bitterballen. This is basically a fried ball filled with beef, broth, and butter usually served with mustard and recommended along with a pint of beer. The bread crumbs on the outside are quite crispy and the filling on the inside is very mushy (and hot so don’t burn yourself).

Bitterballen Amsterdam

The texture took a little while to get used to as soon as I bit into it. I don’t think I’d ever tired something so crispy on the outside and yet so mushy on the inside. With a few dabs of mustard, the bitterballen had a lot of different tastes going off in my mouth. While it wasn’t my favorite food I tried in Amsterdam, it was still pretty good and I can’t wait to try different types of it some time in the future. We tried our bitterballen at Tuin 10, a nice little restaurant/pub near the Jordaan.

2. Stroopwafel and koffie verkeerd

Another snack that I had to have in Amsterdam was stroopwaffel. Stroopowafels are basically mini-waffels made with baked batter. They are then sliced in the middle and filled with syrupy goodness. Some even have a little bit of sugar sprinkled on top. We tried caramel-coffee and a honey flavored stroopwafels.

Stroopwafel Amsterdam

I was once again a bit surprised with the gooey inside of these snacks. Only this time, I enjoyed it a little bit more. It’s got a crunch to it like a normal cookie but the syrup together with the additional sugars on the stroopwafel make for a much sweeter experience than any ordinary cookie would.

Stroopwafel and koffie verkeerd Amsterdam

The koffie verkeerd (which is basically cafe latte) was great, too. It paired amazingly well with the stroopwafel. I don’t know if it’s a Dutch thing or not but one interesting thing was that the coffee was served in a glass with no handle. I tried to drink it despite the heat but eventually just had to wait for the glass to cool down.

The bakery where we experienced these sweet memories was Lanskroon, located in the south west of the Red Light District. It’s a small bakery but they have a great staff and a amazing selection of pastries to choose from.

3. Patat

Patat is basically just the Dutch word for French fries. The only real difference is that they come in larger strips and are usually accompanied with some sort of sauce like mayonnaise or ketchup. You will see Patat places everywhere along the main roads it’s really a grab and go type of food. They usually serve them to you in a little paper cone with a small plastic spear.

Ketchup and mayonnaise patat Amsterdam

We tried two different kinds. The first was with ketchup and mayonnaise. Obviously ketchup is a pretty standard American sauce for fries but the mayo was definitely something different. It wasn’t bad, either. We also tried sweet chili sauce with the patat and it was pretty tasty as well. This is a great option if you are just in the mood for a quick snack and are in the midst of your wanderings throughout the city. I recommend Chipsy King but like I said there are several all around the city.

4. Crepes and breakfast waffles

I wasn’t sure what to expect with regards to breakfast food like crepes and waffles. With Holland being so close to Belgium and France I figured that we couldn’t go wrong with either of these in Amsterdam. We ordered both crepes and waffles at a place called “Crepes and Waffles” on Warmoesstraat street near the Damrak.

Waffles Amsterdam
Waffles with powdered sugar Amsterdam

We ordered one waffle with powdered sugar and two crepes: one with white chocolate and strawberries and the other with my favorite, Nutella and chocolate sauce with even more powdered sugar. (We obviously put the diet on hold for this weekend.) The waffle was amazing. Very thick and a bit dry, but still very tasty. The crepes were good but got a little rubbery for our liking. The only comparison for crepes for me were the ones I had in Paris so it was perhaps a little unfair to compare the two. Still, they weren’t bad and the service and food presentation was top-notch at this place as well.

Crepe with chocolate drizzle

Interestingly, I later found out that the Dutch actually have their own version of the pancake called “pannenkoeken” and it’s in-between a crepe and pancake in thickness. Also, they aren’t breakfast foods and are instead eaten at other times of the day and usually with generous potions of toppings. Perhaps next time I’ll give pannenkoeken a try.

5. Oliebollen

This was another tasty Dutch treat I had the privilege to try. I had struck out at a few other places asking for this because it’s usually only made around New Years. It’s basically a large fried donut hole with powdered sugar. The one I had happened to also come with raisins. Despite me not really liking raisins I thought that it was good.

Oliebollen Amsterdam

6. Chocolate covered waffles, donuts, and everything else

One thing that surprised me about Amsterdam was all of the amazing pastries you can find everywhere. There are tons of them and many are covered in thick layers of sweet chocolate or icing. I had an amazing chocolate waffle and a few other great tasting pastries. Just be prepared because the chocolate they use is very rich. Our bakery of choice was Rene’s Croissanterie and I highly recommend them… definitely stop by at least once during your visit!

Donuts and waffles Amsterdam

7. Pizza

One tradition Brad and I have is trying out pizza joints everywhere we venture to. We had originally planned on getting pizza from a place on the outskirts of town but due to being short on time we just grabbed a bit nearby our hotel at New York Pizza. The pizza was great and though we weren’t able to make it to our initial pizza joint of choice, this was a solid substitute for the late night cravings you’ll probably be having in Amsterdam.

8. Wok

There are a number of Wok places around Amsterdam. We grabbed some amazing Chinese noodles from Wok Inn near the Damrak (not the restaurant listed far away from Amsterdam on Google Maps) and it really hit the spot with our late night cravings. They cook up your food right in front of you and are pretty fast and cheap as well. While the below photo looks a bit messy I promise you that these noodles were amazing!

Chinese noodles Amsterdam

Obviously, there are real restaurants that you can choose to eat from in Amsterdam. However, there’s nothing wrong with doing a little (or lot) of snacking while you are there because there’s just so many good things to try. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return to Amsterdam soon and try out more traditionally Dutch foods but for now know that these are some great options!