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Things to Do in Netherlands - page 4

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Escher in Het Paleis
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3 Tours and Activities

Behind the 17th-century façade of this palace – formerly the winter home of Queen Emma of the Netherlands – lies a startlingly eccentric collection of works of Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher. The palace is located on The Hague’s elegant boulevard of Lange Voorhout and as befits its royal residence, has a series of lavishly appointed rooms plus an ornate Art Nouveau staircase that was installed in 1901 along with glimmering stained-glass windows in the skylights of the main hall.

Maurits Cornelis Escher lived between 1898-1972 and became famous for his slightly demented lithographs, woodcuts and engravings as well as drawings and prints playing with perspective. He travelled right across Europe, living in Italy and Switzerland and drawing on influences as far apart as the Alhambra in Granada and the bucolic landscape of Tuscany.

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Waterlooplein Market
25 Tours and Activities

Amsterdam’s largest and oldest daily flea market, Waterlooplein market has a vibrant history dating back to 1893 and remains one of the city’s liveliest markets, sprawled between the Leprozengracht and Houtgracht canals. Held from Monday to Saturday in the former Jewish quarter, the market has long been at the center of Amsterdam’s bohemian culture and remains one of the prime gathering spots for the city’s youth.

Browsing the stalls offers a snapshot of the city’s cosmopolitan culture with alternative and vintage clothing, music posters and memorabilia and DVDs all on sale, along with hair braiding artists and tattoo booths. Today, the market encompasses around 300 stalls, selling everything from quirky antiques and second hand goods to cheap and cheerful souvenirs and general bric-a-brac. Even if you’re not buying, shimmying your way through the crowds of locals and tourists provides the perfect opportunity to soak up Amsterdam’s eclectic vibe.

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Dutch Resistance Museum (Amsterdams Verzetsmuseum)
9 Tours and Activities

Located opposite Artis Royal Zoo in the Plantage, the award-winning Dutch Resistance Museum has been named as Amsterdam’s best history museum. The displays follow the story of Amsterdam in World War II, from the point of Nazi invasion of The Netherlands in May 1940 until the end of the war in May 1945. The slow build-up of Dutch resistance to their German occupiers is highlighted with the use of clever dioramas and interactive exhibits that manage to convey a sense of claustrophobia and urgency. As well as following the tragic fate of the 140,000 Amsterdam Jews murdered in Nazi concentration camps, the museum recounts the story of the 20,000 Dutch political prisoners who were sent to labor camps such as Dachau in Germany; of those 2,000 were executed and several thousand died of disease.

The chronological exhibits include propaganda posters and the underground printing presses used to produce them; newspaper clippings; interviews with resistance members.

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Allard Pierson Museum
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2 Tours and Activities

Run by the University of Amsterdam and housed in a grandiose former bank on the southern fringes of the Red Light District, the Allard Pierson is the city’s leading archaeological museum. Unaccountably often overlooked, it is named after the first classical archaeology professor at the university and turns the spotlight on ancient Mediterranean civilizations. The collection of antiquities spans the centuries 4,000 BC to 500 AD, from the time of the pharaohs through the ancient Greek and Roman empires until early Christianity. Including Persian, Etruscan and Cypriot pottery, jewelry and glassware, the museum may not be vast but it is certainly world class; the star exhibit are the extensive Egyptian collection, including mummies, statuary, and everyday household objects unearthed from tombs. A roster of temporary exhibitions provides further insights into civilization around the shores of the Mediterranean during ancient times.

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Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)
24 Tours and Activities

Revolutionary architect Piet Blom designed and developed Rotterdam’s collection of 40 innovative cube houses in 1984, each of which has a giant yellow and gray tilted, wooden cube balancing on top of the ground level. The houses were built to resemble trees in a forest and to present an alternative to high-density urban living. Blom took the Ponte Vecchio in Florence as his inspiration for the structures and included public areas below and private living spaces above in the cubes. These bizarre apartments are centered around a courtyard playground and lean at an angle of 45 degrees over the buzzy waterfront bars and restaurants of Oude Haven. The whole complex sits on top of a pedestrian bridge over a busy road. Inside, the houses have three stories and myriad angled walls with plenty of light pouring in from the sloping, triangular, plate-glass windows. The rooms are also triangular, which makes furniture design especially tricky.

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More Things to Do in Netherlands

Rotterdam Old Harbor (Oude Haven)

Rotterdam Old Harbor (Oude Haven)

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14 Tours and Activities
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Markthal (Market Hall)

Markthal (Market Hall)

67 Tours and Activities
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Albert Cuyp Market

Albert Cuyp Market

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30 Tours and Activities

Renowned as being Europe’s biggest outdoor market, the Albert Cuyp Market, named after the 17th-century painter of the same name, has been trading since the late 19th-century. Starting out as a collection of street traders, the market was taken over by the city council in 1905 and has since become a tourist favorite, offering a fascinating glimpse into local life.

Located on Albert Cuypstraat in the city’s characterful De Pijp district, the market is open every day except Monday and is an easy tram ride from the city center. Here, around 260 market stalls offer just about everything imaginable. Share some jovial banter with the notoriously chatty stallholders as you bargain over books, clothing and electronics, then fill your shopping basket with fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, all at very reasonable prices.

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Mauritshuis

Mauritshuis

18 Tours and Activities
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De Gooyer Windmill

De Gooyer Windmill

16 Tours and Activities
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Peace Palace (Vredespaleis)

Peace Palace (Vredespaleis)

13 Tours and Activities

One of the Netherlands’ most famous buildings and the crowning glory of The Hague, the Peace Palace, or Vredespaleis, serves as a symbol of the country’s key role in international law and order. Built between 1907 and 1913 by Andrew Carnegie, the grand palace is home to the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Law Academy and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), making it an important center of global peace.

The building itself, an imposing neo-renaissance structure constructed from Belgian stone and Dutch red brick, is notable for its opulent interiors, designed to embody the ‘grand idea of world peace’ and featuring an exquisite art collection and furnishings imported from around the world. Guided tours of the palace make popular day trips from nearby Rotterdam and Amsterdam, whisking visitors around the chambers, the Peace Palace Library, the palace museum and the picturesque gardens.

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National Monument (Nationaal Monument op de Dam)

National Monument (Nationaal Monument op de Dam)

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7 Tours and Activities

Standing high in the center of Amsterdam’s Dam Square, the National Monument is the Netherlands’ most important World War II memorial. In 1945, shortly after the end of the war, a liberty pole was erected in Dam Square; it evolved into the present-day 72-feet tall monument, which was unveiled on May 4 1956 by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. Every May 4 since then, the Dutch royal family and local residents participate in National Remembrance Day and pay their respects to fallen soldiers from both WWII and subsequent armed conflicts involving the Netherlands. Dutch architect J.J.P. Oud created the travertine stone monument, while John Rädecker and his sons designed the monument's sculptures. One of the most striking features is the Peace relief, which depicts four chained male figures demonstrating the misery endured during the war.

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Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum

8 Tours and Activities

The Frans Hals Museum is known for its collection of paintings by the Dutch Golden Age masters. Nearly all the pieces date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when Haarlem was known as the “City of Painters,” and as you make your way round the museum exhibits you’ll see works by the likes of Ruisdael, Jan Steen, Saenredam, Van Goyen, Heda, and of course, Frans Hals. Fifteen of Hals’ enormous civic guard pieces are showcased here and are a highlight of any visit. In particular, look out for Hals’ famous twin portraits, Regents and Regentesses of the Oudemannenhuis.

Built in 1609, the attractive building changed purpose from almshouse (where Frans Hals lived out his final years) to orphanage before becoming the art museum you can see today in 1913. On a visit to the Frans Hals Museum, it’s worth looking out for the separate section containing a replica of a 17th-century Haarlem street.

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Royal Concertgebouw

Royal Concertgebouw

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Designed by architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt, the 19th-century building, located right in front of the Rijksmuseum, was inspired by the famous 18th-century Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig. Fashioned mostly in a Dutch Neo-Renaissance style, the impressive building includes a classic monumental facade and a gilded lyre atop its roof.

To fully experience the Concertgebouw’s spectacular interiors and acoustic prowess, attend one of the 445 annual concerts held in the main hall. Why not take an evening Theatre Tour to learn more about the intricate architecture before experiencing a live performance. Those on a budget can get a taster of events to come by attending the free 30-minute rehearsal slots held at midday, each Wednesday between September and June.

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Delfshaven

Delfshaven

10 Tours and Activities
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Teylers Museum

Teylers Museum

7 Tours and Activities
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