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7 January 2019

Holiday in Amsterdam

Exploring this magical city in the Netherlands all lit up for Christmas.

We’re back from vacation feeling rested and ready to get back to work after a little time away. I went to Paris and Amsterdam during the time between Christmas and New Years, having never been to the Netherlands before, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things about this magical city. When we first booked the trip we were a little worried the cold winter weather might make it less fun but what we didn’t realize is that Amsterdam loves Christmastime and is truly one of the most festive cities I’ve ever been to at this time of year.  The trees along the canals are all lit up and it seems every house has a Christmas tree by the window. Neither me or my husband knew very much about the city going in, but we were lucky to have our friends Carla and Richard who gave us some great recommendations on what to do and where to eat. Fortunately we had very mild weather and we took advantage walking everywhere we could. The Dutch are incredibly happy and welcoming people– it seemed like everyone was smiling and in a good mood! Below, many of the doors of the houses are lacquered in a high gloss paint and windows are accented in white. Surprisingly, few houses along the much traversed canals had any window treatments allowing pedestrians to snoop quite easily. It was fun to get a peak inside many of these beautiful old houses. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

Of course I can’t go anywhere without checking out the local antique scene. Amsterdam has some great antique stores selling mostly French, Italian, English and Swedish antiques from the 18th and 19th Centuries. They also have a big mid-century furniture scene, but I focused more on the antique shops.

We had some of the best food of our trip to Europe in Amsterdam. Dinners at Gebr. Hartering, Cafe de Klepel and Maris Piper were absolutely delicious.

Outside Cafe de Klepel.
A Christmas tree decorated outside the Pulitzer Hotel.

We visited the Anne Frank house which was incredibly moving and a must see. We also went to the Van Gogh museum and the Rijks museum. We wished we had had more time to spend at the Rijks museum. I could have spent an entire day just looking at the architecture and the amazing decorative painted covering the walls and ceilings. Luckily we were able to see many of the “greatest hits” Dutch Old Master paintings, the famous Rijks research library for Art History, and I was able to snap a bunch of images of the stencils — great inspiration!

I’m looking forward to exploring more of Amsterdam and the Netherlands in the warmer months!

— Lauren
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