EYE Film Museum
If you’re a film fan, you’ll love this museum in its striking architect-designed building opposite Central Station, on the north bank of the river IJ (with a free ferry between the two). Film showings, in screening rooms of varying sizes (right down to pods), range from newly-restored classics to the latest arthouse releases, also taking in alternative genres. Permanent and temporary exhibitions, complemented by interactive presentations, provide everything an enthusiast could want, with regular events and educational activities.
The basement has a permanent display of items considered important in film history, including equipment such as the iconic 35mm Mitchell camera.
The EYE Film Museum moved from its previous location in a nineteenth-century pavilion in the Vondelpark, and joined three more film institutes in 2009 to become what it is now. In 2012 it opened in this striking venue, where lighting and a modern white interior complement the cinematic experience perfectly. A well-stocked shop of film memorabilia will allow you to take some memories away with you, but not before you’ve sampled the waterside café and restaurant, with its beautiful views.
Dutch Resistance Museum
In May 1940, the army of Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands, occupying it until May 1945, with dreadful consequences for the population. The museum, known locally as De Verzetsmuseum, details the Dutch resistance movement that arose, which could involve forging papers, spying, helping to hide those in danger (such as Anne Frank), producing newspapers, assisting escapes or simply carrying messages, as the young Audrey Hepburn and other children did.
Using films, pictures and objects, visitors are led through a complete history of the period, from the 1930s when Nazism was on the rise in Germany, through to the time when the peaceful existence of the Dutch people was suddenly and brutally shattered, and finishing in the post-war year of 1950. The chronological arrangement of events and developments helps visitors to grasp the increasing oppression, and the day to day life of citizens. Learning about the well-organised and dedicated resistance is an emotional but enlightening experience, and you won’t regret finding time to visit the Dutch Resistance Museum.
Amsterdam’s Northern Neighbourhood
The Eye is situated in lively Amsterdam Noord, where pretty villages nestle in green spaces, providing a contrast with stunning modern buildings, waterside dwellings and artists’ studios, while festivals capture the spirit of the place. Catch the free ferry from Central Station, and explore!
Alternatively, Amsterdam’s cycle-paths and sign-posted routes are perfect for bikes. Ride alongside the Ijsselmeer canal to the protected historic village of Durgerdam, or head for thirteenth-century Buiksloot, where villagers built their wooden houses on a dyke for protection. No longer on open water and now part of Amsterdam, its history and the lower level of its gardens are a must-see. Discover the traditional Windmill D’Admiraal, on Noordhollandsch Canal, or take a river cruise.
Have fun with the activities in the lively park of Noorderpark, or browse a street market such as Pekmarkt. Take in some jazz at the Bimhuis, or in the same venue, enjoy a concert at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. Food lovers are spoilt for choice, but don’t forget the local pancakes!
At the city’s edge, you’ll find its biggest park and leisure area, the Amsterdamse Bos. Green open spaces and rich woodlands are ideal for picnicking, and provide plenty of opportunities for walking or cycling along designated routes. Children will love the goat farm and petting zoo, and everyone will go for the home-made cheese and delicious ice cream, both courtesy of the local herd. If you don’t fancy the climbing park, you can relax in the botanical garden, or catch a play at the outdoor theatre.
Rowing contests are held on a long canal called the bosbaan, and you can hire pedal boats, kayaks, canoes and bicycles. If you’re feeling lazy, an excursion boat will show you around, or you can safely take a dip in the clear water. Electric boats are suitable for children from the age of four, and back on dry land, they can find out about all things nautical, learn how to tie knots, and can even try out a crane!
Go Further Afield for the Day
Why would you want to limit yourself to the borders of Amsterdam? In a country as small as The Netherlands, a day trip from the busy capital can give you a whole new view on the country. Some villages are within easy reach by bike or public transport. The bridges of ancient Weesp, historic Muiden and its castle, and the fortress village of Naarden are all close by, while for a change, Amstelveen is known for its modern and contemporary art galleries. At Zaanse Schans, picturesque windmills await you.
In this small country, it’s also possible to venture a little further, perhaps to the city of Utrecht, modern Rotterdam with its alternative scene, beautiful Delft, or Leiden with its famous university. Buy cheeses at the market in Alkmaar or travel just twenty minutes from Amsterdam to Haarlem.
Finally, don’t forget the seaside! Zandvoort is only thirty minutes away, or from Scheveningen, you can also visit the Hague. IJmuiden is the place for wind surfing or for flying kites, but do leave time to see the lighthouses.