The first time I visited Amsterdam was way too quick. I was just a couple of nights on a month-long backpacking tour of Europe and my first trip to the continent. I was a lot younger and living the Ensuite Life was not a priority. I stayed in a hostel, sharing a room with seven other people. It was an adventure for a different lifetime.
As previously posted, I certainly didn’t stay in any hostel. But there were three things I didn’t get to accomplish the last time that I made sure I would do this time: The Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, and for a complete change of pace, The Heineken Experience. I had already done the Van Gogh museum the last time and even though it was over two decades ago, it’s safe to say there’s probably not much new unless Van Gogh (or his ear) have returned from the dead.
The Rijksmuseum reopened last April after an extensive renovation that lasted nearly ten years with the museum being closed since December 2003.
And what a dazzling museum it is. One of the best museums I’ve ever been to in recent memory. I wasn’t able to get to everything in my one visit, but I covered a good amount (just an excuse to go back)!
The Anne Frank house is truly a sobering reminder of the evil of man and lives ruined. Going through the house and the rooms, up the steep staircase, through the living quarters, it’s not hard to picture life behind the swinging bookcase that was the difference between life and death, every day living in fear of being caught. Of course, it’s impossible to know truly what the Frank family and the four others who lived in this small space for just over two years. But it is truly haunting, but uplifting that we have Anne Frank’s diary to keep her memory alive.
After that, a little levity was in order. That came courtesy of the Heineken Experience.
It’s not a cheap experience but you do get a couple of beers out of it, so it evens out. But it’s a fun visit through the history of Heineken, the brew process, followed by a whole lot of marketing. It’s kind of a two-part experience with the first part learning about Heineken and the second part partying with Heineken. Well, you just have to experience it for yourself.