Senior Citizens Travel to Amsterdam

Dec 14th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Described by many as a village, Amsterdam packs the cultural punch of a city many times its size. While still retaining a bit of a ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ reputation, Amsterdam is now more about being a ‘creative city’ where the high standards set by such Golden Age painters as Rembrandt are maintained.

The city has become a global hub for art, design, architecture and advertising, but one where all its attractions are just a short and scenic bike ride away. Amsterdam is one of the most important cultural centers of Europe. Amsterdam’s position as a Festival City plays an important role in this. Amsterdam, the greatest planned city of northern Europe, has always been a well-known name in world history and played a central role in the history of the Netherlands.  I well recall in my youth that my brother Steve loved Amsterdam among all the European cities that he had visited.  I have never been there myself but this blog shows that I need to plan a visit one day.

Amsterdam has a broad spectrum of recreational and cultural sights that range from fascinating old buildings, like the Oude Kerk, to oddities such as the Hash Marihuana Museum. Museums are the main tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Everyone knows the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum, but there is much, much more. Amsterdam has over fifty museums which attract many millions of visitors every year. 

The city is full of colorful canals and bridges; Amsterdam begs to be explored by foot or bike. Visit the Anne Frank House, view masterpieces at the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum;  shop the Waterlloplein flea market and let your nose lead you to the floating flower market. The locals are famously friendly, so strike up a chat (most speak English) over a beer at a brown café. Amsterdam is indeed one of Europe’s great cities. 

Although the seat of Netherlands government is in The Hague, Amsterdam is the nominal capital. It is also the country’s largest city, with a population of more than 750,000, and the most visited, with over 3.5 million foreign visitors a year. The Netherlands is a country situated in Western Europe, bordering Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. To its north and west is the North Sea. Although the Netherlands is the country’s official name, people often call it Holland. The provinces of North Holland and South Holland form only part of the Netherlands.

A visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the Red Light District and the coffee shops.  But in fact, Amsterdam is all one big attraction, with its ancient buildings, museums and canals that have remained largely unchanged for centuries – and it’s easy for seniors to explore by foot, bike or boat. The picturesque canal ring sets Amsterdam’s attractions standards high, but there is still plenty of charm to explore in more modest neighborhoods like the Jordaan and De Pijp and the modern architectural mecca that is the Eastern Docklands. Bicycles seem to outnumber cars.

A tulips and windmills day trip from Amsterdam gives you the unique opportunity to see tulips bloom in winter! Enjoy a guided tour of a tulip-growing greenhouse and see millions of tulips begin to bloom. There’s also a chance to enjoy some typical Dutch culture and cooking, visit a working windmill, eat lunch in the picturesque town of Medemblik on the IJsselmeer lake and taste some traditional Dutch cheeses at the windmill town of Zaanse Schans, a short distance outside Amsterdam.

Several guides will help you decide what to do and where to go in The Netherlands.  Trip Advisor provides all the information seniors will need to make a visit complete. 

Lastly as Steve told me…”a spring trip to Amsterdam and the Netherlands is not complete without a visit to the Dutch countryside to see the tulip fields in bloom.” Touring Keukenhof Gardens, the worlds’ largest tulip gardens, is a wonderful shore excursion, but he was amazed at the cultivated gardens throughout the country. During a trip to the Netherlands in mid-April, he saw tulip fields in Noord Holland, Zuid Holland, and Friesland. In addition, he found beautiful tulip fields next to Keukenhof Gardens, near the large windmill.  The fact that my brother was a PhD botanist did color his appreciation for Holland and all those millions of colorful tulips.  It would mine too.    jeb



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