The Major Sights and their Antidotes

Winter: ’tis the season to see those tourist-dense spots that you would never dream of visiting during the rest of year. But then again, in some cases you might just want to go straight for the antidote. (One of these days I should further update this  and make a google map…)

By Steve Korver, 07-02-2008, Amsterdam Weekly


1 Amsterdam Historical Museum Kalverstraat 92, 523 1822,
1 Antidote Enough city already. Go tropical. Go to Tropenmuseum (Linnaeusstraat 2, 568 8200,

2 Anne Frank Huis Prinsengracht 267, 556 7105,
2 Antidote Need some cheap laughs for balance? Cafe Chris (Bloemstraat 42, 624 5942) has a washroom so small that the flusher is outside the door. Wait for your friends to settle in and flush away. Dat’s pas lachen.

3 Artis Zoo Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 523 3400,
3 Antidote Dine on crocodile at the African restaurant Kilimanjaro (Rapenburgerplein 6, 622 3485). Order it rare.

4 Bible Museum Herengracht 366-368, 624 2436,
4 Antidote The ‘House with the Blood Stains’, at Amstel 216, allegedly has the city’s oldest graffiti that was scratched into its stone facade by and with the blood of former burgemeester Coenraad van Beuningen (1622-93) after he was plagued by apocalyptic visions of fireballs and fluorescent coffins.

5 Canal Cruises around Centraal Station and up Damrak and Rokin
5 Antidote The free 15-minute ferry ride from behind CS to arty and apocalyptic wonderland that is NDSM (

6 Cat Cabinet Herengracht 497, 626 5378,
6 Antidote Indulge in a kroket at Van Dobben (Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5-9, 624 4200) where you can witness typical Amsterdammers—and their pitbulls. Or the place on Tom Schreursweg by Nieuwe Meer where they train police dogs.

7 Flower Market Singel between Koningsplein and Vijzelstraat
7 Antidote Pick crocuses in Slotervaart.

8 Heineken Experience
8 No antidote required Sip on some design classics by buying  some Grolsch beugeltjes around the corner at Dirk van den Broek on Marie Heinekenplein.

9 Hermitage Amsterdam Nieuwe Herengracht 14, 530 8751,
9 Antidote The founder of the original Hermitage in St Petersburg, Peter the Great spent a lot of time in Amsterdam during which he allegedly trashed the interiors of Herengracht 527 in a fit of proto-rock ’n’ roll frenzy. Bless his Slavic soul at Moskow Diskow at Sugar Factory on 15 February.

10 Jewish Historical Museum Jonas Daniel Meijerplein 2-4, 531 0310,
10 Antidote Podium Mozaiek, Bos en Lommerweg 191, 580 0380,

11 Jordaan
11 Antidote De Baarsjes. No wait, Nieuw West.

12 Leidseplein
12 Antidote After all that action, do something relatively carbon neutral. Yes, be a carbon neutral tourist in your own town. It’s very in. Knit a scarf on a park bench. Lie whimpering under your bed. Sign the petition against the shortening of drinking hours at

13 Madame Tussaud’s Scenerama Dam 20, 523 0623,
13 Antidote With a renewed respect for the functional use of wax, buy religious candles at Abdijwinkel van Egmond (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 361, 623 5911).

14  Museum ‘Our Lord in the Attic’ Amstelkring Oudezijds Voorburgbal 40, 624 6604,
14 Antidote Feeling holy and introspective? No worries. You are conveniently close to the Pillenbrug where you can score some bad drugs. Ask for Henkie—his are the baddest.

15  Netherlands Maritime Museum
15 No antidote required Closed until 2010.

16 Nieuwe Kerk Dam, 638 6909,
16 Antidote For more of a ‘new church’, head to the 1710-built Buiksloterkerk (Buiksloterkerkpad 10, in Noord. They’ve been known to book Santo Daime church ceremonies that use the hallucinogenic ayahuasca plant to get participants to cuddle up closer to godhead. But they also host bluegrass and salsa concerts.

17 Oostelijk Havengebied
17 Antidote Amsterdam has become a Mecca for modern architecture tourists. But it also has some dark secrets such as the Byzantium, an early work by superstar architect Rem Koolhaas situated to the right of the main entrance of Vondelpark. Yes, the one with the space ship on top and so ugly it’s actually kind of cool. But not quite.

18 Oude Kerk Oudekerksplein 1, 625 8284,
18 Antidote It is in fact surrounded by one big antidote.

19 Red Light District
19 Antidote
More insights into voyeurism can be had at photography museum  FOAM (Keizersgracht 609, 551 6500, Or get a broader view of the city at the new City Archive (Vijzelstraat 32, 251 1511, Or just buy some batteries for your fishing boat.

20  Rembrandthuis Jodenbreestraat 4, 520 0400,  
20 Antidote First off, thank god it’s not 2006, the ‘Year of Rembrandt’. That was a long one. Then gaze at the plaque at Rozengracht 184, where he lived during his washed up years. Oh, and he probably hung out around the corner at Cafe Chris (see antidote, Anne Frank Huis).

21 Rembrandtsplein
21 Antidote Go to the bars of the arising business, banking and finance centre Zuidas. It’s a higher class of meat market. Money meat.

22 Resistance Museum Plantage Kerklaan 61, 620 2535,
22 Antidote Ponder the much more prevalent reality of collaboration at the monument of former deportation point Hollandse Schouwburg (Plantage Middenlaan 24, 531 0340, www.hollandscheschouwburg. nl). Then spark an animated conversation on the subject at Cafe Eik en Linde (Plantage Middenlaan 22, 622 5716).

23 Rijksmuseum Jan Luykenstraat 1, 674 7000,
23 Antidote After all those classics of antiquity, admire the hi-tech-ery of Museumplein’s Cobra Cafe’s see-through washroom doors that milk over when you close them. Open. Close. Open. Close.

24 Royal Palace Dam,
24 No antidote required Closed until 2009.

25 Stedelijk Museum  Museumplein, 573 2911,
25 Antidote None required: closed until 2011. But you may opt to check out  some actually relevant modern art in the halls of  Trouw ( or across the street at the  Volkskrantgebouw (

26 Torture Museum Singel 449, 320 6642,
26 No antidote Go to hell (see p. 6).

27 Van Gogh Museum Paulus Potterstraat 7, 570 5200,
27 Antidote Vincent was just one guy. But master forger Geert Jan Jansen was several: ‘Before breakfast, I’d do a couple of Chagall drawings, during the morning a couple of hefty Appels and during the afternoon a couple of Picassos. Only then would I feel satisfied.’ Visit him online at

28 Vondelpark
28 Antidote Westerpark. Beatrixpark. Rembrandtpark. Any park.

29 Waterlooplein
29 Antidote What else? The Monday morning flea market at Noordermarkt.

30 Westerkerk Prinsengracht 277-279, 624 7766,
30 Antidote The XXX on its tower stands for ‘Valiant, Resolute, Merciful’. Search for more of that. Or just hit Cafe Chris (see antidote, Anne Frank Huis), which originally opened as a local for the builders of this church.

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