Walk around the City Center

Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
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Trip End Jul 02, 2012

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Sunday, August 21, 2011

On Sunday I decided to walk around the old part of the city. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I got some great pictures. After leaving my apartment, I took my first walk along the Amstel River. The river is one of my favorite parts of the city because it's lined with 17th and 18th century houses, the Stopera and has some neat bridges. I've already decided it will be my route to classes once they start. Like on the day before, there were many boats out on the river and the canals. Right when I got into the old city, I heard music and saw a crowd up ahead of the canal I was walking on. It turned out to be a brass orchestra playing on a platform on the canal. I stopped and planned to listen to one song, but stayed for two because they were very good. I was glad I ran into it.

The old city is very fun to walk around. The streets are more narrow than in the Canal Rings and there are a lot of neat alleyways lined with shops. All of the buildings are historic and there aren't that many cars, so it's very quaint.

Up ahead from the brass orchestra was the Nieuwmarkt (New Market). I found some fun souvenirs and trinkets there and they also had some nice clothes, but I didn't buy anything. I've been trying to keep from buying souvenirs until I'm more acquainted with the city and know where the best places to shop are. Right by the market was the Waag, the last remaining medieval gatehouse in the city. It's truly surreal to me to have so much history around me all the time. I then passed by the Zuiderkerk (South Church). There are many church towers in the city, but I think I've decided that the Zuiderkerk tower is my favorite. I also like the Church of Saint Nicholas a lot. I ended up passing by the Oost-Indisch Huis (East India House). The East India House is part of my university now, but it was formerly the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. As I said before, there is so much interesting history to discover in the city!

I next decided to check out the views of the Oosterdok (East Dock), a large bay to the north of the city. I got to see the new Amsterdam City Library, Centraal Station (the train station), the Nemo Science Center, and the Maritime Museum. I didn't go into any of them, but will definitely be going back. The Maritime Museum usually has a replica of a Dutch East India Company ship docked nearby, but I didn't see it that day. I guess it will give me an excuse to go back another day. The view of the city from the Oosterdok was breathtaking. I could see the Church of Saint Nicholas and the tower of the Zuiderkerk and Montelbaanstoren.

After adding the Oosterdok to my list of favorite places so far, I crossed back over the water, past the Church of Saint Nicholas and turned onto the Damrak. The Damrak is a street that used to be part of the harbor, but has been filled in and replaced with buildings. The street had a lot of tourist shops, restaurants, etc. I walked south until I got to Dam Square. Dam Square is where the original dam on the Amstel River was built back when the city was founded. The square houses the Royal Palace, which is a museum, and the National Monument (a WWII monument). The square was very busy since it was a weekend.

Afterwards, I walked down the Oudezijds canal towards the central part of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (my school). I got to see the Agnietenkapel, where the school was founded in 1632. It's crazy for me to think that my school was founded 12 years after the Mayflower took off for America! I got to see most of the buildings of the central part of campus. I use the term campus loosely, because there really isn't a campus - university buildings are scattered throughout the city. The part that I saw has the library, the Atrium dining hall, the Student Information Center, and the Crea Cultural Center. The buildings were all very historic looking. I'm very excited to go into the University Library once I get my student card to see what it's like. Classes don't start until September 5th, but until then I have some free time, an international student orientation and my faculty orientation.

After seeing some of the university, I was getting a little tired and it was getting late so I started to walk home. I managed to get myself slightly lost and started walking up a canal the wrong way. I got myself corrected, though, and it turned out to be a good mistake, because I ended up at Rembrandplein (Rembrandt Square) without meaning to. Rembrandt lived in the city for part of his life, and he's one of the most famous Dutch painters. There was a statue of him in the square and a man was playing music, so I took a little breather and sat down to listen to him.

The walk back along the Amstel was nice, because the sun was starting to set behind the houses on the river. I took some pictures, but they didn't compare to the actual view. Overall I had a really great day. I was already excited about living in the city just from touring the canal rings on my first day out, but the sights I saw on that day didn't even come close to how much I saw in the old city.
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Comments

Beth on

Fascinating Kurt!!

Aunt Leslie on

I love the old architecture too. You make it all sound so interesting.

Aunt Jane on

Hi Kurt,

Thanks for the tours! You seem to be a natural at this. Wishing you a great start to your very interesting classes.

Love you,
Aunt Jane

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