• Sunday, December 15, 2019

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  • Amsterdam! Yours for The Taking!

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    Suppose you are down and out in Amsterdam, and don’t have even a red cent to your name, you can still enjoy many of the pleasures that await you in the fine city of Amsterdam, absolutely gratis! Here are some ways of filling every minute of your sojourn in the city, with a variety of fun as well as entertainment, and it is all free for the taking.

    Begijnhof: There is a haven of quietness and tranquility hidden behind an unobtrusive door, right on the Spui square, where you can spend some time in calm contemplation. It’s called the Begijnhof, actually a serene courtyard, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages, and occupied by a group spiritual women under the vow of chastity. It’s still home to a small chapel as well as an English Reformed church.. The door to this haven of peace is kept open only during daytime.

    Schuttersgalerij: A few minutes’ walk from Begijnhof will take you to the Schuttersgalerij or Civic Guards Gallery. Although it is a part of the Amsterdam Museum, entry is free to all.  You can enter the gallery either from Sint Luciensteeg 27 or Kalverstraat 92 to find an impressive gallery displaying modern as well as historical portraits of the elite of the Dutch.

    Cycling and walking tours: See Amsterdam all by yourself, sitting on a bicycle powered by your own legs. Download a fully free cycling or walking tour and begin exploring the various picturesque neighborhoods such as the Pijp, Jordaan, as also Plantage. If you don’t want to make it alone and want to see the great metropolis as part of a group, then the New Amsterdam walking tour conducted by Sandeman is just for you; it is absolutely free, although tips are very much appreciated.

    Markets: You have not much cash left in your wallet and so not thinking of doing any shopping, but the open-air bazaars of Amsterdam will still pamper your senses with all the color and action as also provide numerous photo opportunities. From flowers to organic vegetables and second-hand treasures to antiques, these markets are indeed a fine way to get a peep into the Dutch way of life.

    Parks and gardens: The parks and gardens of Amsterdam are open round the year with kilometers of well-maintained strolling paths and a lot of room for a perfect picnic. During summer, the Vondelpark presents many performances at the open-air theatre. Also there are free festivals parks such as the Westergasfabriek and Oosterpark.

    Jazz and classical concerts: Almost every day, there is one concert or other happening in the city. For example, the Muziektheater holds free concerts on all Tuesdays at 12:30, and the Royal Concertgebouw puts on free lunch concerts on Wednesdays at about the same. The Badcuyp offers free weekly concerts every week, and on Sunday nights there are Jazz sessions. On Tuesdays, the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ offers free lunch concerts on one Tuesday every month, with the Bimhuis holding a free evening jam session, concert, or workshop every week.

    Ferry ride: Right behind the Amsterdam Central Station you can find several ferries crossing the scenic IJ River, all totally free! Get on a boat and you’ll have the perfect introduction to the canals of Amsterdam. If you want to visit the Tolhuistuin, the EYE Filmmuseum or enjoy the rural ambiance of the historic Noord, the Buiksloterweg stop is the most convenient. You can also make it to the NDSM Wharf which used to be shipyard, now full of creative workshops, artists’ studios, and a captivatingly barren terrain.

    Amsterdam public library or OBA: Apart from sitting back and going through the extensive collection of books and magazines in the English language, the OBA situated close to the Central Station, offers a lot of other attractions as well, free for the taking. A whole floor is filled with rotating art exhibitions, kid-sized fun, weekly readings and occasional concerts. Even if you are not a bookworm, the famed library is good for a visit just to enjoy the remarkable architecture as also the panoramic views of the cityscape from height of the top floor.

    Festivals: Year after year, Amsterdam holds a plethora of free events and festivals. The festival season begins usually in mid-April and goes on till January. This means that there is at least a free festival almost every month. A sample of the finest free festivals is Amsterdam Heritage Days, Gay Pride, King’s Day, Grachtenfestival, Roots Festival, Uitmarkt, National Windmill Day, Amsterdam Light Festival and National Museum Weekend.

    Churches: Several of the city’s churches were recast as museums, concert venues, etc., although there are numerous functioning churches still, from within which you can either attend a religious service or just enjoy the fine interiors for free, during weekdays. These churches include the Noorderkerk, Westerkerk, St. Nicolaaskerk, Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, and De Papegaai.

    With so much to see and nothing to pay for, you can take comfort from the fact that your Amsterdam visit turned out to be memorable one because you managed to save money after all, at the end of it all.

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