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Euro Summer 2023: Why Amsterdam Is My New Favorite Destination

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Last April I got a call from my boyfriend Tommy. His stepmom had found cheap tickets to England, and Tommy and I were welcome to join. We planned to fly out on the 8th and come home around the 16th, but wanted to make a pit stop somewhere other than England halfway through our trip. My mind immediately went to Amsterdam. My dad had grown up in Amsterdam and always raved about his days there before his passing. I texted some relatives, looked at TripAdvisor, and we booked our flights. Before I knew it, I was fast asleep on a one-and-a-half-hour long flight at 4:00 a.m. from England to Amsterdam!

Day one consisted of getting there at 7:00 a.m. and checking into the Jaz Hotel, just outside of Amsterdam’s central town. We dropped our bags off, charged our phones in the lobby, and quickly found the nearest Dunkin Donuts to grab a coffee for the 20-minute train ride into town. 

Our first stop was the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands National Museum, which houses paintings from Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and many other famous artists from the past and present. The museum was gorgeous on the inside and outside, and the area it was located in was just as cool. If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, this is a must and was a great thing to do on the first day. It gave us the perfect insight into Dutch culture and history. 

Directly after, we hopped on the Metro, which we got for free using our Amsterdam pass (something I would 100% recommend, as it gets you free transport and tourist attractions!), and made our way over to an authentic canal house, where we got to see how people lived in 17th-century Amsterdam. Here we were able to get a feel of Amsterdam; all the little shops, biking, and canals amazed me. If I were to go back tomorrow, I would rent some bikes. Biking is an intense experience in Amsterdam and is how the majority of the locals get around!

The rest of the day was for exploring; we walked around for hours, popping into little thrift stores and cheese shops, and just sitting around all the lovely parks. After an early Italian dinner, we hopped back on the train and went to bed for an early night. 

The next day, we had the Rembrandt Museum followed by a tour of the Palace of Amsterdam. It was super cool to see the history of what it has been used for. It used to be a place for public gatherings, like a town hall! After that, we grabbed some stroopwafels and checked out central station before returning to see an exhibit on the photo of the year. It was super cool and kept us up to date on world happenings, past and present. We grabbed sandwiches and pofferjets at a little Dutch cafe and then walked to one of the oldest housing areas in Amsterdam, hidden away but completely free to the public, called Begijnhof. The hidden churches and silent vibes amidst the bustling city were quite amazing to witness. 

After that, we walked to Amsterdam’s floating flower market, Bloemenmarkt. We passed through the red light district and made our way to my grandma’s old neighborhood, Brouwersgracht! It was super cool to see her old house, and I loved the area around it. We grabbed dinner at a super cute pub, Papeneiland, and then walked around the city. We tried Bitterballen, a traditional Dutch cuisine, and walked around at night. The lights on the canal are gorgeous when it’s dark out!

On our last full day, we started with a little exploration. We found a random book market that I don’t know the name of and passed some cool street art. We tried to get pancakes, but the lines were long, so we settled with Amsterdam’s famous frites and mayo! 

We then made our way on a canal tour that took us around the whole city! I would recommend doing one of these, although I wish we did a shorter one. We grabbed a mojito and made our way over to Amsterdam’s largest flea market, where we spent hours looking at all the street vendors, talking to locals, and buying new bags and jewelry. Beware of this place — it was so cute but my pockets were hurting when we left!

We explored more around town, hitting some more thrifts and walking all around town. It was crazy how much fun we just had wandering around! It is such a walkable city, which is something super awesome when you’re a tourist. You get to see the whole city in such a carefree and cheap way.

The next day, our last one in Amsterdam, we quickly traveled across town to tour the Heineken experience. It was super cool and fun, but beer is not my thing, so I didn’t love it. We hung out at the airport for a while, got some Dutch pancakes, and then flew home.

I have never been so sad to leave a place before. I had so much fun, and I’d recommend checking out Amsterdam even if it’s just for a little while. I can’t say enough about it!

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Marin Mercer

U Mass Amherst '26

Hi! I'm Marin Mercer, a freshman at Umass Amherst in the college of education! I love listening to music, reading, writing, and laughing with friends!