It says much for a city renowned for some insalubrious reasons that Amsterdam is equally popular for its more mainstream delights. Canals, world-famous museums, top-class restaurants and beautiful buildings mingle together in this Venice of the North.
Tired of flying? Amsterdam is one of just a handful of big tourist destinations that can handily be reached by ferry from the UK. DFDS Seaways takes passengers from Newcastle to Amsterdam seven days a week and competitive group rates means it may also be cheaper than flying. Ferries depart from the port in North Shields at 5pm daily, arriving next morning into the Amsterdam ferry port at 9.30am. Passengers can go on foot, with bicycles, motorbikes, cars or caravans, perhaps depending on whether a day trip or longer break is desired. Groups can save petrol and share vehicles for the ultimate in convenient continent breaks, since several other countries are within easy reach of Amsterdam. Onboard facilities include four restaurants, bars, entertainment including a cinema and an extensive shop as well as of course the cosy ensuite cabins. DFDS has a dedicated group bookings’ team.
T: 0871 522 9955
Stena Line is another option for groups heading to Amsterdam. They sail from Harwich to the Hook of Holland and offer a ‘Rail and Sail’ option which takes passengers all the way from London to Amsterdam. A choice of starting points and times for convenience and plenty of low fares makes this a great option for groups. Passengers wanting to enjoy their ferry experience can take advantage of the two restaurants and bars, cinema and shop, whereas those who would prefer to sleep through the journey can sail overnight and relax in ensuite cabins. Stena Line too offers a dedicated group bookings’ service.
Once in Amsterdam, it would be a mistake to miss travelling on the canals to see the best of the city, as there are over 100 kilometres of them and 1,500 bridges throughout Amsterdam. It is a perfect way to get an overview of the city’s delights and see some of the most picturesque views and buildings, while travelling at a gentle pace on the water. Canal tours …
Just like any major tourist destination, Amsterdam has an abundance of accommodation options ranging from the cheapest hostels to the grandest hotels. The Amsterdam Marriott Hotel is conveniently located across from the Leidseplein shopping and entertainment area and just yards from the Rijksmuseum. 390 rooms, two restaurants and bars, high-speed internet, parking and a full range of business services including 13 meeting rooms make this a great choice for any group visiting the city.
T: 020 6075555
The international brand Hard Rock has a café in Amsterdam which offers great food and service in the setting of a museum of popular culture. Groups get the full rock ‘n’ roll experience here, as authentic memorabilia is on display throughout, music videos are shown on the two floors and a state of the art sound system provides the soundtrack. The service is fast and groups are well catered for – Hard Rock Amsterdam can accommodate up to 150 guests for a sit down lunch or dinner, and for a buffet-style breakfast.
Four different group menus are available: Vinyl, Gold, Diamond & Platinum. In the unlikely event that a group cannot find something on these menus, Hard Rock is also happy to make a bespoke menu to fit a group’s needs. Groups eating from one of the four menus will also receive the offer of a complimentary gift in the ‘Rock Shop’ when spending €25 or more on retail items. The shop sells limited edition and collectable Hard Rock t-shirts, glassware, pins and souvenirs much sought-after by Hard Rock fans from around the world.
Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam is centrally located near Leidseplein, within walking distance of the museum district and several other city sights. Group visits are valid for minimum of 15 people and a maximum of 150. They have a retail commission plan for guides and teachers accompanying groups; contact them directly for details.
For a fun-filled way to explore the city’s history, The Amsterdam Dungeon offers groups a thrilling interactive experience which includes 11 shows, seven actors and 500 years of history. Visitors get to see the sights, smell the smells, meet the people and hear the stories of Amsterdam’s past, with an emphasis of course on the gruesome and horrible. Surprises along the way are guaranteed to make visitors jump, scream and laugh out loud. New for 2013 is the ‘Witch Burning’ show, sure to seek out any witches in the audience as well as the cast. The Dungeons are suitable for groups of all ages except very young children. Group rates are available for groups of ten or more.
T: 020 5308500
Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam invites groups to start their experience on the red carpet and strike a pose for the photographer before beginning to explore history and popular culture at their own pace. Guests get a chance to have their picture taken with the Dutch Royal family, join world famous stars at an A-list party, meet King of Pop Michael Jackson and even E.T. Group visits of any sort are welcome, and combination tickets are available for entry to several Amsterdam attractions including Madame Tussauds, the Dungeon and canal tours.
The striking building of the Rijksmuseum houses some world-renowned collections, with an emphasis not surprisingly on the work of Dutch masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Bruegels. Visitors will instantly recognise some of the paintings on show, including Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ and Vermeer’s ‘The Milkmaid’. Groups of 15 people or more need to register their visit online.
For another immersion into the very best of Dutch art, the Van Gogh Museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. With a display which takes visitors through the artist’s development into the world-famous name he became, the museum is filled with many of his most famous works including ‘Sunflowers’, ‘Irises’ and his well-known self-portraits.
One of Amsterdam’s most famous residents was Anne Frank and the house where she hid with her family in the Secret Annex can be visited today. The Frank family lived here between 1942 and 1944 and it was here that Anne poured out her experiences and feelings into the diary that has today been translated into over 60 languages and touched readers across the world. The Anne Frank House also contains an excellent museum which gives lots of background information and has interactive and educational exhibitions aimed at all ages.
T: 020 5567100
The Netherlands are known for their beautiful tulip fields and the tulip industry and Amsterdam offers visitors a chance to learn more about the pretty flowers at the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. For those who want to buy, The Singel is a canal in Amsterdam famous for its flower market, where all the merchandise is displayed on floating barges. It is also possible to visit many of the tulips fields on short excursions out of the city, including the famous Keukenhof Gardens, where seven million bulbs bloom during the season from March to May.