Unusual Reasons To Visit Amsterdam Before Or After Your Fabulous Cruise Vacation

After Rotterdam, the port of Amsterdam is the second largest port in the Netherlands and host to over 700,000 cruise travelers who pass through every year, embarking on any one of over 140 ocean and 1500 river cruise itineraries.  A personal favorite European city and point of embarkation, a number of interesting attractions are within easy walking distance of the Amsterdam cruise port, making it one of the most popular in the world.  The Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Canal Ring, Coffee Shops and the historic Red Light District come to mind.  All interesting places to visit to be sure.  But other, lesser known attractions also bring good reason to visit Amsterdam a few days early early, before scheduled cruise travel, or lingering after.

Visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam Welcome Market In The Passenger Terminal
A good place to start if time is limited comes where we get on and off ships.  At the welcome market in the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam cruise travelers are given tips and a map to take with them, so they won’t miss a single highlight that the area has to offer.  Since cruise ships rarely dock at the Amsterdam cruise port for more than a day, passengers are sent to the Passenger Terminal hall to get their bearings. There, guides help customizes touring, highlighting such sights such as the Rijksmuseum and hidden gems such as National Maritime Museum.  Walking routes on the map show the fastest and most pleasant route to take.

Visit Amsterdam

A VIP Ride Around Amsterdam
While much of Amsterdam is walkable, Taxi Centrale Amsterdam (TCA) brings you anywhere you want to go in the city and beyond. TCA is the oldest and largest taxi company in the Netherlands, with 1,250 cars and 1,500 independent drivers. With almost 60 years of experience, TCA specialises in solving transportation troubles for everyone in Amsterdam. Groups that might need a large number of taxis within a short timeframe – for to the airport or a dinner party in the city centre, for example – TCA offers assistance with organising the transport and guiding the guests to the taxis, just as the company does at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam.  Find out more about TCA by contacting sales@tcataxi.nl or calling +31 20 650 6506.

Den Helder: Gateway  To The Seven Seas
Den Helder, located at the head of the North Sea coast, is a gateway to the protected Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage site and beyond. Its strategic location has made it the perfect spot for the Royal Netherlands Navy, which calls Den Helder its headquarters. Den Helder is ideal to visit in autumn, with several sightseeing opportunities and places to relax as the weather cools. Visit one of the several fortresses, such as Fort Kijkduin, Fort Westoever and Fort Erfprins. In addition to the fortresses (and the Dutch naval headquarters), visitors can check out the Dutch Navy Museum, the Dorus Rijkers National Lifeboat Museum and De Oranjerie, a breath-taking Japanese botanical garden.

Drommedaris Tower
The Drommedaris, a famous landmark in Enkhuizen, was originally built in 1540 as a defence tower. Since then, the tower has served many different purposes: it has been a post office, a bakery, a prison and, for the last 70 years, a cultural centre. The Drommedaris now offers a modern theatre for the performing arts and film, with arthouse movies shown daily and performances, ranging from jazz afternoons to drama, every weekend.  Even without seeing a play, the building is worth a visit for its historical architecture and features alone – even the old prison is still there. In the summer season (June to September), guided tours take place twice a day. In other months, guided tours are offered upon request.

There are now even more opportunities to enjoy pristine nature around Lelystad, a town built on reclaimed land just east of Amsterdam, as the Oostvaardersplassen becomes a national park and plans for the restoration of the Markermeer lake have been launched. Visitors will find the most incredible examples of nature at work at the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve, called the ‘Serengeti in the polder’ and located just outside Lelystad. Comprising 56 square kilometres of protected marshlands and fields, the nature reserve serves as a migration area for birds and makes for an amazing spot for a hike or a day of birdwatching. The ‘locals’ seen here include wild deer, cattle and semi-feral Konik horses, all of which live here undisturbed by humans. Though it is already an impressive nature reserve, Oostvaardersplassen will soon expand its recreational possibilities and become a recognized national park.

Visit Amsterdam

World-class Art In Haarlem In 2017 And 2018
Discover the impressive art by Dutch masters, famed French artists and the original renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci when two museums in Haarlem unveil three special exhibitions to the public. Haarlem is home to two world-class museums; the Frans Hals Museum and Teylers Museum.   In addition to their fascinating permanent collections, both have added special exhibitions to their schedule in 2017 and 2018.

  • Through May 2017, the Frans Hals Museum presents a large number of works by Dutch masters that form part of the collection of the Szépmüvészeti Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. In the exhibition, works from Haarlem artists are shown alongside well-known Dutch and Flemish painters such as Hendrick Avercamp, Jan Lievens and Anthony van Dyck. And on the 350th anniversary of the passing of Frans Hals, two of his stunning portraits will be reunited with his other works on display at the Frans Hals Museum.
  • In the spring of 2017, the Teylers Museum will present a large-scale exhibition of works by 18th-century French artist Jean-Antoine Watteau and his followers. The works by Watteau, who is considered to be among the greatest French painters, are known for their informality, intimacy and poignant perception.
  • In 2018, the Teylers Museum will highlight the work of Leonardo da Vinci, the most versatile and best-known renaissance artist. The museum will bring together dozens of studies by Leonardo himself, as well as a number of artworks from around the globe produced by apprentices of this master.

Also not to be missed here: Jopen Brewery, Grand Cafe and Restaurant.  Jopen beer is a result of the work of Stichting Haarlems Biergenootschap, which was founded in 1992. The mission: to re-create traditional Haarlem beers and bring them to the commercial market. Two recipes were found in the Haarlem city archives that were used as a foundation for 2 initial beers. The first one was a recipe from 1407 and the recreation of this was named Koyt.


The third largest cruise port in Europe, the Amsterdam cruise port was recently rated International Cruise Port of the Year.  A very walkable city, we have enjoyed visiting all the iconic landmarks and highly suggest doing the same for first-time visitors.  Frankly?  One could easily spend as many days on land in The Netherlands as they spend on the water for a cruise and still not see everything.  A great place to start planning?  I Amsterdam  – Click on Iam Visiting for more.

Amsterdam Cruise Port Contact Information