Gauss-Telegraph: Travel during Corona – Amsterdam
by Andrés Muñoz
Did you know you can get to Amsterdam with your semester ticket and an extra 5-8€? You can do so by getting a group ticket for 4-7 people (More information here). Amsterdam is a city that didn’t win me over the first time I visited and that’s because perhaps I didn’t really see Amsterdam (and I don’t mean smoking weed and going to the Red Light District). After being there a few times, I can now say that Amsterdam is a fascinating city with world-class museums, cozy restaurants and cafés by the canals and beautiful architecture.
Amsterdam is a city that was fighting against mass tourism before the pandemic. As a result, a trip to this city could be quite expensive. Since Airbnbs are banned in certain areas and there’s a high demand for accommodation, hotels and hostels can be costly. Even during this summer, there was still a relatively high number of tourists in Amsterdam. The government still had to ask people from Belgium or Germany to avoid unessential day trips as the number of infections started to rise again. However, my visit to Amsterdam this time was rather unintentional due to the low number of frequencies for a connecting flight I had scheduled. So overall I had roughly ten hours to kill in Amsterdam.
This visit gave me the opportunity to check out a museum I missed last time: the House of Anne Frank. Thanks to the over-tourism I mentioned earlier all the slots were booked by the time I realized I had to buy the tickets in advance. Nevertheless, there were plenty of slots available this time. The building was part of Otto Frank’s offices where he stored and sold spices and pectin. Located behind the building was the Secret Annex where the Frank family hid along with four other Jews trying to escape persecution from the Nazis. A one-hour audio guide shows you around the different rooms of the building while describing life in the Secret Annex.
There are many other top museums you should visit as well, like the Rijksmuseum (National Museum). This is where the iconic „I amsterdam“ sign once stood until it was removed to avoid overcrowding (6000 selfies were taken every day in front of the sign).
The museum’s collection is quite big with over 8000 artworks distributed in 250 rooms, so you should plan at least a whole morning for that. A smaller yet magnificent museum is the Van Gogh Museum which is also located on Museumplein. Normally, you would bump into long lines in front of the museum, so it’s something you should expect if you travel after tourism starts to increase again. Furthermore, you can also visit the NEMO Science Museum which houses different exhibitions about humankind, life in the universe, energy and the evolution of science. Normally, it would be possible to access the rooftop without a museum ticket. However, entrance has been restricted now.
Besides the urban landscape with its canals, one of the things I like about Amsterdam is that Schiphol airport is less than 20 minutes away from Amsterdam Centraal Station which makes the city perfect for a long layover. In addition, in spite of having narrow and crowded streets, it also has lots of open areas like the Museumplein, Vondelpark or Rembrandtpark.
The bottom line is that unlike the previous destinations in this series, Amsterdam still received a high number of visitors this summer. Compared to Germany, the Netherlands has become less dependent on cash. Especially during the pandemic, most ticket offices at the museums were closed as you had to buy an electronic ticket in advance with a dedicated time slot to reduce interaction between the employees and visitors.
Stay tuned for our next stop: Ljubljana!
Note: At the moment of travel, this region/country was not on the list of risk areas according to the Robert-Koch-Institute .
Before making any travel plans, check the latest advice from the Federal Foreign Office. You can download their app (Android or iOS) to stay up-to-date or check the IATA’s website for the latest entry requirements.