Flick on Amsterdam - A destination report
Published: April 14th 2015
Vibrant and historical, the cultural epicentre of the Netherlands provides unique sights and endless learning opportunities. Our Regional Account Manager Flick ventured out with some members of the Travelbound team to explore the city’s many educational excursions, accommodation options, transport links and to learn more about how your students will benefit from a trip to Amsterdam. Check out Flick’s recommendations for a 3 day tour of the city and her personal highlights.
Short journey time
On a cold Friday morning in March, Team Travelbound trooped off bleary-eyed on an early start to Amsterdam. The city is a great destination as it’s only 1 ¼ hours flight from London so you can really make the most of your time on the Continent.
The journey from Schiphol airport to the centre of Amsterdam is easy to make by public transport with the train only taking 20 minutes. We stayed at the Meininger Hotel on the West side of Amsterdam, easily accessible by tram, bus and train into the city centre. The hotel offers en-suite and multi-bedded rooms for students with the maximum allocation of 6 to a room. The rooms provide practical space and I was pleasantly surprised at the level of comfort of the beds. There is a large café area where you can buy drinks and snacks and there are also board games on the tables which certainly kept various colleagues amused in the evenings.
Taking on Amsterdam
On Friday afternoon we ventured out for our first excursions. A visit to Anne Frank’s house is a must-see providing a powerful account of life during World War II for the Jewish diarist. The museum also provides online material to support learning prior to visiting. I’d recommend 1-2 hours for the visit to explore the displays that give you an insight into all of the families and helpers who were stowed away in the house. The Guide provided on arrival is extremely informative, helps take you through the house and is on-hand to answer any questions. At the end of the museum tour, copies of Anne Frank’s diary are available in multiple languages. There is even the chance to see the original diary, which was beautiful but equally poignant in viewing.
After such a thought-provoking visit, we went onto the Reypenaer Shop where we took part in some cheese tasting! Possibly the most fascinating part was discovering how much accompanying drinks can change the taste of the cheese on the palate. One of the most bizarre cheeses we ended up tasting was caramel. Don’t worry teachers, for students there is grape juice! We left proudly armed with our certificates in belief that we are all now fully-fledged cheese connoisseurs.
Museums – A hands-on approach to learning
Saturday started with a fun-filled visit to the NEMO Science Museum. This three-floor building is just a stone’s throw away from the Central Station. From learning about physics by watching the Chain Reaction show on the first floor, to biology on the top floor covered by teen facts and reproduction; there is definitely something for all aspects of the curriculum. Groups can also book the ‘Chemistry Lab’ at certain times of the day.
The Museum district in Amsterdam plays host to everything from Old Masters to modern masterpieces. We went to the Stedelijk Museum, which remains the largest contemporary art museum in Amsterdam. The World War II exhibition stood out for me as it tied in with what was learnt from our visit to Anne Frank’s House. Continuing around the various exhibitions in the museum I don’t believe any of us will forget one particular piece by Tino Sehgal as we couldn’t stop singing it ourselves all weekend! In the evening we ventured to the Hard Rock Café in Amsterdam where we were thoroughly spoilt. The service was second-to-none and after a day walking around this easily navigable city, we were certainly ready to refuel.
Art around every canal
Having truly worn in my trainers, I was ready for the canal cruise on Sunday morning. The Travelbound team made their way to the meeting point where boats leave every 15 minutes.
Flick’s Top Tip: Sit on the left hand-side of the boat for the best photo opportunities!
After soaking in a different view of the city, we headed back to Vondelpark and into the Van Gogh Museum. We had a tour guide for an hour, which I strongly recommend as she really brought the works to life. A guide helps students to identify aspects of each work of art, stimulates questioning and provides background for further study.
We continued on our art theme to the Rijksmuseum. While the museum layout is great, I’d recommend focusing on one or two sections in particular. The cue cards were fantastic in helping you to spot things within each piece.
Flick on Amsterdam
My overall impressions of Amsterdam far exceeded my initial expectations. Our itinerary produced a great cross-curricular trip but for art enthusiasts you could definitely get everything you need from this wonderful city. Contact us to find out more about what your students can gain from an educational tour to Amsterdam.
To find out more about leading a school tour to Amsterdam, simply contact the School Tours team on 01273 265265 or make an enquiry here.
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