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The Hidden Gems of Amsterdam

Amsterdam carries a strange aura – one that of a fusion of classy, quirky, beautiful, mischievous and downright bizarre. If you’re a first time visitor with only couple of days to spare, make sure to check out the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank Huis. However, if you are planning to spend more time in this beautiful city, make sure to explore the off beaten sights and experiences that is unique to Amsterdam.

Spend a day exploring the many quirky museums in Amsterdam. The popular ones are the Cat’s Cabinet- houses a splendid collection of cat related artifacts in a beautiful canal house, Biblical Museum – an atmospheric building that houses the an amazing collection of Bibles and the Spectacles Museum – a 17th century building that houses a collection of spectacles across 700 years of history. The Vorlik Museum is not recommended for the faint hearted, it houses a collection of human body parts in various shapes and sizes. Fans of surreal and neon art will enjoy the Electric Ladyland, the first museum to be dedicated to fluorescent art. The museum features a large fluorescent environment that the visitors becomes a part of once they enter the premises. The result is what is termed as ‘Participatory Art’, where the visitor has a part in the creation of the art and for the duration he/she is inside the museum, becomes a part of the art.

Another hidden gem in Amsterdam is located in the form of a carving in the10 meter high pulpit in Nieuwe Kerk. The work of master sculptor Albert Vinckenbrinck who spend 19 yrs perfecting his craft and rendering the pulpit into a impressive sculpted story book replete with mischievous angels sliding down the banister. Another quirky sightseeing spot in Amsterdam is the Schreierstoren – an ancient defense tower that has a slew of stories tied to it, dating back to 1480. If you’re a bookworm, be sure to check out the Amsterdam Public Library located on the Oosterdokskade. The building spans a massive 28,000 square meters and was designed by the legendary architect Job Coenen. The best part about the APL is the fact that there is more than just books here. Visitors can attend a performance that is orchestrated in one of the two theaters located within the complex or they can go to the top floor where a quaint cafe and amazing views of the city awaits them.

Fans of antiques and treasures from the ancient world should drop in at the Alliard Pierson Museum which houses a collection of archeological discoveries dating back to 420 BC. A new hit amongst Amsterdamers is Stand up Paddling (SUP) where you stand on the surfboard and paddle around with an oak. It is a great work out for your arms, chest and legs besides being a whole lot of fun. Fans of classical music should definitely pay a visit to the Pianola Museum – a museum dedicated to the player piano; it has an archive of over 30,000 perforated paper music rolls which can be fed into the pianos that play them without human intervention. Amsterdam is one of those cities that offers an amazing experience for the casual, surface traveler, but those willing to take a deeper plunge will be rewarded with so much more!

Krish Ray