The oldest Chinatown in Europe is in Amsterdam

I started this blog in 2006 as a way to share my travels and perspectives with family and friends. Since then I’ve written over two hundred posts and there are always ones that are still a work-in-progress. Last week, I decided to do a bit of spring cleaning and found some tips I had collected for a 2012 trip to Amsterdam. So if you’re planning to travel to the city infamous for pot (i.e. marijuana) and prostitution (i.e. legalized), these other sights might be interesting if you’re looking for something more.


Like science? There’s a green, shiplike building on the eastern harbour designed by big-name architect Renzo Piano that houses NEMO. The science museum has loads of interactive exhibits to entertain kids, such as drawing with a laser, ‘antigravity’ trick mirrors, and a ‘lab’ where you can answer questions such as ‘How black is black?’ and ‘How do you make cheese?’ One of the best places to chill out and take in the view of Amsterdam is NEMO’s stepped roof (admission free) – it’s worth a stair climb for its fantastic views.


The Anne Frank House is a compact museum with a layout that requires visitors to keep moving at a steady pace. Visitors should allow about one hour to complete the tour, excluding time to wait in line which could be quite long given the history and reputation of the place. And if you’re not in shape, beware that there are a lot of steps to climb moving from floor to floor.


Amsterdam has mainland Europe’s oldest Chinatown. It was weird to pass over the canals of the city and then suddenly find ourselves surrounded restaurants and shops offering food and products from all over Asia.

Sunset looking towards the main train station - can you see the Chinese restaurant/hotel?

We passed through the Red Light District one night but didn’t realize we could’ve organized a tour with the the Prostitution Information Center! If you’re tired of it all, just follow the waterways to get out of the district and walk around the harbour especially at sunset for a much better view.


Forget about the hotels and try all the bed and breakfast options that dot the city. We stayed at “Sleep With Me“. Not only was it a quaint place run by a French and Dutch couple, it was also outside of the city centre where life is quieter and where there are plenty of things to discover on foot.

If you have other sights to share, leave me a comment.

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