21 Chapters
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6 Brussels

Sasha Heseltine FrommerMedia ePub



Brussels was kicked into the world spotlight when it became the capital city of the European Union in 1992. This is an honor that has both brought great wealth to parts of the city and caused decades of aggravation as fine old neighborhoods were torn down to make way for the soulless contemporary architecture of the E.U. quarter as well as the building of sometimes unnecessary boulevards to improve commuting time through the city.

So the Bruxellois have mixed feelings about their city’s transformation into an international power center. At first the waves of Eurocrats swelling the residential ranks brought a cosmopolitan air—and money—to somewhat provincial Brussels, but many people nowadays wonder whether the city has lost its soul. After all, this city doesn’t only mean politics and business. This is the place that inspired Art Nouveau and Surrealism; it worships comic strips, and prides itself on its ancient skills with handmade lace. It has one of the most glorious art galleries in the world as well as countless other enticing museums. Brussels is a gourmet destination, famed the world over for its haute cuisine, fine confectionary, and craft beers.

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7 The Best Nightlife

Sacha Heselstine FrommerMedia ePub

Sample a Dutch beer at a friendly cafe or bar, like Hoppe.

Nightlife Best Bets

Best Place to Sip Wine with the Young & the Beautiful

Bubbles & Wines, Nes 37 (p 106)

Best Place to Drink with the Locals

Café Nol, Westerstraat 109 (p 106)

Friendliest Gay Bar

Amstel 54, Amstel 54 (p 109)

Best Pub by a Windmill

Brouwerij ’t IJ, Funenkade 7 (p 110)

Dance Club That’s Most Worth a Taxi Ride

Hotel Arena Club, ’s-Gravesandestraat 51 (p 108)

Best Brown Cafe with a Summer Terrace

Café De II Prinsen, Prinsenstraat 27 (p 107)

Best Place to Dance If You’re Looking for Exclusivity

Jimmy Woo, Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18 (p 108)

Most Hip & Happening Dance Club

Panama, Oostelijke Handelskade 4 (p 109)

Best for Romance

Chocolate Bar, Eerste Van der Helststraat 62A (p 107)

Best for Gezelligheid (Dutch Hospitality)

Café Pollux, Prins Hendrikkade 121 (p 106)

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5 Side Trips from Amsterdam

Sasha Heseltine FrommerMedia ePub


side Trips from amsterdam

The Netherlands may start with Amsterdam, but it certainly doesn’t end there. This crowded little country has much more up its sleeve, from the stately pleasures of genteel Hague, which is after all the country’s political capital, to the laid-back charm of Haarlem. You can step back in time to visit a Holland almost forgotten at the open-air museums of Zuiderzee and Zaanse Schans, or look to the future among the gritty, urban architecture of Rotterdam. There are chart-topping art museums to discover in virtually every city, beaches to stroll in Scheveningen, and blazes of color to admire in the bulb fields of Lisse.

Most of the side trips suggested below can be achieved as a day out from Amsterdam; however if you really want to get a feel for the ultra-modern vibe of Rotterdam or the provincial gentility of The Hague, then a stay of at least 1 night is recommended, so a couple of eating and sleeping options have been included in both cities. You might choose to spend an entire day among the flower displays at Keukenhof (only open btwn. Mar and May) but others may prefer to see iconic Holland in a day, combining Keukenhof with a visit to the exceptional Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. Likewise a jaunt to the pottery factory at Delft or the botanical gardens at Leiden can easily be appended to a stay in either The Hague or Rotterdam.

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2 The Best Special-Interest Tours: Amsterdam for Art Lovers, Architectural Amsterdam, Amsterdam with Kids, Amsterdam and the IJ, Alternative Amsterdam.

Sacha Heselstine FrommerMedia ePub
Includes these special interest tours: Amsterdam for Art Lovers, Architectural Amsterdam, Amsterdam with Kids, Amsterdam and the IJ, Alternative Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a feast for art lovers. With more than 20 Rembrandts, more than 200 Van Goghs, numerous Vermeers, and a plethora of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings scattered throughout the city, art lovers will be in heaven here.

This tour is for art lovers who would have already made a beeline to the top museums and are ready to dig deeper into all the art riches that Amsterdam has to offer.

Today, you’ll have a chance to see contemporary works by local, living artists; the Stedelijk Museum’s stylish off-shoot in the Jordaan; and the Schuttersgalerij, with its outsized canvases depicting well-to-do members of 17th-century Civic Guards companies. START: Cobra Modern Art Museum; tram 5 to Amstelveen Binnenhof or Metro line 51 to Amstelveen Centrum.An exhibit from the Cobra Museum.Cobra Modern Art Museum.

Art lovers will find this breathtakingly contemporary museum worth the trek to its off-the-beaten-path location. The most enjoyable way to get here is the 20-minute tram 5 ride from Amsterdam city center, giving you a chance to see leafy, suburban Amstelveen as you rattle through the streets. The museum is a light-filled brick-and-glass affair with plenty of white space for framing the artwork; it was designed by Dutch architect Wim Quist and opened in 1995.

The collection overflows with the post–World War II abstract expressionist art and ceramics of the short-lived CoBrA Group, named for the initials of the founding artists’ home cities: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Karel Appel (1921–2006) and Constant (1920­–2005) were the Dutch proponents, both controversial painters, sculptors, and ceramicists whose work, like their fellow CoBrA artists, has a childlike quality, employing strong colors and abstract shapes, as seen in Constant’s oil painting Figure of the Night and Appel’s delightfully simple ceramics.  2 hr. Sandbergplein 1, Amstelveen.  020/547-5050. www.cobra-museum.nl. Admission 9.50€ adults; 6€ seniors, students, and kids 6–18. Daily 10am–5pm. Closed Jan 1, Apr 27, and Dec 25. Tram: 5 to Amstelveen Binnenhof. Metro: Line 51 to Amstelveen Centrum. See All Chapters
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6 The Best Dining

Sacha Heselstine FrommerMedia ePub

Dining canalside at Leidseplein.

Dining Best Bets

Best Wine List

Christophe $$$$–$$$$$ Leliegracht 46 (p 95)

Best When Money Is No Object

La Rive $$$$$ Professor Tulpplein 1 (p 97)

Best for Laid-back Service

Lof $$$$ Haarlemmerstraat 62 (p 97)

Best Place for Dining with Your Shoes Off

Supperclub $$–$$$ Jonge Roelensteeg 21 (p 99)

Best Indonesian Rijstaffel

Tempo Doeloe $$–$$$ Utrechtsestraat 75 (p 99)

Best Innovative Five-Course Menu

Bordewijk $$$–$$$$ Noordermarkt 7 (p 94)

Best Drop-Dead Gorgeous Decor

Vinkeles $$$$$ Keizersgracht 384 (p 100)

Best Upmarket Moroccan Cuisine

Mamouche $$ Quellijnstraat 104 (p 97)

Best for Trendy Parents with No Babysitter

Wilhelmina-Dok $$ Nordwal 1 (p 100)

Best for Cooking your Own Supper

Miss Korea Barbecue $$ Albert Cuypstraat 66–70 (p 97)

Best Vegetarian

Golden Temple $$ Utrechtsestraat 126 (p 96)

Best for Sinful Suppers

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