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André Rieu’s guide to Amsterdam: the perfect day in the capital

We chat with the violinist about his eight favourite things to do in Amsterdam.

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How to spend the perfect day in the Dutch capital, according to André Rieu
How to spend the perfect day in the Dutch capital, according to André Rieu

If you have ever been to an André Rieu concert, you would know that the violinist extraordinaire certainly loves to put on a show. There are no stripped-back performances. Instead, he performs energetic orchestral concerts, working entertainment magic alongside his orchestra, choir, and soloists.

The 70-year-old has toured the world, performing in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and beyond. Over the past decade, he’s been consistently ranked by Billboard as one of the world’s most successful touring artists. Perhaps you have been lucky enough to see him in your home city.

"We always have so much fun together. I hope that the joy we share will stay in your hearts for the rest of the year," André told Newmarket Holidays.

But the fun doesn’t have to end at the concert. If you’re making the journey for the musical event, you will want to take in as much of the city as possible.

Ask your average traveller what to do in Amsterdam and you might be met with vague mentions of coffee shops. Ask André where to go, and you will receive a more wholesome list of recommendations.

As we know, he’s a genius with the violin, but you will soon learn that he’s quite the tour guide. When we spoke to André, he revealed that Amsterdam is a city that makes him "proud to be Dutch."

  • Do: a free walking tour or rent a bike
  • Try: Dutch cheese at the many Amsterdam cheese stores
  • Buy: tulips from the flower market
  • Explore: the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum
  • Learn: at the Anne Frank House
  • Eat: an authentic dinner at Hap-Hmm

According to the violinist, the best way to kick off your day in Amsterdam is with colour. Plenty of it.

"Start your day at the flower market and buy some beautiful tulips to take home," André says. Considering The Netherlands is the world’s premier tulip destination, growing around three million bulbs each year, don’t miss picking up a bouquet in Amsterdam.

Even if tulips are not the flora in your fedora – might you be more of an orchid type? – it’s worth visiting Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt for an invigorating display of colour and bustling city energy. Bloemenmarkt floats on a barge in the Singel Canal, making it a sidestep from your average flower market.

Once you have woken up and smelled the tulips, and hopefully fetched yourself something to eat, the musician recommends that you don’t wander too far from the canals. You could even hop on our optional canal cruise, including wine, cheese and lunch.

"Enjoy a boat trip on the famous Amsterdam canals, flanked by monumental patrician houses, filled with history. They remind me of the Golden Age of so many famous Dutch artists, such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen."

This brings us to his next port of call. If you’re a bit of an art fiend like André, you can’t go past some of Amsterdam’s museums and galleries. "I recommend visiting the Rijksmuseum to admire their wonderful paintings. My son Marc is an art historian and he has plans to give me a private tour there - can't wait for it!"

The Netherlands is the birthplace of many prolific artists. And we’re not just talking about Mr Rieu. Vincent Van Gogh is also a fellow Dutchman. "Right next to the Rijksmuseum is the van Gogh museum, which has the biggest collection of Van Gogh paintings worldwide."

If you’re the kind of traveller who tends to immerse yourself in history while on holiday, André has the next spot for your Amsterdam wish-list. "A very moving place to see is the Anne Frank House, which contains the most complete information about Anne Frank and her diary."

As you might know, Anne was a young Jew who hid from the Nazis during the Second World War. For two years, she lived in a hidden annex in an Amsterdam house before being sent to a concentration camp where she was killed. All the while, she kept extensive diary entries of her harrowing experiences. At the Anne Frank House, you can see her original diary on display.

Once you’ve spent the better part of your day taking in the city’s sights, history and culture, you might be ready to relax and indulge. "After you have visited the museums, take a free walking tour or rent-a-bike. Have some cheese at one of the many cheese stores and enjoy an authentic and delicious dinner in Hap-Hmm - in this restaurant you will taste several Dutch recipes I can truly recommend!"

If you have any energy left at the end of the day, you could always head to a spectacular concert. We’ll let you guess who the headliner is.

If you’re tempted to visit Amsterdam in the New Year and enjoy André Rieu’s concert, book a concert travel package with us here.

Serena is a writer based in London. Born in Malaysia and raised in Australia, she calls the UK home despite only recently acclimatising to the dearth of sunshine. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Business Insider, South China Morning Post, i-D, Refinery29, Glamour, Vox, Metro, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan. She has also published a book of aerial photography: How Women See The World. Throughout her decade-long career, Serena has told the stories of Arctic explorers, human rights activists, award-winning chefs, refugees, and the UK’s last lighthouse keepers.

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