Writer Pip Farquharson answered your travel questions on Tuesday, April 5 at noon ET
Amsterdam is a little city with a big reputation. The pulsating heart of the Netherlands, the 'Venice of the North' -- with its beautiful canals and rich history -- is an utterly unique travel destination. As well as being home to the world-famous Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum, it's renowned across the planet for its remarkably liberal attitudes.
Both Brad Pitt and David Bowie were so charmed by the city that they bought houses here -- and its been featured in movies from Hitchcock's "Foreign Correspondent" (1940) to Bond movie "Diamonds are Forever" (1971) and, more recently, Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's Twelve" (2004). One of the world's best kept secrets.
Amsterdam resident and writer Pip Farquharson will answer your travel questions Tuesday, April 5, at 12pm EST.
Pip Farquharson twirled into the world during the Swinging Sixties in Southampton, England (where Titanic left on her fateful maiden voyage over half-a-century earlier...). She spent her formative years in Africa and Scotland, before returning to her homeland to get an education. A partied-out 20-something, she emerged from university with a degree in animation -- and no idea what to do. So, like any sensible person, she went on holiday! She left for two weeks in Amsterdam, fell in love with it -- and never came back. She's had a love affair with the city for more than 13 years.
She works as a freelance writer and has contributed to various travel guides such as Time Out, Dorling Kindersley and Virgin; written about the arts for the Financieele Dagblad (Financial Times) and Holland Herald (KLM's inflight magazine); and consulted on TV documentaries for the BBC, MTV and Lonely Planet. She also deejays and has her own website on her beloved city -- created for discerning travellers and 'Amsterdwellers' -- at underwateramsterdam.com/
Pip Farquharson: Hello from Amsterdam
I'm now online to take some of your questions...
Towson, MD: What time of the year is considered "off-seaon" in Amsterdam? Also, what is the best time of year to visit weather wise?
Pip Farquharson: I never really see Amsterdam as having an off-season as there's always so much to do all year round! I guess though I would avoid January and February as it can be quite cold. Though that said it was at the beginning of March - very unusually - that we just had a huge snowstorm! The summer months here are June, July and August but the city can be hot and crowded and terraces and parks full. I always think Spring is the best time of year to visit (bright sun, not too hot, there aren't the crowds and the city is just starting to come aliveÉ). Or the Fall.
Portland, OR: What is the name of the great beer store right off the Dam Square and do you know if they have a website?
Pip Farquharson: Know it. Love it. It's De Bierkoning debierkoning.nl/
You might also want to check out Brouwerij 't IJ (Funenkade 7) when you're next over (a micro-brewery nextdoor to a windmill in the east of the city) which makes some fantastic beer. Their website is hrouwerijhetij.nl/
Tacoma, WW: We're planning a trip to Amsterdam with our two 17 year olds (one boy, one girl). They are both musicians, with eclectic tastes.
Question #1: What are the age limits in music clubs in Amsterdam?
Question #2: Do you have any suggestions for particular clubs? They are more interested in an intimate club experience as opposed to the Big-Name concerts at very large venues.
For example, they like: Singer-songwriter emo, Speed Metal, Progressive Rock, Jazz, Fusion-whatever
Pretty much all they don't like is Rap and most hip-hop. Thanks for your help!
Pip Farquharson: Firstly, I'm so with them on the rap and hip-hop ;-)
Anyway, to answer Question #1: you're in luck! The age limits in music venues is 16 for concerts and 18 for night programme (parties etc).
As well as being intimate, two of the best venues offering a great selection of international acts (such as Black Eyed Peas, Suzanne Vega, Jill Scott, as well as more alternative bands like 50 Foot Wave), are also located within a minute's walk from each other in the center of town (Leidseplein). They are the Melkweg (Lijnbaansgracht 234a) and Paradiso (Weteringschans 6-8). Additionally, a brand new club - Sugar Factory (Lijbaansgracht 238) - opened at the beginning of April which has a good selection of alternative and local bands in its programming. Keep an eye out for Amsterdam's The Jack Stafford Foundation (they're going to be big). The Sugar Factory is directly opposite the Melkweg so all very convenient...
What I might also suggest is the new location of the world-famous jazz venue Bimhuis (Piet Heinkade 3) which is at a beautiful new location on the waterfront, just east of Centraal Station.
Here's their websites: httpweg.nl/httpdiso.nl/httprfactory.nl/httpuis.nl/
Enjoy your trip! Amsterdam's a wonderful destination for families with teenagers.