De Plantage is a green neighborhood in the east of Amsterdam with a very rich history which goes back to the 17th century. With its wide gardens, parks, museums, theatres and elegant 19th-century architecture, the Plantage is called the ‘cultural garden’ of the city. In the 17th century Amsterdam was one of the fastest growing and wealthiest areas in Europe due to its overseas trade. The city council decided that a new neighbourhood was necessary to provide accommodation for its growing number of inhabitants. Instead of building new houses, the decision was taken; citizens could purchase the plots and keep gardens. It became a green and spacious recreation area and it turned out to be a great success.
De Plantage area came to its bloom in the 19th century when many wealthy Jewish citizens, actors and writers moved into this area and started to build numerous magnificent houses, which are still standing there. This quiet residential area is easily accessible by foot from the city centre of Amsterdam. This is the best district to wander around and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere with its greenery. There are many things to see and visit. If you are travelling with children then head to TunFun. What was once a car tunnel has been transformed into a playground for children aged 0-12 years. You can leave your children to have fun at TunFun, while you will be able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Plantage Area.
Here are the top highlights to see in the Plantage area:
Take a five minute walk from the hotel to find Waterlooplein market (Waterloopleinmarkt). Which is in fact Amsterdam’s biggest flea market and the oldest one in the Netherlands! The market has over 300 stalls, and is open six days a week. You will find all kinds of treasures, vinyl and vintage goods, clothes, food, jewellery and many other stuff. This outdoor market looks like a large bazaar which can be the perfect place to buy and bring something from the Netherlands as a souvenir or a gift.
Hortus Botanicus garden
Even if you are not interested in plants, this place is still worth seeing. Being a true oasis in the city, it is a great place to spend your time and have lunch in peace and surrounded by the beauty of its greenery. Originally founded in 1638 the Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world and has more than 6000 different species of indigenous and non-native trees and plants. The garden is also home to a few fascinating greenhouses, including a climate greenhouse that simulates three different climates, the aptly named Palm Greenhouse and the dazzling butterfly greenhouse with its hundreds of tropical butterflies. In this place you have a unique opportunity to see 154 year old giant lily or agave cactus that dates back to the Roman era! You can visit the Hortus Botanicus Garden with your City Card, but you must reserve a timeslot in advance.
A five-minute walk from the hotel will take you to the he Dutch annex of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg which is located in a 17th century historical building on the banks of the Amstel River. The building that is now the museum spent the first three centuries of its life as a home for the elderly, and extensive renovation since then has turned in into an architectural beauty, without taking away any of its history. The Hermitage museum offers changing exhibitions throughout the year. One of its permanent exhibitions will tell you about Dutch-Russian relations. The Hermitage Museum is also very nice to see in the evening time when its lights are on or from the boat during the boat tours.
Artis Zoo and the Museum of the Tropics
Artis Zoo is the oldest zoo of the Netherlands with a rich history and a beautiful park with old monuments, characteristic buildings and unusual gardens. It is home to more than 900 species of animals from all over the world. Many people visit the park not only to see the animals but also to have a picnic with family and friends. Attached to the zoo you’ll find Micropia which is a truly outstanding experience; the place is filled with interactive exhibits and microscopes, some of which you can control yourself. It’s fun and educational, but more than that it really gives visitors perspective, both on the diversity of life and its scale. Another amazing part of the Artisplein is the Tropenmuseum which is located in one of Amsterdam’s most beautiful and largest historic buildings. This is one of Europe’s leading anthropological museums. The collection of the Tropenmuseum contains more than 300.000 exotic objects and historical photos from Asia, Oceania, Africa and Latin America.
In the 19th century Amsterdam became home for one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. Amsterdam’s Jewish Quarter is one of the best places to learn about Jewish history. The Jewish Historical Museum is a must-see, and its extensive collection of artefacts, films and multimedia presentations will give you a full image of Dutch Jewish life, both current and historical. It is the only modern museum in the Netherlands dedicated to Jewish history, culture and religion. Another must see gem to see is the Portuguese Synagogue, which was built in the 17th century and saved its original appearance till our days. Head to the Hollandsche Schouwburg and the National Holocaust Museum: these won’t take as much time to explore, but are historically significant and worth the visit. Those who want to learn about Jewish wartime in Amsterdam can visit the Dutch Resistance Museum which is also located in the Plantage area.
Windmill and Brewery
The Netherlands is a country of windmills, tulips, cheese and wonderful beer! ‘Brouwerij ‘t IJ’ (the IJ Brewery) is located next to the ‘De Gooyer’ historical windmill. This small brewery was opened by a former musician, Kaspar Peterson, in October 1985. It currently brews four seasonal beers and five standard beers. All the beers are certified organic. The pub in the brewery works daily from 15:00 to 20:00 and has a nice large outdoor terrace where you can enjoy a nice view on the Amsterdam canals. The brewery also offers tastings and guided tours. If you are planning to visit The Plantage area, don’t miss it!
Other interesting places to visit in De Plantage district: Dutch Theatre (Hollandsche Schouwburg), Rembrandthouse, Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum), Science Centre Nemo, Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam Music Theatre, De Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), Tattoo Museum, Wertheimpark and Dutch National Opera & Ballet.