Plantage Walking Tour (Self Guided), Amsterdam

Amsterdam's Plantage neighborhood has been throughout the centuries a place of rest and entertainment. Beside its impressive 19th-century architecture, there is the historic Royal Zoo, and close-by is the verdantly exotic Hortus Botanicus. Follow this self-guided walk to explore one of the greenest neighborhoods in Amsterdam – a lovely place to stroll and laze.
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Plantage Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Plantage Walking Tour
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam (See other walking tours in Amsterdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • Hortus Botanicus
  • Café-Restaurant de Plantage
  • ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo
  • Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum)
  • Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum)
1
Hermitage Amsterdam

1) Hermitage Amsterdam (must see)

Relations between the cities Amsterdam and Saint Petersburg in Russia date back to the late 1600s when Tsar Peter the Great sought Dutch help in building his new city at the gate to the Baltic Sea (and to Europe). A more recent example is the founding of the satellite Hermitage Museum on the banks of the Amstel River in Amsterdam; a little slice of Russia, for those who can't travel to it.

Inaugurated in 2009 by Queen Beatrix of Netherlands and Dmitry Medvedev, the President of Russia, this museum has a large exhibition area of over 20,000 sq. ft. Considering the collection of over three million objects available with the parent museum, Hermitage Amsterdam has plenty to choose from when it comes to its rotary exhibits. On your visit, you could be lucky to see a Rembrandt or da Vinci’s work.

The "Treasures" exhibition includes audio (Dutch/English only) and takes around 60mins to view, with Hermitage masterpieces curated in a chronological manner. Other exhibitions on show include the Portrait Gallery of the Dutch Golden Age, featuring over 30 large-scale portrait works. Further, there is presently an Outsider Art exhibition including sculptures placed in the courtyard of the building.

Tip:
As with other museums, you can visit the gift shop for some souvenirs and the quiet café, too.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm; Christmas/New Year's Day: 12pm-5pm
Closed on April 27 April (King’s Day)
2
Hortus Botanicus

2) Hortus Botanicus (must see)

One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, and one of Amsterdam's major tourist attractions, Hortus Botanicus is famous for its more than six thousand tropical and indigenous trees and plants, some of which are on the Red List (e.g. the handkerchief tree, the Florida torreya, etc).

The complex includes three different climate-controlled greenhouses with hundreds of different types of plants. The monumental Palm House, on the other hand, dates from 1912 and is renowned for its collection of cycads, as well as for providing a high walkway across the tops of the trees. There is even a "tasting greenhouse" with different herbs and vegetables you can taste and, somewhat unexpectedly, a butterfly house where visitors are surrounded by several species of beautiful butterflies.

Beautiful, eye refreshing, interesting and informative, this is definitely one of the best and most complete botanical gardens for the price.

Tip:
Check out the indoor/outdoor cafe-restaurant that offers lite fare and hot and cold drinks. If you buy something from the gift shop, hand them your guide leaflet to "recycle" and in return you should receive a 10% discount on most items.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
3
Café-Restaurant de Plantage

3) Café-Restaurant de Plantage

Set by the ARTIS Royal Zoo, in the historic heart of Amsterdam's 19th-century pleasure gardens, this impressive space – a former greenhouse – has the charm of an old colonial-era building and is great to have an afternoon drink in a relaxed and bright environment. In good weather, there exists the opportunity to sit outside while marveling at the spoonbills, storks and flamingos in the zoo.

Right as you enter the premises, there's a big bar area with a good selection of Dutch and Belgian tap beers on offer. The restaurant area is spacious and high ceilings mean that it is not noisy despite usually being quite full with a predominantly smart, local crowd.

Menu is available for all mealtimes; try the delicious fennel sausage ravioli with a lemon and herb sauce. Other options include everything from good oysters to a shared leg of lamb platter, plenty of fish meals, and much to suit vegetarians and vegans. Churros with chocolate are a must for dessert!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-1am; Sat, Sun: 10am-1am
Breakfast: 9am/4pm; Lunch: 11am/4pm; Dinner: 5:30pm/10pm
4
ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo

4) ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo (must see)

ARTIS, short for Natura Artis Magistra (Latin for "Nature is the teacher of art and science"), is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and one of the oldest of mainland Europe. Not merely a zoo, it also contains an aquarium and a planetarium, together with an arboretum and a fairly large art collection which is mostly displayed in the aquarium building. In all, ARTIS contains 27 monumental buildings, most of which are used as enclosures for animals, making this a unique cultural heritage of the 19th century.

The space is very well kept and has beautiful plants around the animal exhibits. Fences and cages are kept to a minimum so you can really observe the animals. Reptile house, bird house, butterfly house, aquarium, plus lots of different pens with more 'typical' zoo creatures means that there are lots of animals to see, which is what one would naturally expect from a zoo. There are also lots of benches and special activities for children, too, as well as foods and drinks available for purchase.

Tip:
You might want to spend some extra on a joint ticket and visit the adjacent Micropia, which is a zoo for microbes, and a very informative one.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm (Nov-Feb); Daily: 9am-6pm (Mar-Oct); every Saturday (Jun, Jul, Aug): 9am-sunset
5
Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum)

5) Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum) (must see)

Just across the ARTIS (Amsterdam Royal Zoo), the Versetzmuseum takes its visitors back to a very important time in Dutch history – the time of the Dutch Resistance. This place is like a catalogue that marks the rise of Hitler in Germany, his invasion of Netherlands and then the struggle of the Dutch, complete with the societal changes and beliefs that occurred during and after the Second World War. Needless to say, the dark period of history for the Jews provides the backdrop.

Although small (one floor) compared to other museums, the Versetzmuseum gives a very good chronological order via themed exhibits of a very modern standard, majoring on personal stories – video and audio – rather than static displays. Although most displays have English translations, the free audio guide allows opportunity for further information of interest and is well worth using (it is also simpler than the classic push-button guides provided in many galleries/museums).

A change from the art scene museums, visiting here is highly recommended for history enthusiasts and anyone with interest in the Second World War across all its aspects: political, ideological, social and personal.

Tip:
There are two routes: one for adults and the other for children. The latter is very well-done, featuring one of the best museum installations; however, children must be accompanied.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat-Mon: 11am-5pm
6
Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum)

6) Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum) (must see)

Currently housed in a former naval storehouse constructed in 1656, the Netherlands Maritime Museum is dedicated to an important part of Dutch history, displaying many artifacts associated with the nation's naval might.

The courtyard, enclosed with a roof made of glass and an intricate naval compass, is stunning in itself but once inside, the collection offers rich displays of art, scale models, interactive activities and interesting artifacts. The museum is nicely broken into three easily accessible sections, each with something to interest everyone, starting with children and ending with adults (engineers or not).

The replica ship "The Amsterdam" is well worth a visit, especially the interactive activity where visitors put on 3D-glasses and are guided back in time to see what the harbor would have been like in the 1700s. The cafe is excellent, the food and service is efficient and the ambiance very relaxing. There is a well-stocked gift shop as well.

Tip:
Do not miss the free virtual reality show on the East India ship, but be careful to pre-book the tickets for it online.
The Royal Barge in the exhibit room opposite the ship is worth checking out as well.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm

Walking Tours in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Create Your Own Walk in Amsterdam

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Western Canal Belt Walking Tour

Western Canal Belt Walking Tour

One of Amsterdam's most scenic parts, the Western Canal Belt is where the web of historic canals is most tranquil. Various attractions are found here, from tiny shops and cafes to churches, museums and galleries. Fine views and excellent shopping opportunities abound particularly in the "Nine Little Streets" that run between the canals. Take this self-guided walk to explore the best...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Amsterdam without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Amsterdam, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Dam Square Walking Tour

Dam Square Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Churches Walking Tour

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Amsterdam's numerous churches are an unique example of architectural diversity. Whether you are a keen church goer or simply interested in the architectural and historic aspects, Amsterdam will not disappoint. Take this self guided walk to visit the important religious sites in Amsterdam. The walk starts from the central station and visit eight religious sites in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Amsterdam Food Walk

Amsterdam Food Walk

Starting from the historic Dam Square area, passing through the posh Western Canal ring, and ending in the conveniently-located Jordaan neighborhood, this self-guided walk takes you through Amsterdam's interlocking canals, prettily lit bridges, and a maze of streets laden with some of the most diverse eateries and bars.

From top tastes such as raw herring to indulging in an infinite range...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Jordaan Walking Tour

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The Jordaan is a district of the city of Amsterdam. It was originally a working class neighborhood, but in recent years it has become quite upscale and home to many museums and art galleries, particularly those focused on modern art. The district is also dotted with specialty shops, markets and restaurants. This tour is a perfect opportunity to see the main attractions of the district of Jordaan.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles

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