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Author's profile photo Ronald Konijnenburg

A local Mentor’s top 10 places to visit in Amsterdam

Now I could give you some predictions on where HEC is going. How HANA and Hadoop are a killing combination when putting together your big data business case, heck I could even tell you stories about how my nerves are doing 72 hours before my TechEd Demo Jam presentation, but I will not.

Instead I will do something totally different.  I will give you my top 10 travel tips for TechEd Amsterdam. Being somewhat of a local (although I come from Rotterdam, lovingly called “010” as opposed to Amsterdam being referred to as just “020”), I believe I can make your travel to Amsterdam even more rememberable.  I always wanted to be Anthony Bourdain when I grow up, so here we go in random order:

1. Evening Cruise Amsterdam

How can you go wrong? A boat, a canal, some drinks, pretty (red) lights and friendly people. Hop on board!

When the sun goes down and the lights are being switched on, a different Amsterdam  appears. The illuminated buildings, bridges and boats give the city an almost fairytale-like appearance. And the best way to enjoy all this is from the water!

2. The Heineken Experience

Ok, it is somewhat of a tourist trap according to my friends from abroad, but beer, the history of Heineken, some alive and kicking horses representing how beer used to be delivered many decades ago is not a bad combination. The tour ends in the Heineken pub where you can taste that good old “Heerlijk, Helder, Heineken!”. Be sure to be thirsty!

3. The “Jordaan”

A very old part of Amsterdam representing everything which is good about Amsterdam. It used to be the place where the working-class Amsterdammers lived. A great place now to have a drink, stroll the street and awe at the art galleries. Also home of the Anne Frank house and the place where Rembandt van Rijn is buried (Westerkerk church). Must see!

4. The red light district

Well, do I need to introduce it? It is a fun place to be amazed about the liberal thoughts of us Dutchies. We are a proud,  liberal, gay tolerating bunch and this is the place where it  all comes together. You can do whatever your heart desires here, but be sure to visit café ‘t Mandje. The very first place where gay people were allowed to dance and hang out together. This place is what makes me proud to be Dutch.

5. Take a bike tour

Everybody rides a bike in Holland. I mean everybody. We have more bicycles then people in our country. Bikers are protected by law (in case of an accident a cyclist is ALWAYS right, although I advise you not to try this) and you can rent one everywhere. Experience the true way of exploring Amsterdam. Be sure to bike fast, ring your bell a lot and watch out for the locals who don’t care about traffic lights.

6. Rijksmuseum

If you plan only to have a small taste of culture, be sure to get it here. Home of the Nightwatch, Milkmaid, van Goghs and much, much more. Just renovated for almost 400 million Euros, the place looks brand, spanking new.


Get your taste of nightlife here. Home of famous places like “Melkweg”, “Paradiso”, “Boom Chicago” and the “Hard Rock Café”. It is impossible not to find a bar to your liking here. This has it all and then some. Also home of the “Bulldog cafe”. A famous Dutch coffee shop not famous for its coffee. Nuff said.

8. Rembrandtplein

More clubs and drinks ladies and gentlemen. Home of the “Escape” club where you can dance the night away. It has been there for many years (the place where DJ Ronald Molendijk pretty much invented house music)  and it’s sure to be there for many more.

Also home of the Xtracold Amsterdam Ice Bar. Be sure to put on a sweater 😉

9. Food!

A great UK friend of mine once said, its pretty much impossible not to get a good meal in Holland. I tend to agree. If you’re on the lookout for a good restaurant, the “Iens” website is a great place to start. Honest reviews of restaurants will make sure you pick a nice spot. My favorite if you have some Euros to spare: Ciel Bleu (Okura). What a treat.

10. The Amsterdam Arena

Ok, if you really, really want, you can also visit the home of Ajax, the Amsterdam Arena. The stadium where they used to put in new grass every month because of the poor climate conditions (the roof can close, pretty much kills the grass). It is a pretty impressive stadium, but being a Rotterdam guy, I’m officially not allowed to say this (there is some rivalry between Rotterdam and Amsterdam),

Now in case you want to go out for a drink together, me and the other Dutch mentors are more then willing to show you around. Just tap on my shoulder when you see me running around the expedition floor. I’m that guy, wearing Mentor number 75 and beaming with pride that TechEd has come to my town. Welcome home.

Have fun and take care!


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      Author's profile photo Susan Keohan
      Susan Keohan


      When I do come to AMS, you will be my tour guide, right?  This is a great list, I think I am up for everything!


      Author's profile photo Ronald Konijnenburg
      Ronald Konijnenburg
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sue,

      You got yourself a deal!!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi R. Konijnenburg ,

      I liked this blog very very very much!

      Different blog! Different Thought!


      Hari Suseelan

      Author's profile photo Sarah Kellman
      Sarah Kellman

      Geweldig Ronald 🙂

      Now this is the kind of what-to-do-in-A'dam while-you're-in-town-for-TechEd blog that visitors really need! Glad to see the food focus as well. Nice of you to mention the great restaurant in the Okura, as it is one of the event hotels booked for attendees; so for some TechEdders, it will be super convenient.

      Speaking of food, I will ask you this since you're a Rotterdammer: when's that amazing new food hall and market going to open? 😉

      Hope to meet you next week! I will be visiting the Mentor hang-out area regularly looking for good stories to report for the SAP TechEd Social Media Reporter team.

      Author's profile photo Ronald Konijnenburg
      Ronald Konijnenburg
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sarah, thanks for the kind words! Would be great to meet you!

      The "Markthal" , your are well informed! Going to be an awesome place. Think it opens next year. Till then be sure to visit the market outside (saturday). Great place for some Haring ;-).

      Also thanks for your blog on Amsterdam. I'll be sure to try out Tempo Doeloe!

      Author's profile photo Christian Braukmüller
      Christian Braukmüller

      Hi Ronald,

      thank you for this condensed and helpful travel guide.

      I had the chance to have quick dive into the city at the end of SAPTeched'06 and like to add the "VanGogh-museum (with an audio guide)". That was impressive and even our little one (5y old at that time) was fascinated and had is own walk/pace.

      The only tip that i can't agree with is "9. Food!".   
      (Can't get the "Build your own Burger" and vacuum sandwiches of the SAPTechEd'06 catering out of my mind)

      But it sounds that this can be easily revised when having a good tour guide downtown Amsterdam. ;o)

      See you in AMS 🙂


      Author's profile photo Ronald Konijnenburg
      Ronald Konijnenburg
      Blog Post Author

      Build your own burger. Would like to give some belated applogies 😉

      Author's profile photo Jorge Weiss
      Jorge Weiss

      Hi Ronald,

      That’s something really nice to have.

      Ciel Bleu and Rijksmuseun was in the list already. but after the “best-off” published here, we should find some time to drag around Leidesplein and Rembrantplein.

      Maybe get something cold at Xtracold Ice Bar!

      Thank you very much for the tips.


      Author's profile photo Ronald Konijnenburg
      Ronald Konijnenburg
      Blog Post Author

      Have fun Jorge. Hope to see you next week!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great list Ronald!

      I know that a lot of foreigners want to go to the Anne Frank House. I would also recommend this, but it's always crowded there with a big cue to get in. So if you are only in Amsterdam for 1 or 2 days, I wouldn't go there, since you would miss all the other great places. Same story actually for Rijksmuseum.

      Ow and if you have transportation, go to Zaanse Schans or Volemdam, they are "typical" Dutch villages. Also if you like the Ice Bar, go to House of Bols 😀


      Author's profile photo Ronald Konijnenburg
      Ronald Konijnenburg
      Blog Post Author

      Hi buddy,

      Amsterdam is always packed with people. Part of the charm I would say. I'm guessing that on average a good meal, city walk and drinks will pretty much feed the inner traveller any day. If anybody wants to completely soak up the NL experience, staying an extra day or two wont hurt.

      Tx for the great other tips my friend.