Amsterdam Day 3 (Part 3)

Amsterdam Ibis Hotel

In view of our itinerary which requires the usage of the trains from Amsterdam Centraal at an almost daily basis, the hotel served its purpose well. We were basically less than 100 metres away from Amsterdam Centraal and the tram service. This convenience saved us quite an amount of time and we were able to translate that into time spent on sightseeing. We did not have to worry either about which tram to take as most of the trams will stop at Amsterdam Centraal.

The room was just big enough for the both of us and our luggage. There were a few built-in storage area for us to keep our backpacks and souvenirs. We had a good view of Amsterdam from our window and despite the presence of the train tracks behind us, we slept soundly without being disturbed.

Check-in and check-out was a breeze as we have prepaid online and the concierge was very friendly with the directions. They were also kind enough to allow us to store our luggages in their cloakroom while we went about with out sightseeing on the day of arrival and after checking out.

HEMA

This is another wonderful find. They have a branch of it at the Amsterdam Centraal station. Great place to stock up on candies, juices and even some souvenirs at very cheap prices!

iAmsterdam Card

We have now come to the main discussion point of this whole post. Is the card worth it or not? After using it and experiencing Amsterdam with it for 48 hours, right down to the dot, I came to a few conclusions.

Is the iAmsterdam card worth it? Read on.

First of all, it comes down to what you plan to do in Amsterdam. Are you here for the museums or are you here for the coffee bars? By retracing our steps in Amsterdam, we would have spent about €80 on museum entrance fees only and that doesn’t include the public transport that we used. However, you need to keep in mind about the quality of the museums that we have visited by using the card. The only real ‘museum’ that we went to was the Van Gogh Museum (€14). Unfortunately, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House are NOT covered by the iAmsterdam card. In actual fact, we would not have visited some of the museums if it was not covered by the card.

There were a couple museums that we missed that was included by the card, including: Amsterdam Museum, Bijbels Museum, De Nieuwe Kerk, Museum Willet-Holthuysen, Joods Historich Museum, Museum Het Rembrandthuis, Science Center NEMO and the Stedelijk Museum. Those with 25% discounts included: Madame Tussauds and the Heineken Experience.

The Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House is NOT covered by the iAmsterdam card

  • Amsterdam Tulip Museum – €6
  • Diamant Museum Amsterdam – €7.50
  • Het Grachtenhuis – €8
  • Woonbootmuseum – €3.75
  • Museum Van Loon – €8
  • De Oude Kerk – €5
  • Tassenmuseum Hendrikje – €8.50
  • Van Gogh Museum – €14
  • Holland International Cruise – €14
  • Zaanse Schans – €10

(the ones in italics are worth visiting)

Secondly, we were planning to go to Zaanse Schans. We knew it advance that this was a tourist trap but because of the windmills, we felt that it was all worth it. Entrance fee was about €10 in total for the places we visited at Zaanse Schans. However, that wasn’t all that was on offer at Zaanse Schans. They have a 25% discount card for the Cheese Farm, the Delft Blue Pottery and the giftshop. There is also a 25% discount for the restaurant. The Zaans Museum is free too with the card and if you visit during the opening season for the ferry across the Zaan River.

Thirdly, the iAmsterdam comes with a 48-Hour public transport GVB card. But this is strictly for Amsterdam only. Travelling to Keukenhof and Zaanse Schans is not covered by the card. I think a one way trip cost €1, at the end of the 48 hours, I had probably travelled about 10-15 times on the tram. The good thing about this transport card is that it is independent from the iAmsterdam card. Meaning that the 48 hours will only start once you use it, even though you have used the iAmsterdam card for an admission earlier.

Fourthly, there are a bunch of free vouchers for a variety of bars, restaurants, giftshops and even discounts for renting bicycles or boats. The whole list is given in a book that comes together with the iAmsterdam card. So you are actually getting more for the price of €50 per person.

You wouldn’t want to be caught activating the card on a day when most museums are closed

The downside? You have exactly 48 hours to complete all of these. So in order to maximise the usage, you would need to actually list down the places that you are planning to visit, their opening and closing times (you wouldn’t want to be caught activating the card only to find most of the museums closed), the time you want to do the canal cruise and whether you prefer to eat at the restaurants with the discounts or elsewhere.

Another minus point would be the whether the museums on offer are worth visiting or not. We found that for most of it, the answer was no. But because of the card, we were ‘forced’, by our own doing, to visit them. Some are out of the way, some require a bit of searching on Google Maps to find their exact location and they are spread out all across Amsterdam. So unless you have quick feet, I think the most that a person could visit in 48 hours (actually less than that, since the museums are open from 9am-5pm) is about 10 museums, give or take another 1 or 2.

The iAmsterdam card is for the rushers, those who are spending 2 or 3 days at Amsterdam and want to see all there is

At the end of the day, we chose to get the iAmsterdam card because we planned (or actually the wife planned) to visit some of the less famous museums. We also wanted to include Zaanse Schans and the canal cruise. The transport card also came in handy for us to just hop-on and hop-off as we required. Our stay at Amsterdam only amounted to 60 hours in total, so the 48-hour card was well within our limits. I feel that the card is for quick trippers like us, if you are planning to stay up to 5 days or more in Amsterdam, then it wouldn’t be of much use.

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