• Whisky, Barbie, Tulips and Titanic – Amsterdam’s unusual offerings

    by  • January 13, 2014 • Amsterdam, Art, City Breaks, Culture Breaks, Exhibitions, Fashion, Festivals, Food & Drink, Nature

    About to embark on a short break to Amsterdam? Here’s a few quirky and cultural happenings taking place in the city over the coming few weeks should you feel short of entertainment or need that certain extra incentive to travel to the delectable Dutch capital! As always, Amsterdam never fails to deliver on the obscure!

    Whisky Weekend

    When it comes to appreciating the finest malts, Amsterdam might not be the first destination that springs to mind for a weekend of whisky wonder and yet, this coming weekend (17th & 18th January), the city hosts its 6th annual Whisky Weekend, taking place at the Posthoornkerck in Amsterdam West. For a mere €37.50, you’ll get to nose and taste some of the finest whiskies (expect a small surcharge for some of the most exclusive offerings), in addition to sampling whisky-friendly cheeses and other Scottish culinary fare. Your ticket includes a welcome whisky, souvenir glass and a bottle of water to refresh the palate between drams!


    National Tulip Day

    Marking the start of the Dutch tulip season, for one day only, National Tulip Day turns Dam Square into a fragrant, floral sight to behold, with some 200,000 tulips brought in to create a special ‘picking garden’ from which locals and visitors alike are invited to pick their own tulip for free. This special event takes place next Saturday afternoon (January 18th) between 1.30 and 6pm.

    Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

    Running from the 17th to the 27th of January, Amsterdam’s sartorial style comes to the fore with its biannual fashion week. In addition to the Westergasfabriek’s haute-couture catwalk shows showcasing lesser-known, up-and-coming designers, Amsterdam’s fashion extravaganza also caters for non-industry fashion fanatics with a wide range of ‘Downtown’ events taking place across the city.

    Kandinsky: Artistic Revolutionaries

    At Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum meanwhile, there’s an intriguing exhibition taking place until March 16th, exploring the pivotal relationship between the Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky, and the Austrian composer, Arnold Schönberg, who also painted in a decidedly abstract style. The exhibition focuses on the first two decades of the 20th century, where revolutions were taking place in the world of art and music with Kandinsky and Schönberg both playing protagonist roles. The JHM is open daily from 11am until 5pm, entrance 12€.

    Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis: A Russian Taste for French Art

    I’ve already blogged about this particular exhibition but thought it worthy of another mention here. The Hermitage Amsterdam – sister of the mighty St Petersburg artistic powerhouse – plays host to the temporary exhibition “Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis: A Russian Taste for French Art”, dedicated to three great French artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who united under the artistic title of Les Nabis. Running until 28th February, the exhibition presents the work of the Nabis alongside that of French paintings and drawings by their predecessors, contemporaries and immediate successors. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, entrance 15€ (5€ 6 to 16 years).


    If you’re fascinated by all things Titanic, then this exhibition is surely a must, with over 25 million visitors worldwide taking in the memorabilia and mystery of this fateful sinking in 1912. Running until 11th May, the “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” presents a unique ensemble of authentic items retrieved from expeditions to the wreck site at the bottom of the Atlantic including clothing, jewellery and even personal letters with an opportunity to really absorb and experience life aboard this supposedly unsinkable vessel, from the finery of first class to the more modest third-class accommodations. Taking place at the Amsterdam EXPO, the exhibition is open daily from 9am until 6pm (9pm on Fridays), tickets are available online.



    Barbie’s Birthday Bash

    Celebrating 50 years since her introduction to the Netherlands, Amsterdam’s Museum of Bags and Purses pays homage to the icon of dolls, Barbie, with a very special exhibition opening on Tuesday, 21st January. Running until the 4th of May, this mesmerising retrospective features 50 of Barbie’s iconic and trendsetting outfits dating from 1960 to 2010, from the flower power garb of the 60s to glitter-filled 80’s disco chic. The exhibition also includes outfits designed by the great and the good of the world of fashion including Donna Karan, Vera Wang and Calvin Klein. Open daily 10am to 5pm.


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.