A journey to the well-known Rijksmuseum is only a 15-minute taxi drive away, but I would always suggest walking as the walk is as interesting as the museum itself.
When stepping outside the oasis of Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam, you will immediately hit the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Everywhere you look, there is something to see. Whether it is the canal boats or the immense variety of international cuisines.
A short walk over different bridges and past historic canals will bring you to the ‘Herengracht’, with a stretch known as the Golden Bend. The name was given in the 17th century by the citizens of Amsterdam, as the upper class took up residence here at the time. The canal houses are double in size and most even have a garden. If you glance away from the classic facades, you will see that every house has a hook on the roof, which was used to move in furniture and goods. What a sight this must have been!
Walking along the Golden Bend will bring you to the crossing with ‘de Nieuwe Spiegelstraat’. Make sure you make a stop here to enjoy the view of the phenomenal Rijksmuseum in the distance. This street is famous for its antique and art galleries, where you will find anything from art deco, art nouveau to contemporary art including the typical Delft Blue pottery. In the evening, you can enjoy a memorable dining experience at the longstanding Pasta e Basta, which is known for its singing waiters.
After a few more steps, you will find yourself in front of the Rijksmuseum. This national museum holds many masterpieces of famous Dutch painters, including Rembrandt, van Gogh and Vermeer. The ultimate must-see of the museum is the Night Watch, which is the largest and most famous painting of Rembrandt. It was made in 1642 for one of the three headquarters of Amsterdam’s civic guard.
The true hidden gem in the museum, which often goes unrecognized, is the library. This library is one of the main art libraries in the world. Perfectly kept intact since 1885, the library houses information about the Rijksmuseum and all its art collections. The stunning skylight, which provides the library with lots of natural light, was designed by the architect Dr. P.J.H Cuypers, who besides of his excellent design skills, was also known for his clever wit. The following sentence (in Dutch) is painted on the wall: ‘You have two eyes but one mouth, let this be a sign to not talk here but to read’. The library with its natural reading light, its railings and the intricate winding staircase made of wrought iron, is simply breath-taking.
Amsterdam has countless other hidden gems which I would love to share with you once you are here in Amsterdam!
Fabienne is a candidate for the 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.
My fascination for the hospitality industry started during my first job as a waitress. I was going above and beyond for my guests which eventually fuelled my decision to study Hospitality Management. At Hotel Concorde La Fayette in Paris, I learned what a great difference a truly personal approach makes in creating a memorable experience for guests of all cultures and backgrounds. The joy that guests experience from this personal touch inspired me to step into the role of a Concierge at Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. Instantly I knew this was my place within the hotel. One of my proudest moments in my career was to become a Member of Les Clefs d’Or: it is such an honour to wear the keys when I am on duty. To me being a concierge means that I can do what I love every day. Being up-to-date on the latest exclusive events and experiences in Amsterdam is my forte. My ability to read and know our guests’ needs before they ask is one of the things I take pride in and enables me to make their stay as personal, memorable and legendary as possible.
Located between two historical canals in the heart of the city, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam boasts a rich history. From a 15th-century convent to royal lodgings to Dutch admiralty headquarters to the city hall of Amsterdam. The Grand offers five-star luxury in a unique ‘Amsterdam’ ambience, furnished with French elegance and grandeur. All 178 rooms, including 52 suites with Butler Service offer a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary French design, including Dutch style elements. Over the course of the centuries, this exquisite Amsterdam landmark has been ripened and enriched by countless special events and, during the process, has also acquired tremendous culinary fame. Experience exceptional gastronomic quality in the accessible atmosphere of restaurant Bridges or discover the pure taste of the Mediterranean at Oriole Garden Bistro. The Garden Terrace can be found in the beautiful inner garden of The Grand and it is one of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets; an oasis of peace and tranquillity. Library ‘Or’ is the ideal place to indulge in The Grand Afternoon Tea. The Grand boasts 19 meeting- and event facilities of which five are listed as historical monuments. The Sofitel SPA offers a real escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Therapies and treatments from around the world meet the refinement and skills of the latest trends in French cosmetology to create an exhilarating, uplifting and rejuvenating spa experience. The Grand is inextricably linked with the city of Amsterdam, with many places close by to explore the history, culture, architecture and museums. The city’s major landmarks such as the Royal Palace, De Nieuwe Kerk, The Nine streets, Anne Frank House and Hermitage Amsterdam are only a short walk away.
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