Art, Antiques, and Adventures in Amsterdam

Headshot of Bess Goldstein
Bess Goldstein
June 14, 2023
Blue and white tiles from Delft

The past week has been a frenzy of activity and excessive heat in Amsterdam. As the sun beats down, the city comes alive with a vibrant fusion of flea markets and artistic wonders. Other than sweating in the heat, I've also stumbled across treasures in the midst of the chaos. Amsterdam is the place to be surrounded by art while exploring the alluring world of bargain hunting. My search for one-of-a-kind clothes has taken me everywhere, where I can find cheap clothes for one euro, vintage designer belts, and unique little trinkets, which will be the perfect gifts for my friends and family back home. 

My first stop was the Waterlooplien Market, conveniently located just a few blocks away from the IES center. Energy radiated from this market, as both locals and visitors flocked to take advantage of the diverse picks. Sweating under the sun, I entered a maze of vendors and looked over several affordable items; getting some crystals and earrings. The market's charm was not only in its affordability but also in the vibrant art that covered the space.  Vendors had their own art and local artists' pieces scattered everywhere, turning the shops into a gallery of their own. 

The highlight of my flea market adventures was undoubtedly IJ Hallen, the largest flea market in all of Europe. To get there, I had to take both a metro and ferry across the river to Noord Amsterdam. (The ferry is free!) Getting off the ferry to see over 800 stands of inexpensive finds stretched along the riverbank was the best feeling, knowing I had a  boundless day of discovery. Navigating through the intricate maze of stalls, the irresistible allure of budget-friendly garments definitely excited me. There was a strong sense of belonging and friendship, with vendors playing music and talking to the customers. I just loved that I was partaking in a truly unique experience. For anyone fortunate enough to find themselves near Amsterdam during the summer, a visit to IJ Hallen is an absolute must.

Art enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise in Amsterdam, where almost every bridge and street corner holds a vibrant masterpiece. I can't emphasize enough the value of taking an art history class at IES Abroad. The lectures themselves are like enchanting field trips, transporting us to the hallowed halls of renowned museums. In just two weeks, we have already embarked on four awe-inspiring museum journeys. It's worth budgeting and saving up for these excursions, as some may require travel to reach. Ticket prices can soar to as high as 25 euros, but there are group discounts for 3-7 people, allowing you to secure entrance for around 15 euros. Thankfully tickets are covered, as our provided museum card grants us access to most museums in Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands.

IES Abroad explorations have taken my program to prestigious institutions such as the Rijksmuseum, Mauritshuis, and the Frans Hals Museum. Each venue boasts its unique architectural style, ranging from traditional European paintings to contemporary marvels. As the session continues, I'm excited to see where I will immerse myself next. My next trip is to Haarlem, scheduled for this Wednesday! If you're in Amsterdam looking for more museums, I highly recommend exploring the Moco Museum, the Museum of Sex, and the Fabrique des Lumières—each offering its own distinctive allure.

Amsterdam's enchantment lies not only in its grand museums but also in the abundant art that permeates every nook and cranny of the city. Whether it's the flea markets, the canals, the museums themselves, or even the metro stations and sidewalks, creativity flourishes at every turn. What sets this city apart is not just the stunning artwork, but also the profound tolerance and acceptance displayed by the Dutch people, who harmoniously coexist with the art that surrounds them. It's this unique blend of artistic beauty and societal embrace that makes Amsterdam an unrivaled destination for art enthusiasts and curious wanderers alike.

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Headshot of Bess Goldstein

Bess Goldstein

My name is Bess, and I'm a senior Journalism major at the University of Pittsburgh. I'm a published writer and enjoy writing for news publications, creating digital media projects, and expanding my writing perspectives through global cultures.

Home University:
University of Pittsburgh
Fanwood, NJ
Creative Writing
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