Retire in Amsterdam

Retire in Amsterdam

Ask anyone who’s been to Amsterdam what they liked best and then be prepared to spend some time while they go on and on about what a wonderful place they found.   The street cafe’s, the canals, the museums, the excellent trolley car and train system, the countryside, the flower stalls and bike riders, the chocolate shops and bakeries, the art!   Amsterdam will simply overload your senses.  Those who retire in Amsterdam will certainly have plenty to see and do. 

My personal recommendations for anyone visiting in the city are the Rijksmuseum with the Dutch Masters, the canal tours explaining the history and architecture, the bakeries and chocolate shops, and just having coffee in Dam Square to people watch.  Rent a bicycle and join the traffic but make sure you have a lock and key!

Of note that Amsterdam is a very liberal and tolerant city, as is the rest of the Netherlands.   The Red Light District is for strictly-regulated prostitution, and the coffee shops are where you can buy marijuana to smoke on premises.  The Amsterdam Gay Canal Parade is several days at the end of July into August.   The parade is always entertaining, no matter your feelings on the issue.  These things are well described on city maps, so just don’t go there if its not your thing.   It’s always interesting to walk through one of the neighborhoods, just to see what’s going on. 

Those who retire in Amsterdam will find a very modern city in a very old place.   While the citizens have gone to extreme lengths to preserve the exterior façade of their trademark buildings, most interiors are quite modern.   It always surprises me when walking around in the evening and I can peek in the window of an old building and find sleek cabinets, big screen TVs, and modern furniture.    

The town is centuries old and was the center of world trade, finance, education, and art long before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.   The quaint hotel I’ve  picked as home base on the Prinsengracht canal is 500 years old with a very steep center staircase, low doorways, and a retrofitted bath down the hall.  There are brand new modern hotels a couple of blocks away, but I can stay in those anytime, anywhere.  I picked this for location, location, location!

Amsterdam is not, by far, the most economical place I’ve been, but it is one of the cities that always calls me back.  The girl who works in the breakfast room in the hotel shared that she lives in the Jordaan district, which is several long blocks to the north.   She shares a flat with two girlfriends and they pay $900 a month for a two bedroom 1,000 square foot apartment.   Her sister lives just down our block (in a nicer part of town) and pays $2,100 for a two bedroom flat in a historic canal house on the 3rd floor.   Her utilities are another $300, higher in the winter.

The historic house across the canal from my hotel is for sale and includes the entire 4 story building.  I snuck in there when the agent had finished showing it to find a completely remodeled home with granite countertops, new appliances, historic flooring, 4 bedrooms and 3 baths.   There is a courtyard out back with landscaping and 3 balconies going up.   My dream house in Amsterdam!  Until she told me they wanted $4.2 million for it!   Ah…no thanks.   You can also buy a flat (usually one floor) in a historic building for a lot less.   These buildings often have shops, pubs, or cafes on the bottom level and the owners live on the 2nd – 4th floor above.  Those are much less expensive. 

Ah, Amsterdam.   Can’t wait to go back!

Photo by Editor

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Michael is a retired, single, world traveler who enjoys being outdoors, a good pint of beer or glass of wine, and museums.