Category Archives: Things to do in Amsterdam

Directions to the Conference Venue

Here is some helpful information for those of you traveling to Amsterdam for the ISTR Conference.  You can also download a print version of these instructions, or get it off the ISTR Conference mobile app.

The conference will be held at VU University Amsterdam, which is located at the South of Amsterdam. The Campus is easily accessible from the center of Amsterdam by various numbers of public transport (metro/tram).

Address: Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam

Transit stop: De Boelelaan/VU

Here is a photo of the main building where the conference will be held and a map showing it’s location on campus.  It’s the tallest building on campus so you can’t miss it.

From Schiphol Airport to VU

  • Take the train to Station Amsterdam Zuid
  • Express tram 51 (1 minute), direction Amstelveen Westwijk
  • Tram 5 (1 minute), direction Amstelveen Binnenhof
  • It is a 10-minute walk to the VU from Station Amsterdam Zuid. From the Amsterdam South Train station, take exit ‘VU / Parnassusweg’ and follow the signs à From there it is a 600 meter walk to the main entrance of VU Amsterdam. After descending the stairs, go left and walk straight. You will see the tall concrete building just in front of you.     

From Central Station to VU

  • Metro tram 51, direction Amstelveen Westwijk (16 minutes), stop at: De Boelelaan/VU
  • Tram 5, direction Amstelveen Binnenhof (25 minutes), stop at: De Boelelaan/VU
  • Tram 16 or 24, direction VUmc, final stop

Tram, bus, metro tickets

The GVB day or multi-day ticket provides you with unlimited travel throughout Amsterdam, both day and night, on the bus, tram, and metro, for the number of days that best fits your plans.

1 hour                                 € 3.00

1 day (24 hours)               € 7,50

2 days (48 hours)             € 12,50

3 days (72 hours)             € 17,50

4 days (96 hours)             € 22,50

5 days (120 hours)           € 27,50

6 days (144 hours)           € 31.50

7 days (168 hours)           € 34,50

Buy those tickets at the airport Schiphol (AKO), Holland Tourist Information, yellow ticket vending machines, and GVB Tickets & Info desks at major metro stations.

You can also buy the tickets in advance online: GVB day ticket or multi day ticket

Bringing your kids? A children’s day ticket is also available for a heavily reduced fare. This ticket is for children 4 through 11 years. The child ticket can only be purchased via GVB Tickets &, and our Service points

By Car to VU

The A-10 Amsterdam ring road can be reached from all directions.  Follow the A-10 to the Zuid/Amstelveen exit S108.  Turn left at the end of the slip road onto Amstelveenseweg; after three hundred yards (at the VU University hospital building) turn left again onto De Boelelaan.  VU University Amsterdam can be reached via city routes S108 and S109.


There is a limited amount of parking space around VU University Amsterdam in De Boelelaan, which has parking bays, and also in Karel Lotsylaan.  There is paid parking on VU Amsterdam parking lot to the right of the Hospital Outpatient Clinic.

Schiphol Airport to Downtown Amsterdam

Please note that if you are traveling from the airport to the conference venue directly, you should refer to the instructions above.

Amsterdam Airport Express

airport express logo

Need a quick connection between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and the city centre of Amsterdam? Take the Amsterdam Airport Express (bus 397)! Please note: this used to be bus 197.

The Amsterdam Airport Express provides a quick and easy transfer from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the city centre of Amsterdam. Departing every 7,5 minutes from bus platforms B15-19, this bus takes you directly to Museumplein, Rijksmuseum or Leidseplein. From there on you can get to many hotels in Amsterdam very easily.

Buy your e-ticket now!

·         (single e-ticket)

·         (return e-ticket)

You can also buy this ticket at the Info & Ticket bus or directly from the bus driver.

Helpful Links:

Timetable bus N97 (Niteliner) Schiphol Airport – Amsterdam Centre



An insider’s guide to visiting Amsterdam

Guest post by Claire van Teunenbroek, 4th year PhD student at the Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU University.

There are more than enough museums in Amsterdam. In order to make a selection I asked several real ‘Amsterdamers’ about the ‘must see’ places in Amsterdam.

The history of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city like no other. It started as a little fishing village (named Amstelledamme) in the 13th century and since then the city has always been driven by trade. Fun fact: the early progress of Amsterdam in the 14th century is partially due though exclusive trading rights to beer imports from Hamburg. During the 14th  and 15th centuries, Amsterdam underwent a rapid development. This time was called the Golden Age. Unfortunately only a handful of medieval buildings survive today: among them are the Old and New Churches (see below) and the Houten Huis (Wooden House) at the Begijnhof.

By the 17th century Amsterdam turned into the richest city on earth by trading in beer, wheat, guns, tobacco and diamonds. While Dutch ships sailed all over the world, artists such as Rembrandt led a cultural renaissance in the city. Some of the oldest buildings date back to the Golden Age, such as the town hall at the Dam Square (now Royal Palace). In addition, the Amsterdam residents were and still are a diverse group resulting in part from the high rates of immigration from those fleeing persecution in their homelands (especially in the 16th and 17th century).

From 14 may 1940 to 5 May 1945, Amsterdam was occupied by Nazi Germany. More than 100,000 were deported, among them Anne Frank (you can visit the Anne Frank house where the girl and her family hid from the Nazis for more than two years, but note that the Anne Frank house is almost always fully booked during the summer times so try to get your tickets in advance). Now a days, the city is again home to many different nationalities. Just go for a walk in the Amsterdam forest or ‘een rondje Bosbaan’ and see for yourself.

Places to visit

Amsterdam has several interesting places to visit but ISTR Conference participants will have limited time to be tourists.  Visiting the following places will give you an idea of the rich history of Amsterdam. If you want to visit any of these places I advise you to search for additional information about possible reservation requirements.

Amsterdam Heineken Beer Museum


Admission: €18 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10.30am – 17.30 pm

Where: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam

Beer helped build Amsterdam and it is still an important substance for the city; if you love it as much as the Dutch, you can visit the Amsterdam Heineken beer museum. This iconic and historic beer museum is a top tourist attraction. The brewery was established in 1864 and now a days Heineken is a huge multinational company. During the tour you can see their old defunct brewery, with several amusement park attractions added to the exhibition. You can admire the 19th century architecture, old photographs and other memorabilia from the Heineken family. Beer tasting is included in the admission price (for adults only, of course).

Oude Kerk (Old church): 13th century church

old church

Admission: €10.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10am – 18 pm

Where: Oudekerksplein, 1012 GX Amsterdam

Built in the 13th century, this protestant church is the oldest in Amsterdam and it was originally built as a Catholic place of worship, which is why the Oude Kerk features things characteristic for Catholic cathedrals (like sculpted misericords in the choir, high windows, impressive old gravestones and exceptional architecture). In 1566 the interior was demolished when the Amsterdam population revolted against the Catholic Church. Traces of vandalism remain visible until today. Another interesting fact is the that contrast between the religious house and its surroundings could not be bigger: next to the church you will see a coffee shop.

Nieuwe kerk (New church)

new church

Admission: free

Opening times: daily 10am – 18 pm

Where: Dam Square, Amsterdam

Adjacent to the Royal Palace you can find the Nieuwe Kerk, a church of the highest order. It was built circa 1400 to make up for the shortage of churches in the city over the years. Contrary to the Oude Kerk, it managed to escape major damage during the revolt against the Catholic Church. However, two centuries later it was completely demolished when plumbers accidentally started a fire. It was restored to its former glory, exhibiting the early Renaissance style. Today, the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam is the most important church in the Netherlands. Since 1814, Dutch monarchs have been inaugurated here, including the reigning King Willem – Alexander. In between coronations and weddings, the Amsterdam New Church is the venue for the temporary art and history exhibitions.

In addition, you can taste some wine under the Nieuwe Kerk at The Wine Cellar. This cozy (and often overlooked) location is below grount at the side of the historic church.

Houten huis and Begijnhof

het houten huis

Opening times: daily 8am – 17 pm

Where: Beijnhof, number 34

Het Houten Huis is the oldest house in Amsterdam, dating from around 1420. It is one of the two remaining wooden-front houses in the city; timber houses were banned in 1521 after a series of catastrophic fires. You can find the house at number 14 at the Begijnhof courtyard. The Begijnhof is an enclosed courtyard dating around the early 18th century. The courtyard was originally built for the Begijntjes, a Catholic sisterhood who lived like nuns.

Ons Lieve Heer op Solder: Amsterdam’s secret religious house

secret church

Admission: €11.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10am – 18 pm

Where: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38, 1012 GE, Amsterdam.

Museum Ons Lieve Heer op Solder is a 17th century canal house with a catholic church in the attic. Catholicism was officially outlawed after the reformation in the 16th century. As a result, many followers of Catholicism were forced to worship in secret. Some built hidden churches like this chapel. The chapel remains almost completely intact. The chapel is tucked away in the hearth of Amsterdam’s inner city. The church symbolizes the characteristic (religious) tolerance of the Netherlands, established by the Dutch in the sixteenth century under Willem of Orange. It is also the oldest museum in the city, second only to the Rijksmuseum.

Town hall at the Dam Square (now Royal Palace)

town hall

Admission: €10.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10am – 17 pm

Where: Nieuwezijds Voorburg 147, de Dam Amsterdam

Originally the town hall, the building was built in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age. It was then the largest secular building in Europe. It later became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal house. Fun fact: the building includes 13,659 wooden piles.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam: accurate replica of a VOC ship and more

ship museum

Admission: €15.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 9am – 17 pm

Where: Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK Amsterdam

You don’t even have to go inside to be marvelled by this museum. The building was built in 1656 to house equipment for Dutch warships, like canons, munition, sails and ropes. Now a days the building hosts several exhibitions related to ships and the sea. In front of the museum lies a replica of the VOC-ship Amsterdam. You can enter the ship while visiting the museum and touch the canons, sails and ropes. Also, you can go below deck to get hands on experience.

Cheese museum: because the Dutch love their cheese

cheese museum

Admission: free of charge, but a donation is always welcome

Opening times: daily 9am – 10 pm

Where: Prinsengracht 112, 1015 EA Amsterdam

The Dutch love their cheese and have a more than 600-year tradition of cheese-making. Most of the cheeses you can find (and bite if you buy one) in the museum are named after Dutch cities, like Gouda, Maaslander and Leerdammer. The museum is about a step away from the Anne Frank House, on the other side of the Prinsengracht, and is completely dedicated to Dutch cheese. The museum also has an attractive shop. At least one of the sellers wears traditional Dutch clothes and so could you! You can visit the “photo corner” where you can dress up as Dutch farmers in order to take a picture (all free of charge).  

Amsterdam Forest, Bosbaan and Dutch pancakes at a local farm: Boederij Meerzicht

pancake house

Opening times Boederij Meerzicht: daily 10am – 19 pm

Where: Koenenkade 56, 1081 KG Amsterdam

Site Boederij Meerzicht:

After a busy day I advise you to take a walk through the Amsterdam forest (2,471 acres) and enjoy a delicious (and very Dutch) pancake at the Boederij Meerzicht. The farm was built around 1857, long before they planted the Amsterdamse forest. The farm is one of the few farms that managed to remain even after the forest was built. The farm is now run by the third generation, but grandma’s pancake recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

If you feel like walking, you can follow the Bosbaan, which is a rowing lake situated in the Amsterdam forest. The Bosbaan measures a length of 2200 metres. The Amsterdam forest has several open areas and meadows. Some of which are located along an artificial beach along ponds.


Traditional Dutch Cuisine: Restaurant Moeders


Opening times: 17 pm – 24 pm (Monday – Friday) Weekends: 12.00 pm – 24 pm.

Where: Rozengracht 251, 1015 sX Amsterdam

Moeders (Dutch for “mothers”) opened in 1990. During the opening the guest were asked to bring their own plate, glass and cutlery. As a result, the wooden tables are set with a diverse range of plates, wineglasses and cutlery.  Moeders is known for several Dutch specialties. You can order several traditional Dutch home dishes. In addition, the desserts are simply amazing.

We look forward to welcoming you to Amsterdam!



Download the ISTR Conference Mobile App!

Navigate the ISTR International Conference with our mobile app, powered by Core-apps. With our mobile app, you can:

  • Stay organized with up-to-the-minute, speaker, session, and overall conference information
  • Read the full submitted abstracts for each paper
  • Search sessions and abstracts by conference theme
  • Create a personalized schedule by bookmarking sessions
  • Save your favorite sessions so that you can return and review them later
  • Receive important real-time communications from the ISTR staff
  • See what sessions are currently happening and what’s coming up next using “What’s On Now”
  • Find attendees and connect with your colleagues. Be sure to publish your profile to interact with other app users
  • Have local restaurants and transportation information on hand
  • And much, much more!

Download the App 

SCAN: Use your devices QR code scanner to quickly find the ISTR Conference App


SEARCH: The App Store or Google Play for “ISTR”

FOR ALL OTHER DEVICE TYPES: (including BlackBerry, Windows, and other web browser-enabled devices): point your mobile browser to

to be directed to the proper download version for your device.  

Platform Compatibility: Android v4x+ and iOS v7x+

Should you have any questions, please contact:

Tickets to the Anne Frank House

Many visitors to Amsterdam will try to visit the famous Anne Frank House, the hideout where Anne Frank, a Jewish girl, and seven others lived during World War Two to escape from the Nazis.  After more than two years in hiding they were discovered and deported to concentration camps.  Anne’s diary of her time during hiding become world famous.

Tickets sell out quickly so you should consider reserving them online now.  All visitors need to purchase an online ticket with a time slot in advance. Note that the tickets are only valid for the persons they are issued to, and for the date and time you have selected. Tickets cannot be exchanged or refunded.

During the ISTR Conference, the museum will be open until 10pm

Practical information about the museum and tickets can be purchased here: