Anne Frank Huis
. It’s in the sober, unfurnished back annex of this 17th-century canal-house that Anne and her family hid from the Nazis for two years during World War II. Only her father survived the arrest and concentration camps to make sure that Anne’s diary could be published. More than 25 million copies have since been printed in 55 languages. Go early to avoid the lines.
. This outpost of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg officially opened in June 2009. Its opening exhibition, At the Russian Court, features 1,800 objects and art from its prestigious Russian parent’s collection of more than 3 million objects and covers the 19th century, when six Russian czars reigned supreme.
, resembling a designer cow field, is home to the city’s three main museums. Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art
and the Rijksmuseum
are both undergoing renovations, but the latter is still partially open and displaying the best of its collection—including many Rembrandts and Vermeers. Make way to the Van Gogh Museum
, dedicated to the work of everyone’s favorite earless genius. Afterward, recover by people-watching in the city’s green lung, Vondelpark
square forms the heart of the “Old Side” of the “Old Centre.” With medieval, castlelike De Waag as its centrepiece, Nieuwmarkt provides a decompression zone between the Red Light District to the west and the old Jewish quarter to the east.
, the “book square,” features an excellent used-book market on Fridays and is also the best route to the restful inner courtyards of the Begijnhof
and the excellent Amsterdam Historical Museum
. Just east of Centraal Station, the top floor of the new Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam
, one of Europe’s largest public libraries, offers a great view of the historic harbor and the boardwalk of the up-and-coming Eastern Docklands, with its award-winning Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ
—one of the most innovative musical complexes in Europe—and the wave-shaped cruise ship passenger terminal.