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London architecture students going to the Netherlands!


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Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 2
Joined: June 3rd, 2014

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Tags: The Netherlands, amsterdam, Utrecht, rotterdam, the hague, Delft
  • Added on: June 3rd, 2014
Hi there,

Me and a buddy are going on a mini-travelling break at the start of September - we are talking 1 week to keep cost down (poor students) and to tie in with starting back at uni in London.

There's only one place we HAVE to go and that's Utrecht, Netherlands - mainly because I need to go visit a building there as part of my university course. However, visiting this building will take no time at all, and so the rest of the week we will be as free as a bird.

Now the architecture over in the Netherlands is pretty amazing, and we definitely won't cover it all, but we were hoping for some advice from you lovely people on the most efficient travel route for hitting as many of the more 'architecturally rich' cities as possible? Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Delft to name a few.

If it helps, we will most likely be travelling by Eurostar so I suppose it will be best to begin / end in Amsterdam (unless there's any better suggestions?)

At the same time, what would you say is the most cost effective way to travel around the country? Should we buy the one-country InterRail, pay each journey individually or is there another type of pass we can get? As I assume our transport will have to be a mixture of trains, trams and buses?

Apologies for all the questions, and thanks in advance!


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 148
Joined: July 11th, 2004

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  • Added on: June 8th, 2014
For one week, just use the normal train system.


1. Rotterdam- It is the center of 'modern' Dutch architecture

2. Haarlem - why? Because its very close to Amsterdam, and has typical 15th century homes still surviving

3. Amsterdam- there are a few architectural gems there, and some of the oldest buildings

4. For farm architecture and a few churches, as well as the Dykes.. Friesland, cause its just so rural and lovely.

Utrecht is also an ancient city, and will have plenty of old Dutch buildings. Frankly, Dutch architecture isn't all that exciting to me, consisting of three strains

1. Quaint red brick homes of the old style, often with wood.

2. New functional homes with huge windows, looking like Mies Van der Rohe

3. Everything else, Rotterdam skyscrapers, experiments in Amsterdam(The cube building is interesting)

4. Standard Amsterdam type ancient homes, very skinny, with hooks on top to haul furniture and goods up through the windows because the stairs are too narrow.

So, for modern, my bet is on Amsterdam, in parts, and Rotterdam.!!!!!

Good luck!
Tortuga traveller


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: June 3rd, 2014

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  • Added on: June 11th, 2014
Hi Ddrezner,

Sorry for such a delayed response, I have been extremely busy the past few days! Thanks for all the really helpful advice.

We have now refined our route to something we hope is worthwhile and enjoyable (we would much rather wander through and soak up a city than march through it with tunnel vision).

So far our itinerary sits like so;

Day 1:
London > Rotterdam (flight)
Explore Rotterdam
Day 2:
Rotterdam > Delft
Explore Delft
Day 3:
Delft > Den Haag
Explore Den Haag
Day 4:
Den Haag > Utrecht
Explore Utrecht
Day 5:
Utrecht > Eindhoven
Explore Eindhoven
Day 6:
Eindhoven > Maastricht
Explore Maastricht
Day 7:
Maastricht > Amsterdam
Explore Amsterdam
Day 8:
Explore Amsterdam
Amsterdam > London (flight)

We still think we may be trying to include too much over the short period, so it could be that a couple of places are omitted or some days extended (cost dependant).

The individual prices of these journeys (all IC Trains) total around 80 euros, so I guess that's the way we will go instead of buying any form of rail pass.

Question is, do we still need to purchase an OV Chipcard for these? As the initial purchase (7.50EUR) and minimum deposit(50EUR) is a bit off-putting. Or can we just rock up at any station on the day of each journey and buy a paper ticket at the desk?


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 148
Joined: July 11th, 2004

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  • Added on: June 16th, 2014
Ok, there are some problems with this itinerary.

1. You need to leave 4-6 hours to de-compress from your flight. The first time you arrive you will likely just arrive at your hostel, settle in, look for some fun food, and then go to bed. That leaves the next day for touring about. Rotterdam will require two FULL days to get the feel of it.

2. There is a simple rule that applies to all but manics on cocaine concerning making itineraries. Allow one half day for any trip for four hours or less, and one full day for full day (8 hours or more) trips for relaxation and settling. It slows down your itinerary, but vastly include the quality.

So, I can see two days minimum in Amsterdam, maybe 3 or four, and 2 in rotterdam(Should be enough if you avoid many museums)

Masstricht. I don't know a lot about it. Eindhoven is just a place where there is an airport. Unfortunately its a day trip to arrive there, and sometimes you have to do an overnight in a hotel there to get your flight. I only took one flight from Eindhoven, AFTER I had booked it and my dutch friend told me it was a really bad idea.

Now- as to HOW to make your itinerary-

1. Find all the architectural jewels in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, etc. Put them on a map, make a daily itinierary. No more than two or three sites in a day, unless they are just ride by's. Put some other fun stuff in there. Amsterdam can be a fun place, and the art museum there is world class(they were very very rich once)

2. Leave a decompress day.

3. Have fun. See the best bits you can find in your research, and make up the rest as you go along.

Now: trains. Book your next destination with a paper ticket the same day you arrive at the train station, given your tight schedule. You probably don't want to miss a step. Buying ahead of time gives you the freedom to do what you want until the day of the train, and also allows for full trains when you try to book on the same day. That's always worked for me.(Except one, very busy, no trains for two days!)

Does this help?
Tortuga traveller

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