We plotted a heist! This Amsterdam escape room took our breath away (literally)

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Picture this, it’s a sunny, unassuming day in the centre of Amsterdam — but right under your nose, there’s an expert team of master thieves executing a meticulously planned heist. 🤫

Only in this case, the alleged master thieves were two clueless DutchReview writers (and friends) who left their desks behind to embark on their very first escape room adventure in Amsterdam! 

Sherlocked invited us to try their award-winning escape room, The Vault, and it absolutely blew our minds. 

Obviously, good escape room etiquette dictates that we can’t tell you all the details — though there might be a powerful secret society involved — but we can tell you how to become a criminal mastermind of your own. 😎

Step one: prepare yourself

We can tell you this much: there’s an object to retrieve from a safe. The safe is somewhere hidden within an eccentric art collectors exhibition. The problem? You’re not invited but you’ve gotta get in.

READ MORE | 9 top escape rooms in Amsterdam to put your detective hat on (in English!)

You know that there will be challenges ahead: guards to deceive, hidden doors to find, and puzzles to solve — all within a limited amount of time. 

And most importantly, you can’t do it all by yourself. 

Step two: assemble your team

Any good heist requires an expert team. Each member comes with a different set of skills that’ll help you execute the break-in.

For this mission, a strong team of min. four people will set you up for success:

  • A captain: to lead the mission and keep everyone on track (the clock is ticking!). 
  • A smooth talker: to talk yourself out of iffy situations.
  • A code-cracker: to think out of the box.
  • An acrobat: to squeeze through tight spaces.

Already have an idea for a good team name? We went with Team Guggenheim. 

Top tip: You’ll have to come in disguise, and you might want to dress it up a little. But make sure to be prepared for any physical challenge that might come your way…

Step three: collect intelligence

Prior to your quest, you’ll receive some top-secret documentation. This will contain the first bits of information about the object you want to retrieve.

Read them carefully (we didn’t and regretted it afterwards.) Your mission starts now

Step four: start your mission 

Okay, so you’ve accepted the mission, assembled your team of master thieves, and gathered the initial intelligence. Take a deep breath, cause it’s time to start.

We’ve gotta admit, Team Guggenheim was a nervous bunch of people — uhm, master thieves — showing up to the agreed (and secret) location on a sunny Friday afternoon. 

Rightfully so, because there was no way we could’ve anticipated what was yet to come. Assuming a false identity, tricking security guards, dodging cameras, and finding hidden doorways were just some of the challenges ahead. 😎

photo of the sherlocked building at beursplein
Here we are! The fabulous Sherlocked headquarters. Image: Sherlocked/Supplied

Step five: beat the timer, crack the safe

Okay, I repeat, this mission is top secret so we can’t tell you exactly how we managed to crack the safe. 

The only thing we can tell you is that entering The Vault will transport you straight into a world filled with mysteries: old documents, mysterious forces, and the secret concealed behind safe doors that’ll take your breath away (literally!). 

Most importantly: crack the final safe, before it cracks you! 

photo of sherlocked's safe wall
Safes, there are many…but which is the right one? Image: Sherlocked/Supplied

Extra: Tips and Tricks 

So we can’t tell you what’s going on down there in The Vault, but we can hand you some tools that’ll support you in order to successfully complete the heist!

Tip 1: Don’t underestimate the timer

Here’s what almost led to the failure of Team Guggenheim: we barely made it out before the time elapsed. Two minutes on the clock got our hearts racing and made it even harder to focus.

Our tip: stay switched on throughout and try to solve the riddles as quickly as possible. That might seem obvious, but we really enjoyed taking our time and joking around — until we didn’t. 

Tip 2: You’re a team — don’t forget that

When the pressure rises you might risk falling into arguments with your team member. But this will just waste your time. 

Act as a team, help each other out, and be professional. Remember, you’re master thieves on a mission (and not a dysfunctional family with pent-up anger issues).

A good captain is really needed here to keep the team in check! 

Tip 3: Leave nothing behind 

Another lesson Team Guggenheim can pass on to you is this: hold on to all the clues and objects you find along the way.

You might need them later on at unexpected times. And with the timer running, you really don’t want to be rushing frantically from one room to another trying to re-find yet another item. 

photo of sherlocked's props with a clue
Pssst…this image contains a clue. Image: Sherlocked/Supplied

Tip 4: Immerse yourself

We thought this was by far one of the most fun parts of the experience — to drop yourself into character. 

It might seem counterintuitive at first, but this is the key to get the most out of the experience. Gotta sweet-talk yourself out of an iffy situation? Chin up, shoulders back, you’ve got this! 

After all, you’re just a sweet, innocent bystander and not a criminal mastermind on a mission. Or, are you? 😈

Tip 5: Play the iPhone app

Want to be really prepared before taking on The Vault? Sherlocked developed an iPhone app that could be considered a virtual how-to-crack-a-safe boot camp.

Ideal for getting you all prepped for the real thing! The best part? It’s free! So there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

Team Guggenheim beaming with pride after their completed mission. Image: DutchReview

We can happily confirm that DutchReview managed to crack The Vault! Sherlocked has crafted an incredible escape room experience that really made us feel like we were thieves on a mission. 

Ready to take on the assignment? Fabulous, simply head to Sherlocked’s website to book your escape room adventure!

Have you been to an escape room before? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:Sherlocked/Supplied
Lea Shamaa 🇺🇸🇱🇧
Lea Shamaa 🇺🇸🇱🇧
Lea has a passion for writing and sharing new ideas with the world. She enjoys film photography, Wes Anderson movies, fictional books and jazz music. She came to the Netherlands in 2019 for her media studies and has fallen in love with the country and its culture ever since. She loves to ride her bicycle in the city but also feels the need to overtake everyone on the bike lane (she's working on it).

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