10 ways to travel around Amsterdam and the Netherlands (from your couch!)

What should you do if you really want to travel but it’s not possible yet? Thanks to modern technology, Amsterdam and the Netherlands are much closer than they appear.

All you need is a reliable internet connection, a bit of imagination and, if possible, some English. Here are 10 ways to travel the Netherlands without leaving your couch!

1. Savour the art

The country’s major museums are keeping up to date and gradually digitising their collections. For example, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam not only presented the most detailed photo of The Night Watch taken during the restoration of the painting but also uploaded more than 700,000 digitised copies of its huge collection. You can also take an audio tour of the museum’s main hall or take part in special challenges. 

Another museum that has successfully adapted to COVID times is The Hague’s Mauritshuis. By digitising its collection at 1,000 megapixels resolution, it became the first gigapixel museum. Now viewers from all over the world have the opportunity to ‘walk’ around it on their own or with a guided tour and see the artworks of Vermeer, Rembrandt, Potter and other masters in great detail.

For advanced users, there is a VR option, and some digitised works, such as Jan Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, allow you to peek under the paint using infrared photography and see the original sketches and alterations made by the artist.

READ MORE | Seven museums and art galleries you can visit digitally from your own home

2. Take a look around with a 360° video

In case you don’t remember what the Netherlands looked like before the quarantine: these videos allow you to see flower fields, windmills, cheese markets and everything the country is famous for, with an immersive effect.

3. Rise above the city or flower fields

Courtesy of www.AirPano.ru

Dreaming of flying over multi-coloured fields of tulips or seeing what Amsterdam looks like from a bird’s eye view? Then here are some wonderful spherical panoramas for you, taken from the air over Amsterdam and the flowery fields and windmills. Note that you can use the setting button to change the image projections from fisheye to photosphere.

4. Listen to the sounds of Amsterdam

A compilation for a mental stroll through the city with its typical sounds in all their glory: from concerts to bicycle bells, from ferry signals to chirping birds. The Sounds of Amsterdam project was created by creative agency Natwerk and urban marketing agency IAmsterdam specifically for an inspiring and safe walk through the capital city in COVID times.

5. Enjoy a boat trip around Amsterdam’s canals

It’s hard to imagine a visit to Amsterdam without a boat trip along its many famous canals. Travelling virtually you can use a tour from the Living Walks project, filmed in first person. So hop into the boat and enjoy this slow, relaxing ride through summer Amsterdam! By the way, Living Walks also have great walking tours around different cities in the Netherlands.

6. Daydream out a car window while listening to local radio

This one is a real godsend for tourists and Amsterdamers alike, as not many of them have the opportunity to experience car traffic in the city centre. The Drive & Listen website and app, created by a student named Erkam Şeker during the coronavirus quarantine, allow you to explore 38 different cities in a new way: enjoying the views from the car window, accompanied by the sounds of the streets or local radio stations. Select Amsterdam on the menu, sit back, turn on the radio, let’s go! 

7. Fly over the Dutch capital

In this 4K UHD video by the Dutch Drone Derps team, you’ll get to know Amsterdam from the drone’s perspective: breathtaking views of the Royal Palace, Central Station, Museum Square and other famous landmarks with practically no people and in motion. The use of drones is strictly forbidden over most of the city, so be aware: the flight will not be entirely legal.

8. Find out how the COVID-19 era is in Amsterdam

In order to document and preserve the collective memory of the COVID-19 era, in May 2020, the Amsterdam Museum asked artists and ordinary citizens to share stories about it in the form of photos, videos, audio or texts. It has resulted in an ongoing online exhibition called Corona in the City.

Its pieces, such as photographs of empty streets and clubs, are different stories of vulnerability, comfort, loneliness and solidarity, of what the people of Amsterdam have had to endure over the past year. They have all been added to the museum’s digital collection and may well be used in a real exhibition in the future. 

9. See what’s happening on Dam Square right now

Watch the above livestream from the heart of Amsterdam, which has become particularly popular with locals during curfew. The webcam provides a view of what was once one of the city’s noisiest spots: Dam Square, the Royal Palace and the National Monument.

If you’ve been here before, you’ll notice the spirit of the measures — even though Dutch government is relaxing coronavirus restrictions it is still quite empty compared to the pre-coronavirus era. 

10. Take a walk to the Dutch landscapes 

Now, as we’ve seen enough of the city life, let’s change the scenery. What about a virtual nature walk? With the help of Google Street View that can be easily arranged!

Let’s start with my personal favorite forested area of Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug, continue at Griend, the small uninhabited Dutch island in the Wadden Sea, and finish at one of the tallest hills of the county — Mount Saint Peter aka Sint-Pietersberg — the limestone massif in Limburg province with the height of 171 meter above the sea level (you may not find it so impressive but it is a big deal in the Netherlands)!

Have you been digitally exploring anywhere from the comfort of your own home during the pandemic? Share it with us in the comments below!

Feature Image: DmitryRukhlenko/Deposit Photos

Irina Volgareva
Irina Volgarevahttps://amsterdammer.ru/
Russian-born conscientious citizen and writer, Irina is conquering the world of media with her multichannel blog Amsterdammer. Urbanist at heart when it comes to writing Irina is focused on Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a place to live. Therefore her blogs and the website are full of various useful and occasionally funny notes on Dutch innovations, urban development, sustainability and marketing topped with practical tips and guides.

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  1. There are a dozen or more webcams throughout the Netherlands, with 5-6 in Amsterdam and the surrounding area alone. We enjoyed them during lockdown days here (US). And have enjoyed them since. Would be nice if more had audio, though, for an immersive experience.


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