If you’re anything like K and I, you can spend hours and hours in galleries and museums when you go travelling. I think our record was once spending seven hours straight in the National Museum of Korea. Now that we’re in Europe, I expect that many of our days will be spent in contemplation of great artistic achievements, or discovering unknown facts through the perusal of past human artefacts.
We started our museum tour of Europe with visits to the Stedelijk Museum of modern and contemporary art and the national Dutch Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (small photo gallery below). The two museums are very close to each other, so I would recommend the following plan if you enjoy museums and plan on visiting Amsterdam:
- 9am – 1pm: Rijksmuseum
- 1pm – 2pm: Lunch at Restaurant Stedelijk
- 2pm – 6pm: Stedelijk Museum
Needless to say, the four hours I’ve allocated aren’t nearly enough to appreciate both museums in their entirety. You could very easily spend a whole day in each museum if you like to take things slowly and really sit back and contemplate art rather than rushing through each room. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, the Stedelijk Museum is open until 10pm on Thursdays, so you could stay at Rijksmuseum until at least 4pm, then spend the next five hours at Stedelijk!
A break is definitely needed in between visiting the two museums though, and Restaurant Stedelijk located on the ground floor of the Stedelijk Museum definitely fits the bill. It’s a casual restaurant – simply walk in and grab a table, and a server will come by to take your order. We started off with some drinks to quench our thirst – a simple Diet Coke and an orange juice (freshly squeezed!).
Given that we’re not cooking every night the way we would be when we’re at home, we’re trying to eat a bit healthier when we’re out, and order at least one salad at every meal. The small caesar salad with chicken was possibly not quite as healthy as we were hoping – it was absolutely chock full of chicken which was great for filling us up, but not great for our intake of greens! The addition of ultra-salty anchovies also reduced the healthy factor somewhat. Still, this was a very tasty dish with perfectly dress iceberg lettuce and served quite well as a stand-alone meal, but less well as a meal of healthy salad.
K decided he wanted a simple sandwich, rather than the more elaborate hot meals on the menu. The open-faced chicken sandwich didn’t have as much avocado as I would have liked as it was more of a light spread than the heaps of smashed avocado that I’m personally used to. I also ended up removing a lot of the leek as I found it quite strong. Overall though, it wasn’t a bad sandwich.
I was determined to have some fries as it’s obviously a specialty in both the Netherlands and Belgium (our next stop!). Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have bothered – some of the cheap street-side stalls did better fries than this. Go to any average fries shop for your hit of fries, don’t bother with restaurant fries!
Restaurant Stedelijk does not-unreasonably priced cafe style food – nothing special, but in the dearth of other similary priced eateries in the Museum Quarter of Amsterdam, it’s not a bad option. Your other options are to pay a lot more for finer dining, or to go to the nearby Albert Heijn supermarket or Simon Meijssen bakery to get a ready-made lunch-to-go.
Restaurant Stedelijk is located at Museumplein 10, 1071 DP Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Just to finish up, here are some of my favourite works from both museums. The Stedelijk Museum had a great temporary exhibition called Zero when we were there, displaying some fantastic works that examined the use of light, reflection, and absences of colour – see it if you can!