Author Archives: Emmy Neilson

A Day in Den Haag (The Hague)

With our daughter Susie, who is visiting for a week, we took a 50 minute train ride from Amsterdam to Den Haag.  We visited three spots:

1. The Gemeente Museum (Obama had been there the day before talking about the Nuclear Safety Issues!) Due to the renovations of the more popular Mauritshaus Museum, the Gemeente had received 100 of this museum’s famous paintings. Two of our favorites…

a. Rembrandt van Rijn – The anatomy lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp

b. Johannes Vermeer – View of Delft

2. Madurodam  A huge miniature village which reminded us of legoland except the materials were realistic. A whole outside area was dedicated to Holland’s buildings, streets, canals, you name it… Schipohl Airport even in miniature.

Susie and a Model of The Rijksmuseum

Susie and a Model of The Rijksmuseum

3. Escher in Het Paleis  A museum which houses two floors of M.C. Escher’s works in Queen Emma of the Netherland’s winter palace.

Hofjes of the Jordaan

What’s a Hofje?

A hofje is a courtyard of homes built by the wealthy to house the poor, the old, the orphans or the widows. They are hidden from the streets behind a canal house door. Once you open a door to a hofje, there is a lush green courtyard inside of peace and quiet.

Hofjes of the Jordaan

1. The Van Brienen Hofje (89 Prinsengracht) is our next door neighbor. A Dutch Baron in the 1700s got himself locked in his own strong room (bank vault). He freaked out and pleaded to God that if he ever got out of this mess he would build a hofje for young catholic couples. In 1797, he bought an old brewery and built this hofje.   2. The Hofje of the Sun “Zonshofje” (159 Pinsengracht) is really close to us too. Before it was a hofje it was a secret, hidden church belonging to the mennonites. In 1755 the church was reconstructed as an orphanage and a hofje for older ladies.   3. The Karthuizer Hofje (Karthuizersstraat 21-131) is the biggest hofje in all of Amsterdam! It opened its doors in 1651 for 110 women some of whom had children. 4. The Claes Claesz Hofje ((Egelantiersgracht 26) is one of two Hofjes on Egelantiersgracht. It was established for older people and built in the mid 1600s. 5. The St. Andrew Hofje (Egelantiersgracht 137-145) is the other more know one on this street. It is the second oldest in Amsterdam finished in 1617.

The Karthuizer Hofje






Packing List

Emmy’s Packing List for Amsterdam


  •  I bought my toiletries when I got there
  • Working with Celsius instead of Fahrenheit: 30 is hot, 20 is nice, 10 is cold, 0 is ice. To get to F take the C and double it and then add 30… you’re really close…subtract 3 to get more accurate.
  • I Used lite nylon packing bags for different clothing categories. For example, all my T-shirts went in one bag. I rolled them instead of folded them. They kept better.
  • I xeroxed all my credit and debit cards, front and back along with my drivers license and passport. This turned out to be a Godsend when my wallet was pickpocketed on the tram.


  1.  4 sweaters
  2. 4 day shirts
  3. 4 evening shirts
  4. 4 athletic/free t-shirts
  5. 2 running pants
  6. 2 running bras
  7. 2 pairs of running socks
  8. 4 pairs of day pants
  9. 2 pairs of evening pants
  10. 1 dress
  11. One really nice evening outfit
  12.  Belt
  13. Scarves
  14. 1 skirt
  15. Black boots, brown kicker boots, running sneakers, black flats, black evening heels
  16. Two Raincoats, one long and one short
  17. White down jacket
  18. 10 pairs of underwear
  19. 2 bras, one dress slip, one skirt slip
  20. 6 pairs of socks
  21. 2 pairs of tights, leggings
  22. PJs… lite night gown, flannel pjs
  23. Baseball hat, winter hat
  24. Running/biking gloves


Small Stuff

  1. Travel size toiletries for the first few days
  2. Contact lens stuff and prescription glasses
  3. Reading glasses, sunglasses
  4. Jewelry
  5. Make up
  6. Scissors, tape


Random Essentials

  1. Electronics and necessary chargers: iPad, camera, iphone, converters, mini ipod for running, earbuds.
  2. Laptop and charger
  3. Journals/Pens/pencils
  4. Reading: 1. Paper books  2. Guidebooks and map  3. Download e versions to iPad
  5. Important DocumentsPassport, flight times, wallet with credit cards and cash
  6. Yellow Backpack.
  7. Small purse
  8. Compact-able duffle bag
  9. Small blanket for meditating


Things to Buy in Amsterdam

  1.  Toiletries
  2. Blow dryer
  3. Flat iron
  4. Yoga mat
Recent Entries »