Category Archives: Practical Stuff

Lewis and Emmy’s Booklist

1. Diary of Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl, the definitive edition) The Anne Frank House (located on the Prinsengracht 276) is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam with a line for admission as long as a canal. Lewis and Emmy read this amazing  book before visiting which was the way to do it!


the long line at the Anne Frank House
the long line at the Anne Frank House

2. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier  This is a short historical fiction story about the 17th century author, Johannes Vermeer through the eyes of the girl with the pearl earring. Vermeer’s most famous painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring hangs in the  Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.

3. The Dutch I Presume? This nonfiction book about the Dutch has lots of great photos and ‘fun to read’ text about the Dutch. Our Seattle friend, Pauline Bach who is 100% Dutch, recommended this fantastic book to us.

4. The Embarrassment of Riches by Simon Schama.  Schama tells the history of the Golden Age of Holland through Dutch culture as depicted in painting, emblem books, and descriptions of daily life.  We learn that the Dutch saw themselves as the new Israelites who escaped the Hapsburgs (“Egyptians”); parted the waters (not of the Red Sea, but of the North Sea–with dikes); enjoyed domesticity; indulged their children, and felt a teensy bit guilty about wealth and the enjoyment of alcohol and food.

5. The History of the Low Countries by Paul Arblaster.  Despite surveying nearly 2000 years, Arblaster does not do “equal coverage”. Despite the admirable brevity,  Arblaster focuses on the most critical times, providing a nuanced view of the evolution of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg from their shared beginnings to becoming very distinct nations. 

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