A Perfect Day in Amsterdam

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Historical views
Put the Hermitage on the sightseeing list

Job Cohen, 62, former mayor
I'd spend the morning walking along Amsterdam's 17th century canals and through the alleys of the city center, then visit the Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder museum, tel: (31-20) 624 6604, a former church hidden behind the façade of a canal house. After that, I'd move on to the Jordaan district, and take a stroll along the market stalls at the Noordermarkt. For lunch, there's the V&D La Place restaurant on the top floor of the new Amsterdam Public Library, tel: (31-20) 523 0900, where the views are stunning. Afterward, I'd head by canal boat to the Hermitage Amsterdam museum, tel: (31-20) 530 7488, and an exhibition at De Bazel, tel: (31-20) 251 1800, the Art Deco former headquarters of the Netherlands Trading Society and now the city archives. Dinner would be at Freud, tel: (31-20) 688 5548, a restaurant run by former psychiatric patients. In the evening I'd watch a classical concert either at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, tel: (31-20) 788 2010, an impressive new theater at the IJ embankments, or at the world-famous Concertgebouw, tel: (31-20) 573 0573.

Axel Rüger, 41, director, Van Gogh Museum
I'd start off in the canal district at Winkel 43, tel: (31-20) 623 0223, a café where you can have traditional appeltaart with your morning coffee. Then take a walk around the picturesque Nine Streets between the Prinsengracht and Singel canals, where there are a lot of curious little shops — like De Witte Tandenwinkel, tel: (31-20) 623 3443, a store devoted to toothbrushes. For lunch, go to Morlang, tel: (31-20) 625 2681, which is next to the Keizersgracht canal; when the weather is nice, you can sit outside and watch the world go by. Further along the canal is the Van Loon Museum, tel: (31-20) 624 5255, which is a richly decorated 17th century house. For a different cultural experience, there's also Foam, the museum of contemporary photography, tel: (31-20) 551 6500. To get a taste of nature, go for a walk in the Vondelpark, before having an afternoon coffee in the Filmmuseum, tel: (31-20) 589 1400. Dinner would be at a great Indonesian restaurant, Tempo Doeloe, tel: (31-20) 625 6718. End the evening with drinks in the relaxing, esoteric Café Schiller, tel: (31-20) 624 9846, on Rembrandtplein.

Haig Balian, 55, director, Artis Royal Zoo
As director of Artis, I actually live in the zoo, so I wake up to an animal orchestra and have my morning coffee watching the feeding. But then I'd take my sloop to see Amsterdam from the water — although anyone can rent a boat, tel: (31-20) 624 7635 — and end up at lunchtime in the Red Light District, where Oriental City, tel: (31-20) 626 8352, serves the best dim sum in Amsterdam. On the way back, I'd moor the boat at the Keizersgracht, next to the Runstraat, to buy authentic Dutch cheese in a specialty shop called De Kaaskamer, tel: (31-20) 623 3483, which stocks over 150 varieties. The next stop would be for a small beer at Café Het Molenpad, tel: (31-20) 625 9680, on Prinsengracht. For dinner, it would be Elkaar, tel: (31-20) 330 7559, where they mix Dutch ingredients with French cuisine, but you need to reserve as it's very popular.

—reported by Leo Cendrowicz

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