Guidebook Updates for Rick Steves Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels guidebook, we post them here. (Of course, it’s still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you’re set for a great trip!

Aalsmeer

For books printed before June 2013, the following may apply:

Amsterdam

For books printed before August 2014, the following may apply:
  • Wetlands Safari prices for 2014 are €48 for adults, €29 for kids ages 7–16; claim a €3 discount by showing your Rick Steves book.
  • Joy Ride Bike Tours' popular "city by bike" tour is now offered only as a private tour (not a group tour). Call 06-4361-1798 or check their site for information.
  • The Hermitage Amsterdam is no longer open late on Wednesdays, and can no longer be easily reached with tram #14 (tram #9 from the station still works, though).
  • Boogaards B&B has moved to a new location at Pieter Jacobszstraat 21, close to Dam Square (Db-€145, 2-night minimum, same owners, same contact info plus new mobile number: 06-3499-1941).
  • Café Vertigo (in Vondelpark) has closed.
  • Boom Chicago has moved from its longtime home on Leidseplein to Rozengracht 117.
  • Most train-ticket machines in the Netherlands do not accept American-style magnetic stripe credit or debit cards; without a chip-and-pin card the only option is to pay cash at a ticket window.
For books printed before June 2013, the following may also apply:
Orientation
  • The main tourist information office, located across the street from Central Station, now has slightly shorter hours: July–Aug Mon–Sat 9:00–19:00, Sun 10:00–17:00; Sept–June Mon–Sat 9:00–18:00, Sun 10:00–17:00.
  • Frederic Rent-a-Bike has raised their prices for 2012: €15/24 hours, €25/48 hours, €60/week; still with a 10 percent discount off multiday rentals for Rick Steves readers. They now offer three-hour rental for €8, and one-day rental for €10 if the bike is returned by 17:30.
Sights
  • The Rijksmuseum has reopened following an extensive renovation, which has restored the great building to its original 1885 glory. The museum is open daily 9:00–17:00; admission is €15 (covered by the Museumkaart; discounted admission with an I amsterdam Card). Rijksmuseum tickets are again available online. The tourist information office no longer sells Rijksmuseum tickets (but does still sell tickets for the Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums).
  • At the Anne Frank House, you cannot skip the entry line with a Museumkaart (but the card does cover entry to the museum). The only way to avoid the lines is to make an online reservation (book as soon as possible), or arrive right when it opens, or late in the day. Museumkaart holders can purchase an online reservation without buying a separate Anne Frank House ticket.
  • The Maritime Museum has reopened after four years of renovations, and is well worth a visit (€15, includes visit to VOC ship Amsterdam — now moored out back, daily 9:00–17:00).
  • The Old Church (Oude Kerk) is now closed Sunday–Wednesday (still open Thu–Sat 13:00–17:00 in summer and closed Oct–March).
  • Admission to the Tassen Museum is now covered by both the Museumkaart and I amsterdam City Card.
  • The Willet-Holthuysen Museum now has an audioguide (€3).
  • Admission to the Dutch Theater is no longer free, but requires the €12 combo-ticket that covers admission to the Jewish Historical Museum.
  • The Tropical Museum is now closed on Mondays.
  • De Hortus Botanical Garden is now open daily 10:00–17:00 year-round.

Antwerp

For books printed before June 2013, the following may also apply:

  • The numbering system for the Antwerp trams has changed. When arriving at Antwerp's Central Station, follow the Metro signs and take underground lines #3, #9, or #15 in the direction of Linkeroever; get off at the Groenplaats stop for the historic city center. Purchase a ticket from the machines on the tram platform.
  • The Diamond Museum (Diamantmuseum) near the train station has closed.

Bruges

For books printed before August 2014, the following may apply:
  • We're sad to report the death of our friend and local guide Christian Scharlé. His wife Daniëlle Janssens continues to offer tours of Bruges.
  • Hotel B (also formerly Hotel Nicolas) is now called Hotel Marcel; its new email address is info@hotelmarcel.be (its phone number remains the same).
  • Royal Stewart B&B has closed, but will reopen in June 2014 under new ownership as Hamiltons B&B, with two luxury suites (Db-€130, this price valid when you book direct and mention Rick Steves, cash preferred, mobile 0479-445-134, nicola@hamiltons.be).
  • Hotel Imperial has been renamed Hotel Blabla — really (info@hotelblabla.com; phone number remains the same).
  • The Laurenzino gelato shop has been renamed "Oyya," with the same management and same lineup of deliciousness.
  • The Canal Festival (Reiefeest) isn't happening in 2014; it happens every five years, with the next festival planned for 2018.
For books printed before June 2013, the following may also apply:
  • The buses serving the center from the train station have changed numbers: Buses from the station to the Markt are now #1, #3, #4, #6, #11, #13, #14, and #16. On-board fares are now €2.
  • The city's Museumpas now costs €20 (still valid for any 5 museums in 3 days).
  • The Begijnhof now closes in the evening (open daily 6:30–18:30).
  • The correct email for the lovely folks at Gastenhuis Sint-Andriescruyse is luc.cloet@telenet.be (without the second U). Also, in some copies of Rick Steves' Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels, 8th edition, the map on page 392 incorrectly shows the B&B's location; the dot for it (#13) should be farther south, near the K in "Verversdijk."
  • Hotel Cavilier's triple rooms are now €90 if you book direct.
  • Bistro de Bekoring restaurant, near Minnewater, has closed.

Brussels

  • Bruegel Hostel is incorrectly placed on the map on page 511 of the ninth edition of Rick Steves' Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels. It is located directly behind the Chapelle church, at Rue du Saint-Esprit 2.

For books printed before June 2013, the following may also apply:

  • The city's tourist information offices no longer book rooms at a discount for individual tourists. They are happy to recommend hotels, but visitors need to book direct for their accommodations.
  • Bus #95, which connects the city center to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the European Parliament, no longer stops at the Bourse. The most convenient downtown stop is called "Plattesteen" and is located on Rue du Lombard a few blocks southwest of Grand Place.
  • USE-IT has moved to Quai à la Houille/Steenkoolkaai 9B (Metro: Ste. Catherine).
  • The Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts has closed. Much of its collection will be found in the new Fin de Siècle Museum at the same site.
  • The Royal Museum of Art and History has been renamed the Cinquantenaire Museum (same collection, hours, contact info, etc.).
  • Hotel Ibis Centre Ste. Catherine no longer offers its €50 summer rate.

Delft

For books printed before June 2013, the following may apply:

  • Delft's tourist information office has moved to Kerkstraat 3, near the New Church and the Markt.
  • Het Konings Huys Hotel in Delft has closed, although its restaurant remains open.

Ghent

For books printed before June 2013, the following may apply:

  • The Veldstraat tram stop, mentioned at the beginning of our Ghent City Walk, has changed to "Korenmarkt."

The Hague

For books printed before June 2013, the following may apply:

  • The Hague's top art museum — the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery — is under renovation until mid-2014. Much of the collection of Dutch Golden Age artists — including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals — is currently on view at The Hague's Gemeentemuseuminstead (from the TI, take tram #17 to the Gemeentemuseum stop; from Central Station, take bus #24).
  • A new visitors center has opened for the Peace Palace in The Hague, but it's harder to get inside the actual building, which houses the International Court of Justice. If you want to see the interior, you must reserve a tour online at www.vredespaleis.nl. Tours are held only on Saturdays and Sundays, and because of court schedules, you can only book about six weeks in advance.

Keukenhof

For books printed before June 2013, the following may apply:

  • Bus #89, which runs from The Hague's Centraal Station to the Keukenhof flower show is no longer running. The bus numbers for other connections to Keukenhof have changed: The Leiden–Keukenhof bus is now #854 (formerly #54), and the Schiphol Airport–Keukenhof bus is now #858 (formerly #58).

Waterland

For books printed before June 2013, the following may apply:

  • Arriva bus #112 from Amsterdam to Edam and Volendam has been replaced by EBS buses #314 or #317 (still 2/hour).
  • The bus between Amsterdam Central Station and Marken is now the #311 (now leaves Marken at :15 and :45 after the hour).