Touring Fragrant Amsterdam

Good travelers travel with all their senses…and that includes our noses. Here are a few angles on touring Amsterdam that involve your olfactory skills:


Perhaps the Dutch are so into flowers because of the population density and the tight quarters they live in. You see it in the paintings and you see it in the markets–the Dutch have long had a love affair with flowers. I’ve even purchased a bouquet in the market just to brighten up my hotel room…to go Dutch. A popular souvenir for many visitors is a packet of tulip bulbs.



In the flower market, one of the most popular packet of seeds is one that may have you doing a little explaining at US customs. While Washington State has legalized marijuana, I still can’t legally grow it at home, so this starter kit may not be a good idea. But it is thought-provoking (and a reminder that many Europeans do enjoy growing their own).



While the 20-somethings line up for the Heineken Experience–a malty, yeasty, amusement ride of a brewery tour just down the street, an older crowd celebrates their visit to the Van Gogh Museum by crossing the street and stepping into the House of Bols: Cocktail and Genever Experience. Dutch gin has a long and bleary heritage and you learn all about it here along with a fun chance to test your olfactory skills. This line of scents each has a hidden identity. Pump the spritzer, sniff, and guess the scent–then pull back the cover to see what it was. I failed miserably, getting only butterscotch correct. While there are plenty of beer and wine tasting tours and experiences in Europe, what are your favorite hard liquor experiences on the Continent?

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