Somehow I've survived this week with only one really big "oops" (an IRB application I should have turned in weeks ago), and I am off tomorrow to continue my conference tour. I'm heading to a workshop in Delft, The Netherlands on gender and engineering research (along with a couple of R&R days in Amsterdam - send me your best advice for things to do!), and will blog depending on internet access. Then I have a research trip to Detroit to go back to the SWE archives at the Reuther Library (a continuation of this project). Then I have another workshop in New York (state) on engineering and identity. Then I get to go on vacation. Then school starts again.
Science Woman is currently having some R&R offline, so blogging will be a bit light 'round here. So instead, pop some Michael Jackson in your dusty cassette deck ( :-( Was anyone else shocked? I was shocked. Although his Thriller video TERRIFIED me...) write-up and send in your Scientiae post to Patchi at My Middle Years on Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall -- you have until midnight on June 30. See you 'round the Interwebs soon...
Ah! Funny you should ask about Amsterdam. Having worked for a nameless enormous Dutch electronics company, I have spent many weekends on my own there.
First, before everything: the MuseumPlatz is not to be missed. Big honking park in the middle of town, worth visiting in its own right just for sitting outside and watching people on a lovely summer's day with some excellent Dutch coffee (or a beer; personally I don't like Dutch beer but I love Belgian.) However, you also have (surprise!) museums. As in the Reichsmuseum, where you can spend days just gawking at the art and way-k3w1 artifacts. The Philips addition is impressive for Indonesian exhibits among other things.
Then there's the Van Gogh museum. And the Ann Frank museum. And ...
Not on the MuseumPlatz is the Maritime Museum, which is along the waterfront a pleasant walk from the Central Station (fine train system, gets you all over the country nicely.) Plenty of interesting stuff on Dutch history as a maritime nation, including a full-up merchant vessel (still in the water) for touring.
Concert halls if you're inclined -- several. Baked goods that you'll regret later but not when you have them before you.
Personally I just loved wandering the city on foot, but I'm strange that way. Helps to be just short of two meters tall, even in the Netherlands. You'll probably like the flower market.
Food is funny. The Dutch seem to eat very sensibly at home, with a lot of veggies, reasonable amounts of dairy and eggs, some fish and a bit of meat. When they go out they want dead animals; keeping a reasonably balanced diet while eating in restaurants was not easy. Indonesian, Indian, and sometimes Chinese may be your best bets but the tapas joints were fun. Then there were the bakeries ...
If you speak German, a few days in the Netherlands will mess you up for years.
If you go to one museum, make it the Stedelijk
And when I was there, a thousand years ago, back in the late 1980s, I had an extremely delightful time and great food at this cafe http://www.cafequinto.nl/ though who can say how it has changed over the years...my guess is far less slowly than anything in the U.S. would change. I had such a good time here that when I look at the photo of my ex-husband at the sidewalk table outside the cafe, I still get warm fuzzy feelings.
Being from Amsterdam I obviously have to comment here ... As mentioned by D.C. Sessions the Museumplein (not Platz, which is indeed German) is worth a visit, as are the museums. Note that the Rijksmuseum is open even though there are massive renovations going on. The Maritime museum to my knowledge is closed due to renovations. (Don't judge Amsterdam by its current appearance, it seems as if everything is being renovated or constructed at the same time)
Something else worth a visit in summertime is the Vondelpark, have a picknick there (buy your ingredients at the underground supermarket Albert Heijn on the Museumplein), or a coffee at the Blauwe Theehuis.
Something else not to be missed is the Albert Cuyp markt ("the longest market in Europe") in the "Pijp" neighbourhood, which is also a nice part of town with lots of cafe's.
Don't rent a bike. Amsterdammers will hate you for that. No matter what people wil tell you, it is NOT a relaxing way of getting around when you don't know the rules, or the appropriate ways of neglecting the rules. Either you relaxe during cycling, with fatal consequences, or you pay attention to the traffic and then you don't notice anything else but that.
Can't wait to hear about the Delft workshop! It's been many, many years since I was in Amsterdam, but I still have vivid memories of the Van Gogh museum. And I second the suggestions for walking around and eating pastries...
Thank you Nina -- and I apologize for (once again) getting my Deutsch and Nederlands mixed up.
Safe travels! Can't wait to hear all about them!