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Study Abroad Excursions in Amsterdam with CEA CAPA

April 01, 2024
by CEA CAPA Content Creator

The CEA CAPA Study Abroad Experience in Amsterdam 

Immediately upon arriving to study abroad with CEA CAPA, collaborated with the Semester in Amsterdam program at Vrije Universiteit, hosting a dinner for the incoming international students. This was the perfect way to meet the people I spent most of my time within Amsterdam. Since then, CEA CAPA planned several trips for us, with many more coming up. I fell in love with this country and want to do nothing but explore more. 

House of Fries  

Our first CEA CAPA excursion was near the center of Amsterdam. Here, we visited the original “House of Fries” shop, where we had the opportunity to try Amsterdam’s signature fries. In the same visit, we went to Begijnhof, which was previously home to the nuns in Amsterdam. Despite all the noise in the city, this place was beyond peaceful, as all its visitors agreed to silence upon their entry. This was quite a beautiful experience. 

A group of french fries with white sauce

Our visit to the House of Fries, with lots of sauce on top of our fries.

The fries to the left and at the bottom of the photo have truffle mayonnaise sauce and the ones at the top and on the right have frites sauce. Frites sauce is a widely used condiment in the Netherlands! 

A altar with a cross and candles
Inside the church at Begijnhof in Amsterdam. The display in the photo is the centerpiece of the church, surrounded by candles lit by those who enter. 


In another excursion, our CEA CAPA program traveled to a different Dutch city, Utrecht. This is home to the Domtoren, which is a tower of over 400 steps, standing at 367 feet tall. We toured the tower, climbing all the way to the top.  

A group of bells in a tower
The inside of the bell room at Domtoren in Utrecht. This room almost felt as if it were an attic. It was full to the brim with bells, some inscribed with images of Jesus and other major religious figures. 

Castle de Haar 

Afterwards, we rented bikes for the rest of the day, bicycling abroad for 12 miles. Our bikes took us along a gorgeous path from the outskirts of the city area of Utrecht to a more secluded area where Castle de Haar resides. The castle is something right out of a movie, with a huge plot of land, moats, a maze, large bedrooms, and more. 

A castle with a body of water with Kasteel de Haar in the background
The exterior of Castle de Haar in Utrecht, which looks like it's from a fairytale. There were lots of swans swimming in the moat surrounding the castle that perfectly complemented the beautiful flowers in the gardens. 

Zaanse Schans 

While Castle De Haar was quite magnificent, our trip to Zaanse Schans was without a doubt my favorite. Here we saw the famous Dutch windmills and the first Albert Heijn, a large grocery store in the Netherlands, and you can find it almost anywhere!  

A group of windmills in the water
The windmills along the water at Zaanse Schans. This area is stunning! The windmills line the water and parallel to them are quaint houses overlooking the landscape. 

The windmills were lined along the water paralleling rich plots of grass that were home to many cows, sheep, goats, and chickens.  

A goat standing on a grass field
The goats on one of the grassy plots in Zaanse Schans. While the goats pictured are far away, there were other goats that were close to the fence. 

This area also has a free cheese tour, where guests can try a variety of delicious cheeses and spreads.  

A person holding a wheel of cheese
Inside of the cheese tour at Zaanse Schans. This room was right before the cheese taste testing! You can take photos here by yourself or with friends. 

Finally, there’s a clog tour as well. Here, guests can see clogs over time for many purposes; there was even a diamond clog! 

A heart made of shoes
Décor on the outside of the clog tour in Zaanse Schans. Along with the clogs in a heart on the wall, in this picture are the famous large clogs. This is perfect for a photo op to share! 

Iconic Amsterdam Canals 

Of course, the most famous attraction of Amsterdam is its canals. What better way to see them than by boat? Our program was given a private sunset boat tour along the canals through Amsterdam’s center.  

A body of water with a boat and a city in the background
Sunset while in a boat on one the Amsterdam Centre canals. This photo is near Centraal Station along a strip of beautiful restaurants and of course the view of the canal. 


We also learned about them at the Grachtenmuseum, which gives a brief history of the development of the canals and the houses along them. 

A statue of a face with a finger on the mouth

The entry to the garden behind the Grachtenmuseum. This garden was a “silent garden” and had this sculpture placed right outside the entrance. 

Above all, CEA CAPA made it incredibly easy for everyone in our study abroad program to explore. The excursions provided for us were excellent ways to get us acquainted with not just Amsterdam, but other parts of the country as well! 


Alexx White is a CEA CAPA Content Creator who studied abroad in Amsterdam, the Netherlands during Fall '23.

Read more about our CEA CAPA Content Creators.
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