Before getting too far, I want to link to a great post on medium about React Amsterdam and what to expect, read this article before anything else if you are on planning on attending!
I want this article to be something that can live on past the 2019 React Amsterdam event.2019 is my first time attending. But I think a lot of the info and tips I bring up will be valid for next year as well.
My name is Eric Bishard, I go by @httpJunkie on Twitter. I'm a developer advocate for KendoReact and I work at Progress Software. I don't want to make this an advertisement by any means, but I do want to recognize the people I work for and say that it's been an amazing experience to work for a company that as a developer advocate for React, allows me to get out there and interact with the React community at the most amazing React conferences on the planet and do it in a way that is truly organic. I couldn't imagine a better company to get my avocado legs at.
Of all the conferences I have been preparing for this year, React Amsterdam was by far the most interesting to plan and think about. Amsterdam is truly an amazing place to visit this time of year. Some of the speakers and volunteers for the conference are getting into town a few days early to check out the city, to travel outside of the city to see the tulips blooming and although my suggestion is to stay away from most tourist attractions, things like this and visiting the Ann Frank house are amazing things you can do in your off time at the conference.
Amsterdam is an easy town to get around also. When I arrived, I didn't order a €30 to €40 Taxi, Lyft or Uber. Instead, I hopped on the train for $5 Euros and took it to the Central Station where I then paid for a 3 day Metro ticket for €20. This will get me most of the places within the Central and Amsterdam Noord. Taking ride sharing seems to not be as interesting as a way to get around. Pair that the fact you can rent a bike anywhere you can throw a rock, it just doesn't make much sense to take ride sharing or taxis unless you're desperate or trains are not running.
If you are planning on attending the React Amsterdam 2020 event, mark your calendars now, it will be April 16th and 17th. I have found that it's best to get your hotel early and not worry about the distance so much as the proximity to a Metro station!
A few things to keep in mind when getting to Amsterdam and understanding the trains vs metro. In order to go everywhere in the city, you will need an OV-Chipkaart, which is a loadable card that you can keep topping off and is good for all of the transit options. You can purchase these at the airport or train stations. You can also just by a Metro card that is good for anywhere the Metro travels. Without getting too crazy in this article, understand that Amsterdam has 5 ways to travel using public transport, the best resource for figuring this out is a TripSavvy Article that does a great job at explaining it all, otherwise just take a day to travel around, you'll figure it out. Each station has information booths in case you need some help.
Because it's so easy to get around, you don't really need to stay right next to the conference, in fact, I'm enjoying the commute to and from on the Metro, learning about the city and for this reason, I want to give you some ideas of places that are pretty rad to stay at. Amsterdam has a lot of Bed & Breakfasts, House Boats, and quirky hotels that you might not know about, I'm going to link to a bunch of these places in the resources section at the end of this article.
Amsterdam is a place where you can easily get lost but a little bit of homework before your trip, an hour or two studying the major city center, surrounding areas, streets, and canals will go a long way in helping you get a lay of the land before you hit the ground. Obviously, Google Maps is the best place to start, but you should also take in the major transit lines and understand what places are easy to bike to and what areas are best to take transportation to.
React Amsterdam aside from the main conference has two days of workshops, as an attendee, this should be something you consider doing if your company is helping you to make the trip, even if not, the value of these workshops more than pays for itself in the amount of hands-on experience you will get and one on one time with the workshop instructors teaching the latest bleeding edge React concepts in both React and React Native. Aside from attending there are also possibilities to sign up for volunteering to help with the workshops and conference. My company is a sponsor and I wanted to maximize my opportunities to meet people and help out with the conference, naturally, this is something I consider doing at most of the conferences I will be attending this year, especially if I'm not a speaker or presenter.
I'm still working on this part of the article and will publish an update after April 12th, I hope this article can be a document that is useful not only for the 2019 React Amsterdam but also for future React Amsterdam events.
Below are some of the resources I wanted to make sure anyone coming to Amsterdam had access to, as well, I have added some interesting lodging ideas and transportation links.