Amsterdam is a city that is recognised throughout the world. In fact, tourism is so big that the government does not put a budget aside to market the city. The fact that visitors arrive based on what they have read and heard says it all.
It is simple to see why Amsterdam is so popular. It brings together an almost perfect blend of history and culture. However, there is also the more suggestive side to the city such as the Red Light District and many of the coffee shops. Getting there is simple from the UK, with most flights taking just over an hour.
Take a Bike Ride
Everyone is aware that bikes are a common sight throughout the city because it is the best way to get around. If you want to explore as much of the city as possible, hiring a bike is a great option. There are many places that hire out bikes, offering bikes for people of all ages. Once you hop on your bike, this already compact city will become even smaller, enabling you to cover as much of it as you can fit in.
Hire a Pedalo
This is a city that has waterways slicing through it, therefore, getting on the water is a must. There are many boat trips available on the canals but if you are feeling energetic then a pedalo is a great choice. You can opt to choose one of the many routes available, all of which vary in the time it takes to complete. The prices are very competitive but it is an exciting and fun way of taking in the city and its canals.
The Red Light District
This is an area that has left many people torn since the city became a well-known tourist spot. Some agree with the legalisation of prostitution while others completely disagree. Regardless of what side of the fence you sit, it really is worth a visit. It is located in the medieval centre, which is a great experience in itself. You will see women in shop windows but the experience might not match what you were expecting. For those of you who want to find out more about the history behind it, there are tours available. This is different but it is part of the culture of the city.
The Anne Frank Museum is located on the Prinsengracht. This is dedicated to the life of one of the more prominent victims of the Holocaust. You will have the chance to browse around the home of Anne’s family, where they spent their time hiding during the Second World War. They came from the German city of Frankfurt and were Jewish refugees. This is the place where Anne first put pen to paper and wrote her diary. Not a lot has changed in the home as it has been kept very much like it was back then. This is a moving experience but it is a poignant part of recent history.
The Van Gogh Museum
Vincent Van Gogh is an artist that has captured the imagination of many. He lived a tragic life but ensured that his sensational talent was recognised. Each year, over 1.5 million visitors head to the Van Gogh Museum, proving just how recognised he still is. This is considered to be one of the most important art galleries in the world since its opening in 1973. There is a vast collection of paintings, with over 200 in total as well as drawings and letters.
Rembrandt House Museum
This house on the Jodenbreestraat is where Rembrandt and his wife spent a number of happy years. The house has now become a museum and it was in the Jewish Quarter where he found models for his biblical themes. He also took inspiration from the views he came across as he strolled along the canals. For two decades he lived here, and so, the house has been furnished in a 17th-century style. It contains etchings and personal objects.
This building was once the town hall but now, it is home to the King when he returns to the city. Construction of the building began in 1648 and a significant effort was required to make it a success. Almost 14,000 piles were sunk to support the building while the design is based on ancient Rome. The classical interior is mesmerising while it is furnished tastefully. The décor oozes wealth while the ornaments, marble, and sculptures complement it beautifully. You will also find an extensive furniture collection, ceiling paintings, and works from Rembrandt. The most important part of the palace is the Council Hall. This is a breath-taking room that is luxuriously decorated.
You might love the hustle and bustle of the city but sometimes it is good to get away. If tranquillity is your thing, then the Begijnhof is the place for you. It is the inner beauty of this magnificent city. All it takes is a simple stroll through the area to appreciate it for what it is. The old homes have a real character and the tiny lanes and pathways give it a quaint feel. The homes are occupied but you can still explore the area. You will come across manicured lawns and courtyards where you will find some of the oldest houses in Amsterdam.
Map of Amsterdam
History and Culture of Amsterdam
Sitting at the heart of Amsterdam is “the Dam”, which was built in the 13th century in the River Amstel. This was when the name of the city was created. The first settlers in the city were predominantly fishermen and merchants, proving just how important the city was to trade.
Throughout the centuries, trade has been the driving force behind the growth of the city. In the 14th century, Amsterdam was given trading rights to beer and many other products such as guns, tobacco, and diamonds, turning it into the richest city in the world.
The city then grew at a considerable pace before the three main canals were constructed. From this point onwards, Amsterdam found itself caught up in a number of wars. However, the city has since been tastefully restored, giving it back its charm and unmistakable beauty.
Events In Amsterdam
Held every year, the annual Light Festival is amazing in every possible way. It draws in architects and designers from around the world and with them comes their light artworks and installations. All of it comes alive during the festival with two routes for you to explore, where you can experience a different theme and artwork. Of course, as this is a light festival, the best time to view it in all its glory is at night. The light sculptures are mesmerising and are located throughout the city centre. It can be walked or you can take a tour by boat.
Whether you want Christmas shopping or to experience sipping hot chocolate in the cold air of night, a Christmas market is right for you. Throughout the city, you will find many different Christmas markets, all of which prepare you for the biggest day of the year. There are ice rinks and an ice sculpture festival for you to experience.
The Dutch and Tulips go hand in hand. They are known throughout the world about their affiliation with tulips so no wonder they have a day dedicated to them. Each year, in January, tulip growers design a vast garden in the city, where there are 200,000 tulips on display. The injection of colour brings the city to life and people come to pick a bouquet of flowers for free. This marks the beginning of the tulip season. You can also visit the Keukenhof flower park which is located on the outskirts of Amsterdam. It is the worlds largest flower park.
Kings day is a huge celebration in Amsterdam. Over a million people file into the streets and canals, with the majority of them wearing orange, turning the city into one giant party. This is a national holiday where the Dutch celebrate King Willem Alexander’s birthday. Throughout the city, there is live music, food stalls, street sellers, and performers. People enjoy a few beers and soak up the atmosphere. It really is a day to celebrate with the people of Amsterdam if you get the chance.
Pictures of Amsterdam
Hotels In Amsterdam
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