City Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Author: Julie Thompson | Last Updated: 6 Jul 2019
A city full of art, canals and greenery, Amsterdam is an essential city to visit in Europe. The capital of the Netherlands has been called ‘the Venice of the North’ due to its vast network of over 160 canals. The golden age of the city in the 17th century led to so many of the standout features of the city in modern times such as the curious architecture and outstanding art scene and history. Housing some of the best art museums in Europe Amsterdam is an important cultural capital. Furthermore, the city is best traveled by bike – an icon of the city – so there are numerous bike trails to get to know the capital in a fun way. Stopping here before or after a cruise, here is a list of things to do that will make your stay in Amsterdam thoroughly enjoyable.
Van Gogh Museum
Starting with Amsterdam’s rich art scene, the Van Gogh museum makes for a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. One of the most celebrated artists the world has seen, Vincent Van Gogh was Dutch, so it’s fitting that the largest collection of his works in the world resides in his homeland. With plenty of exhibits illustrating the life and great art works of Van Gogh, the museum has something for everyone and is beautifully laid out. Make sure you book your visit in advance through the website and get ready to enter the mind of the fascinating man and painter that was Van Gogh.
An incredibly quaint, old district, Jordaan is the place to go to get lost in its labyrinth of narrow streets and explore countless independent stores and antique shops. With a big market in “Noordermarkt” selling all sorts of food products and artisanal goods, shopping in this district is a pleasure. When you’re done shopping and checking out the quirky stores, you can wander down the narrow streets and marvel at the many canals that meander with them. A fantastic place for an afternoon coffee and a spot of people-watching, try cafe Sonneveld. The cafe has plenty of outdoor seating so you can enjoy a pleasant sit down while you take in the lively district.
Anne Frank House
The incredible story of Anne Frank and her family who hid from invading Nazi forces and evaded capture for so long in the attic of a now-famous house has to be observed at this historic site. Anne Frank wrote a harrowing account of events during the war in her diary which has since been translated into over 70 languages due to its importance and the fascinating insights it provides. Going to the Anne Frank house, you’ll be able to go up and see the attic which Anne and her family lived in for approximately 2 years. The real nature of the museum makes this an authentic site to explore and a truly thought-provoking place.
Taking on its Latin name, the botanical garden in Amsterdam “hortus botanicus” is essentially a giant greenhouse with a high catwalk to look down on all the species of plants. From trees to bee hotels, this is one botanical garden that’ll really blow you away. Hortus Botanicus is one of the largest of its kind in the world and a lot of the plants you’ll see inside came and a result of the East India Company and their trade. A breath of fresh air and a relaxing spot to go to tune out and enjoy the natural environment, this is an attraction worth visiting.
Singel canal is one of the most historic and famous canals in the city of Amsterdam. The canal circled the entire city during the Middle Ages and is lined with the characteristically colorful houses that are typical of the Dutch capital. There are several interesting locations to visit along the Singel canal, such as the floating flower market called Bloemenmarkt. A pretty display of all kinds of flowers, the flower market laying in the canal is a visual spectacle and provides a great photo opportunity. Also along the canal are many sights to stop and admire, like the narrowest house in the world – just 1 meter – at 7 Singel.
Another site along the Singel canal, Leidseplein is a lively district with some of the best nightlife on offer in the city. The Stadsschouwburg theater is one of the more visually appealing landmarks in the district – in the neo-Renaissance style – and is a stop you should make while in the area. As for nightlife, head to “Bourbon street” for amazing live blues and jazz music, you’ll notice it for the life-sized blues brothers statues on the roof of the bar. For an authentic rustic bar with an outdoor decking area, try “Kopstootbar” and try the delicious local food on offer there.
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