Hello everybody. Today we’ll visit a city well known in the world…. You already know what it is?? Oh yes, we’re talking about Amsterdam. Just a warning, make yourself comfortable because this is a city that has much to offer, so there will be a lot to see and to do and for this we are starting right now!
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland. The city has one of the largest Renaissance centers of all Europe, there are,in fact, lots of buildings dating back to the period of the Golden Age. Amsterdam has one of the largest ports in Europe, located on the South Sea. About the economy there is nothing to say considering that the city is the main economic center of the Netherlands. We can say that Amsterdam a pretty multi-ethnic city. The flag, the symbol of the city, that has three crosses (the crosses of St. Andrew), represent the city’s motto “brave, determined, merciful”. Before talking about the culture is appropriate to say that the city has several channels (that will be analyzed later) and some characteristics that make it unique to our eyes: prostitution is legal and it is considered a job, those who make this activity are freelancers; the use of marijuana is not legal but it is well tolerated, so you might also find the coffee-shop authorized to sell the marijuana but in quantities of less than five grams per customer…. And plus here there are bikes everywhere! (they are the absolute most used means of transport ).
To know more (where to eat, what to eat, where to have fun, acculturate …) continue to read.
There are lots of things to visit from the most historical to the most original and that’s why we decided to split all this into sections. Are you ready? We are and we can’t wait to tell you the many things the city offers.
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS..)
- Oude Kerk: is the oldest parish church in Amsterdam and is located in the heart of the red light district (which we will see later, in the space dedicated to the entertainment). The church also has a chapel and some organs and it is also is home to several events, including the “Eucharistic Miracle of Amsterdam”, which attracts many tourists every year.
- Westerkerk: protestant church in the city, in baroque style. It is situated in the Jordaan district, on the banks of the Prinsengracht canal. Opposite the church there is the statue of Anne Frank. The Westerkerk is mentioned several times in her diary as a place of comfort for her. Near the church there is the Homomonument, a memorial dedicated to all the men and women persecuted because of their homosexuality.
- Zuiderkerk: the first Protestant church built in Amsterdam, located in the Nieuwmarkt area. The building is in the Renaissance style and is flanked by a high bell tower inside which there is the oldest bell in the city (it is right to specify that it is open to the public).
- Portugese Synagoge: the oldest synagogue of the city and the only one to be used for religious services. The synagogue also houses an exhibition on the history of Jewish community of Amsterdam and plus, here, there is one of the most important libraries of the world, the Ets Haim.
- Waag: is a historic port town, located in Nieuwmarkt. Once the upper floors of the building, now disused, were home to some museums, a court…. Now, on the ground floor you can find a cafe-restaurant.
- Munttoren: a famous tower in the Renaissance style, located in Muntplein, inside which there is a carillon. Next to the building there is also a pottery shop.
- Montelbaanstoren: tower located in the Nieuwmarktbuurt district. A very famous building, because one time this place was the location where the sailors met up before leaving.
- Beurs van Berlage: is the building that houses the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
- Paleis op de Dam: royal palace. It is located on the west side of Dam Square, one of the main squares, where there is the National Monument. Right from the balcony of the building Willem-Alexander Prince kissed Princess Máxima on the day of their wedding. The palace is open to visitors.
Now we will see the museums in Amsterdam, being the city one of the main centers with more museums in Europe. Remember that all these museums that we will see, are not very far apart.
- Rijksmuseum Amsterdam: the museum is situated in Stadhouderskade. It has some of the greatest Flemish and Asian art collections.
- Stedelijk Museum: museum of modern art and international contemporary art, situated in Paulus Potterstraat.
- Van Gogh Museum: is a museum entirely dedicated to the famous painter. This houses the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh. You will know all the different moments of his life, starting from his childhood to finish to his death. The museum is situated in proximity of the museums mentioned above.
- Amsterdams Historisch Museum: is a museum focusing on the history of the city of Amsterdam. You will find paintings, archaeological finds, models but also you will find not very common objects like a playable carillon and much more.
- Joods Historisch Museum: the important and the only museum dedicated to the history of the Jewish people. The building also houses a library and a restaurant/cafe serving typical dishes of Jewish cuisine.
- Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum: a museum dedicated to the navigation in the Netherlands. You will know not only the history but also you will see the different models. The museum is composed of an outside part and an inner part.
- Tropenmuseum: the ethnographic museum in Amsterdam, dedicated to the culture of the tropical and sub-tropical but also to the former Dutch colonies such as Indonesia or Suriname (the museum is definitely useful to know well the history of Holland having been the latter very influenced by these countries). Adjacent to the museum you will find the children’s museum, a place for children. The museum is located in Linnaeusstraat.
- Verzetsmuseum: museum dedicated to the Dutch resistance during the German occupation in the Netherlands. Various objects are housed in the museum, such as: weapons, documents, photographs, and the whole is documented through films and images. The museum is located at Plantage Kerklaan.
- Allard Pierson Museum: is an archaeological museum. It is situated near Kalverstraat and Rokin, to the south of Dam Square.
- Het Grachtenhuis: a place where you will discover the story of the famous canals of the city (they belong to the UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Amstelkring Museum: it looks like an ordinary house but when you go inside you’ll end up magically in a fantastic and unique church (dedicated to St Nicholas), located in the attic! The building is placed in correspondence of the canal.
- Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam: the great library of the city.
Now we are ready to explore the houses-museums of Amsterdam.
- Anne Frank Huis: this is the famous secret hiding place where Anne Frank and her loved ones remained hidden for two years during the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. Among the things to visit, you have the opportunity to see Anne’s room and some audiovisual material. The house-museum is situated in the Prinsengracht canal in the Jordaan district.
- The houses-museums Van Loon and Willet-Holthuysen will offer you the opportunity to know the life of a wealthy family in Amsterdam through the vision of the different rooms and the various objects.
Let’s see, now, the most bizarre museums that you can find in town. Are you quite ready for this amazing experience? We will show you incredible things!
- Museum of Bags and Purses: museum entirely dedicated… Guess what? To the bags!! You will find bags of all types and you can also buy some on the official website of the museum! A unique opportunity for those who love the bags.
- Kattenkabinet: yes, this is the museum par excellence for anyone who loves cats… We’re talking about a museum totally dedicated to these beautiful feline. We think it is needless to say that it is a place that must be visited (of course for anyone who is a lover!)
- Electric Ladyland: art museum all fluo. An original place that worth a visit!
- Eyeglass museum: it will seem strange to many of you and maybe you don’t even like the glasses but after the visit in the museum and after knowing more about these objects, much loved but also hated, you will definitely change your mind and you will have a new positive idea on them (there are also some sunglasses), wanna bet?
- Madame Tussauds Amsterdam: raise your hand if you don’t know it? However, for those who don’t know it is a museum in which are represented the wax statute of famous singers or popular people in general. Perfect for those who have never managed to get a picture with the favorite celebrity or for those who want to take pictures with more than one celebrities in just a few hours…. Better than nothing, isn’t it?
- Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum: oh yes, you read well, this is the museum dedicated to the cannabis and its uses in the medical field, and religious field but also in cultural field (starting from its used in ancient times till the modern ones). The museum is located in the red light district of De Wallen.
- Red Light Secrets – Museum of Prostitution: one of the many hot museums.
- Heineken experience Amsterdam: it is the old factory where was produced this type of beer, located in De Pijp. A must for the beer lovers and in particular of the famous Heineken beer. This experience will allow you to know the moments of creation of the famous beer and plus you can also taste it. Great, right?
- Amsterdam Cheese Museum: you will know all the typical Dutch cheeses and you can also taste the various products.
- Amsterdam Tulip Museum: a museum dedicated to the flowers, especially tulips. A place full of life and colors and a great experience for your sense of smell and your views.
- Houseboat Museum: you will know every little curiosity about this kind of homes (how they use the water and the electricity). The museum is located aboard the Hendrika Maria, a former merchant ship now, a houseboat.
And to finish this tour into the culture here are the most famous theaters and concert halls: Theater Carré, Stadsschouwburg, Tuschinski Theater, DeLaMa, Compagnietheater, De Kleine Komedie; Het Muziektheater, The Concertgebouw,The Bimhuis (including jazz music), Paradiso.
Are you tired?? We hope you are okay because there is still much to do!
- Let’s start by seeing which are the squares where you can walk or rest for a while. The Dam square, the main square of Amsterdam (which we have already mentioned before), then, there is the Munttplein, the Rembrandtplein, Leidseplein and the Waterloo Square and the Kalverstraat, the shopping street par excellence. Nearby there is the central station that is very beautiful.
- You can enjoy a nice walk near the Begijnhof, a complex of houses around an enclosed courtyard at the center you will find the statue of Saint Ursula.
- The botanical garden of Amsterdam: one of the oldest in the world, it has more than six thousand trees and tropical and indigenous plants.
- The four main parks: Amstelpark, Sarphatipark, Vondelpark e Oosterpark. Inside these parks you will find zoo, restaurants, bars, sculptures, mills without forgetting the different species of plants, flowers and various species of animals present there (they are presente for example in Amstelpark). But that’s not all, you will find lakes, children’s playground, gardens and even open-air theaters, museums and in the case of Vondelpark you will find the Ronde Blauwe Theehuis (the circular blue tea house). These magnificent parks have a lot to offer and definitely worth a visit.
- Artis: the ancient and the biggest zoo in Amsterdam (the structure is home to more than 786 different species). Inside you will find the Aquarium, the Anfibiarium, the Planetarium, the Zoölogisch Museum, the Geologisch Museum….. and also a restaurant.
- If you love markets, Amsterdam has something for you. There are daily and weekly street markets of all types, some examples? The Bloemenmarkt (floating flower market on the Singel canal), Noordermarkt, Albert Cuyp Mark, Westerstraat-markt, Ten Katemarkt and Dappermarkt… It’s up to you the choice!
- Do you what you want but do it on a bike!! As we said in the introduction, Amsterdam has this amazing cult of bikes and then you just run and get one!
- Amsterdam is a city located on a network of canals long kilometers and kilometers. The three main ones are: the Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht without forgetting, the Singel, the Zwanenburgwal, Brouwersgracht, the Kloveniersburgwal and the Jordaan. There are, then, four other canals (Brantasgracht, Lamonggracht, Majanggracht and Seranggracht) which are the most recent of the city, built on the island of Java (artificial island in the harbor of the IJ, the boardwalk of Amsterdam). All these canals are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and they are also navigable so you can choose to rent boats or to simply make a tour.
- You can choose to visit Amsterdam in many ways (bicycle, segway, walk...) and there are also many organized tours (on canals, culinary tours…). There are also the Canal Bus, called Pizza Jazz Cruise and Cruise, who make turns along the Amstel.
- Efteling: the amusement park located in Kaatsheuvel. Efteling received the IAAPA Applause Award for Best Amusement Park in the world. It’s a park divided into various thematic areas and it is situated in the countryside. A nice place for everyone
- The Amsterdam Dungeon: this is not a place for everyone but only for those who love the horror genre. A tour in the most obscure curiosity of Amsterdam, including the chair of torture, the ghost ship and for the more daring, there are the scary roller coasters. Who is brave enough to go there?
- GlowGolf Amsterdam fluo: here is something calm and this time it is perfect for everyone. It is a golf room all fluo!
- The neighborhoods to visit, especially if you love shopping, are: Nine Streets which differs from other districts for its variety of private ownership shops. Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk are the other shopping areas and it offers a wide variety of shops.
- Red light district: the well-known red light district of Amsterdam (in the true sense of the word haha!). We believe you don’t need no explanation, you can imagine what it is. Anyway this is an inhabited area it is forbidden to make noise and it is forbidden to take pictures of women in the window. The area is under video surveillance 24 hours on 24. You will also find nearby (in Nieuwmarkt precisely), the Chinese district. The eastern atmosphere is so intense that you will begin to think seriously of being in that specific part of the world.
Beware: you can buy the card “I amsterdam City Card” is very convenient, because it will let you have some discounts at museums (sometimes you have the chance to get in for free), but you can also have a free trip on the boat and a free ride on the tram, bus and metro. It is convenient also because you don’t have to do hours and hours of queue.
Curiosity: De Telegraaf is the main newspaper of the city. Among the many films shot in Amsterdam there are: the diary of Anne Frank and Fault in Our Stars (maybe many of you already knew it).
In Amsterdam take place different festivals some example are: the festival of cannabis, Holland Festival, the white night of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Pride, Shadow Festival of Documentary Film, Memorial Day and Liberation Day, the Koninginnedag (we have spoken of it when we visited Den Haag) and many others.
Amsterdam has a strong nocturnal activity, there are numerous private parties, cafes, clubs, discos, terraces to enjoy the view and enjoy some drink. Other famous areas are: Leidseplein and Rembrandt and Reguliersdwarsstraat (mostly frequented by the gay community).
Now we will recommend some of the most famous clubs.
- Winston Kingdom: disco.
- Club NL: disco.
- Club 8: disco.
- The Paradiso, Melkweg e Sugar Factory: these are all the cultural centers that at night they turn into clubs.
- Escape: disco.
- Air: disco.
- John Doe: disco.
- Club Abe: disco
We suggest below the hotels where you can stay during your journey in Amsterdam.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?iata=AMS&aid=960457 – hotels next to the Schiphol airport.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?city=-2140479&aid=960457 – hotels in the city.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?district=145&aid=960457 – hotels in the city centre.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?district=3025&aid=960457 – hotels in the Museum quarter.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?district=163&aid=960457 – hotels in the red light district.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?district=3024&aid=960457 – hotels next to the Belt canal.