While running away from all the bicycles before you get run over by them you will experience Amsterdam as a very peaceful city where everyone just ‘minds their own business’ and enjoys the city. So should you! Amsterdam isn’t a big city, and a lot of people will only stay there for one or two days but while it isn’t big.. there is a lot to do in Amsterdam. The city has a rich history, a lot of museums, you can have a lot of day trips from out Amsterdam, and the city itself is just beautiful to see.
Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world.. that may come because of the fact that I’m originally from The Netherlands, but also because the things I mentioned above. Whenever I have a day off from work I immediately go to Amsterdam – no matter how often I see this city, it doesn’t make it one bit less beautiful.
Amsterdam isn’t big, so this isn’t a city where you buy a subway card and get driven around from one tourist attraction to the other. In fact, Amsterdam doesn’t have much ‘big’ tourist attractions at all. At least, not Eiffel Tower big;-) The best way to get around town is by renting a bike, as bikers run the city – you will easily get biked over when walking everywhere. So why not rent a bike and join the crowd? When you want to experience Amsterdam you should wander through the ‘Grachtengordel’ – the canal ring and the Jordaan. As these are the most famous, and prettiest neighborhoods of Amsterdam. Also, go to the Red Light District, where the naughty side of Amsterdam – or actually The Netherlands – comes to life. If you have the chance of visiting Amsterdam while the weather is good, be sure to go to the Vondelpark – the biggest park of Amsterdam, where you can enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
The Anne Frank House
Amsterdam has played a huge part of the World War II, as it was completely occupied by the Germains back then. I think most of you know the story of Anne Frank – a jewish girl who hide in the attic of a house in Amsterdam with her family. During this time she kept a journal, which was published world wide after World War II. The house where she and her family were hidden is now a museum and one of the biggest attractions of Amsterdam. You can see where they stayed during the war and the original diary. A must see if you ask me!
Amsterdam is filled with a huge amount of museums! You have the Verzetsmuseum, which is a museum about the World War II.. you have Body Worlds, Nemo (science museum), a cheese museum, Madame Tussauds (waxworks), the Museum of Prostitution and even a Sex museum. But the two biggest museums of Amsterdam must be the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, which are both museums with artworks of famous painters. The Rijksmuseum is definitely my favorite museum as it has a lot of beautiful paintings including The Night Watch – and the building itself is very pretty. Also, Madame Tussauds is a museum that attracts a lot of tourists and therefor one of the most famous museums of Amsterdam.
Day trips from out Amsterdam
As I said before: The Netherlands is pretty small, which means you will come a long way with just a day trip. Without too much effort you can easily go to some other places. You can go by train, as train connections in The Netherlands are pretty good. I’ve written about cities to visit in The Netherlands before, right here. Also, you can join an organized tour to visit for example Delft, Lisse (tulip fields), Alkmaar (and the cheese market), Volendam (and a wind meal village).. hell, you can even go to Brussels and Antwerp!
- The biggest shopping street of Amsterdam is the Kalverstraat, however this isn’t the best shopping street. Go to De Negen Straatjes for a real shopping experience
- Want to go out or have a drink? The Leidse Plein is the place to be!
- Don’t stare at, photograph or film the prostitutes at the Red Light District, you will get chased or beaten up by their pimps
- As Heineken is the most famous beer of The Netherlands, you should drink one.. or two
- A coffeeshop in Amsterdam isn’t a place where you drink coffee, but where you smoke weed – don’t get confused!
- The best market of Amsterdam? Albert Cuypmarkt!
- Some pretty buildings and sights you may not want to miss: the Concertbuilding, the Herengracht (with the most photographed corner of Amsterdam), the Old Church and the Royal Palace