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All About Amsterdam

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About

Amsterdam is well known for its architecture, and over 7,000 buildings in the city are registered as historic. One of the best buildings is the Westerkerk Church; it’s free to get in, but those who wish to climb the tower must pay for the tour. Just walking around the streets of Amsterdam will surprise even those who are not generally interested in architecture.

Key Facts

  • Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, not Holland, as some people think. Holland is the province
  • In the 12th century the city was nothing more than a small fishing village
  • The world-famous artist Vincent van Gogh was born in Amsterdam
  • The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange on the planet
  • It was the wealthiest city in Europe in the 17th century, and is still financially strong to this day
  • The city is the main sorting and trading center for diamonds in the world

Things To Do

If you’re wishing for some more in-depth history, then a visit to the Rijksmuseum will be a treat. This museum has a lot of art on show, with many exhibits from the Dutch Golden Age of painting. They also have a huge selection of Asian art. The Van Gogh Museum is a wonderful place for those particularly interested in Van Gogh’s work; today, his paintings often sell for millions. A museum card is available for around $70, and this gives access to all 400 museums in Amsterdam.

It is a must for all tourists to go on a canal cruise. Some of these cruises are quite short, while others are long and include lunch. A canal cruise is a great way of getting around the city, and the commentator ensures that nothing is missed. Many of the cruises can be booked alongside the canals; otherwise, ask at hotel reception.

As Amsterdam is the diamond capital of the world, it is well worth paying a visit to the diamond factory to see what is done with these valuable jewels. Those who enjoy flowers need to visit the Bloemenmarket, which sells all kinds of flowers grown in the country. Amsterdam supplies most of Europe with fresh flowers. Food is plentiful in the city, with all European cuisines available, as well as many other styles of cuisine from around the world. Amsterdam is a beautiful city that is totally unique.

A fair part of the Netherlands is below sea level, which means that many canals criss-cross the country. This is true of Amsterdam, which is why it is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North.’ These canals are a main attraction for visitors. One thing every tourist notices on the first day is the number of people using bicycles. Cycling is the number one way of getting around this city, and bike hire is available for tourists who wish to do the same. Amsterdam’s climate is similar to that of many northern European countries, with cold winters and comfortably warm summers. The best months to visit are April to October. For those wishing to see the country’s famous tulips, visit in the spring.

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