Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has a rich history. You have heard about the canal belt, the many house boats, the floating flower market, the Dam and the world famous museums. One day is simply not enough!
The River Amstel was first dammed in the period around 1270, and on both sides of the dam ( the present day Damrak and Rokin) the centre of Amsterdam developed. From the beginning the waterways played an important role in controlling water, in transport and in defence of Amsterdam. However in the last quarter of the nineteenth century many canals were covered over, to accommodate increasing traffic, and improve hygiene.
Today the larger canals still have an important function for shipping, but also for tourist purposes. The evidence are the many tourist boat trips. A boat trip through Amsterdam has developed into the most popular tourist attraction in the country. More than three million passengers a year enjoy the beautiful views of the buildings, house boats and bridges.
On August 1, 2010 the canal belt with the main canals (Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht) and surrounding area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are over fifty museums in Amsterdam, with the most extensive collections and exhibitions. The biggest and most famous are the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijks Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Hermitage, the Anne Frank House and the Rembrandt House. As well as these there a several small museums with very surprising collections.Close to Central Station is one of the most modern architectural surprises in Amsterdam; NEMO. The biggest science centre in the Netherlands is located here. The museum is especially enjoyable and educational for children from around four years old! You get a fantastic view of Amsterdam from the roof terrace of this large green building.
An Evening out
Every country and region of the world is represented in Amsterdam’s restaurants. Dine exotically in an Ethiopian, Nepalese or Brazilian restaurant, or enjoy tapas’ sushi, mesa or couscous, or take and argentine steak, a Dutch pancake, or Belgian chips! If you are hungry you will definitely find something to satisfy you.The cafes, bars and brown cafes are too numerous to count. If you want to plunge into Dutch culture then you must go to the Jordaan or De Pijp. There are many of the well known brown cafes here, with carpets in the tables and posters of Ander Hazes on the walls! If your taste is for different types of interior or music you will certainly find that too.
In short: there is so much to do that a day trip will not be long enough to experience all of it. We have not even mentioned the fantastic shops, the bustling markets, the enjoyable (water)bike tours, beautiful squares and parks…