Amsterdam - Amsterdam guide, attractions and pictures

Amsterdam Travel Guide

Amsterdam: Canals, Gabled Houses and Bicycles

Amsterdam, a delightfully compact European city with over one million tolerant and friendly souls is one of the top destination cities in Western Europe. It’s situated on the beautiful Amstel and Ij Rivers. This charming capital city of the Netherlands, offers something for everyone, from quaint 17th century gabled houses, picturesque canals, excellent museums and a thriving café culture, to yes, the famed Red Light District and coffeehouses that don’t serve coffee.

Bicycles are the main form of transportation here as the narrow, cobblestone lanes don’t easily accommodate automobiles. You will not find any modern bikes here; the bicycles of choice are of the clunky variety with handlebar baskets.

Amsterdam is often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” because of its numerous winding canals, which contribute to the scenic landscape and provide easy modes of transportation in this water logged city. The three main canals of Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, combined with dozens of tiny islands and beautiful bridges form the essence of Amsterdam’s easygoing appeal.

Historic Squares and Cozy Cafes - Amsterdam is blessed with countless historic squares populated with tourists and locals enjoying the outdoor terraces and street theatre. Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and the Dam Square all offer prime opportunities to tour 17th century buildings, party the night away, shop til you drop at the Magna Plaza, view a film in the Art Deco Cinema Tuschinski, attend an opera at the Stopera and dine at the iconic Café Americain, a favorite haunt of writers and artists since the 1900s.

World Class Museums - Amsterdam is rich in cultural treasures from the Dutch “Golden Age.” The Rijksmuseum features masterpieces from the likes of Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen and Johannes Vermeer. The jewel of the collection is Rembrandt’s “The Nightwatch.”

The Vincent Van Gogh Museum features the largest collection of this artist’s works in the world, including “The Potato Eaters” and “Bedroom in Arles.” The Stedelijk Museum features a stunning collection of works from Matisse, Monet and Picasso.

Perhaps the most popular Amsterdam site is the Anne Frank Museum, located at the former gabled canal house where Frank penned her famous diary. Visitors can view the “Secret Annex” where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II.

Attractions for Everyone - Amsterdam is not all about its liberal policies concerning prostitution and marijuana use. These freewheeling activities are largely restricted to separate districts. Hip bars and dance clubs are available for the young and young-at-heart, but there is also a rich cultural tradition of theatre, opera and cinema. The Vondelpark has a Cinema Museum with daily screenings of film classics and offers free concerts in the summer in an open-air theatre.

Trendy restaurants in the Jordaan district, cozy cafes at every turn and the ubiquitous Dutch pancake houses offer plenty of dining opportunities. Art Deco bars with free Wifi offer a cool vibe of the expatriate hangouts of the early twentieth century. The unique narrow, colorful canal houses and 17th century neo-Gothic architecture dotting this misty flat landscape combined with all the cultural attractions provide for a perfect European vacation.

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Anne Frank House
Anne Frank Museum
Central Station
Amsterdam’s Central Station: Neo-Renaissance Splendor
Dam Square
Dam Square: Amsterdam’s Old World Square
De Gooyer Windmill
De Gooyer Windmill: Historic Landmark
Jordaan: Amsterdam’s Quiet Residential Enclave
Leidse Square
Leidseplein (Leidse Square): Clubs, Restaurants and Street Theatre
Magna Plaza
Magna Plaza: Upscale Shopping in Neo-Gothic Elegance
Maritime Museum
The Netherlands Maritime Museum: Spectacular Nautical Treasures
Montelbaanstoren: Former Medieval Fortification
Rembrandt Square
Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square): Clubs, Historic Cafes and Grand Cinema
Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum
Rijksmuseum and the Vincent Van Gogh Museum
Royal Palace
Amsterdam’s Royal Palace
Skinny Bridge
Amsterdam’s Magere Brug - Skinny Bridge
Stadhuis-Muziektheater (Stopera): Modern Opera House and City Hall
Vondelpark: Amsterdam’s Magnificent Green Space

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