|Amsterdam is world-renowned for two things: its canals and its liberal values! Though it is also a very beautiful and friendly city to visit where nearly everyone speaks English.
Amsterdam has large numbers of historic architecture around its city centre; about 7,000 buildings are registered historic buildings; which are focused around the canal system. What you will find difficult to comprehend as you walk around, is that the city actually consists of 90 islands which are linked by a total of 400 bridges.
This makes Amsterdam a lovely city to simply walk around and enjoy, especially on a warm summer’s day, then sit at a café and watch the world go by! Or you could explore the city on bicycle – in Amsterdam, bicycles rule the road and as a pedestrian you actually have to be quite careful if you cross a bicycle lane (which are everywhere!). The tram is another form of transport which you have to look out for, but also a very useful one to get you to parts of the city a bit further out, such as the Rijksmuseum.
The Rijksmuseum is world famous and one of the Netherlands most important museums. For the past year or so the museum has been undergoing renovation, so much of it is closed, however all of the masterpieces, such as Rembrandt’s The Night Watch are on display in a special exhibition.
Staying on the art theme, the Dutch painter van Gogh has his own museum (the van Gogh Museum) where some of his famous works are on display.
Ann Frank’s House is one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions and is definitely worth the visit. This was the home of the Jewish girl, Anne Frank, who kept a diary whilst her family were in hiding from the Nazis in the house. It is a very fascinating look into how so many people’s lives were so affected by the Second World War and is also quite moving.
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a canal boat tour. There are several companies offering them, and the duration is usually about an hour. It is an excellent way to see the city and the tours have a commentary which points out all the interesting buildings you are passing by.
Amsterdam’s Red Light District is worth a look, if nothing else! Prostitutes display themselves in full-size windows as prostitution is legal here. Despite common belief, cannabis is not legal though in Amsterdam, it is just condoned and can be easily bought in the infamous Coffeeshops.