Amsterdam, Netherlands – the country’s capital and largest city
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, its commercial center, the second largest port and the largest city in the country. The port was built on stilts filled with sand and mud at the confluence of the Amstel River into Lake Eijsselmer, which was once a sea bay.
History of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is named after a dam built around 1270 . In the early 17th century, Amsterdam became a wealthy city due to foreign trade. This prosperity of the city also led to a population explosion that quadrupled Amsterdam’s population. The old center was no longer enough for the new inhabitants, so the construction of the Grachtenring began. This carefully calculated mathematical project caused great excitement at the time.
The local canals mostly date from 1650-1720 and there are a total of 160 canals and 600 bridges in an area of about 8 km2. The wealthiest residents of Amsterdam built their homes on the local canals. Although the locals suffered during the German occupation of 1940-45, the city itself survived. Amsterdam’s diamond mills still provide international trade.
History of Amsterdam
Amsterdam offers visitors more than 7,000 architectural monuments, most of them in the oldest part of the city, called Valletjes or Grachtening. Sights include the Rijksmuseum with the largest collection of Dutch artists, the house where the painter Rembrandt van Rijn lived, and the 17th-century royal palace. The University of Amsterdam dates back to the 17th century. A sad reminder of the Jewish Holocaust is the Anne Frank House, whose diary recounts the story of a Jewish family that hid here during the German occupation during World War II.
The medieval center of Amsterdam, Valletjes, is a part of the city where visitors can find red-light streets and Chinatown, as well as historic monuments and shopping centers. The old city offers its visitors many attractions. The old city is characterized by bridges that cross the ring roads. The western part of medieval Amsterdam is called Nieuwe Zuijde, where visitors can see Dam Square with the Royal Palace and take a break from the bustle of the city in the secluded Begeinhof courtyard with the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam boasts a surprisingly large number of museums and galleries. The quality and diversity of the collections is impressive, covering everything from the Bible and beer to shipbuilding and space travel. Many are located in historically or architecturally significant buildings.
Anne Frank Hayes House.
Anne Frank Heiss, is the house on the Prinsengracht where Anne Frank’s Jewish girl family took refuge during World War II and is home to the Anne Frank Foundation and a museum dedicated to her memory. He walks through a secret door into the back house and into the small apartment where his family was forced to live. One of the museum’s most impressive exhibits, the original of the famous daily newspaper.
Anne Frank Hayes House
Thanks to her diary, the story of the Jewish Anne Frank, one of the most famous stories of World War II. In 1933, four-year-old Anne and her parents fled Germany from the Nazis to the Netherlands. After the Netherlands was occupied by the Germans, the family moved from Merwedeplein in July 1942 to the back of Prinsengracht House 267. Anna, her mother Edith, father Otto, and older sister Margot lived there with the Van Pels family and dentist Fritz Pfeffer . On August 4, 1944, the Gestapo invaded the outhouse. All those who were hiding here were arrested and sent to German concentration camps.
After World War II, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam in 1945 and found his entire family dead, his wife Edith in Auschwitz and his daughters Anna and Margot in Bergen-Belsen . Mip Gies, one of those who helped the family in their time of need, hid Anna’s diary, which the girl received as a present on her 13th birthday. The diary was first published in 1947 and has since been translated into more than 55 languages . For many people, Anne Frank symbolizes the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
Begeynhof, a beautiful courtyard with narrow 17th-century houses that stands out from the oldest surviving wooden house in Amsterdam. The name Begeynhof means “backyard”. The courtyard was founded in 1346 and housed parishioners. In return for living in the complex, they educated the poor and cared for the sick. Although nothing of the original dwellings have been preserved, the Begeinhof, cut off from the hustle and bustle of the streets, still retains its sacred atmosphere.
Here you’ll find the oldest wooden building in Amsterdam, Het Houten Huis no. 34, which dates back to 1420. The house belongs to the only two buildings in the city with wooden facades. The construction of wooden houses was forbidden after a series of catastrophic fires in 1521. Most of the houses on the Begeinhof date back to the 16th century . The adjoining wall is decorated with a collection of house signs from the surrounding buildings.
The south side of the courtyard is dominated by a 15th-century English church. The church was founded around 1419. After a change of religious orientation, it was confiscated and leased to a group of English and Scottish Presbyterians in 1607. The Pilgrim Fathers probably prayed here. To the west of the church rises a secret chapel (No. 29-30), where Bekinet and other Catholics prayed until 1795, when religious liberty was restored. The chapel contains many monuments to the city’s Catholic past, and its stained-glass windows and paintings depict scenes from the Amsterdam Miracle.
Heineken Experience Beer Museum
One of the attractions in Amsterdam that introduces visitors to the history and production methods of the world-famous beer in a pleasant and interesting way. In 1864 22-year-old Gerard Adrian Heineken bought an old 16th-century brewery with equipment at a very reasonable price. However, it took another nine years to create a world-famous brand. However, in the 19th century his beer spread to Europe and Africa, and in 1932 he built a brewery in Malaysia . He skillfully took advantage of the situation in the U.S., and when prohibition ended, he also dominated the local market.
Heineken Experience Beer Museum
In the 21st century the company expanded its operations and began to buy up local breweries all over the world. Thus today the Heineken Group is the third largest in the world and the first in Europe in terms of size. In the 1970s the beer production moved from new, unsatisfactory outdated buildings to new premises and the original brewery became the Heineken Museum, which was renamed the Heineken Experience in 2001. During the tour visitors learn all about brewing and the basic ingredients such as the water used, brewing barley, hops and special yeast.
A surprise for many is the original stables, which used to be designed for breeding horses. The precise, elaborate design of the labels used on the bottles is also unusual, the green color refers to natural raw materials, the red star indicates mythical power, and here an easily overlooked detail is important, the letter E, constructed slightly crooked to look optimistic and fun to consumers. After an interesting tour full of audio-visual effects, no one can resist tasting Heineken products.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and one of the largest historical cities in Europe. Some people come here for shopping, others crave to see unique museum collections, others are attracted by the availability of easy drugs. Some dream more likely to visit the Red Light District, and some go to a raucous nightclub. Romantics enjoy strolling through medieval alleyways along colorful canals, and the young enjoy the atmosphere of freedom.
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Head & Tails: Amsterdam
Amsterdam is located in the northwest of Holland at the mouth of the Amstel and Eee rivers. The name of the city comes from the words Amstel and Dam, which means “dam on the Amstel River.” The first mention of Amsterdam refers to 1275, when it was a modest fishing village, which thanks to the dam built, later turned into a port.
In XVI-XVII centuries, Amsterdam became a commercial center of world significance. In the next two centuries, the city had to repel the claims of France and England. In the XVIII century, Amsterdam was invaded by France, many buildings during this period were destroyed. From the late nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, the city experienced a decline that lasted until the end of Hitler’s occupation.
Today, Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan city, a major cultural and financial center with a population of about 814,000 people. The Dutch capital is a city that has developed immunity to racial, sexual and religious discrimination, where representatives of almost 200 nationalities peacefully coexist.
Amsterdam is located 4 meters below sea level, all its buildings are built on huge piles. The city is called the “Venice of the North” – within Amsterdam there are 150 channels connected by 1200 picturesque bridges. On the banks of canals moored almost 3000 floating houses, which are equipped with comfortable apartments. These houses on the water are official, each has a postal address.
The climate of Amsterdam is influenced by its proximity to the sea. The city is often dominated by wind, bringing rain clouds. Summers are warm, but without the sweltering heat, the average temperature ranges from +18 ° C to + 22 ° C. Winters are windy but not frosty, with average January temperatures around zero. Autumn is usually foggy and rainy. Amsterdam has a high humidity of 80%.
Amsterdam Red Light Street
Attractions in Amsterdam
Dam Square with its historic buildings is the main square of Amsterdam, a place of large-scale events and festivals. The square has nothing to do with the ladies – its name comes from the word “dam”. Crowds of tourists come here to look at the Royal Palace, the residence of the Dutch Queen. Some parts of the palace are open to the public except on the days when official receptions are held there.
On the west side of the square are Madame Tussauds, the War Memorial and the New Church with its impressive facades.
Rembrandt Square attracts visitors to Amsterdam with many bars, summer cafes, famous discos; many are curious to see the largest in Europe LCD screen. The square is adorned by a composition of a statue of the artist and twenty-two bronze figures representing characters from Rembrandt’s famous painting “Night Watch”. If you want to get in touch with the artist’s life and work, you have to go to the Jodenburt quarter, where his House Museum is located.
Rembrandt Square Windmill Molen Van Sloten
The concentric canals that delineate the city boundary and lead to the Singelgracht quarter are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 16th-17th centuries the local marshes were drained and replaced by a unified architectural ensemble, which for many years was considered the standard of town planning. Today the canals appear to us in their original form.
One of the symbols of Holland, windmills, you can admire in the outskirts of Amsterdam, where there remained 8 of these colorful structures of the XIX century. The windmill Molen Van Sloten is open daily from 10.00 to 16.00. At the brewery next to the Fuenmolen Mill you can sample beer brewed according to traditional Dutch recipes. The mill is available for inspection, and every first Saturday of any month it demonstrates its work.
The picturesque place Vondelpark is famous for having sex here in the evenings.
Canal Singel all permeated with fragrant aromas Floating Flower Market, where tourists in large quantities buy bulbs of all kinds of tulips. Nearby are the Museum of Torture and the Coin Tower.
Throughout the city you can see the structures of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. All the forts of the Line are historical monuments and are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Vondelpark – a romantic place Museum Square Amsterdam (Musemplein)
On Amsterdam’s famous Museum Square you can find four museums at once: the Diamond Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the City Museum of Modern Art and the Rijksmuseum.
On Museum Square
In front of the Rijksmuseum are two-meter red and white letters for the slogan “I Amsterdam”, a modern landmark that appeared in 2004. It is a phrase loved by all who share the liberal spirit of the Dutch capital. In 2012, this slogan appeared at Schiphol Airport.
You can get to the square by taking streetcars number 2, 3, 5, 11 and 12 at Central Station.
I Amsterdam Boat House Museum Audeckerk Church
Also worthy of a visit are: the Historisches Museum Amsterdam, the House-boat museum that gives an idea of life in a house-boat, the Maritime Museum where all the ships are exhibited life-size, the Nieuwe Kerk – where exhibitions and concerts of organ music are held, the Marijuana Museum – an exhibition of different varieties of hemp and products made from it, the Heineken Brewery Museum with beer tastings.
Men from all over the world rush to the Red Light District, an exhibition of feminine charms and for carnal pleasures. The red light pours out of the large window-shows where the toilers of commercial sex show off the merchandise with their faces. Interesting places to see in the area besides the women are the gothic Oude Kerk, the Vodka Museum, the Sex Museum, and the Casa Roso, an erotic theater. It’s easy to get here – you have to walk from the Central Station along Damrak Street. After passing the pier of the river streetcars, turn left and after a block you will be at the place.
Stroll along Damrak Street and linger in this remarkably beautiful spot with colorful, colorful houses standing right in the water. Check out the stores on this street – you’ll be delighted with the prices of shoes, clothes and souvenirs.
A famous attraction in the city is the Begeinch Nuns’ Asylum, located next to Spøy Square. In the yard of the orphanage is the oldest building of the Dutch capital – Wooden House No. 34, built in 1470.
Street Damrak Amsterdam-Arena
A book fair is held at Spøy Square on Fridays, and on Sundays you can buy paintings by local artists in this colorful place.
A squirrel in the Amsterdam Woods
At the Hassan Diamonds Diamond Factory, you can see the birth of diamonds. Admission to the factory is free, and you can buy a gemstone in the store located there.
For a typical Amsterdam city view, head to the Jordaan neighborhood – you’ll be charmed by its streets, courtyards, and unique stores. The neighborhood is home to one of Amsterdam’s most famous museums, the Anne Frank House, dedicated to the Jewish girl and her diary that she kept during the German occupation.
A popular vacation spot for citizens and tourists is the Amsterdam Forest, a huge park with a lake, boat trails and bicycle paths.
On the three rooftops of the River Station is the largest bicycle parking lot in the world.
Soccer fans will be interested to see the home arena of the club Ajax – Amsterdam Arena, located next to the Bijlmer and Strandvliet metro stations.
Thousands of bicycles are a trademark of Amsterdam. You can see just about anything you can imagine on the streets of the city – antique cars, fancy sports bikes and cargo tricycles.
Leisure & Entertainment
Amsterdam is a city of celebrations and festivals. In late August the Dutch capital is filled with visiting musicians, artists and actors – the art festival Uitmarkt begins. Stages are set up in the squares for countless theatrical productions and concerts, and master classes are held for those wishing to attend.
Uitmarkt guest The festival is held on the first weekend in August Living statues
If you are in Amsterdam on the second weekend in September, try to take part in the Open Monument Days, when places that are usually closed to tourists are available to visit: private castles, old farms, chic homes. You don’t have to pay to get in.
In the 20s of September at the former shipyard is the annual Robodock festival of contemporary art. During this event, you can see a lot of unusual things and performances, give yourself to crazy dancing on the nonstop working dance floors, marvel at the colorful pyrotechnic show.
Pyrotechnic show at the Phoenix Robodeck, destined to burn Optical Effects
In the same dates in September, you can also visit a five-day contemporary art exhibit featuring works by artists from the U.S. and Western Europe.
On the first Saturday in August, the Gay Festival, also called “Pink Saturday,” starts in Amsterdam. The parade of sexual minorities is the brightest weekend in the Dutch capital. The festivities take place on canals, squares and bars. The culmination of the festival is a parade of several dozen large boats, sailing through the canals past the cheering crowd.
Pink Saturday Cannabis Cup.
From November 20 to 24, Amsterdam becomes the site of the Cannabis Festival, or Cannabis Cup, where those who wish to do so show off their marijuana growing success. A team of 2,000 judges judge the participants’ achievements. This competition is accompanied by avant-garde exhibitions, theatrical shows and screenings of films about cannabis. Tourists enjoy sampling marijuana dishes, purchasing souvenirs, clothing and cannabis oil.
“On April 30, the entire city turns orange – celebrating Queen’s Day” is roughly the description found in most guidebooks. However, travelers who arrive in Amsterdam and dress in all orange on that day are in for a treat. In 2013, Beatrix abdicated the throne in favor of her eldest son Willem-Alexander.
Thus, since 2014, Holland has had a new holiday – King’s Day (Koningsdag). The holiday is held on April 27, his birthday. Residents of the capital still take to the streets wearing orange, opening countless fairs and dance floors.
Orange is the traditional color of King’s Day A stroll along the canals Everyone celebrates the holiday.
Herring is as much a symbol of Amsterdam as windmills, canals and tulips. If you are in town in early June, welcome to the Herring Festival on the first Saturday of the month. This is when boats with the first catch of the year of this beloved Dutch fish come into port. The main activity at this festival is eating herring.
Bruno Mars Herring Festival (Flag Day) at the Paradiso Club
Apart from the cultural life, many visitors to Amsterdam are also interested in the nightlife. There are plenty of clubs to choose from. One of the biggest is Escape (Rembrandtplein 11), a short walk from Dam Square. You can get to the club by streetcar number 4, 9, 14 and get off at the Rembrandtplein stop. On the first Friday of each month the club is given over to gays who hold crazy parties there. And every last Friday of the month people come to the “Night of Urban Sounds and Latin Rhythms”. The ticket costs from 5 to 16 €, depending on the theme of the party.
The popular youth nightclub Paradiso is located in a former church at Weteringschans, 6. The closest stop is Leidzeplein and can be reached by streetcars 1, 2, 5 and 6.
In the building of the former sugar factory is a club Sugarfactory, loved by locals and tourists alike. The same streetcars go here as to Paradiso, the stop is the same. The club holds parties with music for all tastes: techno, funk, r’n’b, house, disco from the 80s and 90s. Entrance fee – from 3 to 8 €.
Lovers of unusual experiences can be advised to look into the Ice Bar Xtra Cold, where the entire room is decorated in winter style. It is not cold in the main lounge and those who want to get cold come to the ice bar for 20 €. For this money they will offer you a couple of vodka cocktails and will let you watch a 3D cartoon. Address of the bar: Amstel, 194 (streetcars number 4, 9 and 24, stop Diemen).
Club IT (Amstelstraat, 24) holds only gay discos, but on Fridays anyone can dance to house music in the club.
Ice Bar Xtra Cold Coffee Shop on Rembrandt Square Lollipops with cannabis
Tickets to nightclubs are sold throughout the city at Free Records Shops and the Ticketshop at Leidzeplein 16.
There is probably no tourist who does not know about the availability of easy drugs, particularly marijuana, in Amsterdam. Many people think that coming to Amsterdam and not smoking weed is like not tasting oysters in France. If you decide to relax, go to one of the specialized coffeeshops. These establishments in Amsterdam are open to foreigners, unlike some Dutch provinces.
The most popular coffeeshops: Abraxas (Jonge Roelensteeg, 12), Greenhouse Effect (Warmoesstraat, 53), Amnesia (Herengracht, 133), Dutch Flowers (Singel, 387), Homegrown Fantasy (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, 87 A), De Dampkring (Handboogstraat, 29). Buldog – a network of coffee shops designed for tourists. In these institutions, in addition to marijuana, visitors are treated to “fun” cupcakes and pizza.
In addition to smoking marijuana, in Amsterdam you can appreciate the mushroom or hash brownies sold at the Smart Shop. Remember, these products cause a mild hallucinogenic effect, it is recommended to eat no more than two pastries a day.
You may also come across stores that sell everything you need to grow marijuana. You will need to show your passport to make a purchase in a coffee shop.
To the east of the city center is the oldest zoo in the country, the Natura Artis Magistra, with a rich collection of animals. The zoo also houses the Planetarium, Botanical Gardens, Zoological and Geological Museums, and the Aquarium, where you will see the inhabitants of the Amsterdam canals.
Amsterdam’s Lion Chimpanzee at Natura Artis Magistra Lemure rests
If you want to swim and sunbathe, head to the beaches of Amsterdam. At 900 Stavangerweg, to the left of Central Station, is Strand West beach. Bohemian beach Blijdburg is located in the east of the island of Eyburg. Streetcar 26 from Central Station takes you there. You can also sunbathe on the sloping roof of the Nemo Science Center, on the right side of the station. After sunbathing come to the Science and Technology Center itself, where all the exhibits are allowed to be touched.
A great place to shop is the “9th street neighborhood” next to Place des Dames. For women, head to the Donna Fiera, Laura Dolls for vintage women, or Van Ravensestein for the latest creations from Belgian designers. Lovers of classics should visit the boutiques of Italian designer Daniel Alessandrini. In the store under his brand “Museum of Glasses” you will find a huge variety of this accessory. Lovers of original cuts can find unique items in the Sky store. American brand The Paul Frank offers clothes in the Goods store, natural cosmetics can be bought in the Skins Cosmetics Lounge. Recreational women will buy sexy lingerie and a variety of erotic things in the “Scout” salon.
Pompadour tea store offers an excellent selection of chocolate products. In “What’s cooking” there is a good assortment of goods for the kitchen.
Delicatessen stores are a must: Patisserie Tout on Maasstraat, which offers delicious macaroons; Huize van Wely, a pastry shop; Feduzzi, the best Italian delicatessen store; and Tea Bar Haarlemmerdijk, a tea store.
In Amsterdam’s Pastry Shop The Cheese Shop
Albert Cuypstraat market – a huge market with a 100-year history, where you can buy food, vegetables, inexpensive clothes, electronics, souvenirs. Flea market of cheap clothes – Waterlooplein. Condom and condom store – Condomerie Het Gulden Vlies.
Large shopping centers with numerous stores of various kinds – Bijenkorf and Magna Plaza. Next to the flower market is the NEMA department store with democratic prices for everyday items. Large children’s goods chains are Intertoys and Bart Smit.
The most popular souvenirs, bought in Amsterdam: klompas (wooden shoes), cheese, wooden tulips, mills, crockery made of Delft porcelain.
Accommodation and Food
Hotels in Amsterdam are quite expensive, hotel rooms in remote areas cost at least 60 €. Be prepared for the fact that in most hotels facilities are shared. Many hotels are gay and smoking, so when choosing a place to stay, read hotel reviews in advance. You can book a hotel in Amsterdam on your own on any relevant website.
Hotel Fletcher Hotel CitizenM Hotel Andaz
In addition to hotels, you can find hostels, pensions and guest houses.
There are few places to eat Dutch cuisine in Amsterdam, but there are many good and affordable French, Italian and Indonesian restaurants.
If you’re a fan of Chinese food, check out Seedijk Street, a place where Asian cafes are concentrated. Nearby, on Damstraat, you can eat in Arab falafels.
Tip is usually included in the bill.
Not far from the Flower Market is the Luxemburg Cafe; the New York Times considers it the best cafe in the world. On the first Sundays of each month, the cafe hosts concerts and free snacks.