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Amsterdam ist bekannt für seine Kanäle, hat aber viel mehr zu bieten, Bild: fotolupa / shutterstock

Amsterdam – Narrow houses and an extensive canal system

Many tourists choose Amsterdam as their vacation spot. But before the trip, they always get good information about the city.

The city on the Amstel River was first mentioned in 1275. In 1317, Amsterdam joined the County of Holland and received privileges – the right to duty-free trade. In less than two centuries, a small fishing village has become an important port and an important economic center. At the end of the 15th century, the city received the right to free trade in the Baltic Sea from the Hanseatic League and carried out up to 70% of all transports via the Baltic Sea.

Amsterdam, Houses
Picturesque houses in Amsterdam, Image: Yasonya / shutterstock

After Amsterdam’s main competitor Antwerp was conquered and destroyed by the Spanish in 1585, the city’s wealth and power doubled. Fleeing from the riots of the Inquisition, Antwerp merchants and craftsmen flocked here, especially Jews. They brought the diamond cutting technique to the capital of the Netherlands, which led to the growth of jewelry and gemstones.

By 1658, the area of Amsterdam had been enlarged fourfold. A well-thought-out development opportunity – the “Three-Channel Plan” – ensured the construction of an adequate infrastructure and brought the city the fame of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Since the second half of the 18th century, Amsterdam’s well-being began to deteriorate due to the French occupation and the continental blockade. In the years 1810-1814, the Netherlands was part of the French Empire and the city temporarily lost its capital status. Nevertheless, Napoleon considered Amsterdam to be the third largest city in Europe after Paris and Rome.

In 1900, the number of inhabitants of Amsterdam exceeded half a million people. The rapid industrialization and the revival of the trading port led to overpopulation. The housing problem was solved with great difficulty.

The First World War, in which the Netherlands remained neutral, did not have a significant impact on the life of the city. During the Second World War, the population of the capital suffered greatly.

In the post-war years, Amsterdam’s economy was reoriented from unprofitable industries to trade, tourism and services. Today it is home to the headquarters of major international corporations as well as the headquarters of Greenpeace.

Currently, Amsterdam is a thriving city

Amsterdam, Bike
Amsterdam is a real cycling city. Explore the city on two wheels, Image: Yasonya / shutterstock

There is only one airport in Amsterdam, which is about 15 km from the city center. You can get there by train, bus or taxi. Of course, it’s much cheaper by train. Trains depart every 15 minutes from Amsterdam Airport Station, which is located right inside the airport building. To get to the city center, you need to reach Amsterdam Centraal station. The journey time is only 20 minutes. The ticket price is €4.10.

The exact train timetable can be found on the website of the Dutch Railways . There you can buy a ticket online. The hotels in Amsterdam are not cheap, you have to accept this as a fact. Even small hotels like B&B Level 2-3 stars can cost €100. But there are several Trevelhaks that you can use to save money in Amsterdam. First, it is traditional to recommend booking accommodation in advance, as the most profitable offers are quickly gone.

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Secondly, it is advisable not to visit the city on weekends, as many Dutch, Belgians and Germans often spend a weekend in Amsterdam. This immediately leads to higher prices compared to working days.

From November to mid-December and from mid-January to March, prices in Amsterdam are reduced by 30-50%.

Water in Holland is one of the purest in Europe, and that’s why locals almost always drink from the tap. While walking through the city, you will find free drinking fountains.

If you want to see how local people live, just look through the window. Most Dutch people don’t draw the curtains in the living room (or don’t have any at all) and don’t mind if someone looks at them through the window. If they notice you, smile and wave your hand. If you’re in the suburbs, you’re in luck. The windows are larger and they are lower, so you can better see everything.

In the western part of the center is the Jordaan area. In the past, poor people and workers settled here. There are a large number of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. Narrow labyrinths of streets, cozy courtyards attract tourists. Just 20 km from the capital, you will find idyllic landscapes, old houses and mills of the Zaanse-Schans ethnographic complex, as well as the authentic atmosphere of the fishing village of Voledam. Cheese lovers will be delighted by the tasting of the famous Dutch cheeses. And the fishermen will spoil you with freshly caught herring and smoked eel.

An evening walk through the red light district is very popular. Here you will also get a lot of interesting information about the history and traditions of this place.

Facts about Amsterdam

  1. Canals: Amsterdam is known for its picturesque canals that stretch for 100 kilometers through the city. These man-made waterways are a distinctive feature of the city and add to the unique atmosphere.
  2. Bicycle capital: Amsterdam is considered the bicycle capital of the world. The city has an extensive network of bike lanes, and bicycles are a popular way to get around. There are more bicycles than inhabitants in Amsterdam.
  3. Tulips: The Netherlands is known for its tulips, and Amsterdam is home to the famous Keukenhof Garden every year, which is considered one of the most beautiful flower gardens in the world.
  4. Coffeeshops: Amsterdam is known for its liberal laws regarding the use of cannabis. There are numerous coffee shops in the city where the sale and consumption of cannabis products is allowed.
  5. Royal Palace: The Royal Palace of Amsterdam, also known as the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, is a magnificent 17th-century building. Although it is no longer constantly used by the royal family, it is an important historical and cultural landmark of the city.
  6. Multiculturalism: Amsterdam is an extremely multicultural city. People from different countries and cultures live together peacefully here, and this is reflected in the variety of restaurants, markets, and cultural events.
  7. Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is one of the most famous museums in the world. It is the hiding place where Anne Frank and her family lived during the Second World War and where she wrote her famous diary.
  8. Flower markets: Amsterdam not only has the Keukenhof, but also various flower markets, including the famous Floating Flower Market, where you can buy flowers and souvenirs.
  9. Windmills: Although there are no traditional windmills in the city itself, you can find some of the famous Dutch windmills around Amsterdam that you can visit.
  10. Gay-friendliness: Amsterdam has a reputation for being one of the most cosmopolitan and LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the world. The annual Gay Pride Parade attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
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Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is known for its rich cultural scene, and there are many museums in the city that cover a wide range of topics and interests. Here are some of the most famous museums in Amsterdam:

  1. Rijksmuseum: The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous museums in the Netherlands and is home to an impressive collection of Dutch artworks from different eras, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals.
  2. Van Gogh Museum: This museum is dedicated to Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh and houses an extensive collection of his paintings, drawings, and letters.
  3. Anne Frank House: This museum is located in the former hiding place of Anne Frank and her family during World War II. It tells the moving story of Anne Frank and her diary.
  4. Stedelijk Museum: The Stedelijk Museum is the museum of modern and contemporary art in Amsterdam and is home to a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, design objects, and more.
  5. The Rembrandt House: Located in Rembrandt’s former home and studio, this museum offers insight into the life and work of the famous painter.
  6. The Hermitage Amsterdam: This branch museum of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, features rotating exhibitions from the St. Petersburg museum’s extensive collection.
  7. The NEMO Science Museum: An interactive museum dedicated to science and technology, especially suitable for families and children.
  8. The Amsterdam Historical Museum: This museum presents the history of Amsterdam through exhibitions, artifacts, and multimedia presentations.
  9. The Tropenmuseum: This museum is dedicated to the cultures and traditions of the world, especially the countries and peoples of the former colonial empire of the Netherlands.
  10. The Maritime Museum: This is all about the maritime history of the Netherlands, from historic ships to interactive exhibitions.