Amsterdam, the “Venice of the North”, could easily be defined as a “floating” city: the element that dominates the city landscape is water. The canals, the boat houses, the play of light on the water give the city that special something that makes it fascinating and unique. Amsterdam has always been a popular holiday destination for the young, as it is famous for its discos, pubs and night-life. It is impossible to go to Amsterdam and say that you did not have fun. If you want to have a wild night of unbridled fun, go to the Leidseplein quarter or to the Red Light District. Here you will have countless possibilities to dance and have fun until the day breaks.
The Red Light District is the best example of the atmosphere of tolerance and rebellion that pervades the city and that has turned it into the favourite holiday destination of the young. Even if you are a person of high morals, you should consider including this district in your Amsterdam tour. The name of this neighbourhood derives from the red lights that illuminate the windows where prostitutes display themselves. Although turning women into merchandise may seem unthinkable to some people, Amsterdam is the first city that has legitimized the “sex industry” and has turned prostitution into a regular job.
Yes, Amsterdam certainly is the European capital of fun, but it is so much more than that! Art, monuments, beautiful squares are the other side of the city that you should definitely discover. The Dam Square, for example, is the main square and the centre of Amsterdam’s daily life. The large number of pigeons in this square, together with its cobblestone pavement will certainly strike the tourists and will remind some of them of Venice.
One of the most important sights in Amsterdam, that you should look for in the Dam Square is the Royal Palace. It is enough for you to admire the refined decoration of the façade in order to understand the great prosperity that this city has enjoyed in the past.
If you are a Van Gogh fan, don’t miss the museum dedicated to him for anything in the world. The Van Gogh museum, opened in 1973 displays such a large number of the artist’s works that it is guaranteed to leave you entranced by Van Gogh’s artistic genius.
If you have always been interested in the story of Anne Frank, you will be happy to know that in Amsterdam you will be able to visit the house in which she lived between 1942 and 1944. The house has become a museum in 1960 and today it is one of the most important and most visited sights in Amsterdam.
In order to say that you have really seen everything that was to be seen in Amsterdam, you have to take a boat tour of the canals. You will find yourself in a magic world full of beautiful boat houses that you will certainly remember.
If you want to buy souvenirs, in Amsterdam you will be spoilt for choice. You can find pretty much anything, ranging from porcelains to cheese and from spices to flower bulbs.
When you get hungry, remember that Dutch cuisine is strongly influenced by the country’s colonial past. You can taste various meat or fish dishes, with potatoes or vegetables and you can enjoy a cold beer in one of the many restaurants in the centre.
All in all, Amsterdam is undoubtedly the city of entertainment and transgression, but it also has a lot to offer from an artistic and an architectural standpoint.