Introduction to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is frequently referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ owing to its many canals and air of romance. Traditionally, Amsterdam was a trading city, and in order to be successful in trade, good social networks were indispensable. Thus the culture is founded on a tolerant and open society, attracting people from every corner of the globe. In short, it is no coincidence that Amsterdam has become the most multicultural city in the world, a melting pot of 174 different nationalities. What may sometimes seem contradictory to an outsider is actually the basis of all Amsterdam culture: the freedom to be who you are – and to say what you think.
Anne Frank House, Diamond Factory and a canal cruise
Visit the former Heineken brewery, now a national monument
History and a healthy dose of fear: enter at your peril!
Amsterdam is the festival city of Europe, with a busy cultural agenda which offers an exhilarating mix of performances and concerts by internationally renowned artists. Besides concert halls and theatres, the venues for the international and highly varied programmes include parks, town squares and even Amsterdam’s canals.
If you’re in search of Amsterdam’s fine cultural heritage, you can admire works by the likes of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh at the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands’ largest museum, and explore the impressive Royal Palace, the official royal residence of the Netherlands’ royal family.
Bikes are extremely popular in Amsterdam, and there isn’t a city in the world where such a large percentage of the population cycle. This makes sense, as there is no other method of transportation that allows you to travel along the narrow lanes and canal-side with such ease. Most bike rental companies also offer cycling tours, where an experienced guide gives an elaborate tour of the city and shows you its most beautiful places. You’re sure to find one close to your hotel in Amsterdam.
Whether it is Argentinean, Indian, Thai or typical Dutch fare you are after, look no further. Amsterdam has over a thousand restaurants catering for the tastes, needs and budgets of even the most discerning tourist or Amsterdammer. Dining in this diverse and vibrant city can range from fast food to haute cuisine, with every nation faithfully represented. The city boasts stylish and top quality restaurants, as well as traditional Amsterdam cafés, Dutch pancake houses, steakhouses and seafood outlets – the list is simply endless. You will no doubt be leaving Amsterdam saying “lekker” (Dutch for ‘delicious’)!
Amsterdam has a temperate climate with mild winters, cool summers and precipitation throughout the year. This comfortable climate makes it easy to visit year round. As the weather pattern does not have any extremes, planning a trip to the city is easy and stress-free.
Amsterdam has an instantly recognizable charm all of its own, whether you see it under blue skies, through light rain or even alongside the biggest crowds of high season. In general, most travellers visit Amsterdam between April and September, when the days are longer and temperatures are milder than during other months.
Flights to Amsterdam airport link to an extensive network of direct bus lines connecting it to the surrounding towns and cities. These lines operate with high frequency from early morning until late evening. If you prefer to travel by train, Schiphol station is directly below the airport.