Have you ever felt bored and depressed, willing to go somewhere on the instant and have some good time away from your gloomy thoughts? Yes?
In such a case you should bear in mind that the city of Amsterdam is your perfect destination for a refresh, and is always ready to reveal its lovely atmosphere to all who hunger to soak themselves in it. This colorful and tolerant city will put you at your ease without intruding in your privacy. Nothing is compulsory there and you can spend your time in your own way.
This is a place you can have totally reverse activities. One perhaps may either lounge along the coffee shops or stroll inside the red-light district. But others will prefer to go sightseeing and enjoying the historic canals, the lovely art galleries and museums, the many churches, palaces and gardens…
For the latter here it is our list of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam:
• As a start you may take a boat tour along the historic canals (Grachtengordel) – the city most typical landmark. Dating back to 17th century they form concentric rings around the streets with numerous monumental buildings and the whole canal ring area is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You may take a boat for example from the Central Station and pass along the Singel, which encircles the medieval Amsterdam and is the oldest canal, catching sight of the well known and too fascinating boat-houses and the many lovely bridges and bicycles around.
• On Singel canal you cannot miss the floating flower market (Blumenmarkt). As everyone knows, the flowers and the Netherlands are strongly linked forever :), and here this relation is shown in the best way. You can choose from an unbelievable variety of tulips, other flowers and plants. If you occur to be in Amsterdam in spring and you have plenty of time, be sure to go to the town of Lisse (about 35 km away from Amsterdam) and its stunning garden Keukenhof, often called “the Netherlands’ flower garden.” It is open only during the two months when the tulips bloom , whose number is …. about four and a half million! If you do not have so much time to organize a trip outside Amsterdam, you can go to the city’s botanical garden Hortus Botanicus – one of the oldest in the world, founded in 1632. After going over the appr.6,000 sorts of plants there, you may continue to enjoy the park scenery from the café-terrace. Hortus Botanicus is about 850 meters far from Rembrandt Square across the Amstel River.
• Rembrandt Square (Rembrandtplein). The popular city square is named after the great artist, who lived nearby. In 2006, for the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his birth, an installation of bronze was erected on the square, representing figures from “Night Watch” – one of his most famous paintings. The streets around the square are full of restaurants, cafés and hotels, and if you look for an authentic local pub playing real Dutch music, you will probably find it out nearby. Some pubs claim to be centuries-old. 10 minutes walk from the square is the house-museum of Rembrandt (address: Jodenbreestraat 4) in the Jewish quarter, with the permanent exhibition of his engravings and etchings.
• Dam Square (De Dam). The square dates back to the construction of the dam around the Amstel River i.e. to the 13th century. On this square are located the old Royal palace ( the present home of the royal family as well as the seat of the Dutch government are located in The Hague) and several other attractions such as the National monument of World War II , the building of the Berlage Exchange (Beurs van Berlage), Madame Tussauds museum.
• Anne Frank House (address: Prinsengracht 263-267). The house in which during the Second World War the family of the Jewish girl have been hiding from the Nazis for two years and where Anne has written her famous diary, nowadays is turned into a museum visited by thousands of people from all over the world.
• Van Gogh Museum (address: Museumplein, Paulus Potterstraat № 7) – a remarkable place in Amsterdam and a magnet for the admirers of the great artist. Paintings from all his periods can be seen there and you can watch his sunflowers, self-portraits, and his other fabulous paintings as long as you wish. The museum as well keeps rich collections of other impressionists and post-impressionists, contemporaries of Van Gogh. In the museum shop can be found plenty of books, reproductions albums or other valuable souvenirs from Amsterdam and the house of one of the most genius European artists of all times.
• Rijksmuseum – National Museum of Art and History of the Netherlands. In the beginning its precious collections containing also paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and other prominent artists were exposed in The Hague (1800) and then moved to Amsterdam. The current museum building was built in 1885, and in April 2013 its main building opened again after a ten-year period of renovation. Rijksmuseum is close to the Van Gogh Museum at Museumplein.
• Old Church (Oude Kerk) and the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) – in spite of their names, both date back to the 14th and 15th century. The first is located in the heart of the red-light district (De Wallen), and the other – about 900 meters away, at Dam Square. Nowadays the New church is used as an exhibition hall, a concert hall and a place for other events. It is always at the disposal of the royal family for coronations, weddings and official ceremonies.
• Science Center NEMO. It is the largest science center in the Netherlands, aimed at those interested in science and technology. Besides exhibitions for the visitors are available also workshops, performances and movies. Located about 20 minutes walk from Central Station at Oosterdok № 2.
• Gourmet tour. This is not a museum 🙂 It comes here just to remind you about the delicious and varied food in Amsterdam. You will find nice and compact food bars and restaurants everywhere in the place, sometimes located on the second floors, often going up steep and narrow winding stairs. So cozy and intimate is their atmosphere and so quality are the drinks and food served by a friendly staff, that you totally forget about you have to go.
In general the Dutch cuisine is not known for any particular traditions, or at least not, if compared to other European cuisines. That’s why local chefs emphasize on any innovations in food preparation as well as on organic and fresh products, while the restaurant holders search for other tools to stay on the market, sometimes reaching the top of eccentricity. Quite many restaurants in Amsterdam are famous for their unconventional locations – a former Renault showroom, a former conservatory, an old ferry, and the outright leader is the Restaurant “Freud”, where food is prepared and served by former patients of a psychiatry …
Well, that is Amsterdam – alive and colorful, sometimes carefree, sometimes extreme, but always suggesting anything for everyone. Today, the same as in the Dutch Golden Century, the city continues to be opened to the world. And no one will feel like an alien in this cheerful and friendly place!
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