It could be said that Amsterdam has it all – sightseeing, shopping, history, and top-class culture. The capital of the Netherlands is known for its laid-back style, with hip, cosmopolitan neighbourhoods and a popular nightlife scene.
On the other hand, this city, with its population of 850,000 has plenty of quaint charm, found in its cobbled streets, winding waterways, and narrow houses with gabled facades. Visitors are also fond of its size as many highlights are within walking distance. Its popularity shows no signs of abating.
The Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) is one of the busiest in northern Europe, with approximately 300,000 passengers arriving each year. The terminal is a 10-minute walk from the city’s Central Station and 20 minutes from Schiphol Airport. The PTA has numerous facilities, including luggage lockers, shops, and places to eat.
The world’s largest sea lock is also under construction at IJmuiden to enable vessels to access the Port of Amsterdam 24 hours a day.
Some ships also arrive at Felison Cruise Terminal, in Ijmuiden, which has two berths.
NEED TO KNOW
There are many ways to get about in Amsterdam. As mentioned, many attractions can be reached on foot, although those not fond of walking might try using the trams.
Amsterdam also has more than 100 kilometres of canals and over 1,500 bridges, making canal cruises very popular. Visitors might want to join in with the locals and hire a bike for their trip.
The two main shopping streets in Amsterdam’s city centre are the Kalverstraat and the Leidsestraat, while the Waterlooplein flea market – the oldest in the Netherlands – is open every day except Sunday. It features around 300 stalls, selling everything from books, and vintage cameras to jewellery.
Keep an eye out for the many bikes running through the city – it’s best to avoid walking in the bike lanes. The currency used in Amsterdam is the Euro and credits cards are widely accepted.
WHAT WE LOVE
Anne Frank House: Located on the Prinsengracht canal, this is where Anne Frank wrote her world-famous diary during World War Two. It is possible to see the original diary Anne Frank received for her 13th birthday, on 12 June 1942. It’s best to book tickets in advance, as the museum can get extremely busy.
The Rijksmuseum: This museum, the largest in the Netherlands, attracts up to one million visitors a year. It houses a collection of 17th-century Dutch Golden Age masterpieces. Famous paintings include The Night Watch by Rembrandt as well as Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Woman Reading a Letter. Guests can also visit the gardens for a drink at the 19th-century coffee house.
The Van Gogh Museum: This building houses the world’s largest collection of works by Van Gogh, including Sunflowers, as well as paintings from some of the artist’s contemporaries. Almost two million people visit each year.
Windmills: Of course, the Netherlands is famed for its windmills, so much so that the country even celebrates National Mill Day. There are eight to see in Amsterdam city centre.
Dam Square: Built in the 13th century around the river Amstel to prevent the Zuiderzee sea from flooding the city, the square is a hive of activity, day and night. It is full of food stalls, cafés and bars, and serves an authentic slice of Amsterdam, as locals and tourists mingle. The Royal Palace of Amsterdam can also be found here.
- Those with green fingers will love the tulips in Amsterdam
- Ideal for those who want plenty to see and do within a relatively short distance
- Tempt art lovers with the Van Gogh Museum