Many think that the word Amsterdam is the city against rules, against trends and above all is the realm for sex and drugs, but far beyond that Amsterdam is perhaps the most beautiful city in Europe. Besides the coffee shops and the Red Light District, The Dutch Capital popularly known as the Venice of Europe is really fantastic. Amsterdam is a great tourists spot where people get to have fun yet a peaceful ambiance for there are noises hardly be heard, since most of its people are riding on a bike rather than cars.
You walk freely along the narrow streets and over the bridges that cross channels and you’ll get carried away by the smell of flowers and will be intrigued by the numerous sex shops that get mixed in supermarkets and bakeries. The city deserves a careful visit but without to lose oneself in maps and guides, walking between the people aimlessly, is a unique experience and not to be missed. Amsterdam is the effective capital of the Netherlands, it has almost 750,000 inhabitants and is the most visited in Holland, with over 3.5 million tourists a year. The time zone is the same as Italy and the international dialing code for Netherlands is 0031. The currency unit is the euro since 2002. The best time to visit Amsterdam is during the summer, from June to August, when temperatures are around 24 degrees. It rains very often especially in winter, but in spring there is a chance to meet some fog banks around the channels.
If you like football or sport in general, then do not miss the game of Ajax, for the match is a feast for the fans and at the same time an event to remember. If there are no matches during the days of your stay, you can still visit the Ajax museum with over 100 years of history and legendary players. The Amsterdam Arena stadium is located at the Arena Boulevard. Amsterdam is full of all types of accommodation, for all requests and for all budgets. You can choose from the “classic” family-run hotel, the famous international hotel chain, from Bed and Breakfast (which are becoming more and more famous) to the hostels, from the apartment (which is certainly the most cost-effective method for travel) to the camping. There is really not a worry as far as housing is concerned, the only thing to consider is the reservation period. The city is always crowded with tourists so it is advisable to book reservations long time beforehand, so you can arrive in the capital without any problems of stress and enjoy the best of the city.
The Dam Square is the main square and the center of the entire city, is located only 5 minutes walk from Central Station in the direction of Damrak, but it is also very close to Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. The square dates back to the 13th century and became famous throughout Europe in the 1960s for its hippies, since then it has continued to be a point of reference for both the Dutch and the tourists themselves. Very often in the square you will find stalls of knick knacks and street artists that are truly original.
There are interesting monuments that surround the square, on all the Royal Palace and the National Monument, with an obelisk 22 meters high. The first is the residence of the Queen in her stays in the city, has a neoclassical facade and was the original headquarters of the Town Hall. The second is a monument in honor of the victims of the Second World War. Also very close to the square is the Nieuwe Kerk, the new Church, toady hosts cultural events but in the past was the place where Dutch monarchs were crowned. At a corner of the square do not miss the Wax Museum of Madame Tussaud.
Let us go behind Dam Square and take Kalverstaat, a crowded street that is also dedicated to shopping, where you will also find the Kalvertoren shopping center. The Historical Museum is also interesting, which is located at the former convent of St. Luciene. On Friday do not miss the book market in Spui, from there you can reach the famous Begijnhof, a sort of secret garden surrounded by ancient buildings. Returning to the Royal Palace on the left you will find Nieuwendijk where you can buy souvenirs and relax in a few coffee shops, coffee bars and restaurants. Certainly you might not pass by the unnoticeable Magna Plaza, a shopping center in the building that is almost fairy tale – like. In the evening the street becomes one of the most important source of red lights, as well as to Spuistraat.
The road that divides The Dam Square precisely in half and that leads to the Central Station, is called Damrak and is always crowded with its bar and with its restaurants. Along the way there is also the Beurs van Berlage, the palace of the Amsterdam stock exchange , the Museum of Sex and the Bijenkorf commercial center. Continuing along the street of Damrak we lead to Rodkin that is located in the Amsterdam Diamond Center, the best place in Holland to buy fine-cut diamonds. The Warmoestraat, which is located behind the War Memorial, extends to the famous Red Light District and the gay area.
Leidseplein is the area of bars, cafes, clubs, coffee shops, pubs and cultural centers. When it is not too cold, i.e. during the summer months, the area is filled with outdoor tables. Another area for nightlife is the Rembrandtplein , which is also full of local and young people. All the best things here are not more than ten minutes walk from the Leidseplein and, precisely for this reason, it is an excellent starting point for visiting the city. The square takes its name from Leidsepoort that was the end of the road that came from Leiden to Amsterdam.
On this square overlooking is the Stadsschouwburg, the Neo-renaissance town theater with the shop specialised in cinema, theater and dance. In the square we also find the American Hotel, Art Deco Style, which takes its name from the architect who studied design in the USA and the Melkweg, a cultural center where you can listen to live music and theme nights. At Leidseplein is the most famous coffee shop in the city, The Bulldog, and also the famous Heineken Coffee Boom and The Boom Chicago Comedy Theatre. In the vicinity of the square, you can find the bus station from where there are many buses for the peripheral areas of the city, and for the Schiphol airport. Crossing the bridge you will arrive in Elandsgracht, where you begin to see the characteristics of the district Jordaan.
Leidsesraat is the main pedestrian street, where the trams also pass, and is ideal for shopping and eating in some great restaurants. You will also find night clubs and discos, as well as the ubiquitous coffee shop.
In the area there is also Spiegelgracht, an area dense with contemporary art galleries and antique shops. Nearby there is the flower market, where you can buy beautiful tulip bulbs.
Van Gogh Museum
The museum, dedicated to the Dutch painter, is situated at number 7 Paulus Potterstraat and contains over 200 paintings and 550 drawings and watercolours. The Museum also contains the private belongings, including some letters written to his brother Theo and sculptures of Delacroix and Gaugain.
The collection is permanent and is on three floors, divided into chronological order is divided into 5 periods , starting from the Netherlands, through Paris , Arles, Saint-rémy and finally Auverssur-Oise.
For those who do not have the opportunity to visit the city of Amsterdam, but is a fan of Van Gogh, can see all the works of the painter selected in alphabetical order on the site www.vangoghmuseum.nl
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum also hosts several different times of the year temporary exhibitions. The Van Gogh Museum was formed by a main structure designed by the architect Gerrit Rietveld and opened in 1973, and a secondary structure designed by the other architects.
On the second floor of the Museum, in the room of portraits, there is a reading room where you can find art books on Van Gogh. The audio tours are also available in Italian language.
Always remember, as with all the museums, refrain from touching and don’t take photos or film the works, not just for avoiding damaging them, but also for the image rights held by the Museum itself.
The Museum is easily reached from the Central Railway Station by trams 2 and 5, and is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Country and, furthermore, has more than 1 million visitors every year. The Museum offers a series of works of art and objects belonging to the history of Holland, from the first first shovel of medieval Dutch art. There are masterpieces of masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. The museum is located at the Stadhouderskade, in the area of museums, was founded in 1809 by Louis Napoleon but, for the incredible success and continuous flow of visitors, was transferred to the 18TH century Trippenhuis palace. Only later, in 1885, the final site was designed at the Stadhouderskade.
It is the largest and most famous green park of the city and is located near the museum district in Leidseplein. At any time of day you can see people relaxing while running with headphones and gymnastic shoes. Dedicated to the poet Vondel, it was opened to the public in 1865, the project was designed by the architect L. D. Zocher on commission. Measures 45 hectares and 50 years in the Park, which was then still located on the outskirts of the city, was officially donated to the city and has currently been founded an association for its maintenance and renewal. The Vondelpark is always crowded with locals and tourists, who can relax among lakes, bridges and trees shading. Inside the park you will find various attractions, such as the Film Museum that offers shows and movies.
In the park there are also games for children and families who often go there to switch few hours in the company for their children. Walking there you will meet contemporary statues by various artists scattered throughout the land, while in summer, there are so many films and music.
The Stedelijk Museum is located at Oosterdoksdijk and is practically the museum of modern and contemporary art in Amsterdam, with works by Picasso , in style of impressionism and expressionism.
It opened since 1895 but only from 1970 it became an exclusive Museum of Modern Art. There are works by artists such as Van Doesburg, Mondrian, Van der Nicolussi-leck, Rietveld, Matisse, and Rauschenberg. The Museum is accessible from the Central Railway Station on foot, following the pedestrian Route Oosterdok, toward the Nemo. Opening Hours is from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. the Thursday until 9 p.m.
This square takes its name from the statue of Rembrandt, which since 1876 is located at the center of this square. It is one of the landmarks of the city, a busy day for shopping, restaurants and coffee with their terraces outdoors, at night, on the other hand, with its clubs, nightclubs and sex shops. Do not miss the spectacular Tuschinski Cinema, built in 1921 in Art Deco style. Behind is the gay district, Reguliersdwarsstraat, full of clubs and is characterized by great cheerfulness. On the other hand we have Amstel, which takes its name from the river. You will find yourself on the bridge magro, i.e. the ‘Skinny, a wooden bridge in traditional Dutch style near Carre Theater. At the Herengracht 605 we find the Willet-Holthuysen Museum, overlooking the canal and is entirely open to the public. Along Regulierbreestraat lies the medieval tower Munttoren and near the floating flower market on Singel.
The main streets where you can find excellent restaurants or coffee are at Rokin, Kalverstraat and Nieuwe Doelenstraat.
The square dates back to 1880 when they were reclaimed two channels to place precisely at Waterlooplein in the old Jewish quarter. Just in 1893, in fact, appeared for the first time on the market square, mainly with itinerant Jews and immediately became a center of aggregation until 1941, when unfortunately the Jews were deported because of the Second World War. When the war ended and after the economic recovery, the market returned to the square but was no longer what it was before. Now, in fact, it remains only a flea market, which still deserves to be visited. The market is open every day of the week, except Sunday, and you can buy everything from souvenirs to antiques, from sweaters designed with marijuana leaves and flower bulbs. The Stopera is a complex of red bricks, marble and glass, overlooking the Amstel river and that includes City Hall and Theater.
The Jewish quarter remains a complex of Synagogues built between the 17th and the 18TH century, created on the model of the Temple of Solomon. Others come over time to the halls of Jewish Museum in Amsterdam, which exposes permanent collections. Delicious South Church, the first Calvinist Church built in Amsterdam after the reform, is composed of three naves and the bell tower that is almost 80 meters high that hosts some temporary exhibitions. Waterlooplein can be reached on foot from the Dam Square in just over ten minutes, or you can take the trams 1, 2, 5, 13.
The Blauwbrug, better known as the Blue Bridge, is one of the existing masterpieces that can be admired near Waterlooplein. It still retains the original decorations, sculptures of medieval boats, fish and the blue crown Prince Maximilian. From the Bridge in the distance you can admire the incredible ‘Skinny bridge, the double white wood and the Amstel sluizen, i.e. the closed the Amstel river.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House, now a museum, is the place where Anne Frank and her family went into hiding for two years along with the Van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer in the Second World War. During this period Anne Frank wrote a diary, real but very sad, which became famous throughout the world. Anne and her family were betrayed on August 4, 1944 and were deported in different concentration camps.
The house is located at Prinsengracht 263 and became a museum since 1960. The Museum shows the empty rooms, movies, historical documents and also carried out temporary exhibitions. We recommend a visit in the late afternoon, in such a way as to avoid the long queues that form in the morning. For people with disabilities take note that the museum is quite complicated to visit because there are hop on hop off and the stairs are very steep. To reach the museum just take the tram 13, 14 or 17 at the Westermarkt stop.
The Jordaan is one of the most picturesque districts of Amsterdam. The visit can start safely from the tower of 85 meters, set in Westertoren which is adjacent to the church Westerkerk. The Tower was built in 1631 and offers an incredible view over the city. The development of the quarter is due to the strong migration of workers who settled in the Jordaan during the golden age. In the second half of 900, Jordaan was likely to remain uninhabited for several logistical reasons, but in the 1970s, it was discovered by the new generation of artists, who dwelt in the neighborhood and attracted the attention of many. The district is rich in art galleries and coffee, but there is also the Mosque Fatih Canil, in Rozengracht. In Jordaan are statues of important historical characters, such as Theo Thijssen, the famous literary Johnny Jordaan and Tante Leen, star of the local music.
There are many famous artists who have passed on these roads, or who have stopped here to live, on all Rembrandt, and lived in the Jordaan in the last period of their career, even the philosopher René Descartes and the poet Vondel. In Noorderkerk are some of the most famous antique markets and knick knacks on Saturday and Monday.