Amsterdam (Netherlands): Venice of the North
Amsterdam: The financial & cultural capital of the Netherlands. The city is beautiful and stunning with brick buildings, open skyline, rich history, canals, museums, parks, vintage shops, food, beer, streets, quirky festivals, theatre, live music, laid-back bars, and delightful restaurants – Everything about this place is beautiful!
The best way to experience Amsterdam is on a traditional canal cruise. These glass-topped boats offer unobstructed views of the splendor of Amsterdam. The canals of Amsterdam are incredibly beautiful, and there’s nothing like seeing the city from a boat.
You can also hire a bike. Nothing like it!
Let’s talk about places to see in the city:
Museumplein: The Museumplein is Amsterdam’s largest square and also the popular location for museums like Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Moco Museum and Stedelijk.
Van Gogh Museum: The Van Gogh Museum has the largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh in the world, which includes 200 paintings, 500+ drawings, and 750 letters, as well as pieces by contemporaries and influences like Rodin, Monet, Signac, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, and Gauguin.
Rijksmuseum: The Rijksmuseum takes you through 800 years of Dutch history. It provides a stunning and extraordinary showcase for Dutch art, applied art and historical artefacts.
Anne Frank House: On the Prinsengracht, the Anne Frank House preserves the secret annex where the young diarist Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution from 1942 until she was captured along with her family in 1944. You can book tickets online up to two months in advance, which lets you skip the line.
The Tulip Museum: Located in a room inside a tulip shop, this little basement museum tells the history of tulips in Holland.
Stedelijk Museum: Stedelijk Museum is dedicated to modern and contemporary art, from Vincent van Gogh onwards. All of the big art movements involving the Netherlands are represented, like Neo-Impressionism, De Stijl, Bauhaus, CoBrA and Pop art.
Herengracht: It is the first of the four main canals in the city centre’s Canal Belt. Herengracht was where Amsterdam’s social elite built their grand gabled houses, and that sense of prestige still continues.
Begijnhof: It is an enclosed courtyard established as a Beguinage, a community for lay religious women (beguines).
Keizersgracht: The widest of the three main canals on the Canal Belt, Keizersgracht is between Herengracht and Prinsengracht. If the canal freezes in winter, no boats are allowed to pass through, in order to help keep the ice intact for skaters.
Dam Square: Dam Square is at the point where the Amstel River was dammed in the 13th century, and was the scene of Amsterdam’s central market in Medieval times.
Singel: Singel is one of the poshest parts of the city, with continuous rows of gabled canal houses. It is a view to witness!
Jordaan: The Jordaan is a district in the city center of Amsterdam, known for its beautiful houses, nice restaurants, and original shops. The narrow canals and streets of trendy Jordaan are flanked by indie boutiques, cozy pubs, and eateries. Stalls at the Noordermarkt square market offer jewelry, clothes, and antiques.
Red Light District: Who has not heard about this one? Amsterdam’s Red Light District is famous for the line of windows and doors surrounded in red lights – red lights that signify legal prostitution. You can walk down the street and see barely-dressed women sitting behind the windows and waiting for customers. Red Light Secrets is a museum where the area’s prostitutes tell their own funny, moving and human stories.
Amsterdam is a very special place and it is one of those rare cities where I would love to go again! It holds a beauty – that you would never see or find in any other city!
Do comment if you plan to travel to Amsterdam!