No visit to the Netherlands would be complete without a visit to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands
, and is also the country’s primary center for transportation, commerce, culture and cuisine.
Choose your Neighborhood
Amsterdam has a number of neighborhoods, each with their own spirit and vibe. The Centrum
offers a vibrant, touristic feel, with plenty of shopping and quirky attractions to keep you interested. Finding the right district to lodge is also important. Do some research into the areas of the city that suit you before you book your bed and breakfast or holiday apartments in Amsterdam to avoid being in an area that does not suit you. My favorite district, Jordaan
, is the artsy heart of the city, with narrow alleys, trendy shops and small cafes. Oud Zuid
is the cultural heart, full of Amsterdam’s famous museums, theaters and high-end shopping. De Pijp
is the newer residential heart of the city where many of the more affordable Amsterdam studios and bed and breakfasts are often found, and also the famous Albert Cuyp Market
Things to Do
Take a stroll through the streets of Amsterdam, wandering along the city’s famous canals and beautiful old buildings, which include the Anne Frank House
. Or if you prefer to truly immerse yourself, you can rent a bike instead, and ride through the streets as the locals do. Just be sure to keep up with their pace, or out of their way, as they often ride with purpose. Another option for seeing quite a bit of Amsterdam along the canals is to take one of the many canal sightseeing cruises.
If the weather is nice, Vondelpark
is an oasis within the city, perfect for a picnic or just a day relaxing. If you enjoy animals, check out the Artis Zoo
, or if you prefer humans, check out Madame Tussauds
, which is conveniently located on the Dam Square, along with the Royal Palace
and the Nieuwe Kerk
, both of which played significant roles in the coronation of King Willem-Alexander in 2013.
The cultural side to Amsterdam
Amsterdam houses a number of world class art museums, most of which are located on or around the Museumplein at the start of the Oud-Zuid neighborhood. Here you can find the Rijksmuseum
, which reopened in full in April, 2013 after a 10-year renovation, and features the works of Rembrandt and Vermeer. Also in the Museumplein you can find the Van Gogh Museum
, which hosts a huge number of his works covering Van Gogh’s entire lifetime. The Stedelijk Museum
contains a marvelous collection of 20th century paintings by artists such as Picasso and Matisse. Also in the Museumplein you can find Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw
(Concert Hall), the Diamond Museum
, and the House of Bols
, celebrating genever, Amsterdam’s famous liquor.
Other famous museums in Amsterdam include the local branch of Russia’s famed Hermitage Museum
and the Rembrandt House Museum
Amsterdam is known to many as a hot spot for hedonism. Perhaps the most well-known tourist stop in Amsterdam is the famed De Wallen Red Light District
, located close by the Central Station. Here you will find a number of bars are restaurants catering to those looking to experience Amsterdam’s party scene, as well as Amsterdam’s Sex Museum
and the Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum
Along with genever, Amsterdam is also home to a growing beer scene. Here you can find stalwarts such as the Heineken Experience
, and can also try some of the growing number of local breweries that are springing up all over town, such as Brouwerij 't IJ, Brouwerij De Prael
and Butcher’s Tears
Amsterdam is also home to a vast array of dance clubs to keep you entertained until the early hours of the morning. Many of the world’s top DJ’s come from the Netherlands, so you never know if you may be catching the next Armin van Buuren or Tiësto. If electronic dance music isn’t your scene, you can also check out music venues such as Heineken Music Hall
, the Melkweg
and the Paradiso
where many of the world’s top music acts stop on their world tours.
Amsterdam is built on poles due to the nature of the soil underneath the city.
There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam!
25% of Amsterdam is underwater.
Over 70% of the world’s bacon comes from The Netherlands
The concentric canals of Amsterdam were likened by Camus to the circles of hell in his book ‘The Fall’.
Amsterdam is a very international city, with culinary options from around the world. There are 15 Michelin stars in Amsterdam, including four restaurants with two-Michelin stars each and seven others with one. Aside from the stars, there are a number of other excellent restaurants to be found in town. For meat-lovers, be sure to check out Bar-becue Castell or Café de Klos.
For more casual dining, look for one of Amsterdam’s pannekoek
houses, serving up the Dutch version of the pancake. These are not your typical breakfast pancake, and can be eaten any time of the day, with various toppings that can easily make them into a full meal.
Look also for quick snack foods, often available from old-style automats. Try traditional frites with mayonaise, a croquet, or if you’re brave, a frikandel, a fried, mince-meat hot dog found here in the Netherlands.
Getting around Amsterdam and The Netherlands
As we have mentioned, hiring a bike is well worth doing as it makes getting around quick and easy. Everyone cycles in Amsterdam so join the crowds and get on your bike! There is also a tram system running through Amsterdam which links Amsterdam Centraal Station
with various areas of the city. The Netherlands has an extremely reliable and fast train system and there are many connections between Amsterdam and other Dutch cities that are worth visiting. Beautiful cities such as Haarlem
are under 40 minutes from Amsterdam and bustling cities such as The Hague
are less than an hour away. There are fantastic beaches close to The Hague and walking opportunities through the sand dunes. Amsterdam is your gateway to The Netherlands, one of Europe’s most exciting, pretty and friendly countries. Whether you are looking to party or to do some sightseeing, Amsterdam has everything to offer. When you are planning your trip to the city of clogs and canals, remember Wimdu for affordable apartments and guest houses in Amsterdam.
Using Wimdu to find your perfect spot in the city
Cheap accommodation is often hard to find in Amsterdam
, especially in the historic center. Perhaps an alternative to expensive hotels is finding a typical Amsterdam bed and breakfast or holiday apartment. Wimdu’s range of accommodation is perfect for those interested in low budget travel. Choose an one of the city’s eclectic neighborhoods, and have a taste of a local’s life in the City. Living in a studio or holiday apartment in Amsterdam can also give you a unique insight into life in the Netherlands and hosts can provide you with invaluable information on how to get the best out of your visit. There are many hidden secrets to the Dutch capital, all within walking distance of the center. Wimdu
offer a range of holiday apartments, rooms and bed and breakfast across in Amsterdam, so make sure you check out the before making your next booking.