Are you thinking of visiting Amsterdam for a holiday soon? You will be pleased to know Amsterdam offers a wealth of cultural sightseeing and tourist activities for travelers. It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular European cities for visitors taking a city break or as a stop-over location.
Many people have the perception that Holland is simply fields of tulips and barges navigating the network of canals across the country, but Holland – and especially Amsterdam – is much more than that.
Amsterdam offers a diverse selection of attractions for most travelers. If you would like to immerse yourself in rich Dutch culture this country offers, then Amsterdam is a great place to start and discover more about this fascinating country.
To begin with, Amsterdam has world-class galleries and museums with works by master artists, such as Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, Piet Mondriaan, Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan van Scorel, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Theo van Doesburg, Pieter Claesz, and Vincent Van Gogh. You will have a hard time choosing which ones to visit!
My suggestion is to head for the Museum Quarter & Oud Zuid (Old South), where you will find the ‘Rijksmuseum’ – the National Museum, and one of my favorites, the Van Gogh Museum. The Van Gogh Museum owns the largest collection of the artist’s work and is a “must see” when visiting Amsterdam.
Another popular tourist stop is the famous historical house with its “Secret Annex” where Anne Frank hid from Germans occupying Amsterdam during World War II.
Finding your way around Amsterdam is relatively easy as there are many modes of transportation. These can range from conventional buses, trains, metro, and taxis, as well as the city’s tram system, water taxis, pleasure boats and ferries, plus the city’s most well-known mode of getting around, the bicycle.
Cycling in Amsterdam is not only a great way to get around and see this wonderful city, but also a smart way to get up close and personal with Dutch culture and daily life. It’s very easy to rent a bicycle and there are plenty of rental shops throughout Amsterdam – you can’t miss them!
Other things to enjoy in Amsterdam:
As I mentioned, the canals are an integral part of Amsterdam and its topography, and offer a great way to move around the city easily, as well as a good way to go sightseeing.
How about a visit to the Heineken Brewery? Until a few years ago it was used as a working brewery, but now it is home to a museum and visitor’s center for its namesake. If you are interested in beer production and history, this would be a good place to visit – and of course, samples of beer are part of the tour.
While you’re enjoying a Dutch beer, make sure you try a local food tradition, herring or a ‘broodje haring’ (a herring sandwich). These are readily available from many local fish stalls throughout the city, and are usually served with onions and pickles.
A trip to Holland would not be complete without sampling some real Dutch cheeses, such as Gouda and Edam. The ‘jong’ (young) variety is mild and creamy, while the ‘oud’ (old) is mature and has a sharper taste. You’ll also want to stop for a coffe and a kaas broodje (bread roll with cheese.) At happy hour, Dutch cheese bites are served with mustard. Alternatively, you can sample many of the local artisan cheeses at the Farmer’s Market.
So why not enjoy all that Amsterdam has to offer: art, food, history and culture? You might decide to extend your stay just a little longer.