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Travel to Amsterdam, the capital city of Netherlands!!
Amsterdam is the commercial capital of Netherlands and is one of the top financial centres in the entire Europe. The city is also well known as the Venice of North and is an ideal place for honeymoon couples. Amsterdam is also considered to have the highest number of museums and is a city with almost 1500 bridges and canals. I have listed down the major tourist attractions of this beautiful city in this article.
Amsterdam is known as the city of canals that zig zag throughout the city. There are a lot of of navigable waterways in the entire city, so, the best way to explore the city is through boats and ferries. You can hire a private boat or take a boat cruise which will take you through the most important canals of the city. The cruise is much more fun in the evening as the city is fully lit up and the views look awesome. Exploring the city by taking strolls alongside the canal streets is also a unique experience in itself.
In contrast to other big cities in the world, you will not find many cars on the streets. Locals here prefer walking down the streets, cycling or riding their bikes. Hence, there is very less pollution and noise in the city.
Amsterdam is quite a small city but is one of the most planned cities of Europe. The narrowest house and street of Europe is found in Amsterdam. The best months to visit Amsterdam are July and August when the weather is the best.
Tourist Attractions in Amsterdam
Anne Frank Museum
Anne Frank lived in Amsterdam and became famous for her diary which she wrote while hiding from the Nazis during the German occupation of Netherlands during World War II. She was a jewish and not originally a Dutch national. The diary documents all her experiences and restrictions on the Jewish Dutch population in the country after the German occupation of Netherlands. The diary known as the Diary of the young girl, has been the basis of many films and documentaries.
The Anne Frank Museum is worth visit in Amsterdam. It's the same house where Anne Frank and her family went hiding from the Nazis for a period of 2 years after which everyone was killed by the Nazis. Only the father of Anne Frank survived and later this house was converted to museum. The house has been kept the same as it was first seen by Anne's father after Anne and the entire family was killed by the Nazis in 1944.
The rooms are very small and you get the feel of what it might have been like not to be able to move an inch in the day due to fear of being heard. There are quotes from Anne's diary on the walls.
There is a museum bookshop from where you can get a copy of the famous diary, postcards, and posters on Anne Frank's life. The diary is published in 30 languages and can be bought from the museum bookshop depending on its availability.
This museum is the most visited place in Amsterdam and remains crowded most of the time. To get rid of the hassles of long queues for the tickets, you can get them booked online.
Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh was a famous Dutch painter with a very short and brief career as he died at the age of 37 due to mental illness. It is said that he committed suicide by shooting himself. During the 10 years before his death, he produced around 2000 paintings and drawings.
Van Gogh museum is one of the most famous attractions in Amsterdam and is a must visit if you are an art lover. It is dedicated to the work of Van Gogh. Many of his paintings are the most expensive paintings in the world. The most famous artwork by Van Gogh is "The Potato Eaters" which he made in the year 1885. This painting can be seen in this museum.
More than 200 paintings and 500 drawings of Van Gogh is available in this museum.
Museum for Bags and Purses
This museum is unique in itself and is most famous attraction amongst the female visitors. You will get to see a huge collection of bags and purses from over 500 years and will get a feel of how fashion trends had been changing all over the past years. The collection includes bags of all shapes, sizes, colors, and material.
You will also get to see different sewing tools in the museum.
There is a small cafe inside the museum where you can enjoy tea, coffee and snacks.
You can also buy some unique designer bags and fashion magazines from the gift shop in the museum.
Herengracht is one of the most important canals in Amsterdam and its history goes back to the 17th century. This canal has the residences of the most influential people of Amsterdam including the official residence of the Mayor of Amsterdam. You will see Amsterdam's most luxurious houses on this canal. Apart from the canal houses, you will also find lot of cafes, restaurants and churches alongside the canal streets.
On the left side of the canal, you will get to see the oldest house in Amsterdam which was built in 1590.
Prinsengracht is the most lively canal in Amsterdam and is almost 2 miles long. The Anne Frank house is also located alongside the same canal.
Very near to Prinsengracht, is located a large open area called the Noordermarkt, which is basically a brick paved square. The major attraction of Noordermarkt is the Nooderkrk church.
Every Monday, from 9am to 1pm, people gather here at Noordermarkt to sell clothes, fabric and other items. Large number of vendors gathere here on Saturdays to sell organic food items such as fruits, vegetables, condiments, cheese etc.
Prinsengracht street also houses a number of small restaurants and museums where you can spend your entire day.
Keizersgracht, also known as the Emperor's canal, is one of the 3 important canals in Amsterdam. Keizersgracht canal hosts some of the famous monuments like the Homomonument and the House of the Heads. Homomonument is a monument dedicated to all the gay victims of the world.
The House with Heads is a beautifully decorated sandstone house. The heads of six Roman gods and goddesses (Apollo, Ceres, Mars, Minerva, Bacchus and Diana) are carved on the facade of the house, hence, giving this house its name.
When someone thinks of Amsterdam, then obvious things that spring through mind are the beautiful Tulips because Netherlands is considered to be the "Capital of Tulips". To see and get the most beautiful of the Tulips, a visit to the Bloemenmarkt, which in English means "The Flower Market", is a must. This is the world's one and only floating flowers market. The reason why it is called floating is because the vendors have their flower stalls on houseboats. You can get fresh flowers, plants, seeds and ready to be planted Tulip bulbs from this market.
Vondelpark is the largest green park in Amsterdam (around 45 hectares) and is perfect for enjoying a picnic. The park is very near to the Van Gogh museum. You can see people walking, running, jogging, roller skating and lazing around in green grass. There are multiple ponds and lakes inside the park. You can enjoy snacks and drinks at various cafes inside the park. Often people are seeing enjoying breakfast and lunch sitting by the lake side and enjoying the views.
Free concerts are organized in the open air theater of the park during the summer months.
Wegewijs is a famous cheese emporium in Amsterdam where you can get hundreds of varieties of international and domestic cheese. It's a century old shop started by the Wegewijs family and visitors are allowed to taste cheese before they can actually buy it.
Heineken's is a world famous brand of beer. It's a kind of museum which was started by the Heineken's family. You can take the guided tour of the museum and get to learn the history of beer and how the beer is actually brewed. There is also a tasting bar inside the building where you can taste different kinds of Heineken's beer.
Concertgebouw is the concert hall in Amsterdam. The hall is considered to be one of the best concert halls in the world because of its outstanding acoustics. Though the concerts are mostly understood by the Dutch people but its worth visiting for every tourist atleast once to see the beautiful architecture and interiors. Most interesting part is that the ticket includes to and fro transport to the venue and free drinks between the intervals.
Amsterdam local cuisine
Amsterdam is also a favorite place amongst food lovers. You can enjoy the authetic Dutch cuisines here. Normally the portions are quite big and cheap as compared to other countries in Northern Europe.
Lot of Asian influence can be felt in Dutch cuisines due to presence of lot of herbs and spices.
When in Amsterdam, you must try the following specialities:
1. Dutch pancakes, or pannekoeken are delicious pancakes which are very thin and are neither very sweet nor salty. The pancakes really taste well when taken with a dollop of ice-cream or whipped cream topped with a cherry. Mostly these are eaten during lunch or dinner.
2. Stroopwafels, two buttery waffle layers stuck together with a sweet molasses, are available everywhere from grocery stores to small corner markets and souvenir shops.
3. The dutch french fries with a dollop of mayonneise or the Vlaamse frites are also worth trying and available at every nook and corner.
Taj Mahal is the best Indian restaurant in Amsterdam where you can enjoy good and authentic Indian food. If taste is not a major criteria and you want to dine at a place with good ambience and modern interiors then Mayur is also a nice place for Indians.
Gandhi is another Indian restaurant in Amsterdam where you can get amazing veg samosas and butter chicken. The restaurant is almost 15 years old and is just 5 to 7 minutes walking distance away from the Centraal station.
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