Don’t go hunting for something different in Amsterdam – embrace the stereotypes of sparkling diamonds and red lights, cheese, canals and cannabis, art, architecture and windmills.
177 resident nationalities and seventeen million tourists per annum give you an idea of the hectic eclectic kaleidoscope of culture and concentrated interests within the city, offering a welcome for everyone.
It’s too easy to dismiss Amsterdam because it’s on your doorstep, because you’ve seen it before, or because it’s too ordinary with its tulips and tat but Amsterdam warrants repeated visits as there’s simply too much to see and do during one – unless you choose to live there!
There are so many contrasts within Amsterdam that even if you don’t want to sample the delights of the red light district or sink into a hash stupor – both of which are legal in the city – then there’s a museum or café or display to give you a great insight into this fringe world – before you head off to the Rijksmuseum to restore your equilibrium by immersing yourself in wondrous art, or reminding yourself of darker days with a visit to the Anne Frank House.
If by some remote possibility you become jaded by Amsterdam then head to the surrounding countryside to view windmills, dykes, bridges and the likes of pretty Gouda town, where cheese and tobacco are celebrated.
As the saying goes – ‘If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life’ – so Amsterdam’s should be ‘This is life itself!’
This article is simply a pictorial celebration of what Amsterdam was and has become and no visit should be taken lightly without plenty of research into the possibilities that await you – the more you look, the more you’ll find.
Travelling around the city is simplicity itself, helped no end by the fact that it’s so flat – walking and cycling being effortless, while the efficient tram system can take you further, quicker. Best avoid the taxis, they’re the most expensive in Europe – and that’s just the licensed ones!
If arriving at Schiphol Airport make sure you don’t get an unlicensed one – look for the blue license plates, well displayed price list and the driver’s pass on the dashboard.
Obvious though it seems, aim to visit sunny days, because although there’s more than plenty to keep you occupied indoors, the beautiful architecture and painted facades really come to life in sunshine.
Whatever you do, Amsterdam will draw you back, time and again. Above all it’s the friendliness and general bonhomie of all around that will welcome you, pick you up and transport you into a world of unconditional, simple and sometimes guilty pleasures.
Rather than go into great detail about the places you can see in Amsterdam – we’ve put together a selection of links to get you started on planning your own Amsterdam Experience. Some of the links are on websites that offer you many more ideas.
Amsterdam official website