The Netherlands is a country situated in Western Europe, bordering Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. To its north and west is the North Sea. Although the Netherlands is the country’s official name, people often call it Holland. The provinces of North Holland and South Holland form only part of the Netherlands
Amsterdam is one of the greatest small cities in the world. From its canals to world-famous museums and historical sights, Amsterdam is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe.
Amsterdam is a city of tolerance and diversity. It has all the advantages of a big city: culture, history, entertainment, international restaurants and good transport – but is relatively small, quiet, and largely thanks to its canals, has little road traffic. In Amsterdam your destination is never far away.
Although the seat of Netherlands government is in The Hague, Amsterdam is the nominal capital. It is also the country’s largest city, with a population of almost 750,000, and the most visited, with over 3,5 million foreign visitors a year.
The old crooked houses, the cobbled streets, the tree-lined canals and the generous parks all contribute to the atmosphere.
In Amsterdam you will notice around town many bicycles. This seems a friendly and relaxed way of transportation, but note that cyclists are unforgiving when it comes to pedestrians standing in their way. When you hear a bicycle bell behind you, move quickly!
Museums are the main tourist attraction in Amsterdam. You can visit the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum, to name just a few. Amsterdam has over fifty museums which attract millions of visitors each year.
The Canal Bus – Many visitors to Amsterdam are surprised by the sheer amount of water in the city. The enormous number of canals has led Amsterdam to become known as “The Venice of the North”. The Canal Bus is the perfect way to get around Amsterdam, this mode of transport allows you to explore the city while sampling some great canal views at the same time.
The comfortable boats offer a hop on, hop off service along three different routes.
Albert Cuyp market – The Albert Cuypmarkt is arguably the best-known and busiest outdoor market in Europe. It attracts thousands of visitors every day, and is especially popular on Saturdays. There are over 300 stalls. The market is located in the Pijp district, surrounded by many pleasant cafes and small shops.
Magere Brug – Of Amsterdam’s 1280 or so bridges, the Magere Brug, or “ Skinny Bridge” is the most famous.
Red Light District.-The famous red window lights are striking against the quaint, old canal houses and even the fairy lights that line the bridges at night are coloured red. Although it is generally considered to be a very safe area, care should still be taken when walking through the quieter streets of the area.
Jordaan – This area has is full of converted warehouses. The Jordaan is now inhabited by a colorful mixture of students, well-to-do businessmen and creative professionals. The Jordaan oozes atmosphere with its narrow streets, picturesque canals, cafes, art galleries and small unique shops. You can easily lose yourself in a pleasant stroll in through the enchanting streets that connect the 3 main canals.
Artis ZOO – In the center of Amsterdam, you can also find the oldest Zoo of Holland.
|Oude Kerk – This old church lies in the heart of the Red Light District. Its buildings, especially the Gothic-renaissance style octagonal bell tower, were used by sailors to get their bearings.|
|Leidseplein – The Leidseplein or Leidse-square is one of Amsterdam’s most popular centres for nightlife. With many restaurants, clubs, coffee shops, cinemas and theatres. Street musicians, jugglers, fire-eaters and other performers liven up the square, often till the early hours.|
Dam square – An historical site. This area was the reception area for Napoleon and his troops during the 1808 take-over of the city. The Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) dominates the square.
Rembrandtplein – Rembrandtplein is lined with pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels and is thus a tourist magnet. A popular centre for nightlife, it also includes traditional Dutch pubs which play real Dutch music.
Vondelpark – With 10 million visitors a year, the Vondelpark is the most famous park in the Netherlands.
How to get there
BY AIR :
There are many airlines which fly into Amsterdam. Schiphol Airport is located about 15km from city center, and can be easily reached by train (20 minutes from Central Station
Arriving by car is fairly straightforward; however there are few parking can be expensive with very few parking places.
Train Travel to Amsterdam is a popular option within Europe with Inter City connections to and from London, Paris, Hamburg and Berlin (each 6 hours) as well as Belgium and Frankfurt (3 hours). All other destinations in Holland are located no more than 2.5 hours from Amsterdam by rail.
A Direct Rail Link connects Schiphol International Airport to Amsterdam central station and is the fastest and most convenient way to get to the city center. Trains run every 10 minutes
Central Station is the hub of Amsterdam – a meeting point for some and a departure point for many.
Trams, trains, buses and subways.
Boat travel is a viable option for travelers coming from the U.K. and Scandinavia. Scandinavian Seaways connecting to Amsterdam via Newcastle, P&O North Sea Ferries via Hull and Stenaline via Harwich all offer ferry and holiday cruise services for those looking for an alternative approach to the city.
International Buses arrive and depart at Amstel Station approximately 10km south of the city. A metro line from Amstel station conveniently connects visitors with the city center.
Thoughout the year Amsterdam offers variety of cultural events and festivals.
Eating Dining Shopping
Since many roads in the center are closed to cars, shopping can be very pleasant although You will still find busses, trams, taxis and bicycles. There are several shopping areas in the city and each one has it’s own charms and specialties.
Kalverstraat. – You will find that nearly all mainstream brand names on this road.For a quiet drink away from all these shops you can make a sidestep onto Spui, where you will find many cafes, bars and restaurants and several fast-food chains.
If you like you’re shopping indoors, you can always visit one of the mini malls in Amsterdam: Magna Plaza (on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, near the Dam square) or the Kalvertoren (on the Kalverstraat).
At the end of the Kalverstraat on the Muntplein, you will find all sorts bulbs and flowers on the Flowermarket.
In the Oud Zuid district of the city, you will find the haute couture boutiques: Cartier, Gucci, Edgar Vos, Tommy Hillfinger and the very impressive Oger shop are all located here.
Amsterdam, the greatest planned city of northern Europe, has always been a well-known name in world history.
Amsterdam was originally established as a fishing village at the mouth of the Amstel River during the 13th century. The city prospered over the years, with its wealth and power peaking during the 17th century’s Golden Age. Today the restored façades of buildings representing all periods in Amsterdam’s history await your visit. When you first arrive, you are stunned by its well preserved beauty. Be it sunny, cloudy or rainy: in any weather the city can hypnotize you with a sense of timelessness, but the summer is perfect for walking around and exploring this fine city.
Amsterdam’s golden age (1580-1740) took off when trading rival Antwerp was taken by the Spanish and its access to the sea restricted. By 1600, Amsterdam’s ships dominated seaborne trade and fishing in Europe, extending their horizons through the 17th century as Dutch overseas interests were established. During the 18th century, money gradually overtook trade as the city’s biggest industry. Amsterdam’s trade and fishing came to a complete halt in the early 19th century when the city was occupied by the French and then blockaded by the British. By the time the French trooped out in 1814, Amsterdam had become a local market town and Britain ruled the seas.
Amsterdam turned its back on the sea and restyled itself as an industrial centre: rail links were established, steel production thrived and the population expanded.
The Netherlands tried to stay neutral in WWII, but Germany invaded in May 1940, and for the first time in 400 years the city’s population experienced the grim realities of war firsthand. The occupying forces slowly introduced measures against Amsterdam’s large Jewish population, often with the complicity of local authorities, and although workers went out on strike in support of their Jewish compatriots in 1941, things had gone too far. Only one in 16 of Amsterdam’s Jews survived the war, the highest proportion of Jews murdered anywhere in Western Europe. Throughout the occupation the city’s populace had largely knuckled under and tried to make do as best they could, but when the invaders began rounding up Dutch men to work in Germany, a resistance movement, founded by an alliance of Calvinists and communists, began operating. The country’s south was liberated by the Allies in 1944, but isolated Amsterdam suffered horribly in the severe winter of 1944-45, and thousands of residents died. The city was finally liberated in May 1945.
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number 112
Airport Information Tel: (0)900 7244 7465
Train station: Tel: 0900 92 92
Tourist Office: Tel: 0900 400 40 40
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line Tel: 09009292
24 hour medical service