It is the capital of a European country where light drugs and prostitution are officially permitted. But this is more bait for tourists. Real inhabitants of this small state are quite law-abiding, modest and affable. Holland is most famous for its tulips, cheese and numerous bicycle paths. You definitely will not regret if you decide to visit the “Northern Venice” – the city of Amsterdam.
You could not see all the beauty and places of interest in Amsterdam in one day, so we recommend you to spend here at least 3-4 days. You can book your accommodation with Booking.com.
Why Amsterdam is called “Northern Venice”? Because the city has a huge number of channels, more than 1500 bridges and about 90 islands. But if one-hour walk on the gondola in Venice costs 100 euros, you can ride the river tram through Amsterdam channels for just 15.5 euros (children under 12 years old – 7.75 euros). Almost all the river trams leave from the pier next to the railway station. Audio guide will tell you about the history of the city and its main attractions, which are visible from the windows of the boat.
So what’s best to see in Amsterdam if you have only a couple of days?
There is the Museum Square (Museumplein) in the city center, where you can find the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum with paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer and the City Museum of Amsterdam whis is dedicated to the modern art. You can get here by tram to the Museumplein stop. The Van Gogh Museum has the biggest collection of the artist’s works – about 200 paintings. It is one quarter of his heritage. The museum is open daily from 9:00 to 18:00, on Friday from 10:00 to 22:00. Entrance costs 17 euros (without audio guide), 22 euros (with audio guide), for children under 18 years old – free of charge. The main purpose of visiting the Rijksmuseum is of course to see the paintings of famous artists such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Vermeer and Rembrandt. The culmination of the tour will be a visit to the “Gallery of Glory”, where the most famous canvas by Rembrandt “Night Watch” is located. Opening hours of the museum: daily from 09:00 to 17:00. The ticket costs 17.50 euros, for children under 18 years old – free of charge.
Another famous museum of Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House. She was a Jewish girl who died in the Belsen camp shortly before the end of the World War II She kept a diary describing the life in the shelter during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. In 1957 the Anne Frank Fund opened a memorial museum in the same house where the Frank family had been hiding from the Nazi for two years. In front of the museum you can see a statue of a 13-year-old girl, many people leave flowers next to it. The museum is located in the city center at Prinsengracht, 267. Opening hours: from November to March – daily, from 09:00 to 19:00 (until 21:00 on Saturdays); from April to October – every day, from 9:00 to 22:00. Entrance costs 9 euros, for 10-17 years old children – 4.50 euros, for children under 10 years old – free of charge.
Well, many tourists probably heard about the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. It is located in the very heart of Amsterdam in Dam Square. The nearest tram station is called Dam. If you want to take a photo with a wax copy of Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, David Beckham, George Clooney, Princess Diana, Lenin and other celebrities, you have to pay 24.50 euros for adults and 19.50 euros for children under 16 years old. And if you are on Dam Square on the western side you will see the Royal Palace that was built in neoclassical style and the Nyvekkerk church built in the 15th century.
Tulips and mills
Dutch tulips, roses and other flowers are known all over the world. But most of all flowers in one place – on an area of 32 hectares – you can see in the famous national flower park Keukenhof. This flower kingdom, located near the town of Lisse between Amsterdam and Hague has long been called the “Garden of Europe”. The park is open yearly during the spring time, in 2018 the park will be open from March 22 to May 13. This season the theme of the park is romance. Note! April – May is the most popular time for visiting Holland, and hotel rooms are sold out for half a year in advance. Take care of booking accommodation in Lisse in advance: https://www.booking.com/city/nl/lisse.en.html Keukenhof Park is open from 8:00 to 19:30. Adult ticket costs 18 euros, for children under 3 years – free of charge, for children from 4 to 11 years old – 8 euros, parking – 6 euros per day. You can get to Keukenhof from the center of Amsterdam on a bus, with a transfer at Schiphol airport. You need to get to the airport by bus Connexxion №197 (stops at Leidseplein, Museumplein and near Rijksmuseum), then in Schiphol take bus number 858 (departing from Arrivals 4, near Starbucks), which will bring you to the park.
Another symbol of Holland is the windmills. A place where you can see different types of mills, their arrangement and organization of the technological process, is the village of Zanse Schans. Many of the exhibits of this open-air museum work till now, grinding grain and knocking down oil. In addition, in Zanse Schans, you can visit the classic Dutch farm where traditional cheese is made. You can see the various houses typical of the Dutch village, visit the workshops where old fashioned national shoes ‘the clamps’ are being cut out and buy them. Most of the museum mills are open from 10:00 to 17:00. You can get to the open-air museum from Amsterdam in 40 minutes by bus 391, which departs from the Central Station every hour towards Zaanse Schans. The entrance to Zanse Schans is free, but visits to artisan centers and museums are paid separately. The cost of entrance tickets is from 3 to 10 euros.
In the east of Amsterdam there is the oldest Dutch zoo Artis Royal Zoo, founded in 1838. More than 6 thousand species of animals from around the world are collected in this zoo. There are huge aquariums, a planetarium, a botanical garden, a geological museum and many other interesting things. You can get to the zoo by trams No. 9, No. 10 or No. 14, by bus No. 56 (children until 4 years ride fo free, from the age of 4 you need to buys a child ticket) or by special “Artis Express” to the Plantage Kerklaan stop, and also on foot from Waterlooplein metro station. The zoo is open daily; from November 1 to February 28 – from 9:00 to 17:00, from March 1 to October 31 – from 9:00 to 18:00. The entrance costs 20.50 euros, for children from 3 to 9 years old – 17 euros, and for kids under 2 years old – free of charge.
Well, the kids, who are already tired of zoos will certainly be surprised by the museum of science, technology and experiments “Nemo” that looks like a huge ship. Its permanent exposition is located on three floors of the building and everything can be touched! Several times a day museum employees perform different experiments, the most famous one is ‘domino effect’. A big group of children with their parents gathers by to watch this performance. A walk to the Nemo Museum from the Central Station will take you about 10-15 minutes. Exit the station building, turn left and go forward until you see the green silhouette of the museum. The cost of visiting the Nemo Museum is 15 euros, for students – 7.5 euros, for children under 4 years old – free of charge.
Only for adults
Well the lovers of ‘more spicy activities’ the “strawberry” and the thrill in the evening can take a stroll in The Red Light District with the “priestesses of love” in the windows. Or stop by one of Amsterdam’s coffee shops and get a marijuana joint, or visit the Museum of Cannabis (on Oudezijds Achterburgwal, 148). By the way, in the Red Light District there is Sex Museum, representing the erotic art of various cultures and historical periods. In short, there is a lot of to see. 😉
If you visit Amsterdam at least once, you will love it forever – for its unique color, a sense of freedom and endless happiness. And do not forget when you return home take with you Dutch cheese, wafers, magnets and … a piece of Amsterdam in your heart.