Lying close to the North Sea in the Holland district of the Netherlands, Amsterdam has become famous, amongst other things, because of its network of 165 canals, its huge volume of bicycles, wide range of museums and because of its lively red light district. For these and other reasons, the compact city served by excellent public transport and also readily accessible on foot, has emerged as one of Europe’s top tourist destinations.
The city takes its name from the Dam on the River Amstel which was where the original settlers of modern day Amsterdam lived. This long history has given rise to much that the people are now proud of, something which has now translated into the city’s huge number of museums. These include the impressively designed Rijksmuseum (built in 1885 and now housing a great number of world-class masterpieces such as those by Rembrandt) and the modern Van Gogh building which is home to the painter’s Sunflower pictures. These are just two examples amongst many that are located on Amsterdam’s Museum Plein; a place certainly worthy of a visit.
One of the infamous aspects of Amsterdam (and a reason why it has become a favoured destination amongst stag parties) is the Walletjes or as it is more widely known, the Red Light district of the city. The Leidesplein is also a place that comes alive at night. This is where you’ll find lively bars, street cafes and various street performers who entertain locals and tourists alike.
At the heart of the city lies Dam Square which is home to the beautifully designed and constructed Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) which is open to the public. No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to the poignant Anne Frankhuis. Little Anne’s diary which she kept during the city’s occupation in the second world war, was written here and so today it has become a focal point for remembering the suffering of those who hid in the annex there during the war as well as the wider Jewish population of the time.