The city of the dam on the Amstel River: Amsterdam is a traveler’s treat, with unique architecture, historic canals, wonderful shopping and friendly locals that can speak English very well. There is something for every traveler here; from the world famous cannabis coffee shops’ and the glass doors of The De Wallen Red Light District, to the more dignified air of the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House. Old Amsterdam is a 2 kilometer semicircle, emanating from the central station and most of the buildings inside the semicircle have remained untouched since the 1860′s. Most of the hotels and major tourists’ attractions are located within the city or just nearby. Amsterdam is a relatively new city, the first mention of it in the records dates to 1275, when a bridge and a dam were constructed over the Amstel River. The current Old Town was built over land that had been reclaimed from the sea during the 10th century as a source of peat. Amsterdam was granted city rights in 1300 and soon flourished by trading with the Hanseatic League.
Originally a part of Frisia, Amsterdam was absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire and eventually abdicated to the Burundian Kings until the Dutch rebellion of the Eight Year War. The deposing of the Spanish king and the creation of the Dutch republic in 1648 harbored a Dutch golden era of trade and commerce and Amsterdam became the richest city in the world. Known for its religious tolerance, Amsterdam welcomed the religiously persecuted community of Europe: Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, and even the English Puritan Separatists Pilgrims, who financed the voyage of the Mayflower to America with Dutch merchants in Amsterdam. The heavy influx of Flemish painters and thinkers powered this golden age and Amsterdam became a center of free trade and free press. Merchant ships left Amsterdam throughout the 1600′s to trade in the far corners of the world and many of these distant trading posts became Dutch colonies: Indonesia, Surinam, the A B C Islands and others. The second half of the 19th century is called Amsterdam’s second golden era; The canals were expanded and most of the buildings currently standing inside the old town hail from this time, mixed in with several guild trading houses from the 17th century. Today Amsterdam still enjoys the same reputation of tolerance and free commerce that made it a magnet of trade since the 1600′s; with flourishing stock exchange and the headquarters of many Dutch corporations, including Phillips, ING Group, ABN AMRO and Heineken.
Amsterdam is served by Schiphol International Airport. Amsterdam airport is one of the world’s busiest airports. The central station of Amsterdam is a focal point of the Old town. Most locals get around either on foot or by bicycle. There is a tram and a small section of subway that serves the old town but a boat ride on the canals is a fun way to get around. Some locals actually live on their boats or use them to go grocery shopping and to go out to restaurants in the evening. Boat rentals are available in several locations within the old town.
Things To Do:
Visit the Anne Frank House & the Dutch Resistance Museum for a glimpse at the sufferings of the Jewish population and the brave citizens of Amsterdam that dared to help them during the brutal Nazi occupation. Visit The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum for the Dutch Masters and also the Sex Museum, Amsterdam red light district and the Cannabis Museum, this is Amsterdam after all. The Canal Bus Boat is a must; it stops at most of the major tourist attractions.
You can explore the countryside by renting a car. There are plenty of car rental services which include the major car rental agencies like Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar etc.
Amsterdam’s climate is very similar to the climate in Britain or Ireland which combines mildness and dampness with occasional continental climate that is experienced in Germany. The best time to visit Amsterdam is from April to September when the days are longer and temperatures are milder when compared to the other months. Amsterdam weather is the coldest from December to March and you are also likely to experience snow during these months. It is advised to carry rainwear and umbrellas at all times.
There are thousands of tourists visiting Amsterdam from all over the world with varying budgets. Amsterdam hotels range from low budget to luxury hotels. For visitors who don’t mind splurging cash on luxury hotels then Amstel InterContinental is the place to be. It is one of the most luxurious and the most expensive hotels of all.