What to see in Holland
Tourist attractions Amsterdam
The Netherlands’s capital city, Amsterdam has the largest population of all Dutch cities and is known worldwide for its liberal atmosphere and elaborate canal system which gives the city a unique character as it is largely pedestrianized. A tour of Amsterdam is the perfect way to unearth the true Dutch culture of tolerance and open-mindedness as it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with around 180 different nationalities calling the city their home. Amsterdam has a wide range of restaurants, offering a plethora of cuisines, due to its diverse population. During the summer months, the banks of the canals and city squares are filled with people sitting outside cafes, enjoying a drink and the laid-back atmosphere.
Amsterdam, which sits on the Amstel River, began as a trading city in the 13th century and since that time has benefitted greatly through building relationships with other cultures. By the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, the city was one of the most important trading ports in the world and also one of the wealthiest cities in the western world. The city is home to two universities, ensuring an ever-present vibrant student population. Perhaps the first thing that springs to mind about Amsterdam is its enthusiasm for cycling. Almost everyone travels around the city by bicycle, and it is claimed that there are more bicycles in Amsterdam than there are residents! Even the police travel by bicycle as the designated cycle lanes and flat terrain ensure it is the fastest and most efficient way to travel, not to mention the most eco-friendly, an ethic that is at the heart of Dutch identity.
There are many well-known sights to see on a holiday to Amsterdam, but the house of Anne Frank stands outs out for its historical importance. Inside this typical gabled canal-side house is a museum which looks at the life and struggle of the famous war-time diarist. The Rijksmuseum is another highlight. Located in the Museum District or ‘Museumplein’, this gallery is home to the precious paintings of the Dutch masters, such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Close by is the Van Gogh museum, housed inside a modern building and home to the works of the famous Dutch painter, who spent time living in Amsterdam. Other unmissable sights on a tour of Amsterdam are the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest in the world, the medieval Kalverstraat shopping street, a bustling area in the heart of the city and Dam Square, home to a national monument and located close to the huge Centraal Station. As night falls across Amsterdam, the ‘Skinny Bridge’, which spans the river Amstel, is an unmissable sight as it is lit up and the reflection of the lights looks magical in the waters below.