Amsterdam – “Venice of the North”

Simply think that Amsterdam has something for everyone. The city is an unbelievably beautiful collection of old world European architecture, elegantly separated by canals. In fact, the city is built on nearly 90 small islands, although you can hardly tell. Transportation is best accepted on foot or by bicycle. Any time can be the best time to visit Amsterdam. The highest tourist season is in July and August, when the weather is the finest. Weather, however, is never really severe at any time of the year, and if you are one of the growing numbers who prefer off-season traveling, you will find every bit of the city as attractive during these months. With more than one million residents in its urban area, Amsterdam is the country’s largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative center.

Contrary to popular opinion, Amsterdam is not just a city of liberal policies.

Dam Square is the hub of the city and is located on the site of the original Amstel dam.  The Royal Palace is the central point of the Square. Originally the town hall, it became regal following Louis Napoleon’s crowning in 1808. It was originally built as the city hall for the magistrates of Amsterdam. In the 17th century it was the largest secular building of Europe.    

Today the Royal Palace on the Dam is one of the three Palaces, which the State has placed at the King’s disposal by an Act of Parliament. It is used for Royal Events like reception of the foreign heads, and other official receptions. Every year, it provides the setting for the presentation of various official and royal prizes.

Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of the Netherlands and its overseas islands – Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

Talking about the Netherlands, people often inaccurately call it Holland. In fact, only the central part of the Netherlands is geographically named Holland. This part of the country comprises now of two provinces: Noord Holland (North Holland) and Zuid-Holland (South Holland). This is the region with important cities as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague (Den Haag), Delft, Leiden and Haarlem.

The Royal Family of Orange ruling now in the Netherlands, takes its origins in the 13th century, with its prominence growing in the 16th century, when William I of Orange, led the resistance against the Spanish rule. After the lengthy war, The Netherlands remained an independent republic, while the House of Orange continued its leading role in the country’s political life.

Dutch people have feelings of love, respect and admiration for their Royals. Every year, on the day of King Willem-Alexander’s birthday, a festive, carnival-like King’s Day is celebrated all over the country.   

Netherlands undoubtedly has a reputation with travelers. Known for having a very liberal attitude on social issues, there is so much more to the country. If you desire to travel to the Netherlands, don’t miss these attractions.

Van Gogh Museum

The Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh stores the world’s largest collection of the work of Vincent van Gogh. The museum contains 700 artistic works and 850 letters from his early work – his paintings, drawings and letters, completed with the art of his contemporaries. After moving to Paris in 1886, Van Gogh entered an impressionist period, of which the museum contains a large collection. The entire collection is arranged chronologically from his first to his last work. As you walk, you can clearly see the evolution of this master’s skills. Each year, 1.6 million visitors come to the Van Gogh Museum, making it one of the 25 most popular museums in the world.  

Anne Frank House

Who hasn’t read the intense diary of Anne Frank? It is a hidden annex of Amsterdam canal house, where two Jewish families hid from oppression by the Nazis for two years, until their betrayal in 1944. The house is one of the most popular visiting places in Amsterdam. It is here that Anne Frank, only 15 years old at the moment of her death in the German concentration camp, wrote her famous diary. You may visit the modest hiding rooms of the annex, and you can also see an original of the diary and an exhibition about the time of hatred brought on people by the Nazis.

In 1957, the house was donated to the Anne Frank Foundation and turned into a museum. A must see attraction for anyone traveling to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam canals

The numerous canals have led Amsterdam to become known as “The Venice of the North”. And thus, a trip to Amsterdam is not complete without a boat cruise. A canal tour can be both fascinating and relaxing by day and enchanting and romantic at night when many of the houses and bridges are illuminated. There are four main city center canals and also numerous smaller canals in the neighborhood of Jordaan, some of which are especially amiable.  

Amsterdam has 165 canals and more than 1,500 bridges. One of the most prominent features is the Canal Ring, a concentric ring of canals built in the 17th century. The merchant-based oligarchy that ruled the trading city of Amsterdam built canal houses and mansions in the most prestigious locations here, especially along the main canals. The traditional white draw bridges are typical for the country. The best example has to be the Magere Brug in the Canal Ring, which is over 300 years old and nearly in its original capacity. It is a beautiful place to overlook the river and take in some traditional Dutch architecture.  

There is something for every traveler’s taste here, whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city. 

Beyond Amsterdam

For those who need a break from Amsterdam, there is much to be seen in Holland. If you are looking for a color explosion, consider taking the bulb cycling tour out of Noordwijk. Windmills are your thing? Then head to the De Zaan district and see them in action. Prefer to spend a night in a castle? Try the Castle Hotel Engelenburg, which even lets you ruin a good walk by playing golf. Willing to see the famous tulips – tens of thousands in one field? This is the place. 

Travel to Netherlands and you won’t regret it. Whether you want to “investigate” the country’s liberal policies or simply bike through fields of tulips, the Netherlands will satisfy you and leave you with pleasant memories of its charm.


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