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Amsterdam, a city known for its historic canals, world-class museums and diverse mix of cultures, is a destination that easily captures the hearts of those who visit. As the capital of the Netherlands, it offers a blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication, making any stay here deeply rich, varied and enjoyable.
With cobbled streets lined with beautifully preserved 17th-century architecture, waterways alive with bobbing houseboats, and a buzzing atmosphere that embodies the spirit of Dutch tolerance and freedom, Amsterdam truly is a city that thrives on its unique personality and appeal.
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Start by exploring the Rijksmuseum, housing over 8,000 art pieces from masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. It showcases Dutch history within a global context, from 1200 to the present. The museum, using cutting-edge technology, allows visitors to observe the research and treatment of Rembrandt's "Night Watch" in the dedicated gallery.
National Monument in Dam Square
Pay homage at the National Monument in Dam Square – the most significant WWII memorial in the Netherlands. It stands as a tribute to those who offered the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Annually, on National Remembrance Day, the royal family and local community gather here to commemorate these heroes.
Royal Palace Amsterdam
Venture to the Royal Palace Amsterdam, one of three palaces in the Netherlands open to the public. Created as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age, this architectural wonder is sure to impress.
Melkweg and Paradiso
Then, experience Amsterdam’s vibrant night scene at famous nightclubs, Melkweg and Paradiso, each offering a distinctive atmosphere to end your nights in the city.
Begin by sampling Bitterballen, a savoury Dutch snack that will quickly become an irresistible favourite. Try these at traditional pubs known as 'brown cafes' to enjoy them in the most genuine of settings.
Fancy cheese? Head to one of the city’s traditional cheese shops or markets to try the famous Gouda, rich and creamy Maasdammer, or piquant aged cheese.
Pannenkoeken (Dutch Pancakes)
Take the time to savour a classic Dutch pancake or ‘Pannenkoeken’. These hearty, flat pancakes can be loaded with a range of sweet or savoury toppings and are best enjoyed at The Pancake Bakery in Prinsengracht.
Amsterdam's Artisanal Coffee Shops
Coffee lovers can indulge at one of Amsterdam’s artisanal coffee shops, where baristas take the art of coffee brewing to whole new levels. For the adventurous, a trip to In't Aepjen is a must – one of the last 'beer houses' where sailors once paid for beer and lodging in monkeys.
The best times to visit Amsterdam are during the autumn months of September and November or during spring between April and May. These periods offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds, giving visitors the chance to enjoy the city with a more relaxed atmosphere.
However, Amsterdam’s calendar is perpetually brimming; home to over 300 festivals a year, almost any time is party time in Amsterdam! Yet do pack layers and an umbrella, for the weather can be mild but unpredictable. So, get ready to stroll along canals dating back to the 17th century and embrace Amsterdam’s colourful culture and history.
Venture to Sloterplas Beach, an urban oasis located on the north-east side of Sloterplas lake, offering amenities such as beach chairs, picnic tables, and a volleyball field.
Strand Blijburg, one of the best urban beaches offering real sandy bays and lovely eateries just a stone's throw from the city centre.
Or check out Sloterstrand, a small scenic beach offering swimming, fishing and other water-based recreational activities.