Amsterdam: A good time city
Amsterdam may not have that seclusive air of romance that most cities in Europe are well known for, but it’s its individuality and quirkiness that make it the unique city it is today. Blend in with the locals, and cruise around the city on a bicycle, or take long walks across Dam Square and immerse yourself in the utter beauty that is Amsterdam.
- The city was no more than a small fishing village in the 12th century.
- A few medieval buildings from the city’s early history are still standing today, like the Old and New Churches, and the Houten Huis at the Begijnhof.
- The city lays claim to the world’s oldest stock exchange, established by the Dutch East India Company in 1602.
- When the Metro in the city was being built, archaeologists discovered material that shows Amsterdam had been inhabited since about 2600 BCE.
Amsterdam in History
There is a legend that two fishermen found the city of Amsterdam, but as there is no concrete proof of this, the city’s origin dates back to the year 1275. However, it is true that the world’s first ‘Amsterdammers’ were fishermen, after the Dam, which is referred to as the heart of the city, was built on the Amstel River. Amsterdam began to attract large numbers of tourist crowds from the beginning of the 21st century, and its elaborate canal system earned it the title “The Venice of the North.”
Where to go & What to do
Museum Van Loon
Located in the heart of Amsterdam, just along the Keizersgracht, the Museum Van Loon is set in one of the most beautiful houses in the city. The house was designed in 1672, and within it, you’ll find posh interior designs accentuated by portraits, furniture, porcelain, and silverware that are centuries old, with a spectacular 17th century styled garden and coach house as the museum’s main highlights.
Van Gogh Museum
Dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh, this Dutch art museum is located at the Museum Square, and was designed by Gerrit Rietveld and Kisho Kurokawa. Delve into the world of one of history’s most renowned artists. From stories about his life, to his passionate letters to his brother, and the exquisite works of art on display. A visit to this museum will leave you feeling as though you knew the artist from a previous life.
Anne Frank House
Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank recorded the events that transpired with her family during World War II. Today, her home in the Secret Annex is a biographical museum that preserves the hiding place of Anne and her family from the Nazis. The museum displays an elaborate exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank; from quotes, to photos, and even some original items.
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum, that is dedicated to showcasing the Arts and rich history of Amsterdam. It is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, not far from the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. In the Rijksmuseum, you’ll get lost in the sprawling display of 8,000 objets d’art and history, and over 600,000 works of art from the likes of Rembrandt and Frans Hals.
The Heineken Experience
Indulge in a one on one experience with your favorite Dutch beer manufacturer. This historic brewery was built in 1867 as the company’s first and primary brewing facility. During the Heineken Experience, you’ll be given an interactive tour of the brewery, beer tasting, and a unique chocolate beer experience as the finale.
Amsterdam Canal Cruises
If you’re up for a more serene tour of the city, then through the canals is one of the best ways to do it. From the Amsterdam Canals, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the city. You’ll get a completely different view of it from this vantage point, swaying down Emperor’s Canal, and there is nothing quite like it. Whether it’s in the daytime, or at twilight…you won’t be disappointed after one of these.
Not only is the building the oldest store in Amsterdam, but it’s also the only building in the city that still has original 17th century stained glass windows on all its floors. Today, the restaurant in the warehouse is a one of a kind spot, where history flows through every conversation and glass of champagne, while its impressive collection of Louis Vuitton and Goyard Travel Trunks are a marvelous sight to see.
Cookies Van Stapele
This charming little shop is an escape in its own light. Where the soft piano music playing fills the air and the glow from the crystal chandeliers create a magical feel. Its cosy atmosphere will be the first thing to reel you in, and soon after the irresistible aroma of freshly baked cookies will follow, and boy do they taste amazing!
The modern Asian meals, and sophisticated atmosphere make Taiko the ideal go to for dinner and drinks when you’re in Amsterdam. The restaurant will mesmerize you with a mix of beautiful flavors in artful dishes, and the ambiance of the sleek Taiko Bar will transport you back in time to a typical New York speakeasy, only difference is that this one serves Saké.
Located at the IJdok overlooking the NDSM dockyard, this Michelin star restaurant serves mouth watering meals in a feel good atmosphere. Decorated with elements in the style of Paris and Marrakech, and with a French-international menu, you’ll find more diversity in this restaurant that you would in most others this side of the city.
This modern French restaurant offers amazing cuisine in a unique setting. Lion Noir boasts a lounge, cocktail bar, and a hidden garden. It’s rustic chic interiors are mesmerizing, but it’s the quirky details like the bronze dog and steel shark that will steal your heart.
In De Wildeman
A former Amsterdam distillery, you can enjoy beer here in an authentic setting. In De Wildeman is an Amsterdam favorite, and you’d be hard pressed to find a time when it’s not brimming with customers, locals and tourists alike, enjoying a variety of over 250 types of bottled beer.
Where to stay
The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
A breathtaking architectural masterpiece, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is housed in six majestic 17th and 18th century canal palaces. There isn’t an inch of this hotel that doesn’t shine, and of course the service is impeccable, in true Waldorf style.
Conservatorium Hotel, Amsterdam
Once a former bank, and then a music school, this hotel is one the chicest addresses in Amsterdam. The hotel’s amazing design, courtesy of Milanese architect, Piero Lissoni is truly spectacular, and its location makes it the perfect place to begin and end a dream trip to Amsterdam.