Virtual Tour and Travel Guide
by Ed Prifogle
Featured Site-A Photographic Tour of
Listen to this Rembrandts at the Airport Audio
Walk around Amsterdam virtually using this interactive map
Look at these live Amsterdam Web ams.
Look at these Holland Panoramics
Read these 87 visitor reviews to learn what an interesting city Amsterdam really is.
Learn some basic Dutch language expressions
New-Do a virtual tour of the Van Gogh museum
Watch these panoramic views of many Amsterdam attractions.
Watch Dutch TV
Check the current Amsterdam Weather Report
Also view these Travelocity Videos about the Amsterdam Tulip Market.
Read the Amsterdam Post (in English) to learn what going on in the city
See these Travelago Videos.
Amsterdam is a city filled with variety, color and excitement. From its world famous nightlife and unrivalled collection of cultural venues to the fabulous architecture and romantic canals. The town known as the Venice of the North has something to offer everyone. Combining the big city benefits of history, cuisine, entertainment and excellent transport links with the physically small size, low traffic levels and relative peace and quiet you'd expect from a small town, this uniquely cosmopolitan city has become one of Europe's most popular destinations. Built on 90 islands linked by 400 stone bridges and 62 miles of canals, each flanked by rows of the distinctive seventeenth and eighteenth-century gabled houses that have made Dutch architecture famous. One of the most intact historical city centers in the world, every street offers a peek back in time.
Famous for artistic culture, with 42 museums and 141 galleries, ranging from important attractions from the internationally renowned Rijksmuseum to the lesser known Kattenkabinet, not to mention the daily free classical concerts at the Concertgebouw on Museumplein, Lovers of the arts are spoiled for choice. Read these reviews. If shopping is more your bag, you can browse the arts and antiques shops that proliferate in quaint quarters. Meanwhile the Magna Plaza, a deluxe department store housed in the former General Post Office, contains a wide range of exclusive shops under one roof.
is at night that Amsterdam really comes to life. A late
city where many shops don't open until 10 in the morning and bars and
cafes stay open until the early hours, revelers can choose
from a rich
selection of activities and atmospheres. From the lively restaurant and
nightclub scene to the notorious red
light district and its collection
of cannabis coffee shops, Amsterdam certainly has a distinct character
all of its own.
THINGS TO TRY
The problem in Amsterdam isn't finding something to do. With an abundance of historic sites, thriving clubs, excellent restaurants and unique architecture, the real worry is deciding what not to do. It may be a tourist cliche, but taking a canal tour by barge is by far the best way to see Amsterdam and its magnificent buildings. With boats leaving Damrak by Central Station and Rokin by the Spui throughout the day, the 90 minute voyage affords a spectacular view of this thoroughly maritime city. Visit the world famous Heineken Brewery at 78 Stadhouderskade. Now a museum and visitors center, the home of the Netherlands' most famous beer offers two tours every weekday morning at 9:30 and 11:00 between June and September. The insight into brewing history is fascinating, but it is the generous free samples that make this attraction so popular.
Take a trip outside the city to Marken, a small island where many of the inhabitants still wear traditional Dutch dress and live in old-style wooden houses. Catching bus 111 from Central Station (times available by dialing 0900-9292) is the best method of getting there, although organized coach tours are available. Learn the lessons of history by going to Museumplein, where you can drop into the Rijksmuseum to view their unparalleled collection of paintings by the Dutch Masters and a wealth of historical artifacts. Also within a stone's throw are both the Stedelijk - a major collection of modern art, and the Van Gogh museum, which boasts the world's largest collection of the famous artist's work.PLACES TO EAT
The Dutch may not be famous for their cuisine, but Amsterdam has many choices when it comes to food. From street vendors to high-class restaurants, the city has something to suit every palate .Fondue may be a Swiss invention, but it has been a major feature of Dutch cooking for many years. Slump into the cozy surroundings of Calcaron; Bern at 9 Nieuwmarkt with some friends and grab a fork for one of the most relaxed and informal eating experiences available.
This might sound like double Dutch, but hot Belgian potato chips smothered in thick mayonnaise are one of the most popular local delicacies. Buy some from a vendor in the Vondelpark and eat them on the grass as you watch the world go by. If your tastes are more upscale, try Swarte Schaep (The Black Sheep) for an exquisite meal in one of Holland's best-known restaurants. Housed in a sumptuous 300-year-old building on Leidseplein, the excellent food quality and historic surroundings bring a price ticket to match.
Less traditional but equally worthwhile is the Supper Club at 21 Jonge Roelensteeg, one of the city's hippest and most unusual eateries. Here the customers are given beds instead of traditional seating and are treated with unusual food combinations and live entertainment as they eat.With a large population of Moroccans and a thriving Surinamese community, Amsterdam has a burgeoning selection of African eating-places. Try Kilimanjaro at 6 Rapenburgerplein, where friendly staff offer a range of traditional recipes from Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Ethiopia amidst a relaxed atmosphere.A CITY OF CONTRASTS
With 129 different nationalities living together in relative harmony, Amsterdam is one of the world's most cosmopolitan destinations. Home to a multitude of different communities and famous for its tolerant attitudes, the city comprises six districts, each with its own distinct character. The Old Center, which is bordered by Prins Hendrikkade to the north, Oudeschans and Waterlooplein to the east, the Amstel River to the south and Singel to the west, is where Amsterdam began. Crammed with historic buildings, thriving bars and fun seekers, here the city's main concentration of coffee shops coexists happily with the international diamond trade and the notorious red light district, creating a unique atmosphere not to be missed.
Take a short walk east from Waterlooplein and you enter The Plantage, where visitors can relax in the scenic beauty of the Hortus Botanicus (Botanical Gardens) and the world famous Artis Zoo. One of Amsterdam's quieter districts, wide open spaces like the Sarphatipark make this the place to get away from it all.For a faster tempo try visiting the Grachtengordel district, the central area north of the Old Center that plays home to many of the city's favorite nightspots. Leidseplein is packed with an enormous selection of bars and eateries, while the pavement cafes of Rembrandtplein are a prime location for relaxation and people watching.Head a bit further east and you'll arrive in Jordaan, one of Amsterdam's most charming neighborhoods. Populated by a blend of working-class families and affluent newcomers, this quarter may not boast the historical splendor of the old town, but its modern outlook and good social mix provide plenty of fun and color.
Situated to the north of Leidseplein, The Museum Quarter is a must-see destination. Home to many pleasant hotels and friendly cafes, cultural attractions like the Rijksmuseum vie for attention with the high couture of some of Europe's plushest fashion shops in an area noted for its natural style and sophistication. Located east of the Museum Quarter and south of the Grachtengordel, The Pijp has become a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities that boasts a wealth of interesting and varied nightspots. It is also home to the Albert Cuyp Market, where bargain hunters browse amidst a lively wealth of noise and color.GETTING AROUND
Although small enough to walk around, Amsterdam is blessed by excellent transport links. Train services from Schipol Airport are regular, fast and clean, while a national public transport information service (0900-9292) will tell you how to get anywhere you need to. Few Amsterdammers drive, preferring to use the excellent local tram service. A special circular service (number 20) traces a route past most major tourist attractions, although you may wish to hire a bicycle from Macbike at 220 Marnixstraat to make use of the city's numerous cycle paths and lack of hills.