Vacation to Amsterdam, 10 Things to do in Amsterdam, Best Tourist Destination in Europe
Known as the Venice of the North because of its many canals, Amsterdam is as avant garde as it is old fashioned. Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. The city has many attractions for visitors. Amsterdam is the 5th busiest tourist destination in Europe, receiving more than 4.2 million international visitors annually.
Being part of the province North-Holland, Amsterdam is located in the northwest of the Netherlands next to the provinces Utrecht and Flevoland. The river Amstel terminates in the city center into a large number of canals that eventually terminate in the IJ. The town’s most famous sight is the system of canals, that spreads over the whole city centre.
Cobbled streets are cheek by jowl with glittering night clubs. Here are 10 experiences you should take home with you from the capital of the Netherlands.
1. Amsterdam’s cafes
Known for providing customers with more than just coffee, Amsterdam’s coffee houses abound. It won’t be difficult to find one: there are around 1500 in the city! In Amsterdam, the words “cafe” and “bar” are nearly interchangeable. Dutch pea soup, called erwtensoep, is a specialty made with ham, smoked sausage, thyme, and cloves. It is served with rye bread spread with mustard.
Even though few people actually wear them these days, wooden shoes will be forever associated with Amsterdam. De Klompenboer, world renowned shoe makers, is located at the St. Antoniesbreestraat.
3. Dam Square
Located at the center of the city, Dam Square showcases the Royal Palace. Though it was originally a town hall, the building was made regal by Louis Napoleon in 1808.
4. Anne Frank’s House
If you go in the summer, you’ll be standing in a long line to get in, but as the setting of one of the greatest stories of the twentieth century, Anne Frank’s house is considered a must see. It is located close to Dam Square.
The Rijksmuseum is the official state museum of Holland. With a collection including works by Vermeer, Hals, and Rembrandt and an entrance on Amsterdam’s museumplein, the Rijksmuseum is part of any comprehensive tour or Amsterdam.
6. Van Gogh Museum
Also located on the museumplein, the Van Gogh museum contains the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work.
7. Albert Cuypmarkt
With some 20,000 visitors on weekdays, and even more on weekends, the Albert Cuypmarkt is one of the largest open air markets in the world, supplying fresh produce, handmade objects, and just about anything else a traveler could want.
8. Queen’s Day
If you’re in Amsterdam around the 30th of April, you don’t want to miss one of the world’s largest street parties. Queen’s Day is a mammoth celebration of gay and lesbian culture. With pounding music and huge crowds, the entire downtown of Amsterdam turns into a party on Queen’s Day.
9. Vondelpark Summer
During high summer between June and August is the Vondelpark festival. With entertainment for all ages, this festival features performing arts in the open air.
10. Holland Festival
The Netherlands biggest summer festival is Holland Festival, which lasts for three weeks in June. It is the largest annual festival, featuring theater, opera, music, dance, and art exhibitions.
Periodic events in Amsterdam
- April – 420.
- April – Koninginnedag, Queen’s day, 30 April, former Queen Juliana’s birthday, also the day Juliana transferred her title to her daughter Beatrix.
- June – The Amsterdam Roots Festival, last week of June, international music festival.
- June – Holland Festival is an international festival for theater, music, dance, opera, film and art, throughout the month of June.
- August – Amsterdam Pride, first weekend of August, gay pride weekend.
- August – Hartjesdag, 3rd weekend in August.
- August – Uitmarkt, last weekend in August, the start of the cultural season.
- August – Amsterdam Tournament, late August, International Football tournament hosted by AFC Ajax.
- August – Sail Amsterdam, a five-yearly event, when tall ships from all over the world can be visited;
- October – Amsterdam Marathon, mid-October.
- October – The Bokbier Beer Festival in the Beurs van Berlage (Old stock Exchange).
- October – Grachtenrace (Canal Race), 25km rowing race, 2nd Saturday in October.
- October – Amsterdam Dance Event. An international conference for the electronic and dance music industry. Also a clubfestival with 600+ acts/DJ’s performing at 40 locations!
- November – Shadow Festival of Documentary Film.
- November – December The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).
- November – Cannabis Cup, mid-November annual cannabis competition, hosted by High Times.