We’ll meet by the canal! A city guide to Amsterdam, The Netherlands

There is good reason why there are so many tourists in this city; you just have to go with the flow! Water is without a doubt the most important element in the history of Amsterdam and the Netherlands – without the canals, the country would not have been so wealthy. But the constant pouring of water from the sky was a little too much…

If you only have 24 hours, then you can still soak up the relaxed, but artistic atmosphere of Amsterdam.

WHERE TO STAY & HOW TO GET THERE

I do no recommend our Hotel Nes, since it was very expensive and not high quality, but it is a beautiful house. But just opposite the hotel is Café de Jaren -an old style cafe with large windows and a terrace right down to the canal. A place to go with your laptop, write blogposts and drink a small beer (or tea).

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Our hotel Hotel Nes.

from the airport, the easiest transportation is the train to Amsterdam Centraal for 5,2 Euro. It takes 15 minutes. From here you can take the tram for 2,5 euros to most places.

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The trams

But I just walked everywhere.

WHAT TO SEE & EAT

The bridges cross the canals all over the city. It has some 2500 bridges -the largest number in the world.

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One of the steel bridges

The bridges of course cross the canals. And the canals is really the lifeline and the reason for the wealth and glory of Amsterdam. The canals brought the tulips out of the country and the money in.  The tulip mania started the first economical bubble and crisis.

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The picture is from the floating flower market Bloemenmarkt.

Fries with chili mayonnaise from Maoz Vegetarian. A small joint on the corner of Muntplein, where groups of young people go before drinking. Good falafel as well for 5 euros!

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Hmmm…

Sights are plenty. If you’re a cultural traveller you’ll find a link to the best not-so-known museums. The old weigh-house (Waag) is from the 15th century. It was originally part of the medieval city walls as a gate. Among other functions it used to be an anatomical theater and is seen in Rembrandt’s painting “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” in 1632.

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The Waag

Another old sight and not seen outside Flandern is the housing for religious women, who weren’t nuns. Begijnhof has the oldest house in Amsterdam – a wooden house in the corner. That is until they recently found an even older. But Begijnhof is still the oldest courtyard with charitable housing. This is for religious women – something like an open convent and funded during the middle ages.

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Begijnhof

Around the city, remember to look down. Small square brass plates are all over Europe and called Stolperstein. The project was initiated by artist Gunter Demnig to commemorate a Holocaust victim living or working in the house, where the plate is laid down. The victims were primarily Jews, but also Jehovah’s witnesses, Romani and others.

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The Brass plates of two women

There’s good eating, that’s for sure. Go for lunch at PLUK – located in the area around the “9 canals”, where you also find the best shops.

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Hmmm again

The 9 canal rings are UNESCO Heritage. The beautiful old canal houses were built and inhabited by wealthy merchants trading goods from the Netherlands and from its colonies. One important income came from the slave trade.

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Canals everywhere

Close to the botanical garden /Hortus Botanicus) is the zoo. It is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world from 1638 initiated during a plague epidemic for medical herbs. Just next to it is the Café and Restaurant de Plantage in a fine greenhouse-like setting serving pasta, risotto and good wine – but book ahead.

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Flamingo?

Between sights – you might find this sign. Amsterdam has a long history of supporting LGTBI. The best part is that you can still see the old sign underneath, underlining the overwriting of old values!

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Who am I?

And as the sun sets, you can go to the Munttoren or the Mint Tower. It was also part of the original medieval city wall like the Waag. The name originates from the time, when the official minting was moved here, because of fear of an attack from France and England in 1672. I watched it getting dark while eating some more fries…

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Munttoren

Did you know: Amsterdam is named after the actual dam originally located in the canal Amstel. The dam is now Dam square.

Cultural travellers in Amsterdam – go to The best not-so-known museums in Amsterdam!

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