Destinations / Travel Tips

7 Reasons to Fall in Love With Amsterdam

‘In Amsterdam, the water is the mistress and the land the vassal. throughout the city,

there are as many canals and drawbridges as bracelets on a Gypsy’s bronzed arms.’ 

-Janet -Felix Marti-Ibanez

(Photo by Azhar J on Unsplash)

The city’s olive-green canals and handsome gabled mansions are indeed beautiful, but perhaps above all, it’s the flavour of the city that appeals – its inhabitants a creative and imaginative bunch who quite simply bring the place alight. Young Amsterdammers were energized, and the hippy movement infused the city with an adventurous spirit that survives today: it’s reflected in a string of cultural events such as Pride and King’s Day, a platoon of inventive art and photography galleries, and a penchant for design, from designer toothbrushes to a speciality condom shop, which manages to stretch everyone’s imagination.

In the 13th century, Amsterdam was a small fishing village located behind a dyke/dam which protected them from the water from the Amstel river. At that time, it was located at the lade of the Amstel. Amsterdam was named Amstelredam, which referred to the dam in the Amstel river.

Food. Who does not love food

Amsterdam is a charming Dutch city known for flowing canals, colorful tulips and wooden clogs. It’s also a city where it’s possible to spend days strolling along waterways and visiting iconic sites like the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. But what about the food in Amsterdam? Amsterdam is a great city to eat Dutch food and global cuisine between sightseeing and other extracurricular activities. The city has restaurants and snack shops serving a variety of tasty food at all price points.

(Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash)

In Amsterdam, crispy meatballs called Bitterballen are the go-to snack at bars around the city. Since most travelers visit at least one bar in Amsterdam, eating Bitterballen is almost inevitable when visiting the DAM. The Bitterballen recipe is fairly straightforward and can be completed in a few steps. First, Dutch chefs slow cook meat and refrigerate the resulting stew until it solidifies. They then form the meat mixture into little balls, bread them and fry them to crispy perfection.

Unlike their fluffy American cousins, Dutch pancakes called Pannekoeken are flat, savory and fill the plate. Locals eat Pannekoeken at all times of the day, often topping the starchy base with cured meat or smoked salmon. However, some Amsterdammers prefer to add fruit or chocolate to create a sweet dessert pancake.

Stroopwafels take the cookie concept to the next level by filling two thin wafers with sweet Stroop, the same caramel-like syrup that goes well with Pannekoeken.

Miniature pancakes called Poffertjes are a popular snack available at stands around Amsterdam. Dutch cooks prepare Poffertjes batter with buckwheat flour before frying the petite treats to crispy goodness.

Walks by the canal

There’s something about the canals in Amsterdam. Telling stories of hundreds, thousands of people. Dubbed as the Venice of the North, it covers more than 100 kilometers (62 miles). The canals are one of the defining features of the city. These 17th century canals are also under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are visiting Amsterdam, a canal cruise is a must. Rent a boat along the canals and enjoy the day! A visit to Amsterdam isn’t complete without enjoying the canals. The best way to enjoy Amsterdam’s canals is from the water. You can rent a paddle boat and explore the canal belt at your own pace. If you prefer to take things easier, take a canal cruise where a guide will tell you all about the history of Amsterdam.

They are a symbol of Amsterdam and of great cultural and historical value. Every canal in Amsterdam is unique and has its own charm. The Gouden Bocht or Golden Curve, the section of Herengracht between Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat, boasts the most beautiful canal houses in Amsterdam. The bridge on the corner of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht offers an exquisite view. From the odd-numbered side, you can see as many as fifteen bridges! The Magere Brug (’skinny bridge’) is the most picturesque of all bridges. Beautifully lit at night, it is one of Amsterdam’s most romantic spots.

(Photo by Jonne Mäkikyrö on Unsplash)

Bikes, bikes and more bikes

Everyone in Amsterdam seems to get around by bike. In fact, the Dutch capital is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. So rent a bike and explore the city –  it’s the fastest and cheapest way to get around.

Even if you only pedal around for a few hours, riding a bike is an essential Amsterdam experience. Renting a bike or taking a guided cycle tour is a great way to discover the city and can be quite an adventure. Exploring the city on a bike lets you see more in a day, while blending in with the locals at the same time. Below you’ll find all you need to know about cycling in Amsterdam, including where to hire a bike, cycling safety, where to park your bike, rules of the road and the history of cycling in the Netherlands.

(Photo by Guus Baggermans on Unsplash)

Due to risk of theft, many people ride battered old cycles for normal use around town. Most Dutch cyclists will also own a more expensive bike for touring – given that there are 100,000 km of well marked cycle routes around the country. If you want to ride a bike around the city it does take a bit of practice to get up to speed with the locals – so take some care initially. A lot of bad cycling seen in the centre of Amsterdam is actually done by inexperienced tourists who may not do much bike riding at home.

Keukenhof is just a train ride away

Keukenhof park is just half an hour away from Amsterdam. It’s one of the most beautiful gardens in the world filled with at least 7 million spring-flowering bulbs. It’s only open from March 24-May 16, so time your trip accordingly. Tulips from Holland are world famous. If you want to see the Dutch tulip fields in bloom, you should visit Holland in April and May. Keukenhof is a park where more than 7 million flower bulbs are planted every year. Gardens and four pavilions show a fantastic collection of: tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many other flowers. You will be overwhelmed by a spectacle of colors and perfumes. At Keukenhof, you’d think you were adrift on a sea of flowers. Divided across various gardens and pavilions, the tulips and other flowers number in the millions. Keukenhof has a different theme each year, meaning that it is never the same. Unique in the world, this park attracts over a million visitors every year. Note that the tulips bloom only from mid-March to mid-May, meaning that the park is only open during this period.

(Photo by Clémence Taillez on Unsplash)

“Gezelligheid”

Gezelligheid is a Dutch abstract noun that’s used to describe the Dutch culture. It can’t be translated to any other language but it can mean cosy, friendly, fun and/or welcoming. It can refer to the sensation of living in a friendly community and feeling content.

The stunning architectures

Amsterdam is best known for its luxurious canal houses and charming gabled facades, but the city has enough architectural treasures to keep design lovers busy for weeks. From windmills and drawbridges to the Amsterdam School and cutting-edge modern design, learn the stories behind Amsterdam’s most memorable structures. Amsterdam’s canal belt is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and it’s where you’ll find charming canal houses. Originally homes for the wealthy, many were built at the height of the 17th-century. Be sure to look up as you wander or cruise by as the ornate facades and gables are something to behold.

It’s all about sculptural brickwork when it comes to this iconic architectural style. Referencing Expressionist architecture, Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) and elements of Art Deco, Amsterdam School gives equal weight to the interior and the exterior of each building.

In a city of 1,200+ bridges, it’s fair to say that there are some striking examples of bridge building in the city. The oldest bridge dates from 1648 and in the east you’ll find one of the city’s newest bridges, the Python Bridge. It’s not just about the architecture, engineering also plays a part as many of these bridges elevate to allow high boats to pass and when back in place, trams, trains, cars and bikes can continue to cross.

(Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash)

Once a hub for the shipping industry, the Eastern Docklands is now a vibrant residential area featuring some daring architectural constructions. Nestled among row houses are flashy buildings that somehow blend into the surroundings.

Festivals

Amsterdam is also a city with a lot going on: numerous, very popular, and some even world-famous events take place in Amsterdam every year. So, in this article I want to share with you some of the biggest events in Amsterdam that are well worth coming to the city for!

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual light art festival in Amsterdam. Artists, architects and (light) designers from all over the world bring their light artworks and installations alive during the festival. The artworks are placed alongside two routes. Each route has its own theme and set of artworks.

If you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping, are craving a hot chocolate or are up for some ice-skating, the Christmas markets are the place to be! Amsterdam hosts various Christmas markets throughout the city, several ice rinks and even an ice sculpture festival!

The Amsterdam Gay Pride is probably the event in Amsterdam that is most well-known internationally. The festival attracts several hundred thousand visitors each year and is one of the largest publicly held annual events in the Netherlands.

(Photo by Luuk Wouters on Unsplash)

How could you not fall in love with Amsterdam? : https://www.theonlinetourguide.com/service-page/netherlands-amsterdam-a-colorful-city

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