If there are two things that are synonymous with Amsterdam, its bikes and canals, with windmills and clogs coming in a close third and fourth places.
However, there’s a lot more to this small but lively city than clichés, with a vibrant culture busy nightlife and progressive population all contributing to the exciting atmosphere of the city.
Anyone who’s already visited the city will know that there’s a lot more to it than first meets the eye, with many of its most impressive characteristics kept just for those in the know. So if you’ve still not ventured across the channel to explore the Dutch capital, now is the perfect time to go and see what Holland has in store for you.
Ok, well we might as well start with bikes, especially as they’ll probably be one of the first things that you notice when you touch down.
Amsterdam has a huge network of canals
The residents of Amsterdam simply love to travel on two wheels and as a result bikes now outnumber people in the Dutch capital.
A well established and well sign posted cycle network makes riding a bike easy even for tourists, so make sure that you rent a bike and travel like a Dutchman for at least a day during your Amsterdam city break.
It’s an undeniable fact that Amsterdam has a lot of canals. In fact, it has over 100km of them, which has led to the city being nicknamed ‘The Venice of the North’.
However, Amsterdam actually has more canals than Venice, and is the most watery city in the world, with over a quarter of its area made up of liquid.
Crossing the canals are 1500 bridges, many of which appear on the UNESCO world heritage list.
The canals of Amsterdam aren’t just pretty – although they do make the city incredibly photogenic – they also offer some great activities. Visitors can rent a rowing boat or a pedalo and spend an afternoon exploring the network of waterways that run through the city.
A typical Amsterdam canal scene
Amsterdam has an incredibly rich history, much of which is connected to its role as a centre for international trade.
However, the most documented periods of the history of the city was during the Second World War when it was occupied by the Nazis.
This of course was the time that Anne Frank famously spent hiding in an attic, a site which visitors can still see to this day.
Now, the Dutch may not be known for their cuisine, but there are certain specialities that they do like no other and which must be sampled during your stay in their city.
Unfortunately, like the chips covered in mayo that you’ll see throughout the city, most Dutch dishes are a little heavy on the hips, but when you bite into a delicious stroopwaffle (syrup cookie) or bitterballen, you won’t care about the calories.
Amsterdam has a very rich culture which can best be appreciated by simply wondering the streets and exploring the city.
The coffee shops are one famous part of the Dutch culture, but there are also loads of museums, theatres, top class restaurants and galleries for you to explore. So make sure that you get out and soak up some Dutch culture while you’re in town.
Though it may live up to some of its stereotypes, Amsterdam is a modern, vibrant and exciting city that deserves a good few days of your time to explore it properly. Amsterdam chauffeur hire is a great idea to explore the city in luxury.
So go hire a bike, sail along the canals and dig into a piping hot bag of chips and you’ll begin to see exactly why Amsterdam is such a great city.
Picture credits: Wikipedia and Ryan Somma