Amsterdam

Amsterdam - The Netherlands

Amsterdam’s prodigious reputation as a party city is richly deserved, but there is much more to the Dutch capital than all-night techno parties. A museum hotspot with the world’s largest collection of Dutch art (and an impressive Van Gogh museum), a tranquil river and quaint, cobbled streets, Amsterdam is charming by day. Dutch authorities have tried hard in recent years to remove the city’s reputation as somewhere to come and cut loose, with mixed success. You will struggle to find friendlier locals anywhere in Europe.

With a population of around 1 million (including suburbs) on 1 January 2008, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s larger cities but can be relatively easily navigated on foot. Starting life as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, the city of Amsterdam became a major international hub during the seventeenth century Dutch Golden Age, when it was a centre for finance and diamonds. Nowadays, many multinational companies are drawn to Amsterdam (for its relatively easy tax conditions), as are five million tourists annually (for the easy living).

 

Museums

Many of Amsterdam’s key museums are located on het Museumplein, on the southern side of the Rijksmuseum, created in the late 19th century on the grounds of the World Exposition.

The square – which hosts an ice rink during the winter and various parties during the summer – is bordered on its west side by the Stedelijk Museum, Van Gogh Museum, House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience and Coster Diamond. The American consulate sits on the eastern side of the square.

The Rijksmuseum, opened in 1885, is home to the largest and most important collection of classical Dutch art, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals, Van der Helst, Albert Cuijp, Ferdinand Bol, Van Ruysdael and Paulus Potter.

The Van Gogh museum is Amsterdam’s most visited and is home to an impressive collection of the artist’s work. Next door, the Stedelijk Museum has Amsterdam’s largest collection of modern art including works by Mondrian, Karel Appel, and Kazimir Malevich. Elsewhere, the Anne Frank House is a very popular tourist destination and a reminder of the city’s twentieth century history.


Classical Music

Amsterdam is home to a world-class symphony orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. They operate out of the Concertgebouw (near Museum Square), which contains three halls, Grote Zaal, Kleine Zaal, and Spiegelzaal and hosts over 800 concerts a year.

 

Nightlife

The two main nightlife hotspots are Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein, where you will find a number of large nightclubs including the Escape (2000+ capacity spread over various rooms) and the Sugar Factory (more of a mixed bag).

If you are lucky enough to look younger than 21, it is strongly recommended to take ID with you on a night out in Amsterdam, as the bouncers at the larger clubs can be a little officious at times. Also, be aware that afternoons spent in the city’s famous coffee shops are not necessarily the best preparation for cutting shapes on the dance floor. 

 

 
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Climate

Amsterdam has moderately warm summers, with an average daily high in August of 22°C. The temperature rarely creeps above 30°C, even in the height of the summer.

Winter is relatively mild, with the temperature rarely falling below zero, but is quite frequently damp.


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Useful Links

Amsterdam Weather (BBC)

Amsterdam Airport

Official Tourist Site