The answer to this week’s Where in the World Wednesday was Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Congratulations to Robert Green- you have won a £50 voucher for telling us where Alfie is!
Amsterdam attracts over 3.5 million international tourists, which comes as no surprise considering that it’s considered the cultural capital of the Netherlands. People visit the city for many different reasons- whether it’s to view the architecture and canals, frequent the city’s famous coffee shops or to treat a loved one to a romantic break, this is a city that has something for everyone.
Amsterdam’s Canal Ring frames the city centre and a tourist boat cruise is a great way to explore the city. Magere Brug on the river Amstel, is a beautiful Dutch draw-bridge built in 1670 and still in operation today. Wait around a short while (no longer than 20 minutes) if you’re in the area to see it in action. Oude Kerk (Old Church) is a 14th century Gothic church and the oldest in Amsterdam. Artis Zoo is a large zoo and aquarium right in the heart of the city. It also boasts a Botanical Garden and Planetarium. Other popular tourist areas include the Red Light District, Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein, Jordaan and Dam Square. In the summer the city is also great for beaches– a little known fact!
Amsterdam is well known for it’s museums, and art lovers are in for a treat when visiting this city! The Rijksmuseum welcomes over 1 million visitors each year, and boasts an impression collection of art from the likes of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals and Steen. Other museums worth a visit include the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Anne Frank House, Museum Amstelkring and the Heineken Museum.
On your bike…
Amsterdam isn’t a very car friendly city thanks to its pedestrianised sterets and complex one way systems so it’s best to get peddling to get around the city! It’s fairly flat and you can avoid the high parking fees, whilst taking in the gorgeous views of the tall buildings and beautiful canals. Don’t like cycling? Take advantage of the efficient bus and tram lines as well as water taxis, water buses and various canal cruises that utilise Amsterdam’s waterways.
Check out the Leidseplein, home to many restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as well as the landmark Stadsschouwburg theatre. Try visiting the Rembrandtplein too, named after the famous painter, which is a centre for nightlife with many hotels and discos in the area.
The iconic Paradiso is great for live music, Amsterdam’s own ‘temple of modern music’ in the amazing setting of a former church. You can listen to any number of musical genres depending on which night you go- whether you’re into pop, jazz or rock, there’s a club night for everybody here,
The Sugar Factory is your place for live entertainment with evening shows including live art, poetry, cabaret and theatre. After this, the venue becomes a nightclub where you can party until dawn. Both Paradiso and The Sugar Factory can be found next to the Leidseplain in Amsterdam’s centre.
The red light district.
Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and is a tourist attraction in itself. Women can be seen showcasing themselves in the famous red windows on streets lit by the neon lights of brothels and museums. During the day, the area is picturesque featuring cobbled streets and 14th century architecture, but it is at night time that the area really comes to life.
Where to stay
NH Grand Krasnapolsky is situated on Dam Square, in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic centre and close to the large department stores and museums. All rooms are air conditioned and provide a private bathroom, a hairdryer, internet access, telephone/fax lines, a mini bar and an in-room safe. Guests can enjoy a coffee in the lounge overlooking Dam Square, also serving high teas, lunch and dinner. The Golden Palm Bar is ideal for leisurely drinks and there are two restaurants for delicious meals. For the business traveller, there are conference rooms for up to 2,000 people, as well as a business centre.
The eighteenth century Die Port Van Cleve Hotel in the heart of Amsterdam is ideally located behind the Royal Palace on Dam Square. Within close proximity to the shopping and entertainment centre, the hotel provides a range of facilities that you would expect from a four star hotel. Rooms offer cable and pay television, as well as a telephone, hairdryer, trouser press and modem on request. Both Dutch and international cuisine are served in the brasserie of the Die Port Van Cleve Hotel and relaxing drinks can be taken in the corner bar.