The Netherlands and Holland are two different places! This revelation has proved to me how poor my geography is! I think that this is a mistake that many of us make and it is probably thanks to the Netherlands tourist board who decided to promote the Netherlands with their website Visit Holland. This has now been changed. Holland is a region, well in fact it is two regions (North and South), in the Netherlands.
When we think of Holland, the Netherlands and Dutch people we think of Amsterdam (first and foremost), Rotterdam (thank you Beautiful South) and Tulips.
Being the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is the most well-known city. It is usually associated with its infamous red light district and cafes and Anne Frank. However it is home to 7 of the top 500 companies in the world, the oldest stock market in the world and in 2009 ranked 3rd in the Innovation Cities.
What to do?
Anne Frank’s house is a must really. To avoid the huge queues you can book online which allows you to go through a different entrance. However, if you do decide to queue then there is a great sandwich shop about half a mile down the road from the museum.
The Vincent Van Gough museum is currently housed in the Hermitage museum in Amsterdam, until 25th April 2013. For opening times and cost click here.
After the 25th the Museum will be back in the Oud Zuid district, which is full of Art Nouveau styled buildings, a park like square, perfect for lunches, and the Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstaat, which is a street full of fancy shops, bars, coffee shops and restaurants.
On the site of the old Heineken Brewery the Experience lets you guide yourself around the huge adult theme park. You will learn why the top of your pint is skimmed off with a steel blade, star in a music video and watch the company’s adverts from around the world. To top it all off you finish the tour with two cold beers each.
The 17th Century canals of Amsterdam are really very beautiful and were added to the UNESO World heritage list in 2010.
Where to eat
Popular one with the tourists as it is very close to Anne Frank’s house, the pancake bakery offers 79 variteis of sweet and savoury pancakes. In addition to omelettes, soups and desserts.
Vlaming eten & drinken
This is the place to go if you want to try for traditional dutch fare. It scores highly on trip advisor for service, quality and value.
Café ‘t Arendsnest
You can’t visit Amsterdam without visiting a café. The ‘t Arendsnest’s claims it is the only tasting house that sells Dutch beer exclusively and at least one from each of the country’s 60 breweries. It has a gentleman club feel and some of the ales pack a real punch with some having as much as 10.5% alcohol content.
Where to stay
For the best places to stay at the best prices check out alpharooms.com