Amsterdam is the largest city and capital of the Netherlands. About 750,000 people live there and the city has an area of approximately 219 km². Amsterdam enjoys international fame and fits in the list of world cities such as Paris, Barcelona and Milan. Amsterdam has one of the largest historical centers in Europe and many more interesting features.
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The city is best known to foreigners as the city where drugs and prostitution are tolerated, but Amsterdam is much more than that. In the city you can stroll for hours along the canals and enjoy the beautiful buildings, visit interesting museums, go shopping and visit other fun and world-famous sights.
Amsterdam is located in the province of North Holland in the northwest of the country. In the center of the city, the Amstel river flows into the canals for which Amsterdam is so famous. The canals end in the IJ, a river that separates the city center from Amsterdam-Noord. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea by the North Sea Canal. Amsterdam is 2 meters above sea level.
Amsterdam, like the rest of the Netherlands, has a moderate maritime climate. This climate type is characterized by mild winters, mild summers and year-round rainfall. Below is a list with the average minimum and maximum temperatures in Amsterdam per month.
- January: 1°C - 5°C
- February: 0°C – 6°C
- March: 2°C – 9°C
- April: 4°C – 12°C
- May: 8°C – 17°C
- June: 10°C – 19°C
- July: 13°C – 21°C
- August: 12°C – 22°C
- September: 10°C – 18°C
- October: 7°C – 14°C
- November: 4°C – 9°C
- December: 2°C – 7°C
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The city of Amsterdam was founded around the year 1000. At first it was a swampy area that could only be inhabited after exploitation. After the extraction, the peat soil began to settle, which meant that in the 13th century dikes and dams had to be constructed against the water from the Zuiderzee and the IJ. Amsterdam is named after the dam that was to be built at the time near the Amstel river.
Over the years, Amsterdam has grown steadily. When the city took part in the revolt against Spain in 1585 and Antwerp was occupied, many Antwerp merchants came to Amsterdam. She played a key role in the Golden Age. In the 17th century, the city already had more than 200,000 inhabitants. This was followed by a period of less prosperity and trade, which also reduced the growth of the city.
The Second World War has wreaked havoc in Amsterdam. During the five years of war, more than 110,000 Amsterdammers were killed. After the war, very little was left of the large Jewish community that Amsterdam once knew: more than 75,000 Amsterdam Jews did not survive. Anne Frank, now the most famous person in hiding of that time, hid with her family in Amsterdam.
After this terrible period, the city slowly recovered, after which several expansions of the city took place. The Amsterdam city center was renovated in the 1970s and 1980s. Many families and the elderly moved out of the city and made way for yuppies and double earners. This gave a positive economic boost to the city. Ultimately, the city grew into the metropolis of Amsterdam as we know it today.
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Amsterdam is often referred to as 'Mokum' by Amsterdammers, often those who master flat Amsterdam. The word Mokum comes from Hebrew and means city or place. Amsterdam has a rich Jewish history to which this word refers back. It is believed that the Jews gave the name Mokum to Amsterdam as a kind of pet name and to feel more at home in the city. The history of Jewish Amsterdam takes shape in Jewish Historical.
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Amsterdam's canal belt is one of its biggest attractions. Amsterdam is also nicknamed “the Venice of the North”. The unique canals are best seen from a tour boat. The most beautiful historical buildings from the Golden Age pass by and also a number of beautiful bridges. The four Amsterdam main canals are the Brouwersgracht, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht.
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The Anne Frank House cannot be skipped during a visit to Amsterdam. On the Prinsengracht is the house where Anne Frank went into hiding for almost 2 years during the Second World War. In this house Anne wrote her world famous diary. The Secret Annex has been converted into a museum where you can see exactly how the Frank family lived together with four other people in hiding during the war.
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The Royal Palace on Dam Square in Amsterdam is open to the public when not in use by the Royal Family (occurs approximately twice a year, for ceremonial family and state events). Construction of this impressive building started in 1648 and the palace was not finished until 1665. Jacob van Campen designed the palace in the Dutch Classicist style. Officially, the building served as Amsterdam's town hall, but after 1808 it was used as a royal palace. Today, guided tours of the palace are held and there are regular exhibitions.
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The Vondelpark is a great place to escape the hectic city life. The city park is named after the 17th-century poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel. A statue of him can be found in the park. The park has been a national monument since 1996 and was designed by the famous garden architect Jan David Zocher. The Vondelpark is located in the Amsterdam South district. Open-air theater performances and concerts are often given.
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Artis is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and was founded in 1838. Artis is located in the plantation area and of course has many animals but also a number of special 19th-century buildings, which gives the garden a monumental appearance. You will also find ancient trees and exotic flowers and plants in greenhouses here. But of course most people come for the animals anyway, there is a varied number of animal species such as felines, monkeys, bears, fish, marine mammals, birds, large predators, reptiles, insects, rodents and snakes.
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The Hortus Botanicus dates from 1682, this garden offers a green and peaceful oasis and has more than 6000 plant species from all over the world. There are specimens from every climate and from every continent. In the spring, thousands of tulips give a glow of intense colors.
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Amsterdam has many different museums. Three of the most famous museums will be highlighted here. The Rijksmuseum is the largest and best-known museum in the Netherlands. The greatest masterpieces by Rembrandt (the Night Watch), Vermeer and Hals, among others, hang in the Rijksmuseum. The museum has more than 200 rooms. It belongs to the Dutch state and aims to show Dutch history. The museum is located in the center on the Stadhouderskade.
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Besides Rembrandt, the Netherlands has known another famous painter: Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Van Gogh is famous not only for once freaking out and cutting off his own ear, but also for his magnificent paintings. A museum entirely dedicated to this artist should of course not be missing in Amsterdam. The Van Gogh Museum is located on the Museumplein in the Paulus Potterstraat. You can find beautiful works by the world famous painter here. In total there are about 500 drawings, 700 letters, more than 200 paintings and the collection of Japanese prints by Vincent van Gogh.
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The Municipal Museum strives to be one of the most innovative and interesting museums of modern art in the world. After eight years of renovation and the construction of a new building next to the old one, the museum reopened in September 2012. The collection includes many of the great names of modern painting. Attention is paid to impressionism, fauvism, cubism and expressionism. The museum has a unique collection of 29 paintings by Casimir Malevich, an exceptional collection of De Stijl and the Cobra movement, beautiful Dutch photography, a very good collection of Dutch design and furniture and an interesting collection of European and American trends in art since 1950 with works by Picasso, Newman, Rauschenberg and Warhol, supplemented by Italian Arte Povera and German modern painting.
In Amsterdam you can shop to your heart's content. The major retail chains can be found in the Kalverstraat. The alternative shops can be found in the Nine Streets and people with a big wallet can go to the P.C. Hooftstraat (also nice to just walk through).
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Amsterdam has many different entertainment venues. You can enjoy the music of André Hazes and other Dutch-speaking singers in the brown cafes of Amsterdam. In addition, there are several clubs where you can hear many types of music; from R&B to electronic music. There are also all kinds of pop venues in the Dutch capital such as Paradiso and the Melkweg. For a night out you can therefore go to Amsterdam.
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The Amsterdam ramparts are well known all over the world. This part of Amsterdam between the Warmoesstraat and the Zeedijk is the place where many prostitutes do their business from a room behind glass. You can recognize the rooms by the red (neon) lamps and that is why the neighborhood is also called “Red Light District”. The area was pretty dilapidated about twenty years ago. But after a number of measures, the (drug) nuisance has decreased considerably.
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Madame Tussauds is a popular tourist attraction that can be found on Dam Square, above the Peek & Cloppenburg department store. It looks more like an indoor amusement park than an old-fashioned wax cabinet. Madam Tussauds in Amsterdam has been modernized and equipped with multimedia effects. It employs actors and extras and, as in any amusement park, focuses mainly on children and teenagers. Most of the wax figures in Madame Tussauds are "pimped" so made bigger and more beautiful than the people they portray. So you will see a very tall Elisabeth Taylor, when in reality she was a slender 5-foot woman. Albert Einstein looks like a pop singer and other celebrities are all represented thinner and taller. The Dutch Golden Age is impressively depicted. But sometimes you also see less tasteful attractions. However, it remains a fun outing for children.
Click the menu button at the top left of the screen for more informationLast updated March 2021
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