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 Amsterdam Guide

 

A complete guide to the city of Amsterdam 


 

Amsterdam is such a small city that getting about on foot is easy. Almost all of the major attractions are within walking distance of one another.

If you don't fancy walking, hop on a bike. To experience Amsterdam properly biking is the way to go. There are cycle paths everywhere and on the odd occasion you have to mingle with other traffic, you'll find motorists polite and respectful. If bikes just aren't your thing public transport is superb being frequent and not expensive, especially if you use one of the many discount cards on offer

 

 

 

Dam Square is considered the centre of the city and one of the main tourist areas. Originally a marketplace,  today it's a lively square housing some of the city's largest department stores, Madam Tussauds and the Royal Palace.The Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis)  is open to tourists, but you are unlikely to spot the Queen inside as the royal family live in the Hague. The Palace is still used on ceremonial occasions such as Remembrance day (Dodenherdenking) when King Willem lays a wreath on the National Monument


 

Our apartments are located in the Dam Square area of the city.


 

A short walk from Dam Square is 


Nieuwmarkt (New market)

During the golden age of the 17th Century, this was the main trading area. Merchant ships sailed up the Geldersekade canal and docked and unloaded their wares. Originally there were city gates across the Nieuwmarkt square (now gone) but the weighting house De Waag, still stands today and is a top restaurant. 


Nieuwmarkt Square is one of the most attractive squares in Amsterdam. The square itself is home to a farmers market on Saturday, a flea market on Sunday during summer and during the week a small market with stalls such as a hamburger and hot dog stand run by an American guy, flower stalls, fruit and veg stalls , a cheese stall, Tony's healthy nuts and a chap selling freshly squeezed orange juice in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter.   

Nieuwmarkt is surrounded by cafes, bars, restaurants, coffeeshops as well as a supermarket, bank, tattoo parlour and bakery.


This neighbourhood is full of things to see, including 2 of the three tiniest houses in the city and the Oude Kerk which is the oldest church in Amsterdam. If you like flea markets, head to the Waterlooplein where you can find all sorts of second-hand and new items ........and I mean all sorts,  both on stalls and laid out on rugs on the ground. Have a good rummage and you never know what you'll find.


Also located in this area is the world famous Red light district or De Wallen or Walletjes as the Amsterdammers call it. It is well worth a walk through both by day and by night as you get two totally different  experiences and China Town, where you get some great food with over seventy-five Chinese and Thai restaurants and snack bars as well as several Chinese supermarkets and shops selling a vast array of Chineses items.

 

Our apartments located in the Nieuwmarkt area of the city.



De Jordaan

The Amsterdam Jordaan is undoubtedly a special area and one of the most famous of all Amsterdam with a personality all of its own. Formerly a working class area it is now one of the most fashionable and popular areas to live and to stay with its narrow little streets, beautiful picturesque canals with an art gallery on every corner. It is home to plenty of Amsterdam's brown cafes, second-hand clothes shops, designer  boutiques and lots of quirky little speciality shops that you won't find on the high street
A great area for window-shopping by day and night.

 

 

Our apartments located in the Jordaan area of the city.

 

Museum Area

The Museum Quarter is the cultural area of the city and as the names suggest is home to most of the city's major museums. Most of the biggies are here, the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, and, of course, the Van Gogh Museum making this area an art lovers dream. Aside from the museums the area offers a range of activities and attractions, from the largest park in the city, Vondelpark, to the Coster Diamond Factory and tour to some of the city's best restaurants. Museum quarter also caters for the kids. During summer, there is a  skateboard park and paddling pool that turns into an ice rink during winter


If you like shopping or even window shopping, head for the poshest shopping street in  Amsterdam .the exclusive P.C. Hooftstraat where you will find a who's who of the fashion world, Hugo Boss, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and such like, from diamonds to leather shoes to designer handbags and watches and everything in between.


Our apartments located in the Museum Quarter area of the city

 


Plantage Area

The Plantage area of the city is located in the east.  It is the location of Artis the city's Zoo and the Botanic Gardens, Hortus Botanicus with the Wertheimpark opposite, a small but beautiful park housing a world war two memorial.

Plantage is also home to De Gooyer, the only windmill to be found in the centre of Amsterdam, which, unfortunately, is not open to the public. Next door to the windmill is  Brouwerij 't IJ, an organic  microbrewery with a pub attached where you sample the beer in the tasting room. Forget about Heineken, this is the real Amsterdam beer that is evidenced by the throngs who come from all over to relax on the huge outside terrace on a sunny day. Tours of the brewery are available at the weekend.


 

Docklands/Central Station 

This area has been totally transformed in recent years with many major developments and improvements. Thousands of new properties have been built with an emphasis on new architecture but with a high proportion of the old buildings being preserved, the current day Docklands a fine mix of contemporary architecture and old structures with a new function.


On Java,KNSM and Borneo, interconnected man-made islands you have something akin to an open air modern architecture exhibition. This is a wonderful area around which to cycle with its many boats and houseboats moored along the quayside and the series of 9 'fools' bridges which alone are worth a visit. 

 

 

 

Grachten (canals)

A walk along the tree-lined canals in Amsterdam The Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht and Singel with their grand gabled houses overlooking the water, is a delightful way to while away a few hours. In fact, you can do it twice, once by day and again at night and see two totally different views.  By day, you can admire the facades and doors of the buildings while at night you can sneak a peek through the windows, most of them uncurtained, and admire the spectacular interiors. Some are breathtaking indeed.
 
The canals serve as the main car and cycle routes to get around the centre up one side and down the other. If you're driving, however, beware, if a car or van in front of you stops to unload, you may be sitting there for some time.


 

Amstel Area

The Amstel area in and around the river Amstel, from which Amsterdam took its name is a more upmarket neighbourhood and an oasis of peace. A lovely location to stay during your vacation away for the madness yet just 5 minutes walk to Waterlooplein market.
There are some famous bridges in this area The Blauwbrug or Blue Bridge and the Magere Brug or skinny bridge a wooden drawbridge, the oldest in Amsterdam which is opened several times a day for river traffic. Also in the area is the Carré Theatre as well the Amstel Hotel, accommodation for the rich and famous.


Amsterdam Oost

Amsterdam Oost (East) is an ethnically diverse area of the city  with many of the streets named after locations in the former Dutch colony, 
This area is also home to the Oosterpark city park where multicultural events are held all year round as well as to the well-known street market  "Dappermarkt" probably the busiest in the city selling much produce of interest to the local Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese population but with lots of exotic street food available and cheap clothes and shoes, it attracts people from all over the city as well as many tourists.


 

Oud West

Old West started  as farmland and forest back in late 16th century but with Amsterdam growing  fast more land was needed for the increasing population, the first building to pop was the Wilhelmina Gasthuis which was built in 1631-32 as guest house / hospital catering for infectious diseases, this was originally outside the city walls

During the 19th century, this area was brought within the main city walls and became part of Amsterdam and was largely a working class area,  but over the centuries has become a real mixed area full of all sorts of people from students to married couples and plenty of dogs.

For guest looking for a stay in Amsterdam in a more peaceful area, this is perfect as it's away from the craziness of the centre yet not far from Vondelpark and the Leidseplein.


We have some new great apartments like Double Dutch ApartmentYoung Shiva Apartment and Sky Terrace or click here to find all our properties.

 

Events Guide for Amsterdam and there abouts:

October 2015   The Annual Dance Event - October 15th to 20th 
November 2015 Museum Night 2015 to be held on Saturday 7th November; International Documentary Film Festival runs November 18th-29th; catch a talk at TEDxAmsterdam event on 27th November. Cannabis Cup
December 2015 The now annual Amsterdam Light Festival illuminates the city over the New Year; new exhibition of Spanish Art opens at the Hermitage on 5th; ring in 2016 and the New Year around the city with several firework displays on 31st,  Nieuwmarkt can be great fun.

 

 

Latest Pages


Five inspiring photo exhibitions to see in Amsterdam


New Food Hall opens in Amsterdam


Festival of Light


Is Amsterdam Racist


Hitchhiking the Amsterdam Way


Watch out wild parrots about


Are the Dutch a rude race of people

 

 

 

Monthly Events Guides for Amsterdam and Netherlands:

July 2015 Festival season is in full swing including the Over het IJ Festival at NDSM wharf 2-12 July; Ajax Open Day for footie fans on 20 July; check out a city beach or market.
August 2015 SAIL Amsterdam, the 5 yearly tall ships event comes to Amsterdam 19-23 Aug; Amsterdam Gay Pride canal parade on 1 Aug; Uitmarkt, the largest cultural festival in Netherlands 28-30 Aug.
September 2015 Munch : Van Gogh major exhibition opens on 23 Sep; Dutch Theatre Festival runs 3-13 Sep; KLM Open Golf event at Zandvoort 10-13 Sep; U2play 4 dates at the Ziggo Dome.
October 2015 Rome. Emperor Constantine’s Dream major exhibition opens on 3 Oct at Nieuwe Kerk; Amsterdam Marathon is run on 18 Oct; Check out Expatica's I Am Not a Tourist fair on 4 Oct at Beurs van Berlage.
November 2015 Museum Night 2015 to be held on Saturday 7 Nov; International Documentary Film Festival runs 18-29 Nov; catch a talk atTEDxAmsterdam event on 27 Nov.
December 2015 Amsterdam Light Festival illuminates the city during the holiday season; new exhibition Spanish Art opens at the Hermitage on 5 Dec; ring in the New Year with the city firework display on 31 Dec.
 

 

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