Amsterdam City Guide
Amsterdam is one of the smaller cities in Europe. As the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, today it counts a population of about 780.000 within the city limits and a metropolitan population of about 2.2 million.
The city was founded on the river Amstel in the 12th. century. During the Golden Age, the 18th. century, it became one of the biggest ports in the world (today this is Rotterdam) because of its overseas trading. At that time it was also a leading center for finance and diamonds. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange,located in the center of the city, is the oldest in the world.
Today the Netherlands still is a nation where trading plays an important part in the country’s activities.
Amsterdam has many attractions and landmarks. This includes the 17th century canal ring which has been added to the Unesco World Heritage List. There are about 50 museums, including the Rijksmuseum (Rembrandt), the van Gogh museum, the Hermitage and Anne Frank House, to mention a few.
To get a complete insight of all the attractions and practical hints on how to move around the city, we strongly recommend the official portal[url]http://www.iamsterdam.com/en[/url] It shows you the latest information what is going on, exhibitions and so on.
If you come to Amsterdam and you have time to spend a day to visit other places in the country, we recommend a visit to Volendam, Edam or the cheese market in Alkmaar, or to Marken which was an island but is now part of the Markerwaard Polder. You can take a bus tour to these places and this trip will give you a better idea of the life in the Netherlands. Especially the to Marken will give you a good idea of “inpolderen”, the drying of part of the Zuiderzee which by now is reduced to a lake called IJselmeer. If you are interested in this winning of land we can also recommend a trip to the city of Lelystad in the polder of Flevoland where there is an excellent museum about this process. Also you will find there a yard which builds famous Dutch ships of the 17th. and 18th. century in the traditional way.
When you arrive in the city, you will be surprised by the thousands of bikes people use as the main means of transport. Many people will take their bike to the train station, leave it there to continue by train and pick it up again when returning.
It is easy to get to most places by walking. But the city has also an extensive network of trams and buses and to a smaller extend a metro.
When the weather is good, walking around the canal rings is a pleasure, with its beautiful architecture and terraces. People like to sit outside to take in all the sun they can get. You can also take a boat tour through the canals. Or you rent a bike and move with the locals. You will be one of the about 800.000 bike users in the city!
Museums, good music, good food and good wines, you find it all here and it depends on you what you prefer. Above mentioned website also indicates special events during the time you are in Amsterdam.
The city is very international and the population today counts around 180 nationalities. Many languages are spoken and English is known by most people from Amsterdam.
Have a nice time in Amsterdam!