Amsterdam is very different, it cannot be described in a few words. Every tourist comes here for something of his own, and it is precisely this “own” that he finds. Contrary to the popular belief of many foreigners, the city boasts not only world-famous coffee shops and the Red Light District. Such great masters of the brush as Van Gogh and Rembrandt, as well as other representatives of the Flemish school of painting, one of the best in Europe, lived and worked here.
Moreover, Amsterdam is the famous floating flower market "Blumenmarkt", luxurious quarters covered with a network of canals, cheerful Dutch on bicycles in any weather and a completely unique atmosphere of freedom. True, very often freedom crosses the border of permissiveness, but that's exactly what it is - Amsterdam.
What to see and where to go in Amsterdam?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
A huge art museum that stretches along the embankment of one of the canals for a whole block. The expositions of the museum tell about the history of art in the Netherlands. The most important place is given to painting. Most of the museum collection consists of paintings that were created on the territory of Flanders (Southern Netherlands) and Northern Netherlands. Paintings for the Rijksmuseum began to be collected in the 19th century.
National flower park near Amsterdam. Every year this amazing place opens for just a couple of months - for the flowering period. Hundreds of varieties of tulips, daffodils, lilies, hyacinths, rhododendrons and other types of flowers grow here. The alleys of the park are decorated in all possible shades. For many tourists, Keukenhof resembles a "paradise", where you don't want to leave at all.
Canals of Amsterdam
The total length of the canal network within the city is approximately 75 km, with a total of 165 waterways. Only small pleasure boats and private boats go through them. More than 1500 bridges of various sizes connect the canals to each other. The very first channel was dug in the middle of the 15th century and used as a city ditch. Now it is one of the main canals of the city called Singel.
This severe Romanesque fortress of the 13th century has survived to this day almost in its original form. The thing is that in the Middle Ages it was used as a customs post, and not as a military fortress, so it was never besieged. There is a legend about the ghost of Count Floris V (one of the former owners of the castle), who still roams the dark corridors. The Count has been betrayed and killed by his own vassals, and his spirit is not at rest.
The official residence of the royal dynasty of the Netherlands, where official events are held: ascension to the throne, weddings, receptions of foreign delegations. The palace was erected in the 17th century for the needs of the city hall and for court sessions, but later it was transferred to the jurisdiction of the monarchs. The structure rests on the foundation, which in turn is reinforced on 13660 piles.
The central square of Amsterdam, located on the dam of the XIII century. It is known that a third of the area of the Netherlands is below sea level. For the construction of residential buildings, streets and laying communications, the Dutch hundreds of years ago built dams and drove piles into fragile soil. "Dam" means "dam" in Dutch. Over time, the square became the commercial center of Amsterdam; for a long time, the stock exchange functioned here.
Madame Tussauds museum
A branch of the famous wax exhibition, located in Amsterdam (there are 19 branches in the world). Madame Tussauds has gained popularity in all corners of the Earth. Here you can admire the exact copies of real and fairy-tale characters, made with precision and great skill. Madame Tussauds herself was an extraordinary and restless person. She devoted her entire life to collections.
Vincent Van Gogh Museum
A museum that tells about the work and life of one of the brightest representatives of Dutch painting. In addition to the works of the maestro Van Gogh himself, paintings by Monet, Gauguin, Picasso, Seurat are exhibited here. The path of the artist was short, difficult, but very productive - he began to draw after 30 years and created more than 800 paintings, until he shot himself at the age of 37. The museum was organized in 1973.
Rembrandt House Museum
The museum is organized in a house on Jodenbreestraat, where Rembrandt lived for some time. The collection includes 260 engravings by the master, paintings by his students, as well as those artists who were influenced by the work of Rembrandt. The museum was opened in 1911 in the presence of the reigning queen. The exhibits appeared due to gifts from private collectors and buying works at auctions.
The Dutch have always been considered skillful and courageous sailors. Their life has been connected with the sea since the first settlements in the Netherlands. The history of the development of navigation and shipbuilding can be found in the special Museum of Shipping, which exhibits collections of maps, ship gear and tools. Before the opening of the museum, the building housed the Admiralty of Amsterdam.
A modern interactive museum, where the achievements of modern technologies are widely used. It was created in 1997 to show people the relationship between art, science and nature. Here complex physical phenomena are presented in an accessible form. Visitors are allowed to conduct experiments on their own, to experiment in order to understand the essence of a particular phenomenon.
Amsterdam City Museum
Gallery with an impressive collection of contemporary art. The first building (the old one) was built in 1895. The status of the State Museum of Modern Art was obtained in 1938. After 1973, part of the collection was moved to a new building. In the gallery you can admire the paintings of the Cubists, Fauvists, Expressionists and Impressionists. 29 paintings by K. Malevich are stored here.
One of the oldest diamond cutting factories, established in the middle of the 19th century. There is a museum with it, where you can get acquainted with the precious exhibits. Items of curiosity include diamond skulls by British craftsman Damien Hirst, a $1 million gold tennis racket, a replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" adorned with several hundred diamonds, and the queen's crown.
Anne Frank House Museum
The memorial house of the Jewish family Frank, who suffered from the Nazis during the Second World War. This is an old mansion of the 17th century, where Otto Frank, who emigrated from Germany, found temporary shelter. Anna was his daughter. All the time that the family was hiding in the house, the girl kept a diary. The records were published in 1947, after which the public became interested in this place.
The name of the temple is deceptive (translated from the Dutch "niivekerk" means "new church"), since this is a building of the XIV-XV centuries. Representatives of the ruling family of Nasau-Oransky, as well as famous military men, cultural figures and politicians are buried under the vaults of the church. The structure is crowned with a spire over 100 meters high. It was struck by lightning twice, causing a fire to start and damage to the temple.
The oldest church in the city at the beginning of the 14th century (“old church” in Dutch). Over the centuries of its existence, the church has been raided by robbers and religious fanatics more than once, but the original stained-glass windows, wall paintings and ceiling have come down to us. At the end of the XVI century. Protestants took the church for themselves and began to conduct services according to their rite. Nowadays, organ concerts are regularly held on the territory, where an antique organ from 1658 sounds.
Protestant church of the 17th century. It is famous for the fact that Rembrandt was buried here in a common grave for beggars. The tower of the bell tower is decorated with a stone copy of the crown of Emperor Maximilian I (the same crown is depicted on the coat of arms of the Netherlands). It is believed that the ruler allowed his crown to be placed on the spire in gratitude for a cash loan given to him by local bankers.
Church of St. Nicholas in Amsterdam
Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of the capital of the Netherlands. It also protects all sailors, merchants, travelers and fishermen. It was in honor of this saint that a Catholic church was erected, which later became the decoration of Amsterdam. Unlike numerous Protestant churches with more austere architecture and interiors, the Church of St. Nicholas looks more ornate.
The former city gate of the 15th century, which in the past housed the town hall, museum, theater and depot. From the 17th to the 19th centuries the city weight chamber worked here, in which the reference weight of goods was determined. For Amsterdam, this institution played an important role, since by that time the city was already a major center of European trade. Representative offices of various professional guilds were located on the upper floors.
The structure, preserved after the fire at the city gates of Regulirscourt in the early 17th century. As a result of the restoration, 4 clock faces were reinforced on the facade and an octagonal spire appeared on the top. The tower houses a corillon (a system of bells that acts like a single musical instrument) of 38 bells. The bell rings once a week on Saturdays. At this time, you can hear a real "concert".
The Art Nouveau building, which at the beginning of the 20th century served as an exchange, and today hosts various meetings and conferences. The architecture of the Berlage exchange served as a model for other buildings erected in a similar manner. Its creator Hendrik Petrus Berlage is the creator of the original architectural style. He brought national elements and his author's conceptual vision to traditional modern.
The home stadium of the Dutch football club Ajax. The arena was opened in 1996. More than 140 million euros were spent on the work. At the time of construction, this stadium was considered the most progressive in the world, as it had a retractable roof. The Amsterdam Arena is also used for concerts, during which about 70 thousand spectators fit in the stands. It also hosts an annual electronic music festival.
Line of defenses of Amsterdam
Military defensive line, consisting of 45 forts and many hydraulic structures. It was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries to protect Amsterdam from a military threat. If the trigger mechanisms were activated, then within an hour and a half the lowlands around the city could quickly fill with water. In 1996, the defensive line was included in the UNESCO heritage list.
The zoo, founded at the beginning of the 19th century, is considered one of the best in Europe. To date, it contains several thousand animals. On a vast territory there is a botanical garden, aquariums, a museum of geology, a planetarium. Most of the animals live in open enclosures, which are separated from visitors by moats (that is, the most natural living conditions have been created for them).
Landscaped green area, suitable for recreation, walking, cycling and picnics. There is a film museum and a summer theater on the territory of the park. The Vondelpark is open 24/7 and admission is free for all. Locals love this place for its silence, tranquility and the opportunity to isolate themselves from the hustle and bustle of noisy and crowded Amsterdam at least for a while.
An open-air museum-exposition, where a typical Dutch landscape is recreated - mills, village houses, a farm, craft workshops, where they still work using old technologies. From all over the country, 30 types of real Dutch houses were transported here. In the village of Zaanse Schans there are real inhabitants who are in the constant focus of attention of numerous tourists.
floating flower market
Such an attraction is only in Holland. The market operates on one of the main Singel canals. Its history began in the 17th century, when merchants from boats began to offer passers-by to buy flowers. Now the barges are moored to the shore and are no longer sailing anywhere, but the flower fair continues to be called "floating". Here you can buy any flowers, tulip bulbs, seeds and souvenirs.
Flea market Waterlooplein
A small "flea market" next to the city hall, where they sell all kinds of rarities. Here you can find original clothes, African jewelry, products of young unknown designers, books and souvenirs. Regular customers of the market are collectors, directors, costume designers, as well as numerous "freaks" in search of something as outrageous as possible.
Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
Light drugs are legalized in the Netherlands and there are even special places where you can use them - these are world-famous coffeeshops. A considerable part of tourists tends to Amsterdam precisely for the sake of going to such establishments. They offer hashish, marijuana and other drugs, but alcohol is prohibited. There are several hundred coffeeshops in Amsterdam, and there are enough customers for everyone.
Red light district
A quarter inhabited by "priestesses of love" who live and work here absolutely legally. Moreover, they pay decent taxes to the city treasury. Prostitution in Holland has been legalized for a long time, the local prostitutes have a trade union and a powerful system of social guarantees. The Red Light District has countless sex shops, erotic shows and related museums.