Welcome to Amsterdam

Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands
“I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” Anne Frank.

For a city so appealing, so historic and so enjoyable, it’s remarkable that it is often the people of Amsterdam who visitors remember, long after leaving. Since its foundation in 1280, they have proved their strength and bravery though war, invasion, fire and flood.

Their pride in this city, so ancient yet so boldly contemporary, shines throughout the wide streets, cheerful shops, elegant restaurants and cherished monuments. And despite the drama of its past, even now, boats progress gently along burn-umber canals, and cyclists pedal unhurriedly by cafes, flower shops and churches.

It’s a city where common sense and kindness forever triumphs over suspicion and assumption, where human rights are not a vague hope but an absolute given. Liberal, thoughtful and creative, the soul of Amsterdam is found in café discussions, shared smokes, quirky style and a pace of life that moves steadily forward without ever forgetting the lessons of the past.

Crowds still flock to the Anne Frank House, and cyclists stop to pay their respects at the Homomonument, the triangular sculpture outside Westerkerk, which poignantly commemorates gays and lesbians killed by the Nazis.

Beautiful architecture, leafy squares and old churches shelter amongst the 165 canals and 1281 bridges, and while some may come to goggle at the Red Light area, many more visit to enjoy the culture, the history and the relaxing, erudite atmosphere of this generous and ever-evolving great city.

Guide to Amsterdam, NetherlandsGuide to Amsterdam, Netherlands


The Canals

Amsterdam is known as “The Venice of The North”... more

The Museums

"if you only have time for one museum, makes it the Rijksmuseum- it is truly world-class, and impossible to leave disappointed..." more
Amsterdam Tram 2 & 5 from Centraal Station

The Nine Streets

"Here is the museum of Amsterdam, pretty churches, vintage shops..." more


NRC Restaurant

"It’s pleasant to think that news is being made as you enjoy fine wines..." more
Rokin 65 1012 KK Amsterdam 020 755 3553


"... it’s the food which really dazzles in this much-admired restaurant..." more
Van Baerlestraat 27 1071 Amsterdam 020 570 00 00


Noordwal 1 1021 PX Amsterdam 020-6323701

Guide to Amsterdam, NetherlandsGuide to Amsterdam, Netherlands


Bubbles & Wines

"This dark little galley bar is the sort of place you hope to stumble upon whilst walking home after a long, romantic dinner..." more
Nes 37 1015KG Amsterdam

Skylounge At Doubletree By Hilton Hotel

"It may be part of a chain, but as a place to watch the sun set over Amsterdam with cocktails, it’s unbeatable..." more
Oosterdoksstraat 4, 11th Floor 1011 DK Amsterdam 020-5300800


"This little Art Deco bar is highly praised for its bar food, and its charming, relaxed atmosphere..." more
Sarphatistraat 23 1019 Amsterdam 020 622 0209


Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam

"This five star hotel combines boutique luxury with old-fashioned service..." more
Prinsengracht 315-331 1016 GZ Amsterdam +31 (0)20 5235235

Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

"Perfectly located on Dam Square, opposite the Royal Palace, this beautiful 19th century hotel is a bold combination of modern edge in the guest rooms, and grand belle époque glamour in the public areas..." more
Dam, 9 1012 JS Amsterdam +31 (0)20 5549111 Take tram line 4, 9, 16, 20, 24 or 25 at the Central Station and exit at the Dam Square stop.

The Toren

"This theatrical little jewel box of a hotel is packed with dramatic charm..." more
Keizersgracht 164 1015 CZ Amsterdam +31 (0)20 622 60 33 Line 13 or 17

Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands



For a truly spectacular view, head to the EYE film insitute on the Northern bank of the Ij.

Many museums and attraction are free to enter with a city card, so it’s well worth getting one.

City card- 24 hrs €42 48- €52 72 hrs- €62

Hire a bike- Dutch laws prioritise the rights of cyclists, and it is a city designed for bikes rather than cars. There are around 600 000 bikes out and about at any time of day in Amsterdam.

If you want to try the “Brown" cafes of legend, one reputable establishment is the Dampkring coffee shop. Be warned however: while you will not be prosecuted for smoking, cannabis itself is illegal- and possessing more then 5 grams of cannabis in a public area or 30 grams in a private area can lead to arrest.

Amsterdam is close to several ‘city beaches’- by reputation, they are: Roest - ‘hipster central’ at weekends, Bilburg- attracts a Boho crowd and you can swim from here. Starnd Zuid- “For posers” and Strand West, which is open all year, and offers great views.

Getting Around

Amsterdam’s public transport is excellent- but hiring a bike is one of the best and simplest ways to see the city.

It’s best to get a public transport smart card (OV-chipkaart) which can be used on buses, trams and metros. Go to www.en.gvb/nl for details and prices.

When using your smart card, always remember to check in and out, holding your card to the reader till it beeps and a green light appears.

Readers are usually next to the vehicle door. On the Metro, they are on poles at the station.

A city card also gives free use of GVB public transport for its duration.


Trams are frequent and easy to use- one-hour tickets can be bought from the conductor.


Local trains leave from Central Station and travel to all outlying districts. Buy tickets in advance, at GVB vending machines or at the station.


The bus system is excellent, and criss-crosses the city centre. Routes are clearly marked, and buses are usually on time. Only one-hour tickets can be purchased on board. Advance tickets are from GVB offices or machines.


The ferry terminal is behind Central Station. Ferries regularly cross to the other banks of the Ij, and it’s free of charge.


Licensed taxi drivers stick to an agreed fare structure. Start price is €2.83, the maximum charge per km is €2.08 and the drivers must accept short journeys. Find a map of taxi ranks here

Be warned, traffic in the city centre can be slow. The law states that drivers must accept short trips, but they may not be able to wait in certain areas.


The narrow city streets can get very congested, and one way systems can be confusing, because of the many canals. Due to limited parking in the city centre, unless you have parking at your hotel (one hotel right by Dam Square with underground parking is the 3* Rho Hotel on Nes), it may be easier to take advantage of the park and ride scheme.

If using a meter, enter your license plate details. The P1 car park in the city centre is opposite Central Station. Book in advance and pay €20 a day instead of €35. http://www.p1.nl/bookings


The city is extremely cycle-friendly, with miles of cycle paths along the canal routes and roads. Bike hire is affordable with a wide selection of hire shops.

Try Bike City, Mac Bike, or Rentabike, for a big selection of models and an efficient service. Cyclists have right of way in the Netherlands, but look out for cars cutting up side roads.

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