Amsterdam is a city that’s best known for its canals and picturesque houses. Located in the Netherlands, it was once the world’s most powerful city thanks to its trade riches. Amsterdam is home to several museums that pay homage to Anne Frank and World War II history. Today, Amsterdam is a bustling European capital with plenty of fun to offer (especially if you like beer)!
Amsterdam Center Town
The skyline of Amsterdam's city center is first dominated by the Sint-Petrus-church tower (which actually looks like a giant gingerbread man), then the Anne Frank House. The house was built next to Anne's father's business in 1943. But in 1963 it became a museum dedicated to the young diarist and her family’s time in hiding from 1942-1945. The museum, which can be found at the back of the Anne Frank Huis, is a fascinating story in its own right.
One can’t visit Amsterdam without visiting the Anne Frank House and Museum. While the original house was cut in half to make way for a canal expansion, it has since been rebuilt. There are plenty of interesting facts about the Anne Frank House on Water Transport’s guided tour—but don’t expect to see everything on one trip.
Heineken Experience - Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the second most visited city in Europe. The Dutch capital is a great city to spend time in thanks to its world-renowned museums, nightlife, parks and canals. As a diamond in the rough of Northern Europe, Amsterdam has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world—despite its small size (the city itself is smaller than Kansas City). Travelers come from all over the globe to see the canals that make up 80 percent of Amsterdam’s famous skyline. You won’t be able to take a trip to Amsterdam without noticing how beautiful it really is.
Amsterdam has many museums that pay tribute to its history as the world’s trading center. The Heineken Experience is an interactive museum in Amsterdam dedicated to beer and the family of Gerard Adriaan Heineken, who began brewing beer in the Netherlands in 1864. The museum has plenty of history about beer and how it came to be so popular in Amsterdam—and even a tasting tour with a Heineken-loving guide!
TIP: While technically not part of Amsterdam, Rotterdam is well worth an extra day trip for those who have time during their visit to Amsterdam. Rotterdam is a modern city with fantastic food, architecture and culture. Make sure to stop by the Markthal, which is a mall and food market all in one. It’s also home to the Netherlands’ tallest building and some of the best restaurants in town.
Today, Amsterdam has been ranked one of the world’s top 10 destinations for beer lovers. The city is home to over 60 breweries and hosts several annual beer festivals.
Tourism is a huge part of Amsterdam’s economy. Today, tourism is one of the top contributors to the city’s economy. Its Dutch heritage also draws many visitors from around the world looking to see where Anne Frank and Ajax soccer player Johan Cruyff hail from!
Amsterdam is a city that brings the world together, not just in different languages, but also in sports. The city’s soccer giants play at Amsterdam Arena, while the soccer team De Graafschap is based in nearby Almelo. There’s even a special telephone line you can call to get live scores and information about upcoming matches. Amsterdam has a great area called “De Pijp” (the hip neighborhood). Here, you’ll find many great pubs and bars where you can enjoy food and drinks while watching sports on TV.
Johan Cruijff Arena
The “Johan Cruijff ArenA” is Amsterdam’s premier soccer stadium. It was built in 1996 and named after the legendary Dutch football player Johan Cruijff (1947-2016). This iconic stadium was host to many international soccer matches, including the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final and the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After visiting Amsterdam, show off your newfound soccer knowledge by attending a live soccer match at Amsterdams’ Johan Cruijff Arena! Amsterdam is also home to a historically significant basketball venue. The Sporthallen Zuid was home to the Dutch national basketball team from 1954-2010. It was even the site of some games in the EuroBasket 1983 and EuroBasket 1995. It’s now being used as a hall for the National Police Force Academy of the Netherlands. TIP: Many people still play volleyball in Amsterdam. Pick up a volleyball and play at either Dogger Beach or Noorderplantsoen, near Vondelpark. Or head towards Katwijk and play on the beach at Noordwijk.
Bicycles in Amsterdam
Renting a bike is the most popular way of getting around Amsterdam. Whether you want to enjoy the city’s beautiful scenery, get to a different neighborhood or explore some of the nearby islands, you’ll have plenty of options for bicycle rentals all over Amsterdam.
Riders are encouraged to use the bike path network instead of riding on public roads as since there are not just cars, but also plenty of pedestrians on the paths throughout Amsterdam. The city has many signposts indicating scenic routes that one can ride along.
If you want to be on the safe side, check out the Fietsersbond (Cyclists’ Union), where they discuss all things cycling in Amsterdam and beyond.
The city of Amsterdam has a number of bike tours that will take you to some of the most scenic places in the city. You can also use your bike as a way of easily exploring Amsterdam’s surrounding islands. There’s even a great network of bicycle routes that you can take in order to bike around Amsterdam, taking in everything from monuments to pretty residential areas along the way.
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Amsterdam is a city that is open to everyone and someone who loves it will never be disappointed. So next time you’re in the Netherlands, add a day or two to your itinerary to explore Amsterdam. You’ll never be disappointed! Amsterdam is a city for everyone, like a museum where every corner has something to discover.