|Boat and windmill|
in Zaanse Schans
In the native language, “nederland” means “low country”, and most of us know why. Significant areas of the country were gained through land reclamation and a large portion of the country sits below sea level, protected by a system of dikes. Locals often refer to their country as “Holland” though that is technically incorrect, as North Holland and South Holland are the names of two of the country’s 12 provinces.
But enough of the history lesson.
Anne Frank House
The city’s many museums are among Amsterdam’s most popular attractions. The Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the Diamant Museum, and the Bols Experience can all be found in the Museum District. Elsewhere in the city, you can visit the Amsterdam Heritage Museum, the Allard Pierson Museum, the Museum of Bags and Purses, the Filmmuseum, and the Joods Historisch Museum.
The Anne Frank House (Anne Frankhuis), located near the city’s Jordaan district, is also extremely popular. Consider purchasing tickets to these attractions in advance, either from the hotel’s front desk or on line, to avoid what are often lengthy waits in line.
|Eating from the wall|
There are also numerous parks to enjoy, including the Vondelpark, perhaps the city’s largest.
For a true taste of local flavor, pop into a FEBO, essentially a Dutch snack bar, and buy kroket: deep-fried, roll-formed snacks filled with various kinds of meat. Buy them “uit de muur” or “from the wall” from a vending machine that looks like an updated version of the Horn & Hardart’s Automat.
There are many ways to get around in A’dam, and bicycles are extremely popular. Pedestrians need to be aware that, on the many designated bike paths, bicycles (and motor scooters) have the right-of-way. The sound of a bicycle’s bell may be all the warning you get if you walk onto a bike path without looking.
|One of the many trolleys|
While the city’s many canals have earned it the nickname “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam’s canals are not the arteries of commerce that they are in Venice; mostly, they’re a tourist attraction, though there are a number of locals who live on houseboats moored in the canals. They are, nonetheless, charming and extremely photogenic.
Due to its proximity to the North Sea, weather in Amsterdam isn’t always ideal, so take an umbrella and a sense of adventure.
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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