Amsterdam

Culture and transgression

Quick Info

Country:
Holland, Netherlands
Region:
North Holland
Spoken language:
Dutch
Currency:
Euro
Documents:

Schengen Area: ID card or passport

Extra U.E.:short says (3 months) passaport valid at least three months after the departing date and if need be visa

Power and Sockets:
230 V / 50 Hz - F Type Plug (Schuko) and L Type Plug

Visiting this city is very easy because most of the attractions that we are going to present are in the circle of the old town or not far from it, so that you can easily move on foot only occasionally using public transport.

In Amsterdam you can enjoy enchanting views, unusual architecture, world-famous artworks, shops, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs so varied and in quantity to satisfy any personal taste. And then the markets, the events that animate it, all will thrill you and make you forget any tiredness, leaving you only a constant desire to discover it, again and again. Here are some ideas for visiting Amsterdam, although, taking as a reference and starting point the Central Station it will not be difficult to move in the various directions and walk around, lingering every time something attracts your attention.

ITINERARY 1: DAMRAK AND ROKIN

Taking as a starting point the central Station (A) we shall walk up to the royal palace on the Dam, visiting the crowded and lively Damrak. This area of Amsterdam that never stops, along the covered bed of the Amstel river, city life is sparkling and never ceases. Along the Damrak, on the left, you will see the Beursplein (B) (Stock Exchange Square) with the building of the Stock Exchange by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage, inaugurated in 1903. Before reaching Dam Square, you will find the Nieuwe Kerk on the right. In Dam Square (C), the largest in the city, there is the Royal palace and, for those who can not give up shopping, the mall Bijenkorf Market and the Magna Plaza, behind the Royal palace, elegant centre housed in an ancient palace with arches and imposing pillars . From this point we take the Rokin (D), a wide avenue that in the past was crossed by the Amstel. From the Rokin bridge, you can admire the equestrian statue of Wilhelmina, the grandmother of the current sovereign Beatrice. All along the boulevard you can admire buildings that will attract your attention, such as the one located at No. 122, headquarters of the Association of Artists ‘ Arts and Amicitiae ‘, that appeared almost 160 years ago is a kind of artistic laboratory of creativity. The Dutch classical style is well represented by the majestic buildings, the work of the Master Philips Vingboons, located at numbers 145-147 of the boulevard. Take advantage to visit the Historical Museum (e) and, if you like the macabre chronicles of the Middle Ages, the Amsterdam Dungeon.

 

ITINERARY 2: WEST CANALS (WESTERDOK), JORDAAN DISTRICT, SINGEL

We recommend that you start our itinerary with a visit to Anne Frank’s house-museum (Anne Frankhuis), better to be there early in the morning to avoid finding long queues. The house is located at 263 of the Prinsengracht Canal. Outside the house stands her statue, by Mari Amdriessen in 1977. Heading behind the House museum you will find Westermarkt Square where a monument is exhibited in memory of homosexuals exterminated by the Nazis: the monument recalls the pink triangles that were their infamous mark in the camps, three triangular slabs of pink granite. These testimonies of the tragedy that struck Europe and the world in the twentieth century are the expression of the tolerance and sensibility of the city, always shelter for the marginalized and the persecuted. In the same square, at number 6, there is the house that was of the great philosopher who said “Cogito ergo sum”, best known as Descartes. From here continue towards the Westerkerk, the great church with the unmistakable bell tower, which from the top of its 85 meters represents a privileged point of view throughout the city. On the surface of the bell tower you will notice the three “X” colored in red, blue and gold. They refer to the crown that Maximilian of Habsburg, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, donated to the city in 1489 as a sign of gratitude for the medical care received during his stay in the city. In the parish register of this church a note from October 8, 1669 was found with the declaration of death of Rembrandt, died in misery. He was buried in this church, but no one knows exactly where because he couldn’t even afford a headstone.

From the Westerkerk church, if interested you can visit, at number 296 of Prisengraght, the Museum of Houseboats, the Woonbootmuseum, housed on one of them. At this point, crossing one of the many bridges to the east, take the southern stretch of Keizersgraght embellished with sumptuous buildings dating back to the Golden Age. A fine example is the Van Loon Museum and the Kettenkabinet. The former houses a collection of Dutch furnishings from the 17th century. The Kettenkabinet, the Cat Museum, prides itself of being the only one of its kind in the world: paintings, statues, posters and grotesque objects dedicated to felines fill the spacious halls, with a quantity of cats that spend time lounging and welcoming visitors with purrs. Move east again until you reach one of Amsterdam’s main canals, the Herengracht. Here too the southern part is a succession of houses among the most majestic in Amsterdam. The Willet-Holthuysen Museum, a classic example of a 17th century mansion, also houses a collection of furniture, porcelain, silverware and books from the period dating back to the Golden Age (between 1580 and 1700). Always along this channel is located, at number 502, the official residence of the mayor of the city. It should at this point be lunch time, so stop for a to continue your discovery of the city.

In the afternoon, visit the banks of one of the four main canals, the Singel, once the moat to protect the medieval village. Populated by numerous house boats, houses made from boats anchored to the banks of the canal. If your visit is taking place in winter, you might even be amazed to see skating along the icy canals, a truly magical sight. Follow it to the north admiring the houses that run along it, of very particular sizes. In fact at number 7, you can be amazed by the most narrow house in Amsterdam, practically the width of a window. This characteristic has its roots in history: in the 1600’s, in fact, the taxes on the buildings were calculated according to the width of the houses, regardless of height, moreover, the density of inhabitants contributed to this architectural “choice”.

Also curious is the barge on the Singel where only cats live, De Poezenboot, the cat’s boat. Here the master cares and feeds  over 150 kittens. At the beginning of the canal, just before, you will come across the museum that traces the life of the writer Eduard Douwes-Dekker. Known as Multatuli, he became famous for his maxim “The mission of man is to be human”. Multatuli became famous especially for the satirical novel Max Havelaar (1860), in which he denounced the cruelest aspects of Dutch colonialism towards the indigenous population. After visiting these canals, if you want you can move back west and visit the historic district of the Jordaan, walking through the little shops and cafes waiting to choose a nice place to dine. Once a working district is now a lively area of atelier, small shops and bizarre and alternative stores.

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