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About Amsterdam

City of freedom, canals and bikes

Get to know Amsterdam - in 3 Minutes!

Amsterdam - the capital of the Netherlands
What makes Amsterdam so popular with visitors from all over the world? Is it the city's unique design, and famous canals? Is it its rich history, theatres and museums? Perhaps it is the city’s beautiful parks, where there's always so much to see and do? Or maybe it is the freedom that Amsterdam offers with its tolerant "live and let live" mentality? In fact, it is the fusion of all these things that makes Amsterdam such a one-of-a-kind location.

History of Amsterdam
Amsterdam's name is derived from the city's origin - a dam in the Amstel river. Originating from a small fishermen village, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. Ships sailed from Amsterdam to the Baltic Sea, North America, and Africa, as well as Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, forming the basis of a worldwide trading network.

Must-see sights
Although Amsterdammers believe that the only thing anyone "should" be doing is "as they please", there are a few gems that number among the city’s top sights. Famous museums include the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank’s House and the Hermitage. Other highlights include the cosy 17th century Jordaan district and the lively Pijp with its terrace cafés and Albert Cuyp Market. Then why not head to Westerpark area and discover Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek or the imaginative architecture of the Amsterdam School (Museum Het Ship). Amsterdam Noord is both fascinating for its daring architecture along the banks of the IJ and the historic dike houses in the Nieuwendammerdijk neighbourhood. When speaking about Amsterdam’s must-see sights, you simply cannot miss taking a boat tour through the city’s unique canals.

Canal District: Canal houses and gardens
Amsterdam’s 17th century canal district was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 and is perhaps the cities defining feature. The reflection of the historic facades, bridges and boats in the water creates a unique atmosphere. But the city's web of waterways also offers plenty of surprises even city residents are often unaware of. Such as a number of canal houses that are open to visitors, featuring beautiful interiors dating from the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries. Perhaps the gardens hidden behind these houses offer the biggest surprise of all - with only the sound of chirping birds, these gardens offer an oasis of tranquillity, shutting out the hustle and bustle of the city around them.

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