Amsterdam, Netherlands – City Guide
The Netherlands or more popularly known as Holland is a low-lying European country which is well-known for its wide variety of cheese, windmills, the earth embankments they call dikes, wooden shoes known as clogs, tulip flowers. The great degree of social tolerance in Netherlands has become the symbol of self-expression, human rights and freedom because of its government’s legalization of drugs, union between homosexuals and prostitution. The most visited city in the Netherlands is its capital, Amsterdam. This city not only offers the visitors a wide access to the privileges and liberties mentioned above but also the opportunity to wonder in awe and enjoy a magnificent city of rich cultural attractions.
Presently the City of Amsterdam is seriously exerting efforts in making it known to the international business community as a leading business, trading and conference center. The city now hosts many international conferences and business and trade fairs and meetings.
Netherlands’ Amsterdam is definitely a mix of the old and new architecture as antiquated residences dating back to the 17th century stand side by side with modern buildings and establishments. The Dam Square is the center of the city of Amsterdam. It boasts of many important historical attractions and sites, and home to numerous beautiful and magnificent old edifices. One of the more popular sites that tourists can find in the Dam Square is the Koninklijk Paleis or the Royal Palace. This royal residence has been in existence since 1648. Another historical attraction that is located at Dam square is the Nieuwe Kirk Tower that dates back to the 1400’s.
Amsterdam has a very rich, glorious and magnificent history to be proud of. The city’s pinnacle of greatness is witnessed in the 17th century with most historical events and attractions happening in this era. It was in this century that the famous channel network of Amsterdam was created. And because of the sheer number of such channels, Amsterdam has become popular and known as the city with most channels. Likewise, Amsterdam presently has more than about 1200 bridges of varied sizes, structure, beauty and style.
The city boasts of a number of major historical museums, some of which are popular and are frequently visited by both local and foreign tourists. One of the most popular Amsterdam museums is the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest and most extensive collection of art works and paintings by the famous artist Vincent van Gogh. Other museums that are considered a major attraction in the city are the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum.
Amsterdam has been long known internationally for having a reputation of being one of the world’s drug centers. Most of the drug activities in the city happen in coffee shops. There are quite a number of good coffee shops in Amsterdam. The coffee shops Grasshopper and the Bulldog are just two of the numerous commercial coffee establishments and franchises in the area.
Another thing Amsterdam is well-known for is the city’s Red Light district, which occupies a significant section of the city. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and has been afforded a generous tolerance for the longest time. The city is popular with the so-called window ladies. In window prostitution, the ladies display themselves on windows which can be rented out on an 8-hour shift.
Tolerance of prostitution is the reason why the red-light district is allotted a bigger area in the city’s oldest part. Prostitutes are housed usually in the city’s old buildings area usually located alongside the canals. Presently the modern Red Light district area offers more than just the ladies of the night. It now has renovated streets and buildings, better food shops and restaurants. Tourists and first-timers will definitely be safe in this part of the city as government security men and police personnel are stationed there and are employed by the prostitutes themselves for their protection.
Summer in Amsterdam is magnificent. During the warm season, everyone, locals and tourists alike go and enjoy the day in Vondelpark, which is considered as one of the most picturesque parks in the world. Vondelpark is one of Amsterdam’s major parks and gardens where many important events are held all year round. Amsterdam has a wet, cold winter with lots of rains. The winter season in the city however does not dampen the spirit of would-be visitors. Many would flock to Amsterdam’s canals which have become ice-frozen and enjoy long hours of skating.