Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. With more than one million inhabitants in its urban area (and almost two and a half million inhabitants in its metropolitan area), it is the country's largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative center. Amsterdam derives its name from the city’s origin as “Dam” of river “Amstel”. In the past, the name was "Amstelredamme" which later changed as “Amsterdam”.

Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, attracting over 7 million international travelers annually.Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North because of its lovely canals that crisscross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. There is something for every traveler’s taste here; whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.

Language

While visiting the city, you will be more than comfortable speaking English. Around 90% of the Dutch can speak English (around 70% can speak German and 30% can speak French!) and the language is used in many international businesses, organizations, and universities. In addition to this, there are also the various languages of numerous immigrant communities that are widely spoken in major cities (such as Turkish, Arabic, and Indonesian).

Currency

Amsterdam uses the Euro.

  • ATM: ATMs can be found throughout Amsterdam, particularly in the tourist areas. If you plan on withdrawing money or using your credit card while traveling, don't forget to notify your bank before you go for security purposes and to check what international withdrawal fees may apply to your card.
  • Cash: Before you leave home, it is important to convert some of your Australian Dollars into Euros to have with you when you arrive in Amsterdam.
  • Travel Card: For safe spending similar to that of a credit card but without the risk of accruing debt, a pre-paid travel money card is ideal for international travel. Cash Passports can store your money in the form of Euros, which can then be accessed with a plastic card at ATMs and used wherever MasterCard is accepted.
Accommodation

Amsterdam is overflowing with accommodation choices for every type of trip.

Whether you're visiting for a romantic weekend, a business trip or a fun holiday, Restscene has a variety of hotels for you to book from. Visit our website for more booking options.

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Food and Drink

It's probably fair to say that Dutch cuisine is not world-renowned, but Amsterdam, it's capital city, is home to some mouth-watering treats – yes. From authentic Amsterdam street food "war fries" to "wrong coffee", here are our top 10 things to try in Amsterdam.

  • Pancakes: Dutch pancakes (pannekoeken) are simple to make and can be topped or filled with a variety of options, everything from cheese and bacon to banana and chocolate sauce. Thinner than American pancakes, but still thicker than French crêpes, they are often eaten as a main course and frequently served at children’s parties.

  • Fries: You can’t go wrong with a decent portion of fries, and Amsterdam has no shortage of places where you can indulge in this crowd favorite. For an authentic Dutch experience, order a patatjeoorlog, or “war fries”, served with Dutch mayonnaise (creamier and a tad sweeter than other varieties), raw onions and Indonesian satay sauce (a thick peanut sauce with a spicy kick).

  • Croquettes (Krokets): Dutch croquettes, or krokets, are a textural marvel: crunchy on the outside and deliciously smooth on the inside. Traditionally created as a way of using leftover meat, the dish exploded in popularity during WWII. Krokets typically contain beef (rundvleeskroket) but can include anything from vegetables to prawns.

  • Stamppot: No Dutch winter is complete without a hearty stamppot. Commonly made from potatoes mashed withvegetables such as cabbage, endive or spinach, and paired with smoked sausage, this dish will please your palate. Originally regarded as peasant food, Dutch families across the country now eat stamppot with great gusto.

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  • Herring: Slippery, salty and fishy, herring may not be on everyone’s must-try list. For the Dutch, however, herring is more than just a pickled snack, it’s a way of life. Fishmongers and fish stand throughout the city often sell the delicacy with a generous helping of raw onions. There’s only one way to eat it: grab it by the tail, tip your head back and gobble it down.

  • Brunch: From quirky, independent cafés to boat-based eateries, enjoying brunch in Amsterdam is an experienceunlike any other. The city’s millennials have turned it into a weekend ritual. With a wide variety of food, from eggs and avocados to pancakes and porridge, the city caters to everyone during this tempting time of day.

  • Apple pie (appeltaart): Apple pie is as traditional as Dutch cuisine comes, tracing its existence back to the Middle Ages. Made with a lattice upper crust and usually served with ice cream or whipped cream, a slice of appeltaart is the perfect afternoon indulgence.

  • Stroopwafels: One of the most popular and well-loved Dutch sweets is the humble yet delicious stroopwafel, or “syrup waffle”. The oldest known recipe is attributed to Gerard Kamphuisen, a baker from Gouda who recorded his tasty invention in 1840. Stroopwafels are now enjoyed around the world and make a scrumptious addition to a cup of coffee or tea.

  • Coffee: Amsterdam runs on coffee. The Dutch love this bitter black liquid so much that, on average, they drink about 8.4kg per capita, and the city boasts enough cafés and coffee houses to keep any caffeine addict happy.

  • Beer: The Dutch are beer connoisseurs, and their capital city is awash with local specialties such as Amstel, Heineken, and Brouwerij ‘t IJ. Ask for a biertje and you’ll get a small glass of beer with a decent sized head. This foamy layer protects the beer from becoming too oxidized and losing its flavor.




Rijksmuseum Rijksmuseum
Places to visit

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. With its universities, academies, and research institutes, along with more than 40 museums, numerous theaters, and entertainment venues, Amsterdam is also the country's leading cultural center.

  • Canals of Amsterdam: The famous canals were built during the 17th century to control the flow of the Amstel River and to add acres of dry land to the city. Amsterdam’s wealthy merchants soon discovered that the canals were ideal for showcasing their mansions as well. A boat ride along one of the city’s 100 canals offers visitors a relaxing way to view traditional Dutch architecture. Lined with elm and lime trees and crossed over by more than a thousand bridges, the canals are home to some 2,000 houseboats, including houseboat hotels. Tour operators offer a variety of cruises, ranging from hour-long excursions to candlelight cruises.

  • Rijksmuseum: One of Amsterdam's most popular attractions - and certainly its most important art repository - the Rijksmuseum (National Museum) was founded in 1798 to house the country's huge collection of rare art and antiquities. The museum's impressive collection includes a million cultural artifacts dating from the 13th century to the modern-day, among them more than 8,000 important paintings spread across 250 rooms of this sprawling building.In addition to its paintings, the Rijksmuseum boasts a well-stocked library of more than 35,000 books and manuscripts, as well as numerous fascinating displays dealing with the development of art and culture in the Netherlands. Of special note are its collections of traditional handicrafts, medieval sculpture, and modern art styles

  • Anne Frank Museum Anne Frank Museum
  • Anne Frank House: On the Prinsengracht stands Anne Frank House (Anne Frank Huis). Dedicated to the all-too-short life of one of the world's best-known Holocaust victims, this is the actual home in which Anne's family hid for much of WWII. They were Jewish refugees from the German city of Frankfurt, and it was here that Anne wrote the diary that became an international bestseller after the war, just a few years after her death at age 15 - and just two months before the war ended.Much of the home has been kept as it was during Anne's time, and it serves as a poignant monument to a tragic period of history.

  • Van Gogh Museum: A must-visit for art fans and historians, the spectacular Van Gogh Museum has been one of Amsterdam's top attractions since it opened in 1972. Dedicated to the often-troubled life and extraordinary artistry of one of the country's most revered painters, this modern Gerrit Rietveld-designed structure is home to the world's largest collection of Van Gogh paintings and artifacts, much of it donated by his brother, Theo, and other family members.A highlight of a visit is the amazing "Meet Vincent Van Gogh Experience," a fascinating multimedia presentation of the painter's life and times through vivid digital reproductions of his work.

  • Vondelpark: The largest and most visited park in Amsterdam, Vondelpark occupies 120 acres and contains no end of fun things to do. In addition to expanses of green space dotted by peaceful ponds and traversed by ample paths, the park is home to a lovely rose garden featuring more than 70 different types of the flower.It also has a variety of sculptures and statues, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities, including rollerblade rental and the Vondelpark Open Air Theater, which serves as a venue for musical and stage productions from May through September.

  • Van Gogh Museum Van Gogh Museum
  • Dam Square: Dam Square is one of the most tourist-packed areas of Amsterdam, and for good reason. Its most prominent feature is the 17th-century Royal Palace (Koninklijk Palace), former home of the Dutch royal family and present-day venue for royal functions.Dam Square is also home to top tourist attractions such as the New Church (NieuweKerk); Madame Tussaud's wax museum; and the National Memorial Statue, which is dedicated to Dutch soldiers who lost their lives in World War II.

  • Bloemenmarkt: Located between Muntplein and Koningsplein on the south bank of the Singel canal, the Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market. Seven days a week, flower sellers load stands and floating barges with all of the flowers and bulbs for which the Netherlands is famous. Founded in 1862, the Bloemenmarkt includes more than a dozen different florists and garden shops as well as souvenir stalls. Although locals shop here too, the market is primarily designed to cater to tourists. The bulbs offered for sale have been designated as ready for export, so visitors can purchase tulip, daffodil, narcissus and other bulbs as a lasting memento of their trip to Amsterdam.

  • Begijnhof: This Amsterdam attraction is the central location in Amsterdam which occupies the central land area in the canal system. This district has historical importance and goes way back to the 14th century where sisters of Catholic Beguines resided.Not a convent in the traditional sense as sisters had the liberty to leave if they wished to get married. BegijnhopKapel is a wonderful structure with beautiful marble columns, stained glass windows, and beautiful architecture. An English Reformed Church is also one of Amsterdam’s attractions. An old wooden house from 1465 is also located here.

  • De Wallen: De Wallen is Amsterdam’s infamous red-light district, the city’s designated area for legalized prostitution. The neighborhood covers several canals and side streets to the south of Central Station. More than one hundred one-room apartments are rented by sex workers who entice onlookers from behind windows illuminated with red lights. A strong police presence keeps the neighborhood safe. Although taking pictures is not allowed, visitors are welcome. As the oldest section in Amsterdam, the district is also home to several historic buildings, including the city’s oldest church, the Gothic-style Oude Kerk.

  • Scheepvaart Museum: A Maritime Museum known as Scheepvaart museum holds and showcases artifacts of the Dutch Navy. In earlier times it was a storehouse of the navy which had around 18 rooms with various artifacts. Sea Trade was amongst one of the main fortes of the Dutch making them one of the wealthiest cities in the 1600s.This multi-story museum depicts the historical sea battles, the weapons used and the maps used to draw artistically. A beautiful replica of the famous ship 'Amsterdam' of the 18th century is anchored outside the museum.




Tree growing on dry sandy area tree growing on dry sandy area
Climate

The best time to visit Amsterdam runs from mid-May to mid-September, since it is the mildest of the year. July and August are the warmest months. However, it's better to bring a sweatshirt or sweater, a light jacket and an umbrella, hoping not to have to use them.


  • Winter, from December to February, is cold: temperatures are on average around freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) at night, and a few degrees above during the day; wind and humidity often exacerbate the feeling of cold. However, different weather situations can occur. When the westerlies blow, temperatures can be quite mild, and can reach 10/12 °C (50/54 °F), but there may be wind and rain.

  • Spring, from March to May, is initially cold, with possible snowfalls still in March, and then it gradually becomes milder in April and May, although some cold days, with highs around 10 °C (50 °F), can also occur in May, especially in the first half of the month. However, April and May are the (relatively) least rainy and cloudy months.

  • Summer, from June to August, is a mild season, and it's characterized by pleasant periods, with daytime temperatures between 20 °C and 25 °C (68 °F and 77 °F), but also by cooler periods, with temperatures remaining below 20 °C (68 °F) even in the warmest hours. The wind blows constantly from the sea, and rainfall is quite frequent as well. At night, it can get a bit cold lows can drop below 10 °C (50 °F) even in July and August. Sometimes, there can be hot days, during which the temperature can reach 28/30 °C (82/86 °F), but this may not occur for a whole month.

  • Autumn, from September to November, is initially pleasant, in the first half of September, then it gradually becomes more cold, dull, wet, and windy. The first-night frosts usually occur in November, but sometimes also in October.

Things to do in Amsterdam

There are endless things to do in Amsterdam in any weather and many of the most rewarding experiences lie beyond the well-trodden tourist paths of the city center.

  • Get lost in the arty Jordaan: Often cited as Amsterdam’s most charming neighborhood, wandering into the Jordaan feels like stepping back in time. Originally a working-class area, the Jordaan’s narrow streets and quaint buildings now make up one of Amsterdam’s most desirable quarters, dotted with independent art galleries, antique shops, courtyard gardens, and atmospheric bars and restaurants. Ditch the map and lose yourself in the labyrinth of narrow lanes that sprawl eastwards from Prinsengracht canal known as the 9 Streets, one of Amsterdam's most rewarding shopping experiences.

  • Cycle to hidden gems: There are over 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. That’s more bikes than people! Cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life, made easier by the city’s unbeatable network of cycle routes and flat landscape. Amsterdam regularly comes out on top in lists of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities, and there’s no finer way to explore the region’s attractions than by pedal power. Hop on your bike and head to Sloterplas for a dip in the sprawling lake, or cycle over to Ouderkerkaan de Amstel to explore a 12th-century village idyll packed with historic sights. Many of Amsterdam’s best-kept secrets can be discovered from the comfort of your saddle.

  • Try herring from a herring cart: Raw herring may sound a little scary to the uninitiated, but every visitor to Amsterdam should give it a go. You’ll spot haringhandels (herring carts) serving up this Dutch specialty all over the city - ask for a ‘broodje haring’ to get the fish served in a small sandwich with pickles and onions. The best time to try raw herring is between May and July when the herring is said to be at its sweetest.

  • Marken Information point Chris Toala Olivares: Just a short hop from Amsterdam lies a rich landscape of gorgeous countryside, beaches, windmills, and historic towns – all easily reachable from the city center. Just 20 minutes from Amsterdam Central by train, the picturesque city of Haarlem overflows with history and culture, plus a great selection of shops, cafes, and restaurants.

  • Immerse yourself in culture at Westergas: Located at Westerpark, this sprawling complex of former industrial buildings used to be the city’s municipal gasworks. Now transformed into a colorful cultural hub, Westergas is home to a variety of tempting bars, restaurants, coffee roasters, a microbrewery, art-house cinema, and a whole host of creative businesses. Look out for regular food markets, mini-festivals and events held here, such as the vibrant Sunday market held on the first Sunday of every month.

  • Check out the museums & majestic buildings in Museumplein: Home to the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum and The Royal Concertgebouw, Museumplein is the cultural beating heart of Amsterdam. Recently renovated to a world-class standard, the leafy and architecturally astounding 19th-century district of Oud-Zuid is an art lover’s utopia. The open square between the building’s pulses with activity all day, with open-air exhibitions, markets, and a large paddling pool to dip your toes into on warmer days. In the winter months, the square transforms with a vast outdoor ice rink

  • Cruise past canal houses and bridges: Created in the 17th century to keep the sea at bay, Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal belt is the quintessential postcard-perfect vision of Amsterdam. It is an unbelievably pretty sight, especially after sundown when the bridges are lit up by fairy lights and the whole area takes on a magical feel. Floating along the canals by guided boat tour is a great way to get under the fabric of the city, and you’ll learn lots of fascinating facts along the way – such as why the tilting homes along the canals are known as ‘dancing houses.

  • Try local beer at a historic brewery:There are eight remaining windmills in Amsterdam and the easiest to visit is De Gooyer in the OostelijkeEilanden (Eastern Islands) neighborhood. And this isn’t just any windmill – for under the sails of this striking landmark is Brouwerij ‘t IJ, an award-winning artisan microbrewery with a large outdoor drinking terrace and 30-minute guided tasting tours. The brewery produces a range of organic standard and seasonal ales that you'll find in many Amsterdam bars, though nothing tastes quite as good as beer brewed on the premises.

  • Go to a concert at a world-famous venue: Whether you like listening to live music in a majestic concert hall or an intimate dive bar, Amsterdam has you covered in high style. Housed in a converted church, Paradiso has hosted iconic acts like The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols and continues to showcase a superb roster of international talent. An impressive grand dame, Concertgebouw is lauded for its excellent acoustics and lineup of world-class orchestras alongside a wide variety of popular musicians. Over at the RoodeBioscoop—a 100-year-old former cinema— the cozy space allows the audience to connect with the acoustic artists. De School's basement nightclub, located in the school's former bike storage, draws a young crowd of music aficionados thanks to its eclectic program of live music and 24-hour license.

  • Wake up and smell the tulips: If you’re visiting Amsterdam in spring, then take the short 20-minute trip out to the world-famous tulip fields (Bollenstreek) – stretching out in colorful stripes across miles of lowland fields between Haarlem and Leiden. There are also ample opportunities to stop and smell the tulips right in the heart of the city; the bulbs spill out of bouquets at the Bloemenmarkt, line the windows of the Tulip Museum and seem to burst forth from every possible planter during the Tulip Festival, which lasts all of April.

Getting Around in Amsterdam
Most of Amsterdam is easily navigable on foot or by bicycle, but it's a rite of passage to take a ride on the clanging trams that wind through the city streets. Public transport in the city is also free when you purchase an Iamsterdam City Card. With any of these cards, you must check-in and out—just hold your card up against the electronic reader at both the start and the end of the ride.

  • By Tram -- Half the fun of Amsterdam is walking along the canals. The other half is riding the blue-and-gray trams that roll through most major streets. Trams have one access door that opens automatically, normally toward the rear; arrowed indicators point the way to the door. To board a tram that has no arrowed indicators, push the button beside the door on the outside of any car. To get off, you may need to push a button with an "open-door" graphic. Tram doors close automatically, and they do so quite quickly, so don't hang around. Always remember to hold your card against the reader as you get on and off the tram. Note: If you don't "check out" as you get off, your card will carry on being charged and will run out of credit.

  • By Bus -- An extensive bus network complements the trams and Metro, with many bus routes beginning and ending at Central Station, but it's generally much faster to go by tram or Metro.

  • By Metro -- Although it can't compare to the labyrinthine systems of Paris, London, and New York, Amsterdam does have its own Metro, with five lines—50, 51, 52, 53, and 54—that run partly over ground and transport commuters in and out lirom the suburbs.

  • By Ferry -- Free GVB ferries for passengers and two-wheel transportation connect the center city with Amsterdam-Noord (North), across the IJ waterway. The short crossings are free, which makes them ideal micro-cruises as they afford fine views of the harbor.

  • By Taxi -- It used to be that you couldn't simply hail a cab from the street in Amsterdam; occasionally they will now stop if you do. Taxis have rooftop signs and blue license plates, and are metered. Hotel reception staff can easily order a cab for you, too.

  • Uber (UberX and Uberblack) is also available in the city and to and from Schiphol airport.

  • By Car -- There's no point whatsoever in renting a car if you are intending to stay in Amsterdam and not venture out of the city, as the public transport system works efficiently and most attractions are within walking distance of each other. Also, the streets are narrow, many are one-way, some are pedestrianized, and all are crowded with bonkers cyclists; in short, driving in the city is a nightmare.

  • Bag a Bike Taxi -- If you're keen on your green credentials, use a bike taxi or rickshaw to get around the city. They're clean, relatively comfortable, and can zip along the cobbled streets giving Amsterdam's cyclists a run for their money.