Amsterdam

Amsterdam houses

Amsterdam houses

As the capital and most populated city in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a spirited and unique city.

 

It is popular among tourists for many attractions:  museums, canals, the Anne Frank house, the red-light district, tulips, and cannabis coffee shops, to name a few.

 

This is a city of deep history, starting as a fishing village in the late 12th century, developing into one of the world’s most important ports in the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age.  Today the region is a modern metropolitan center and cultural capital with a population of approximately 2.5 million.  Click here for more info.

 

Façade of the Rijksmuseum as seen from the Museum Square

Rijksmuseum facade, Amsterdam. Courtesy Wikipedia.

There are so many museums it was impossible to see them all in one week. We visited the city’s two most famous museums:  Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

 

Other notable museums include:  Stedelijk Museum, the Hermitage Amsterdam, and Amsterdam Museum.

 

The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer (c. 1657-58). Courtesy Wikipedia.

The Rijksmuseum is an art and history museum, with an extensive collection of Dutch masters.  There are over 2,000 paintings from the Golden Dutch age celebrating Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and many more masters.  More about Rijksmuseum here.

 

There is also an incredible art exhibit, including Dutch masterpieces, in the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.  It’s free.

 

The back of the Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Courtesy Wikipedia

The Van Gogh Museum, located near the Rijksmuseum, is the largest Van Gogh collection in the world (pronounced “Van Goff” by locals).

 

This was an incredible collection featuring the paintings, drawings, and letters of the famous former Amsterdam resident.  More info here.

 

Amsterdam bridge

Amsterdam bridge

My favorite part:  the waterways.  The canals were built in the early 17th century as an urban planning project.

 

In addition to the Amstel River, Amsterdam has three main canals that form a concentric circle around the city, from which many other canals stem.

 

The canal ring area is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.  There are 60 miles (100 km) of canals, 90 islands, and 1,500 bridges.  Canal boat tours are readily available and affordable.

Amsterdam airphoto.jpg

Aerial photograph of Amsterdam canals. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Tulips abound at Keukenhof Gardens, less than an hour away from Amsterdam in the town of Lisse.  It is open for eight weeks from March to May, highlighting seven million tulip bulbs.

 

Amsterdam tourist boat (Athena's waving in background)

Amsterdam boat (Athena’s waving in background center)

Navigating through the city on boat or bicycle, visiting some of the richest art museums in the world, and enjoying the many elegant sites of Amsterdam is a true pleasure.

 

 

Photo credit:  Athena Alexander (unless otherwise noted)

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39 thoughts on “Amsterdam

  1. I’ve been told it’s a wonderful place to visit. I suppose I’ll have to add it to my Bucket List….after England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy, Japan, Iceland…. 🙂

  2. Amsterdam is one of the few countries in Europe we have not visited. Thank you so much for letting us know about the museums and the collection of Dutch masters. I love Vermeer’s paintings. 🙂

  3. Jet we have never been to Amsterdam but it is definitely on the list. I had no idea there were so many canals! I wonder how that compares to Venice. As to 7 million tulip bulbs it must be unbelievable to see. As one without a green thumb I shall say I am grateful not to be the resident gardener.

    • The canals are amazing, Sue! I had no idea there were so many either, until I visited. We were there in the month of Feb. and it was really cold, but the water was mostly fluid, and the boats were heated. A total joy! Thanks so much for all your warm comments today. 🙂

      • I’m with you on that, Sue. I will put up with chill or weather challenges any time, if it means avoiding masses of people. Have a fun week, my friend!

    • Oh how fortunate for you to have lived there, David — I am happy to have brought back good memories. I can easily see myself living there too, with endless culture and friendly residents. Enjoy your day, my friend.

  4. It is a city almost impossible to visit for only a week. There’s another museum in Arnheim, in a large park. Can’t think of the name of it but you can rent a bike outside the gates and ride all over the park before visiting the museum.

    • That’s right, Jan — so much to see in Amsterdam, a week is just grazing the surface. We visited on our way to Nairobi, and I hope to go again to see more. I’m happy you’ve had the pleasure of Holland.

  5. How I would love to visit Amsterdam. Just the thought has me sighing. To see those Tulips flowering, can you imagine? Great post, Jet, and I thank you for getting me to add another spot on this planet I must must see!!! (smile) ❤

  6. I am so pleased that you enjoyed your visit to Amsterdam. It is one of my favourite places, and I am a great fan of the Dutch people. I love the fact that it is a very manageable city – so easy to get around, by bike or boat – and yes always filled with interest…..and of course the art museums are superb. Thank you, Jet for another lovely post and tour of such a wonderful place. Hope you enjoy this week and upcoming Easter holiday. Janet:)

    • I share your enthusiasm for Amsterdam, Janet, and had no doubt that you had been there, given the riveting art world. We happened to be there in Feb. (on our way to Nairobi), and although it was bitterly cold, we would walk VERY fast, warm up by walking, then pop into a church if we couldn’t stand the cold, then continue on. We saw so much and yet there was still so much left to see. I hope to return. Thank you, as always, so very much, Janet.

  7. A wonderful city! This brought back some happy memories, and the Van Gogh museum is a joy to visit – Junior was young at the time, and it was a rare event for her to want to stay in a museum! Must go back some day…
    Thanks, Jet!

    • How wonderful that you have experienced some of the joys of Amsterdam, pc. I, too, hope to go back some day. Meanwhile, see you tomorrow for a fun event in a different city…. 😀

  8. I haven’t been to Amsterdam since I was a teenager, and the one thing I do remember about this beautiful city is the canal system. I’d love to return someday…soon! It seems like a city where you can hang out and really feel at home. Thanks so much for sharing your time in Amsterdam, Jet, and for the interesting historical facts. Great post.

    • This makes me happy, Kirt — one of the things I like so much about blogging is sharing places, because the world is just too big to see it all. But we can, with a little help from our friends. cheers!

  9. It looks like a great place to visit. I was struck by the date this was posted… just a day before neighboring Belgium was struck with tragedy. What a crazy world we live in. Your post does remind us to pay attention to the beauty and not completely fixate on the horror.

    • I appreciate your wise words, Gunta. I do aim for that theme here, and in life, to focus on the beauty and not get swept away (I like your word “fixate”) by the horrors. I’m really happy you enjoyed the beauties of Amsterdam with me here. 🙂

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