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Welcome To Amsterdam

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Must see in Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Visit Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum! It holds around a million objects from archaeological finds to paintings and toys. First opened in 1885, the huge and stunning building was recently renovated and refurbished, taking over 10 years to complete.
Rijksmuseum contains an internationally renowned collection of paintings by the Dutch old masters, including works by Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt. Don’t miss Rembrandt’s famous Night Watchman, which is beautifully displayed.
Bloemenmarkt
Bloemenmarkt
This fascinating collage of colour is the world’s only floating flower market, with 15 florists and garden shops (although many also hawk cheesy souvenirs these days) permanently ensconced on barges along the southern side of Singel. The plants and flowers usually last well and are good value.
Oude Kerk
Oude Kerk
The Oude Kerk began life as a simple wooden chapel in 1306, but today rates as Amsterdam’s most interesting church. It’s easy to imagine the Sunday Mass chaos during its heyday in the mid-1500s, when it had 38 altars, each with its own guild-sponsored priest. Now it serves more as a radical contrast to the surrounding Red Light District, but still holds lessons: the inscription over the bridal chamber states ‘marry in haste, mourn in leisure’. Keep your eyes peeled for the floor grave of Rembrandt’s wife Saskia, who died in 1642. Also note the Gothic and Renaissance façade above the northern portal, and the stained-glass windows, parts of which date from the 16th and 17th centuries. For shock value, check out the carvings in the choir benches of men evacuating their bowels – they tell a moralistic tale. Occasional art shows exhibit a range of fascinating subjects, from contemporary local art to the World Press Photo Exhibition.
Anne Frank Museum
Anne Frank Museum
Contemplate the tragic history of the Jewish community with a visit to the home of the diarist Anne Frank. Prinsengracht 263 was the canal-side house where the young Jewish girl Anne Frank and her family hid for two years during the Second World War, having fled from persecution in Germany in 1933. A bookcase marks the entrance to the unfurnished rooms of the annexe in which they lived, sustained by the efforts of friends. In the new wing, there’s a good exhibition about the persecution of the Jews during the War, and displays charting racism, neo-Fascism and anti-Semitism. To avoid long queues, arrive early in the morning, or after 7pm during the summer, or book a queue-jump ticket on the website.
Artis Zoo, Amsterdam
Artis Zoo, Amsterdam
Artis Royal Zoo is one of Europe’s oldest zoos and definitely one of the places to visit in Amsterdam. It’s home to 900 species of animals – from lions to lemurs – and has an extensive botanical garden. The zoo was founded in 1838 and has since spread to the surrounding buildings (the Wolf House was once the Oak and Linden Inn!).
There’s an aquarium containing sharks, a planetarium and a zoological museum. The Butterfly Pavilion has thousands of beautiful butterflies fluttering about. If you like creepy crawlies, there is even an insectarium with 750,000 species of insects. Ever wondered what’s going on beneath the calm surfaces of the city’s canals? Get a fisheye view here.
Dam Square
Dam Square
Located in the historical center of Amsterdam is where you will find Dam Square. There is so much to do and see around this area such as visiting the Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the National Monument. You’ll have many options for shopping and my all time favorite thing to do, watch some people! If you get hungry, check out ‘t Nieuwe Kafe. It’s reasonably priced, overlooks Dam Square and they serve pretty good breakfast and lunch.
Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum
As well as the bright colours of his palette, Vincent van Gogh is known throughout the world for his productivity, and that’s reflected in the 200 paintings and 500 drawings that form part of the permanent exhibition here. In addition to this collection, there are also examples of his Japanese prints and works by the likes of Toulouse-Lautrec that add perspective to Van Gogh’s own artistic efforts. After a major and impressive refurbishment, the enlarged Rietveld building remains the home base for the permanent collection, while the new wing by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa is usually the home to temporary exhibitions that focus on Van Gogh’s contemporaries and his influence on other artists.
Westerkerk
Westerkerk
The Oude Kerk began life as a simple wooden chapel in 1306, but today rates as Amsterdam’s most interesting church. It’s easy to imagine the Sunday Mass chaos during its heyday in the mid-1500s, when it had 38 altars, each with its own guild-sponsored priest. Now it serves more as a radical contrast to the surrounding Red Light District, but still holds lessons: the inscription over the bridal chamber states ‘marry in haste, mourn in leisure’. Keep your eyes peeled for the floor grave of Rembrandt’s Before noise pollution, it was said that if you could hear the bells of Westerkerk, built in 1631 by Hendrick de Keyser, you were in the Jordaan. These days, its freshly scrubbed and painted tower is just a good place from which to view its streets and canals, provided you don’t suffer from vertigo: the 85m (278ft) tower sways by 3cm (1.2in) in a good wind. Although the last tour up the 186 steps is at 5pm, and tours are only scheduled in summer, groups may call to book for other times. It’s thought that Rembrandt is buried here, though no one is sure where. The artist died a pauper, and is commemorated inside with a plaque. Though his burial on 8 October 1669 was recorded in the church register, the actual spot was not; there’s a good chance he shares a grave with his son, Titus.

Tips for attendees