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Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam receives about five million international visitors per year, plus about 16 million day-trippers. Amsterdam is easily explored by foot, bicycle or canal boat. Often called "Venice of the North," it is divided into 90 islands which are connected by 1200 bridges. (For more sights of this area from other trips, see also European Excursions: Benelux .)

Our ship entered Amsterdam through the Noordzee Kanaal, providing a wonderful view of the city, and of the homes and businesses lining the canal.

In the Middle Ages, Amsterdam was surrounded by a moat called the Singel which now forms the innermost ring in the city and makes the city a horseshoe shape.
 

Amsterdam has always had conscious city planning from the development of the concentric canal system in the 1600s, to the building of structures during the "Dutch Golden Age," to the current growth of business hubs and recreation areas in the suburbs.
 

De Dam has been the central public square and public gathering place since the 17th century. It is flanked by the Royal Palace and features the National Monument for the remembrance of WW I.

 

Although Amsterdam has several high end department stores and modern shopping districts, open-air markets are very popular.
 

Vendors sell items for which The Netherlands is famous, tulip bulbs, wooden shoes, cheeses, flowers and cannabis.

Each bridge offers a unique perspective of one of the many canals and the canal houses that line them.

 

There are 2400 houseboats moored in Amsterdam's canals. The Bloenmenmarkt is a houseboat borne flower market along the Singel in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam's Centraal Railway station is the transportation hub and the apex of the central district.
 

The Rijksmuseum possesses an important collection of Dutch classical art, featuring artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Bol, Cuyp and van Ruisdael.
 

The most outstanding piece in the Rijksmuseum's collection is the immense  painting of De Nachtwacht, the Night Watch, by Rembrandt.
 

Its collection includes objects of the material Dutch culture, sculptures, prints, drawings and photography.  

The Van Gogh Museum houses the world's largest collection of Van Gogh's letters and paintings, including Sunflowers and The Potato Eaters.

Amsterdam celebrates about 140 festivals each year, which are often located in Museum Square behind the Rijksmuseum.
 

Pornography and prostitutes are available, but controlled, licensed and limited to De Wallen and the Singelgebied - the Red Light Districts.
 

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This site was last updated 03/28/22