Welcome to Amsterdam, one of our favorite cities and one we visit often. Luckily, we live only a couple of hours away by train and each time we visit we see or do something new. Amsterdam has an abundance of art and history museums, and a number of historical sites that are worth visiting. Yet, much of its charm lies in the grachtengordel, the city’s canal district, an area we enjoy seeing again and again. Amsterdam is a culturally rich city, and it’s a lot more than coffee shops and the Red Light District.
Click the thumbnails below to read more about what to see, things to do, where to eat, and getting around in Amsterdam.
A brief history of Amsterdam
It began sometime around the 13th century as a small fishing village surrounded by marshland, was granted city rights in the 14th century, and over time expanded out onto land reclaimed from the sea. Thus, paving the way for the creation of what we know Amsterdam to be – a culturally rich capital city and major tourist destination.
Though not the oldest of Dutch cities, it is one of great historical importance and much of what we see today is a result of the Gouden Eeuw or the Dutch ‘Golden Age’. Following Spain’s siege of Antwerp, during the Eighty Years War, Amsterdam welcomed an influx of wealthy merchants, tradesmen, and artisans. Resettling in Amsterdam, these wealthy immigrants ushered in an age of great achievements in art, architecture, commerce and science. The Golden Age saw Amsterdam develop as an economic powerhouse with the founding, in 1602, of the VOC, or Dutch East India Company, and the Company’s creation of the first stock exchange. For a number of centuries, Amsterdam would remain a major trading empire. Results of this cultural and economic boom are evident today in the great works of art like Rembrandt’s De Nachtwacht, in the architecture of the grachtenhuizen, and in the unique layout of the Canal District.
So, what are you waiting for…
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