Amsterdam, capital of Netherlands, owes its name to the River Amstel. Built on a horse-shoe shaped ring of canals, Amsterdam is a quaint mix of the old and the new; old cobbled streets, tree-lined canals and graceful bridges to shopping malls and red light districts. What is a vacation to Amsterdam if you can't experience the splendors of beautiful tulips!
This charming city can be explored on foot or bicycle. Take a tram tour of the city and enjoy the wonderful architecture that Amsterdam boasts of. You can opt for a canal bus that offers wonderful view of the famous canals as well as the architectural splendors. Amsterdam is flanked by four famous canals, Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. Catch a break at the beautiful Vondelpark, right in the center of the city. Enjoy an outdoor concert here. This park has nearly 10 million visitors annually. Plan a vacation to Amsterdam somewhere March to October so that you can catch the beauty of the daffodils and tulips. Pack in a trip to the tulip fields and pick up bulbs, if you are a keen gardener.
You can savor a great orchestra at the Concertgebouw, famous for its excellent acoustics. The Amsterdam Botanical Garden is another such place, with its peaceful greenhouse and herb garden. Also visit Amsterdam's Hortus - a famous botanical garden that has been around for centuries. The Royal Palace of Amsterdam (Het Koninklijk Paleis te Amsterdam) is a major attraction in Amsterdam located on Dam Square.
Vacation to Amsterdam
Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk are the shopping haunts of the city. You can pick up some bargains at Bilderdijkstraat, Magna plaza, Museumkwartier. With a long heritage in diamonds, Amsterdam is a popular diamond shopping center. Visit a diamond factory and take a tour of how the icy stones are blended with pieces of jewelry. You can view street performances and music acts at Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. De Wallen is the well-known red-light district of Amsterdam. The live shows are a major attraction. The Leidseplein Square boasts of Amsterdam's nightlife offerings.
The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum are the main museums of Amsterdam. There are many more museums such as the Houseboat Museum, Ajax Museum, Tropical Museum, Jewish Museum and museums devoted to erotica. Whilst on vacation to Amsterdam, you can catch a day trip to Rotterdam, one of the world's largest ports. Take a sightseeing tour of The Hague, the Houses of Parliament and the Peace Palace. Enjoy the Heineken Experience – a tour of the original Heineken brewery, from the malt silos to the steering wagons and beer tasting.
Rijskmuseum has more than 150 rooms displaying masterpieces by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, Cornelis Engebrechtsz, Lucas van Leyden, Jan van Scorel, Joos de Momper, Pieter Aertsen, and Karen van Mander. It holds pride of place for housing one of the largest collections of the best works of the 15th – 17th centuries, from Italian Renaissance sketches to Rembrandt engravings. Check out some wonderful pieces of Oriental origin, including 500 statues of Buddha. Founded in 1798, the Rijksmuseum is located in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague.
Van Gogh Museum
The Vincent van Gogh museum is home to the largest collection of Van Vogh's masterpieces. The Van Gogh museum also houses other impressionist artists who were contemporaries of the great master. Nearly a million visitors throng to the Rijksmuseum annually. This museum offers many an exhibit and product and considerable resources for those seeking information and study on the works of Van Gogh.
The Stedelijk Museum houses works of Chagall, Picasso, Monet and many others. This museum will move to renovated premises on the Museumplein in 2008.
Anne Frank House
Don't miss the house of Anne Frank, the place where she lived and hid the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer during World War II. You will still find the atmosphere replete with the atmosphere of that time – tense and spine chilling! You can find historical documents, photographs and original objects still at the house where Anne Frank wrote her diary.