Amsterdam, which is surrounded by water, is the most special canal city in Europe. Amsterdam originally meant to be “a dam on the Amstel River”. Amsterdam is actually a fascinating city that is a fairy tale kingdom of windmills. There are a row of houses along the river, various coffee shops, the whizzing bicycles, lush parks, the meaningful museums and the market with a variety of food. For some people, Amsterdam is a veritable city of freedom. It’s a LGBT friendly city with a legendary nightlife, red light district, and marijuana. All of this makes the free and unrestrained capital of Netherlands one of the greatest cities in Europe.
1. Van Gogh Museum of Art
The Art Museum that Van Gogh’s fans must visit has a total number of collections that is up to 1/4 of Van Gogh’s works. Van Gogh Museum displays paintings of Van Gogh’s various periods from the “Potato Eaters”, “Sunflowers” at early time to the “Yellow House”, “Bedroom” and “Wheat Crow” during the later period, as well as “Bumper Harvest”, “The Fishing Boat on San Mare Beach”, “Wheat Field under the Thunderstorm Cloud”. All these works that make visitors a deep understanding of the master’s creative process are worth visiting. There are also Van Gogh’s 750 letters and other collections in addition to the over 200 paintings and sketches in the museum. Everything about Van Gogh makes this museum a pilgrimage site for enthusiasts of Van Gogh.
2. National Museum
The National Museum of the Netherlands is the largest museum in the Netherlands and was opened to the public in 1885. The building itself looks great and the collections are exhibited by period. The museum is known for its collection of works in the Dutch “Golden Age”. There are paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and other famous Dutch masters. Rembrandt’s “Night Training” is regarded as the treasure of the town hall and “Jewish Bride” is also a must-see art. The museum has other collections such as ceramics, glass art and silverware.
3. Amsterdam Canals
The Amsterdam Canal Belt connects more than 100 islands and is a 75-kilometer canal network of more than 160 canals and 1281 bridges. The main attractions here are concentrated in the canal belt about 1.5 km radius. The best way to experience the charm of Amsterdam’s water is by boat trips. Through the glass roof and glass windows, you will see the 17th century gabled buildings on both sides of the canal. Buildings are colorful and varied in shape, which are gorgeous and historic. The city’s most important celebrations, such as the King’s Day and the gay parade are held on the canal at present.
4. Red District
The Red District is located on the banks of the two canals of Oudezijds Voorburgwal and O.Z.Ahterburgwal in the old town. It used to be a place for seafarers to find joy and full of characterizations of erotic culture. It is said that there are more than 400 shop windows and more than 1000 sex workers. A bronze statue of a woman named “Belle” which was established in 2007 is in front of the old church. The base of the statue is engraved with the words “To pay tribute to sex workers around the world.” In recent years, the Dutch government has begun to manage this area and transform the original show window into a museum or design shop.
5. Amsterdam Museum Square
The Museum Square is located in the heart of Amsterdam. It is known as the Museum Square because there are 4 museums around it : the National Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Municipal Museum and the Diamond Museum. The square was remodeled in 1999, the festivals are held here.
6. Anne’s House
The Anne Frank’s House is the place where the story of the 20th century best-selling book “Anne Diary” happens. Jewish girl Anne Frank was hiding in the old secret room. Anne and her family were killed by the Nazis during World War II in addition to her father. Anne’s diary details her two-year refuge life. Today, this refuge has become a famous anti-fascist and racist museum. The “Anne Diary” was later published in Amsterdam and made a hit. The layout of the former residence remains as it is in the book. In the former residence, the manuscript of “Anne Diary” and the daily necessities of the year were also exhibited. The paragraph of the diary on the wall expressed the pain, loneliness, fear and expectation of the 13-year-old girl. “I hope that after I die, I can still live.” Anne’s longing for life is deeply shocking everyone’s heart.
7. Wooden Shoe Worshop
There is a unique wooden shoe exhibition that gives visitors a chance to feel better the charm of traditional Dutch wooden shoes. You can watch the production process for free and try it on, or you can browse the photo when you visit the wooden shoe workshop.
8. Heineken Experience Museum
It was the Heineken beer factory before 1988 and it’s now a museum that show visitors the history and brewing process of beer. The exhibition area includes a mini brewery, a bar, a “horse trip” and a 4D “brewery” experience pavilion. There are many high-tech equipment to showcase the beer brewing process. There is also a huge winemaking flow chart on the wall and many historical and meaningful photos. The guide tour takes about one and a half hours. After the tour, you can taste the free beer with the green bracelet that you received when you enter the museum.
9. Dam Square
Dam Square is the heart of Amsterdam that is the birthplace of Amsterdam’s history and the most famous square in the Netherlands. The Central Railway Station is 750 meters away. The shape is roughly rectangular that is 200 meters long and about 100 meters wide. The square was once the only downtown square in Amsterdam. There are many pigeons and street artists in the square. Tourists come here to take pictures or rest. The National Monument on the square was built in 1956 and is 22 meters high, which was built to commemorate the victims of World War II. On May 5th, the Queen comes here to participate in the World War II Armistice Memorial Ceremony.
10. West Church
The West Church is a Protestant church in Amsterdam that was built between 1620 and 1631. It is located on the shore of the Princes Canal and is the tallest church in Amsterdam. Its spire is 85 meters high and the crown of Maximilian I is on the spire. On October 8, 1669, the painter Rembrandt was buried in this church while the exact location of the tomb was not known. His mistress is also buried here. The statue of Anne was placed outside the church. There are gay monuments nearby to commemorate men and women who have been persecuted for homosexuality. On March 10, 1966, Princess Beatrix (who later became Queen) of the Netherlands and the German diplomat Klaus Von Amsberg held their wedding in this church.