Amsterdam – The European Venice of North
Amsterdam is one of the greatest small cities in the world. From Amsterdam canals to world-famous Amsterdam museums and historical Amsterdam sights, it is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe.
From its humble beginnings as a 13th-century fishing village on a river bed to its current role as a major hub for business, tourism and culture, Amsterdam has had a strong tradition as a centre of culture and commerce.
Roman Catholic Church
The Basilica of St. Nicholas was built over 125 years ago and owes most of its beauty to Adrianus Bleijs. Known as Sint-Nicolaasbasiliek in Dutch, the church sits in the Old Centre in Amsterdam.
Acting as the city’s main Catholic church, visitors can be seen attending services all throughout the week.
Bleijs used a variety of revival styles during his construction of the church. Baroque and Renaissance are the two most prevalent styles that are seen. The beautiful façade has a rose window situated perfectly between the two towers and is the main focal point of the exterior.
There is a stunning bas-relief depicting Chris that was created in 1886. The relief was made by Van den Bossche in his workshop and includes the four Evangelists with Christ.
The floor plan is taken from the well-known three-aisled layout which meets to form a cross. The nave has intricate designs and is the area where the choir can still be seen singing today.
There are two chapels inside of the church which is devoted to the parents of Christ: Mary and Joseph.
Sightseeing & Popular Landmark
With more than 800 years of history to discover, Amsterdam is rich with fascination sights. From ancient churches to magnificent museums, secret courtyards to quaint cobbled streets, and, of course, the city’s world-famous canals there’s an overwhelming amount of things to see and do in Amsterdam.
Explore into an alley in the city and you will discover there are numerous food, a small theme museum and other special attraction waiting for you to explore!
Hard Rock Cafe in Amsterdam, a must visit restaurant if you are one of the fans out there.
The heat of crowd starts to grow while it almost reaches night time in Amsterdam when all pubs and restaurant are opening for business.
It was definitely a different scene compared to the daytime!
The Red Light District
Amsterdam prides itself, and rightly so, on its wholly liberal and tolerant attitude, embracing the fact that people may be into prostitution, soft drugs and pornography. And that it is only human. So instead of criminalizing everything, they enjoy the honesty of it all.
Nowadays, prostitution is legal in the Netherlands but not on the streets. That’s why prostitutes in Amsterdam stand up behind a window and have their own room. The name of “Red Light District” comes from the red neon lights that highlight the 300 windows where women are working.
When to go to Red Light District Amsterdam?
Well, if curiosity does get the better of you, come down at night when the district really comes to life. During the day, the district is less lively and even less attractive as the more sordid aspects reveal themselves in natural daylight. Although there are women forever tapping on the windows even during the light hours, most of the action takes place around 11 pm, when the district is swarming with crowds and the red neon lights illuminate the inky canals. The atmosphere pretty much thrives until around 2 or 3 am when the crowds die down and businesses shut up shop.
The Amsterdam Red Light District is not only about prostitution and coffee shops. You can find a great variety of sex shops, peep shows, strip clubs, sex theatres and typical Dutch brown cafes.
Furthermore, you have a few cultural activities such as the Museum of Prostitution, the Museum of Erotism or the Museum of Cannabis.
*It is strictly forbidden to take pictures or film women behind their windows. A sign is stuck on every window as a reminder. Be careful if you try to take a photograph as working women can become very aggressive. The same rule is applicable if you go to a strip club, peep show or sex theatre. The best is to keep your phone or camera in your pocket otherwise you risk to be kicked out by the bouncers.
City Canal Cruise Tour
Amsterdam is also a city of tolerance and diversity. It has all the advantages of a big city: rich culture, lively Amsterdam nightlife, international restaurants, good transport – but is quiet, and largely thanks to its extensive canals, has a little road traffic.
We took a one-hour session canal cruise which is highly recommended to have a great sneak peek around the city.
Astounding view while on the cruise, it is not hard to understand Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North because of its lovely canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges which links one and another.
There are tons of well-decorated houseboat along the canal mainly used as a personal residence or restaurants and bars which operates early at the noon.
Semi-auto movable bridge also can be seen anywhere in Amsterdam which enables the small boat to pass by, while some big one (bridge) even caters especially for larger boat and ships.
The National Maritime Museum and real 1:1 Dutch Galleon (open for visits) docked right beside the museum.
NEMO Science Museum is a five floors tall building featuring all science experience in it, one of the recommend tourist hot spot to visit!
The Famous Sea Palace Chin Restaurant (Chinese seafood restaurant) is within our sight during the trip as well, at first we thought this building was actually a temple! 😉
Amsterdam Weekend Morning Market
Shopping in Amsterdam’s colourful and lively markets is a great way to clinch a bargain while picking up a few Dutch souvenirs for your friends and family back home.
The city’s market culture dates back to the early 18th century with the first stall set up in the Jewish Quarter in 1783.
Today, there are 12 daily outdoor markets, 15 markets which are open one or two days of the week and several markets which are open seasonally.
There are some great markets to choose, set mostly in the centre of town. Whatever you are into, you are most likely to find it at one of the many markets- whether its general domestic appliances and other household goods or speciality products such as cheeses or bread.
Fun Facts About Amsterdam:
This is what you need to know while travelling in Amsterdam
- In 1850, 30% of the population in Amsterdam lived off begging.
- The water in the Amsterdam canals is so clean that Artis Zoo gives its elephants pure drinking water straight from the Amsterdam canals.
- Dancing was forbidden in Amsterdam at the beginning of the 20th century.
- In Amsterdam, people on low income can take their pet to the vet for free once a year.
- Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands, but the government of The Netherlands is not seated in Amsterdam, but in The Hague.
- All over Amsterdam, there are hidden water taps under the ground. They were installed in fear of a big disaster so we would always have drinking water.
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol lies 4 meters below sea level because Amsterdam inhabitants dug out the land (consisting of peat) to use to heat the houses.
- Every year on average 10.000 bikes is dredged out of the Amsterdam canals.
- Yes, you are not mistaken. Dutch people are the tallest people in the world.
- When a room is lit with blue or purple light in the Amsterdam Red Light District, it means the women might possibly be more than just a woman…
- Amsterdam houses are built on wooden poles. Most were drilled in during the 17th century, which is why many Amsterdam houses tend to be crooked and leaning sideways
- Besides having a normal mayor, Amsterdam also has a nightlife mayor, a bike mayor and a city poet.