I set off on my quest to discover the city of Amsterdam,
I solely envisioned a city condensed with marijuana
cafes and a thriving red light district. It came
as a pleasant surprise to discover that this European
destination offers so much more- a beautiful array
of canals providing mesmerising views, a vibrant
and liberalistic culture and historic venues sure
to interest even the most discerning of tourists!....
“City on Water”
boasts striking canals, providing breathtaking views
both on land and on water. Canal cruises are the
most popular touristic attraction in the city, and
rightly so! A private tour of the canals will affiliate
you with the typical Amsterdam native and their
enthusiastic account of the historic houseboats
and life in Amsterdam.
Canal Bus is the most exhilarating mode of public
transport where you will surely come across the jovial
faces of fellow tourists and local residents. Walking
along the canals is remarkably calming and you’ll
be sure to encounter many free attractions along the
would be sinful to not to visit the Floating Flower
Market on the Singel, the oldest canal in Amsterdam.
The market has evolved into one of the most famous
flower markets in the whole of Holland, offering everything
from Dutch tulips and geraniums to ‘mano’
bulbs and Bonsai trees. Another must see is the Museum
Van Loon, one of Amsterdam’s oldest canal houses.
The house now forms a fascinating historical monument,
with most of the furniture and décor intact
from the late 17th century. One of its early residents
include one of Rembrandt’s most famous pupils,
Ferdinand Bol. From the 19th century onwards, the
house was occupied by the van Loon family, a generation
of city-mayors that largely influenced the expansion
of Amsterdam. The museum is one of the few canal
houses to have a garden. The van Loon garden is
an oasis of peace away from the hustle and bustle
of quotidian life. I was fortunate to witness an
open-air opera, an unusual treat that made the experience
all the more unique!
Amsterdam, “City of Diamonds”
is a key player in the diamond industry. Known as
the “Diamond capital of the world”,
the city plays host to the world renowned, Gassan
Diamonds , a historic steam driven diamond factory
turned diamond dynasty located in the heart of the
city. A tour of the grounds will immerse you into
the history of the factory where you will certainly
enjoy hearing about the original founding members,
The factory prides
itself on its extensive and prestigious collection of high
quality diamonds and jewellery available for purchase. Picking
up a beautiful souvenir is the perfect way to score brownie
points on your vacation with that special someone.
and their quest to open the
largest diamond factory in the
whole of Europe! In
addition, you’ll be one of the fortunate few
to witness first hand the talented work of the craftsmen,
elegantly transforming rough diamonds into pieces
of art. After witnessing such phenomenal artwork and
skill, you may well be tempted to add to your diamond
and jewellery collection.
gastronomy is your passion, you’ll be pleased
to know that Amsterdam prides itself in showcasing
its traditional Dutch cuisine. On my travels, I stumbled
across the unconventional and quirky restaurant, Moeders
(translated “Mothers” in English). As
you may have already guessed, the restaurant wholeheartedly
rejoices the role of the mother; the walls are covered
with customers’ portraits of their mothers and
personal messages dedicated to mothers passed away.
Mother’s day spent here will be an unforgettable
experience, principally because mothers dine for free!
Another enticing feature is the peculiar choice of
crockery; mismatched cutlery and individually hand-picked
glass wear for each customer to make you feel all
the more special.
offers a beautiful outdoor courtyard with a charming terrace
and colonnade arcade. As it is located just minutes from Amsterdam’s
most bustling shopping district, you’ll be able to enjoy
a relaxing lunch before you hit the shops!
This, along with the friendly staff and amorous atmosphere,
makes it the perfect place for a family outing. Most
importantly, you are guaranteed to be served a traditional
Dutch dish, ranging from the famous ‘Hutspot’
and ‘'Boerenkool met worst'. For a lunchtime
break in the city centre, the ideal location would
have to be the café/restaurant, David &
Hidden Treasures of Amsterdam
I enjoyed most about Amsterdam is the eccentricity of its
touristic attractions. The City Archive Vault (Schatzoeken)
is where Amsterdam’s most prized treasures are situated.
From the first document identifying Amsterdam as a city
in 1275 to the bicycle theft report from Anne Frank in 1942,
the vault comprises a collection of intriguing memorabilia
that define Amsterdam’s social and political history.
The site is stunning in itself, with beautifully restored
floors and an overall combined décor of Art Deco
and Egyptian influences.
Museum of Bags and Purses is a unique museum assembling
a historic collection of bags in Western civilisation
ranging from the 16th century to the present. It
is the only type in its kind, and is recognised
as one of the eight most important fashion museums
in the world! Fashion enthusiasts will certainly
the transition of the 16th century men’s pouch to
the modern day female designer handbag.
a timeless Chanel or Louis Vuitton number, the purse that
once belonged to a member of royalty, the bag that is connected
to the arrival of the first giraffe in France - each and
every one has its own particular and fascinating story!
Walking is a useful way to get to know the city, particularly
when site-seeing near the city centre, Dam square. Transport
links are also frequent in the city but I found that the
most efficient way to get around the city was by Tram. Cycling
is another alternative if you wish to adopt the Dutch way
of transport. Bicycle rentals cost around €8 per day
with discounts for longer rentals.
I would highly recommend picking up the “amsterdam
card” from the local tourist office which offers many
discounts for attractions and restaurants, free use of trams,
underground and bus services, and free entry into many museums
including the Van Gogh and Rembrandthius Museums.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel Amsterdam offers a comfortable and
luxurious stay for all guests. It is located right in the
city centre, near the Central Station and Dam Square. Friendly
and efficient staff service will make your stay in the city
all the more worthwhile, and will leave you wanting to return!
to get there
Fly KLM from London Heathrow to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol you can take the train to
Amsterdam Central Station, trains depart every 15 minutes
with a journey time of 15 minutes. Cost of one way ticket