By Blake Bieber
Are you seeking an unforgettable experience in a culture different from your norm? A culture that involves history, bright lights, and extravagant views? Well, boy do I have good news for you my friend. Amsterdam is arguably the most multicultural city in the world, displaying nature in its finest fashion, museums with some of the best works of art, endless activities right outside your doorstep, and ultimately a place that allows you to be yourself.
Holland’s capital is famous for its variety of cultures, making it a unique destination of its own. In the 13th century, Amsterdam built relationships with new cultures by becoming a city known for trading. The production industry was prominent here, ranging from sawmills, shipping companies, leather tanneries, sugar refineries, and tobacco companies to name a few. At the start of the industrial revolution, however, the production industry began to fade away and move into the countryside where there was room for textile factories and beer brewers. Nonetheless, Amsterdam remained a hub for trading and consumption. With all of this being said, the trade and economic development of Amsterdam sparked a culture that embraced a wide variety of lifestyles. As a result, crowds were attracted to the city not only for its beauty and success, but also for its open and tolerant society. Today, Amsterdam continues to attract tourists and residents alike, having nearly 20 million tourists each year and residents from 180 different countries.
One of the more fascinating aspects of Amsterdam’s history is that which can be found in its museums. In 1892, the Hollandsche Schouwburg was built for the use of a theatre but was later used as a deportation center for Jews during the Second World War. It now serves as a memorial center, containing a wall with 6,700 family names of the 104,000 Dutch Jewish victims. Additionally, across the street is the National Holocaust museum which holds exhibitions and events that share the story of the Holocaust. One of the most popular stories coming out of the Holocaust is Anne Frank’s. During the rule of the Nazis, a girl named Anne Frank wrote about her life in a diary which would later become one of the most well-known books in the world. The house that she hid in for over two years is also located in Amsterdam at Prinsengracht 263. This house is a famous sight to see not only because of the surreal experience of being where she once was, but also because the attic rooms are essentially untouched. While taking a tour, you can see a part of the wallpaper where Anne’s father marked her height as well as some of Anne’s personal items like the pictures of movie stars she pinned to the wall and of course, her diary.
Aside from these historical museums, Amsterdam also owns two of the most artistically famous museums in the world. The first is The Rijksmuseum which showcases magnificent paintings by Dutch Masters of the Golden Age, archaeological artifacts, sculptures, clothing, and Asian art to mention a few. All in all, the museum contains various forms of iconic art that are representative of 800 years of Dutch history. Furthermore, is a well-landscaped garden which you can walk around in for free while admiring the beauty of all the art. Another museum which attracts visitors from all around the world is the Vincent van Gogh museum. Being one of the most famous artists of all-time, this museum contains over 200 of his paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters. Clearly, Amsterdam is home to a wide variety of intriguing art and history which makes this destination a wonderful experience you cannot get anywhere else.
The city not only boasts of the beauty you can find indoors but also has some of the most amazing outdoor views you may ever see. For example, you can easily take a tour of the Amsterdamse Bos, also known as the Amsterdam forest. Being voted one of the greenest cities in all of Europe, this park contains 150 indigenous species of trees with more than 200 species of birds. Along the way you may also see rabbits, squirrels, and other animals who call this park home. On the other hand, you can make a short trip into the countryside to experience one of the largest flower gardens in the world, commonly known as the ‘Garden of Europe.’ The Keukenhof Tulip Garden is filled with a rainbow of colors from seven million tulips and other kinds of flowers. Although these are two of the more famous outdoor attractions in Amsterdam, the city has several other parks, many of which are close to cafes, restaurants, bars, and stores. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, arguably the most common way to travel in Amsterdam is by bike. You can easily rent a bike, ride through the parks, find hidden spots to stop at for a picnic, or ride past the ancient churches and buildings in the city. Either way, your bike ride will not fail to satisfy.
Last but certainly not least, one of Amsterdam’s most popular attributes are the water canals that run through the city. Indeed, there are 160 canals and 1000 bridges in the heart of Amsterdam. With that being said, you can hop on a canal cruise to experience the city from the water. During your romantic, candlelight dinner cruise, you will get to pass by some of the most amazing attractions such as elegant mansions and history-rich churches.
So, whether you want a fancy dinner, a stroll in the park, a bike ride through the city, or a night out on the town, Amsterdam is capable of providing you with virtually every wish you could ever desire in a trip. The activities and sights I mentioned are only a few of the things you can do here, but the options are endless. That being said, go and check out Amsterdam yourself if you are looking for a different, exciting, memory-filled adventure! You will not regret it.