The beautiful city Amsterdam
Amsterdam is many more things than just the capital and largest city of The Netherlands.
It’s a beautiful city with a wonderful historic center that’s interlaced with canals, pretty bridges, narrow streets, and attractive architecture.
Once you can tear yourself away from these things there are excellent museums to explore, cafes to relax in, and a laid-back atmosphere to enjoy.
Even if Amsterdam is the country’s largest city, it doesn’t feel overcrowded.
The historic heart of Amsterdam does get busy during the summer months, but there are always quieter streets that you can explore away from the crowds if you prefer.
When to Visit Amsterdam
The city can also be enjoyed during the winter, but it will be colder and damper at this time of year so you’ll need to wrap up warm if walking around.
The advantage of visiting in the spring is warmer weather and the chance to see thousands of beautiful tulips in flower, which really is a wonderful sight.
By July and August temperatures are pleasant with average highs around 22 C, a great temperature for exploring on foot or by bicycle.
There is still rain in the summer (it can rain any time of the year here), so come prepared with an umbrella and/or raincoat and you should be fine.
Attractions in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s Liberal Attitudes and Red Light District
Nestled between canals and alleyways in a part of Amsterdam that really looks no different to the rest is the city’s most famous district, the Red Light District.
Known locally as De Wallen (meaning The Quays) this well known neighbourhood is set in the heart of the oldest part of the city and covers several different streets, canals and alleys.
Here, prostitution is legal and if you want to wander down De Wallen’s streets the prostitution is pretty visible too.
Prostitutes don’t hide themselves away, so it does come as quite a shock to some tourists to see half naked women sitting or standing in street-level windows waiting for customers.
During the day, the majority of people wandering around the Red Light District have just come to check it out for themselves, though by night it can be quite a different story as numerous groups of bachelors wander around, enjoying their stag parties!
These visible windows are just one feature of the Red Light District; it’s also home to numerous peep shows, sex shops, and sex theatres, and the sex museum is quite a popular attraction too.
Apart from the sexual services in De Wallen there are other attractions too.
You’ll find Amsterdam’s oldest building here: Oude Kerk, meaning ‘old church’, which is 800 years old.
It was built around 1213 and also happens to be the oldest parish church in the city.
The original wooden church was built around and eventually replaced by the stone church you see here today.
As well as the sex museum, there is a cannabis museum in the Red Light District, and the neighbourhood has many bars, restaurants and coffeeshops.
If you know your beer you will probably know that Heineken is a Dutch brewer founded here in Amsterdam in 1864.
The first Heineken brewery was completed in 1867 and it produced millions of litres of beer up until a new, more modern facility was built on the outskirts of the city in 1988.
After closing the original became the Heineken Experience – a tour and visitor centre.
You can also see how a much smaller brewery works by visiting Brouwerij ‘t IJ (The IJ Brewery).
This small brewery was opened in 1985 and offers tours and tastings or there’s a pub where you can enjoy their five standard beers and four seasonal ones.
The brewery is right next to the De Gooyer windmill.