The city of Amsterdam, with its 800.000 inhabitants the capital of The Netherlands, is located in the centre of Holland. From a small fishing village in the 12th century, the city grew to become one of the most important ports in the world in what is commonly known as the Dutch ‘Golden Age’ (roughly spanning the 17th century).

 

As one of Europe’s top financial centres, Amsterdam is also the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Prominent sights include the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (‘De Beurs van Berlage’), the oldest stock exchange in the world, its historic canals, and its many museums, most notably the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House.

 

General information

As in all of The Netherlands, the langue spoken in Amsterdam is Dutch, closely related to English, German and French. Most citizens, however, are able to communicate in English. The currency used in the Netherlands is the Euro.

 

Transportation

Public transport in The Netherlands is generally of high quality. In the city, this includes trains, busses, metro’s and trams. In order to travel by public transport, you are required to buy a public transport Chip card. These cards are available at designated distribution points.  Furthermore, taxi’s are available at designated area’s. Keep in mind, however, that taxi’s in Amsterdam are relatively expensive. Expect to pay around €25 for a trip.

If, however, you wish to explore the city and enjoy its many sights, you are strongly encouraged to rent bikes, which is possible at rental stores all over the city.  Due to its small streets in the centre and the generaly small scale of the city, most natives travel by bikes and the city is very well adapted to suit your needs. Keep in mind that in The Netherlands, special bike lanes exist. Please try to avoid walking on these, as they are intended for bikes only.

 

Sights

As previously mentioned, Amsterdam is famous for its historic canals. Furthermore, there are several museums worthy of a visit. The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum (modern art) are located near each other in an area know as the Museum district, a central square in the middle of the city. Other museums include the Anne Frank House and Royal palace, both located near the central station. Lastly, the Hermitage, Tropenmuseum and Rembrandthouse are all located in the centre as well.

Besides Museums, the most important attractions of the city include the concert hall,  located at the Museum Square, the city’s Theatre and its opera building, also serving as City Hall.  Both the centre of the city and all other districts provide excellent facilities to go shopping or sightseeing.