Amsterdam

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam on the Map

GPS N52.363441°,E4.884109°
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. However it has never been the seat of Netherlands’ parliament, government or court (they are located in The Hague). Similarly it is neither the capital of the region North Holland where it is situated. The city lies on two main water bodies – IJ Bay and Amstel River. In the 12th century it was a small fishing village, today it is the city that belong to 10 most visited European cities, city where tradition and contemporary life style go hand in hand.

Amsterdam is the city of tolerance and difference. All the greatest taboos of the rest of the world are allowed here. One can easily see homosexuals kissing on the square, prostitution is legal (The red-light district – de Wallen, situated in the centre of the town, is quite famous for its windows lighted in red, with half naked women trying to attract potential customers) and cannabis products are also common (they are sold in specialized Coffeeshops, max 5 grams per customer who must be older than 18). However, hard drugs are strictly forbidden. Another specialty of Amsterdam is bicycles. One can see them everywhere and have to watch out cyclists all the time, especially when driving a car, because it seems like bicycles always have the lead.

The city proper is not very large. Basically it is made by a series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten") which were built in 17th century around the older city centre. There live around 740 000 inhabitants in the city proper (in the Amsterdam area approximately 1.5 million). The typical atmosphere of Amsterdam is created also by many fine houses and mansions situated along the canals (most are lived in, others are now offices, and some are public buildings). Because of the unstable foundations (wooden piles in marshy subsoil) many of narrow brick houses are gradually sinking.

Amsterdam offers a stimulating variety of arts, culture, sports and nightlife. Amsterdam’s most famous tourist attractions are museums (there are 45 museums in there). Everyone knows the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum, or Rembrandt House Museum. Besides that, with 60 theatres, churches and concert halls, 141 commercial art galleries, 2 sports stadiums and countless clubs popping up all the time, there's something to do all the time.

Not far from the city itself, there is the village The Zaanse Schans – historic and typically Dutch location with the famous Dutch windmills. Besides that there are several museums to visit, old traditional crafts to see such as cheese or clock making.

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