Tulips in Amsterdam, Netherlands (Keren Su/Digital Vision)

Clogs in Amsterdam, Netherlands (Micahel Blann/Photodisc/Getty)

Oude Kerk spire from canal near Centraal Station, Amsterdam, Netherlands (Rene Frederick/Digital Vision/Getty)

Buildings and bridge in Amsterdam, Netherlands (Andrew Ward/PhotoDisc)

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Amsterdam, Netherlands (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Amsterdam

Though Amsterdam is a progressive, fun-loving city, its architecture hints at the historical importance of the Dutch capital. Bells clank from towering medieval church spires. And multicolored barges chug past 17th-century townhouses. Amsterdam is laid out around canals that emanate from the old medieval center. It’s easy to manage on foot, with the occasional help of a street car, bus, or canal boat. Koninklijk palace, a favorite of Holland’s royals, holds court on downtown’s Dam Square. Singelgracht canal, lined with buildings from the Dutch golden age, is a short stroll from here, as is Prinsengracht canal and the Anne Frank museum. South of the city center, the neo-Gothic Rijksmuseum houses Dutch masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer, while   the Van Gogh Museum next door preserves the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work.

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Traveler Reviews of Amsterdam


Alistair rates Amsterdam
Despite its progressive, anything-goes reputation, I found Amsterdam to be just a little too sleazy and grimy for my tastes. The area around the main train station is quite sketchy, and wandering through the red-light district basically left me feeling quite depressed after seeing men in raincoats leave the brothels and bored, lingerie-clad women standing in window boxes. There are some good clubs, bars, and an amazing variety of restaurants (and "coffeehouses"), so you are assured a good time if you know what you're looking for. Of course, it's not all about low culture as you can visit the Anne Frank House and explore some amazing museums like the Stedelijk and Van Gogh and Rembrandt collections. My advice would be to base yourself in the much prettier Hague and visit Amsterdam during a day trip. It's easy to get there on the train.
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