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There’s plenty more to the Netherlands than picturesque windmills, multi-coloured tulips, and the world-famous bicycle culture, although that’s three great reasons to visit already. Beyond the clog-wearing, cheese-making stereotypes, the Netherlands is an essential stop for art and architecture enthusiasts, and its cultural capital, Amsterdam, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with history and creativity around every corner.
Amsterdam is perfect for leisurely strolls along the canals. Admire Dutch masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum or the modern collection in the ‘bathtub’ shaped Stedelijk. No visit is complete without taking a peek behind the scenes in the Heineken brewery or the hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary. Further afield there are the 14th-16th century buildings of Haarlem, The Hague with its extraordinary Binnenhof Palace or the characteristic old fishing villages like Volendam on the former Zuidersee.
An all-encompassing journey of magnificent menus, outstanding scenery and incredible cultural heritage, this itinerary brings you face-to-face with Europe’s finest attractions.
Amsterdam has been the world’s diamond capital for 400 years and it’s still a great place to buy. At the other end of the price spectrum, Dutch bulbs, tulips, hyacinths and narcissus in every colour except black. Delft pottery and tiles are another classic souvenir in bright colours as well as the traditional blue. Edam and Gouda cheeses and traditional wooden clogs are also popular souvenirs.
Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw is one if the leading concert halls in Europe. Ballet lovers can choose the classic Dutch National Ballet or the avant garde Nederlands Danstheatre. Want something more casual? Bring a bottle of wine and a blanket to join the locals at Amsterdam’s Vondel Park, where there’s free jazz, classical and cabaret performances most nights of the week.
Amsterdam is not only home to some of the world’s finest museums, but also some of the quirkiest! After Rembrandt and Van Gogh, why not seek out the Museum of Bags and Purses? And of course it wouldn't be Amsterdam without the likes of the Erotic, Hemp or Torture museums. Don’t forget to visit Amsterdam’s Red Light District, and learn the history and dynamics of the place known to locals as de Wallen.
Av temp: 10˚C50˚F
Av temp: 15˚C59˚F
Av temp: 10˚C50˚F
Av temp: 5˚C41˚F
London GMT + 1hr
Euro (EUR, €)
When to go: June-September for the highest temperatures; May-August for the lowest rainfall.
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