Tourism in Amsterdam is one of the biggest industries in the capital city of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is famous for a number of things, including the legal prostitution and the legal use of marijuana. But Amsterdam has more, way more. In this article we will share some of the best tourist attractions in Amsterdam and include tips as well!
The Amsterdam Canals
The canals in Amsterdam are really famous. The Netherlands is a little country with a lot of water, so they have water everywhere. This water is used for several thing, including transportation. The canals in Amsterdam are a good example of this. They used to be for transportation of any kind of stuff back in the days of the 'Dutch East India Company' (the 'Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie'), the biggest trader in the 17th century in the world.
The canals are now mainly used for touristic purposes. There are people who have their own boat, students make trips with crates of beer and tourist can enjoy Amsterdam from one of the many cruise boats which are located right at the station. For around 12 euro's (16 dollar) you can enjoy a full afternoon from a boat, with a lot of side information about the city.
The Red Light District: De Wallen
Let's not turn our back at this one. Amsterdam is famous for it's Red Light District. At De Wallen, located in the oldest part of Amsterdam, there are three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes. There they offer their sexual service from behind a window or glass door.
At De Wallen there are also lots of coffee shops, which brings us to the next major tourist attraction.
When you walk around in the Red Light District of Amsterdam (as many tourists do) pay attention. The world of prostitution is actually interesting. You can see men who walk up to a window, negotiate with the prostitute and after that walking in.
Non-street prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. The rights of the prostitutes are decent. Since 2007 there is actually a bronze statue for the oldest profession in the world created, which is now installed in the Red Light District.
Legal use of marijuana
In the Netherlands the use of weed is completely legal. Everybody older than 18 years can buy weed in one of the many coffee shops located in Amsterdam. In 2009 there was a total of 223 coffee shops (where you cannot buy coffee) in Amsterdam. This is just about a third of all the coffee shops in the Netherlands (666).
In The Netherlands there is a lot of drug tourism because of the legal use of cannabis. Especially the southern cities experience a lot of tourism for the coffee shops coming from France and Belgium.
In Amsterdam there are always tourists who try out the Dutch freedom. Remember to be responsible, have a buddy and to know where your limits are.
There are 37 museums in Amsterdam. Including a special museum devoted to sex (with a ticket price of only one euro). Here some of the most interesting museums are listed.
Madame Tussaud's Amsterdam
In 1971 the first Madame Tussaud's museum outside the UK was opened in Amsterdam. Madame Tussaud's include many celebrities, made of wax. The collection of celebrities in Madame Tussaud's is astonishing with a 200 year history.
The museum is located at the Dam, one of the most central places in Amsterdam.
The Rijksmuseum is the biggest museum of the Netherlands. It includes works of many famous painters, including Rembrandt (the Night Watch), Frans Hals and Vermeer. All of this art gives a great overview of the Dutch history, in global context.
Anne Frank Huis
This is a special museum. This museum is where a young Jewish girl lived in hiding with her family during the second World War for more than 2 years.
The family of Anne Frank lived in hiding behind a special bookcase, eventually the hiding place was betrayed. Anne Frank was, with her family, deported to concentration camps.
Anne Frank became famous because she kept a diary. This diary is published as 'Het Achterhuis', which became a best-seller in the world. The diary is 65 times translated in another language.
The museum is really small and contains historical documents, photographs and film images. The museum is the place if you want to gain understanding of what it meant to live in hiding during world war II.
Van Gogh Museum
This museum is the keeper of the largest collection of painting from Vincent van Gogh in the world. Located at the Museumplein, this museum is also very reachable.
Another big tourist attraction of Amsterdam are the different big squares. The biggest will be pointed out and also why they are famous.
Located in the historical center of Amsterdam, around 700 meters from the Central Station there is the Dam Square. Located at the Dam Square are Madame Tussaud's Museum, the National Monument where the victims of World War II are remembered every year and the Nieuwe Kerk (the New Church). The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the big department store 'De Bijenkorf' are also located at the Dam Square.
The Leidseplein is located southwest of the central district of Amsterdam. It is one of the busiest centres for nightlife in Amsterdam. The square is surrounded by streets full of bars, clubs, outdoor cafes and restaurants. Important buildings around the square are the Stadsschouwburg (the municipal theathre), the music venues Paradiso and the Melkweg, the biggest park of the Netherlands 'het Vondelpark', Holland Casino and a well-known high school called the Barlaeus Gymnasium.
This square is called 'Museum Square' because it is surrounded by museums, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Diamond Museum. The square serves as a host for big events. For instance, when the Dutch soccer team became second in the World Cup, they were honored at the Museumplein. Also it is one of the best places to be at 'Koninginnedag' (Queensday), one of the Dutch holiday's.
Hopefully you found inspiration from all of these tourist attractions in Amsterdam!