Why do you return year after year to the Dutch capital? Here are the top five things we love most about Amsterdam and the top five reasons we’ll continue to travel there for years to come.
1. The picturesque canals
You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone! And until you move somewhere without canals, you don’t realize how uncommon it is to have so much water in the city center. Although a multilane highway or a pedestrianized street may be useful in their own right, they just lack the Reguliersgracht’s allure.
Who could ever forget the sight of those bridges lit up at night, the reflection of autumn leaves in the water, or the sheer joy of renting a boat and spending a summer day idling down the canals with friends? You can’t beat canals like these since they instantly identify you as being in Amsterdam.
2. The little but delectable Dutch biertjes
With a few glasses of Amsterdam’s finest wine, what could be a better way to appreciate the canals? Nothing beats a vaasje in one of the many pubs, taverns, or bruin cafés in the Dutch city, whether it be Amstel, Grolsch, or Heineken.
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Then there are the kroketten, bitterballen, and kaas, which are Dutch bar snacks. A platter of cheese cubes and mustard is the best thing to help a biertje go down. Almost everywhere in the Netherlands, but difficult to locate elsewhere!
3. There are many cozy cafés
Who could forget the actual cafés? Amsterdam is home to some of the best places for a relaxed after-work drink, including Café Hoppe on Spui, one of the city’s oldest bars, and the stylish and roomy Café de Jaren on Nieuwe Doelenstraat.
Hannekes Boom is another fantastic option for an evening beverage after work, or you may try my personal favorite, Café Van Zuylen, on the Singel canal.
Check it out in the summer when the terrace spreads out onto the bridge, or sit inside and lose all sense of time while savoring your next dish of piping-hot bitterballen and sipping the foam from your next beer.
4. The special language
Even if you are illiterate in Dutch, the sound of the language itself contributes significantly to the character of the city and is one of the first things that will make you feel at home. Even now, the sound of Dutch is one of those compulsive triggers that make me want to visit Amsterdam once more.
5. Stunning artwork
Amsterdam is home to some outstanding galleries and museums. The Rijksmuseum is enough to take your breath away even if you don’t go inside. But once you get inside its imposing walls, you’ll be astounded by what you see.
See paintings by Albert Cuyp and Jacob van Ruisdael to learn who Amsterdam’s streets and squares are named after. And, of course, who could possibly forget Rembrandt’s Night Watch, which is one of those paintings that need to be seen to be believed?
If that’s not enough, visit the Stedelijk Museum for outstanding modern art or visit the Van Gogh Museum to be in awe of his sunflower paintings.
If you prefer history, spend an afternoon meandering through the highs and lows of Dutch history by visiting the Museum of the Resistance or the Anne Frank Home.