Life in Amsterdam is centered on its many canals. So the best way to see the city is aboard a glass-topped canal boat, gliding through the town center. Discover the elegant merchant mansions and rows of waterside warehouses, which once housed the riches brought from the Far East. Look for the 17th-century "Skinny Bridge" and Amsterdam's narrowest house as you make your way past beautiful old churches to the Anne Frank House. Journey by the Jordaan, the old French Quarter that is now a popular artists' haunt with a wide assortment of cafés, antique shops, boutiques and galleries.
Fun Things to Do
- Visit the world's largest flower auction in the city of Aalsmeer. Visit a Delft Blue Pottery factory to observe the fascinating process of transforming a shapeless piece of clay into a beautiful work of art. Then tour the Hague, seat of government for all the Netherlands.
- Head out to the countryside to see the quaint windmills in the authentic old village of Zaanse Schans.
- Stop by the Rembrandt House, home to Rembrandt from 1639 to 1660. Inside is a collection of his engravings and drawings, as well as some of his personal belongings.
Erwtensoep is a rich, thick pea soup with sausage and pork added. Herring is particularly popular, especially between May and September when new herring is served in brine with onions. Stamppot, a potato and vegetable hash, is a traditional accompaniment. For dessert, Dutch apple pie (a variation with sultanas and cinnamon) is the most well-known.
The Euro (EUR), the currency of the European Union, is the official currency of the Netherlands. Many stores and restaurants also accept major credit cards, which usually offer you a good exchange rate. When shopping, remember there is a Value-Added Tax added to most purchases.