Amsterdam: Five Reasons Why You Will Love This City ( And a Photo Diary)

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Five Reasons Why You Will Love Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an extraordinary city, a city that is beguiling, picturesque and ridiculously fun! Amsterdam is a place that has an ever-present laid-back atmosphere. It is a place where time seems to stand still, a place where you have a feeling that nobody seems to have a care in the world. And it is a city that is perfect for rambling and for getting lost in… However, do not worry as you will always end up by a canal!

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In Amsterdam you will come across countless interesting and quaint places around every corner, whether it’s a brown café, a quirky vintage shop, or a small outdoor market selling either delicious local produce or various little trinkets!  It is a place that you are guaranteed to fall in love with, and here are five reasons why:
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1. CANALS
Did you know that Amsterdam has more canals than Venice and that it has more bridges than any other city in the world? I certainly didn’t! Amsterdam’s innumerable canals are what give this city refreshing charm that differentiates it from any other city in Europe. Because of these wide waterways, Amsterdam feels very spacious and tranquil, regardless of the fact that it is a bustling, slightly mad city. These canals first appeared in early seventeenth century and, in 2010, UNESCO declared Amsterdam’s canals an official World Heritage Site. You can spend hours walking or cycling along the canals, or take a boat ride for an alternate view of the city! Amsterdam is also known for the countless house boats lining the canals, taking up every possible space along the banks. These houseboats, which are permanent residences, are a truly distinctive city feature.

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2. QUAINT ARCHITECTURE

Amsterdam is well-known for its quaint architecture, most notably the countless narrow, leaning buildings that line the canals. These buildings conjure up an image of crooked teeth and are in essence a typical postcard view of Amsterdam. The reason for these tilting buildings is the fact that since these houses are so narrow, it would have been practically impossible to move furniture and other bulky items up the tight staircases to upper floors. As a consequence, the local residents and architects came up with an ingenious solution: each house has an arm with a hook attached to the top of the house in order to hoist up the furniture and other large items to upper floor. Houses were built with a slight forward lean to minimise the possibility of these oversized items colliding with the building facade on their way up.

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3. APPLE PIE

I have a weakness for apple pie, and Dutch apple pies are the best! A local pie is a scrumptious, fragrant concoction of apples, sultanas, cinnamon, and cloves, all enclosed in sweet sandy-crisp crust.  You will come across an apple pie in almost every café in Amsterdam; however, the best place to get a slice (or two) of this utter deliciousness is at Café Winkel in Jordaans.

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4.VAN GOGH MUSEUM

Van Gogh Museum is the museum to visit in Amsterdam.  This space houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s oeuvre and an outstanding line-up of his masterpieces: over 200 paintings and 500 drawings. Regardless of the fact that people have a very split opinion about Van Gogh’s work, he was one of the foremost Post-Impressionist artists, who produced seminal paintings that later influenced countless artists and movements.  The museum is manageable within couple of hours and, as you move from ground floor up to the third floor, you will witness Van Gogh’s growth and evolution as an artist. Come here on a Friday night, when the museum stays open until late with a pop-up bar and a DJ. Who needs to go to a bar, when instead you can spend your evening here, looking at incredible art and socialising with your friends at the same time?

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5. ANYTHING GOES

Of course, everyone knows that almost everybody comes here for “forbidden” things, as Amsterdam has a most liberal attitude towards all things naughty: prostitution and soft drugs have been legal here for many centuries. One of the most ironic and fascinating things about Amsterdam is that the oldest building in Amsterdam -De Oude Kerk, a church dating back to 1213 –  is in the midst of a Red Light District. This part of Amsterdam with narrow winding alleys, centuries-old gabled buildings and brown cafes with smoke-stained walls, has remained practically unchanged since the Golden Age, and it is Amsterdam’s most fascinating area. Rather than being a no-go area, Red Light district is buzzing day and night, as people wander through narrow alleys gaping at near-naked women behind back-lit windows or sit in coffeeshops and brown cafes, relaxing.

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WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK

To finish off this post a few personal recommendations for where to eat and drink in this wonderful city:

Best for lunch: RON Gatrobar. This restaurant on the non-touristy side of Vondelpark serves delicious and very pretty tapas-style food, all uniformly priced at 15 euros. It’s large terrace is perfect for a leisurely lunch on a Sunday afternoon.

Best for a burger: Lombardo’s. A tiny cafe that serves some of the best burgers that I have ever tried, anywhere! Go for the one with Dutch lamb, the meat so moist, it  almost melts in your mouth, or if you are feeling decadent, try the wagyu beef burger.

Best for dinner: De Kas. Situated in a quiet, small park, this restaurant serves wonderful, fresh and organic cuisine. The restaurant grows a lot of the produce in the greenhouse adjacent to the dining hall. The menu is fixed and changes from day to day, depending what has just been harvested; personally, I love fixed menus, because it saves the hassle of choosing. The wine list contains some delcious Dutch wines.

Best for apple pie: Cafe Winkel 43. This cafe serves what is perhaps the best apple in the city. It is a big claim, but their apple pie is pretty damn delicious: just the perfect amount of apples, spices and sweetness, with the most sandy pastry.

Best for coffee: Quartier Putain. This beautiful coffee shop right in the middle of the Red Light District, opposite De Oude Kerk, serves first-rate coffee and yummy apple pie. Drinking coffee here is a surreal experience in itself, since you are surrounded by prostitutes’ houses left and right.

Best for a brownie: Coffeeshop Siberië. Delicious chocolate brownies that actually work! The location of the coffeeshop right be a beautiful canal is a perfect complement.

Best for a drink: Door 74. Amsterdam’s prime speakeasy bar serving some of the best cocktails in the city!

 

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De Oude Kerk

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Flower Market

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Brown Cafe

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Tulip Bulbs

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Rijksmuseum

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Royal Palace

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DSC_4996 Green Gazpacho at Ron Gastrobar

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Vondelpark

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Inside the House Boat Musuem

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Van Gogh Museum on a Friday night

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Alexander Calder sculpture outside Rijksmuseum

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Quartier Putain coffee

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Willem de Koonig painting at Stedelijk Museum

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Delftware

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RON Gastrobar

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Condomerie: Amsterdam’s prime condom speciality shop in the Red Light District

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Door 74: Would you like your cocktail in a teapot?

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Large-scale back-lit photograph by Jeff Wall at Stedelijk Museum

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Jordaans neighbourhood

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9 responses to “Amsterdam: Five Reasons Why You Will Love This City ( And a Photo Diary)”

  1. Christina says:

    I love this post! I can’t wait until I go to Amsterdam next spring 🙂

    – Christina http://www.cityloveee.blogspot.com

  2. katherinelou says:

    What a wonderful post for Amsterdam: great recommendations and photos! If it wasn’t on my list to go before, it is now!

  3. Rosanne says:

    Love this post, definitely one of my favorite cities! (Also because I’m from there 😉 ) Can’t wait to go back for a visit!

    Rosanne
    http://www.shopwanderwell.com

  4. yvonnelaura says:

    Amsterdam is a lovely place! You captured it on a original way!

    http://www.thetouristoflife.com

  5. Zdenek says:

    This is really nice blog. Amsterdam is a wonderful city. What about Prague in Czech republic. I think it´s the best city in the world with lots of secrets which should be explored by travelers as you are. If you come you won’t regret it 😉

    • Olga says:

      Thanks, Zdenek! Actually, Prague is currently number one on my list of the cities I must visit in Europe! One of my best friends is from Prague, so I am waiting for us to find time to go there together!

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