Amsterdam: A Brief Guide

Amsterdam is a great place to visit, and the following is a list of great places to visit.

Learn what places to visit in Amsterdam.

Photo by Eve Mahaney for The Montclair Dispatch.

The city of Amsterdam embodies what Europe is all about. It is filled with cultural diversity, acceptance of the strange or out of place and camaraderie between people that makes the city so enjoyable. I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived in Amsterdam. Much of popular media depicts it in a way that seems surreal.

While it wasn’t the fantasy land that many movies and shows depict, it was definitely surreal. A happy, historic city, interwoven with trademark canals and oddities makes for an amazing vacation. Here are some of the things that are worth doing and seeing if you decide to experience Amsterdam:

  • The Anne Frank House. This comes first because it is without a doubt one of the most important historical sites in the world. The house where Anne Frank’s diary was written embodies a time where humans found themselves in the greatest war we have ever known, and it exemplifies how we must learn from the injustices of our past to secure a safer future. When I arrived, there was a line for the house that bent through different streets. While this puts some people off, it drew me in. So many people from around the world stood in the line to see a small house in Amsterdam where a little girl changed the world. It felt special just waiting in line. The house itself has been both renovated and preserved beautifully. It is a museum that showcases different parts of the house with all of the context and history needed to fully grasp the gravity of why the house is so important. The hidden part of the house where Anne and her family stayed is preserved so well that you feel overwhelming emotions from standing where she stood. It is simply an experience that cannot be missed.
  • The Heineken Brewery. On a much lighter note, the Heineken Brewery is a great place for families, couples or even just a solo trip. Heineken is the most popular brand of beer in Europe, and was created in 1864 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken. The brewery has been transformed into “The Heineken Experience,” an interactive and informative tour of the brewery. The tour includes an overlook of the history of the brand, a look at how the brand became so widely-known, and a fun and simple explanation of how the beer is made and bottled. For those that are over 18, the tour also includes a very fair portion of Heineken beer, included in the ticket price.
  • The Canals. Amsterdam is almost completely defined by the canals that cut through the streets. While the canals may seem commonplace to those that live there, it is a beautiful thing to see such a populated city of people so well integrated with the water. Houseboats are a staple of Amsterdam, with many people relying on the water as their home. Boats gently navigate the waterways, giving tours, moving goods or just getting around. The canals of Amsterdam are a jewel of the city, and make for a great, new experience for tourists.
Photo by Eve Mahaney for The Montclair Dispatch.

Bloemenmarkt. One of Holland’s greatest prides are the tulips the country so brilliantly presents. The flowers come in all different colors and sizes, and there are tulip fields of dazzling colors covering Holland. While it wouldn’t be practical to grow many tulips in a city such as Amsterdam, there is still a commitment within the city to present the flowers. Bloemenmarkt is a beautiful tulip market that floats on one of the city’s canals. It is an amazing and unique place to experience some of Holland’s culture.

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