Amsterdam Hotels , Flights and Travel Packages

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Amsterdam Travel Guide : Amsterdam Tours & Travel Services : Hotels Best Deals & Discounts : Low Cost Flights : Affordable Travel & Holidays Packages

Amsterdam , is the capital of the Netherlands with impressive architecture, lovely canals that criss cross the city, great shopping, and friendly people who nearly all speak English well. There is something for every traveller's taste here, whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city. Amsterdam has over a million inhabitants in the urban area, and is in the Province of North-Holland. Amsterdam is not the seat of government (which is in The Hague), but it is the biggest city and the cultural and creative centre of the Netherlands

Amsterdam Districts :
City center : Old Center : This most visited area can be divided in the New Side, with it's traditional architecture, canal tours, Dam Square and shopping, as well as the Old Side with Nieuwmarkt, Chinatown and Red Light District. Also includes the Old Jewish Quarter with Waterloo Square.

Canal Ring : A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historical district is among the wealthiest of the country with plenty of Dutch celebrities living here. It also includes Rembrandt Square and Leiden Square, the city's main nightlife areas.

Jordaan : Traditionally a working class area, now it's an expensive and hip district with plenty of art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Also includes the Haarlemmer Neighborhood at the north side.

Plantage : Supposed to be an extension of the Canal Ring, lack of demand made this into a leafy area with lots of greenery, botanical gardens and Artis Zoo.

Outer districts of Amsterdam :

South : A trip to Amsterdam is not complete without a visit to the Museum Quarter. This district also covers the Vondelpark (Amsterdams most popular park), De Pijp (with its street market) and the South Axis, a rapidly developing business district similar to La Défense in Paris.

West : A vast suburban area which can be divided in Old West, built in the 19th century, and New West, a multicultural off-the-beaten track area built after World War II. Also includes the Western Islands.

North : Directly north of the center lies North, a newly-built suburb. Also includes the area east of that, the Rural North, a protected polder area similar to the Waterland and Zaan Region.

East : Starting from the Oosterpark, this area includes all of the Eastern Islands, Eastern Docklands, Zeeburg and the rest of the Eastern suburbs.

Bijlmer : An exclave of Amsterdam, separated from the rest of the city by Diemen and Duivendrecht, the Bijlmer was foreseen as a town of the future for upper-middle class families. It turned into a lower-class residential district home to people of over 150 nationalities, often associated with crime and robberies. It has improved remarkably the last years, but it still is an area only for adventurous travelers (and football fans).

Architecture : Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centers in Europe, with about 7,000 registered historic buildings. The street pattern has been largely unchanged since the 19th century — there was no major bombing during World War II. The center consists of 90 islands linked by 400 bridges, some of them beautifully lit at night. The inner part of the city center, the Old Center, dates from medieval times. The oldest streets are the Warmoesstraat and the Zeedijk located in the Nieuwmarkt area of the Old Center. As buildings were made of wood in the Middle Ages, not much of this period's buildings have survived. Two medieval wooden houses did survive though, at Begijnhof 34 and Zeedijk 1.The Begijnhof is a late-medieval enclosed courtyard with the houses of beguines, Roman Catholic women living in a semi-religious community. Beguines are found in Northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and north-western Germany. House number 34 at the Begijnhof is the oldest home in Amsterdam. Entry to the courtyard and surrounding gardens is free, but be careful not to disturb the local community still living here.

One of the most prominent features is the Canal Ring, a concentric ring of canals built in the 17th century. The merchant-based oligarchy that ruled the trading city of Amsterdam built canal houses and mansions in the most prestigious locations here, especially along the main canals. Typical for the country are its traditional white draw bridges. The best example has to be the Magere Brug in the Canal Ring, which is over 300 years old and nearly in its original capacity. It is a beautiful place to overlook the river and take in some traditional Dutch architecture.

The Jordaan was built around 1650 along with the Canal Ring, but not for the wealthy merchants. For a long time it was considered the typical working-class area of Amsterdam, and included some notorious slums. The name probably derives from the nickname 'Jordan' for the Prinsengracht. Apart from a few wider canals, the streets are narrow, in an incomplete grid pattern (as the grid followed the lines of the former polders located here in medieval times). This district is the best example of "gentrification" in the Netherlands, as recently it turned into a hip boutique district. There are several large warehouses for more specific uses. The biggest is the Admirality Arsenal (1656-1657), now the Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum) at Kattenburgerplein. Others include the former turf warehouses (1550) along the Nes, now the municipal pawn office; a similar warehouse at Waterlooplein 69-75 (Arsenaal, 1610), now an architectural academy, and the warehouse of the West India Company (1642) at the corner of Prins Hendrikkade . The city office for architectural heritage BMA has an excellent online introduction to the architectural history and the types of historical buildings available.

Churches & Synagogues : Since the Middle Ages and throughout the 17th century, the Netherlands was a country with a relatively high degree of freedom and tolerance towards other religions and cultures, especially compared to other countries in Europe. Between 1590 and 1800, the estimated foreign-born population was never less than 5 percent, many of them settling in Amsterdam. This led to a large diaspora of Jews, Huguenots (French protestants), Flemish, Poles and other peoples in the city. Especially the Jewish have always had a large presence in Amsterdam, notably in the Old Jewish Quarter (though this quarter has been in a status of decay since World War II). The most prominent synagogue is The Esnoga (or The Portuguese Synagogue) , built in 1675 in an austere Classicist style. As the Dutch were a protestant nation, most of the churches are from this branch of Christianity. Some of the most notable churches:

Oude Kerk , Located on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, in the red-light district. The oldest of the five main churches in the historic centre. You can climb the tower from April to September on Saturday & Sunday, every half-hour.
Nieuwe Kerk : Located on Dam Square. Used for royal coronations, most recently the crowning of Queen Beatrix in 1980, and royal weddings, most recently the wedding of crown prince Willem-Alexander to princess Máxima in 2002. Today, the church is no longer used for services but is now a popular exhibition space.
Zuiderkerk (built 1603-1611) : Located on Zuiderkerkhof ("Southern Graveyard") square. Now an information centre on housing and planning. You can visit the tower from April to September Monday to Saturday (with guide only)  , Also open in the winter by group appointment (maximum 15 people)
Noorderkerk (built 1620-1623) : Located on Noordermarkt on the Prinsengracht.
Westerkerk (built 1620-1631) : Located on Westermarkt near the Anne Frank House. The church is open (free) for visitors from Monday to Friday, 11:00-15:00, from April to September. You can also climb the tower (with guide only) .
Also, investigate some of the "hidden churches" found in Amsterdam, mainly Catholic churches that remained in activity following the Reformation. A prominent hidden church is Amstelkring Museum -  Well worth the visit.

Modern architecture : Since there was little large-scale demolition in the historic centre, most 20th-century and recent architecture is outside it. The most prominent in architectural history are the residential complexes by architects of the Amsterdam School, for instance at Zaanstraat / Oostzaanstraat.
Museum of the Amsterdam School :  The best-known example of their architecture. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11AM to 5PM,
Eastern Docklands. The largest concentration of new residential buildings. The zone includes three artificial islands: Borneo, Sporenburg, and KNSM/Java-island. The latter has been built as a postmodern interpretation of the old canal belt. Across from it, is the brand new Piet Heinkade, and some adjoining projects.

Windmills : Windmills were not built in urban areas, since the buildings obstructed the wind. The Amsterdam windmills were all originally outside its city walls. There are a total of eight windmills in Amsterdam, and most of them are in Amsterdam West. However, the best one to visit might De Gooyer, which is not far from the city centre, and is being used as a brewery for you to enjoy. The only windmill fully open to the public is the Molen van Sloten in Sloten, a former village now part of West.

Museums : Amsterdam has an amazing collection of museums, ranging from masterpieces of art to porn, vodka and cannabis. The most popular ones can get very crowded in the summer peak season, so it's worth exploring advance tickets or getting there off-peak (eg. very early in the morning). Some of the quality museums that you can't miss:

Anne Frank House - Dedicated to Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who kept a diary while hiding from Nazi persecution in hidden rooms at the rear of the building (known as the Achterhuis). It's an exhibition on the life of Anne Frank, but also highlights other forms of persecution and discrimination.
Rijksmuseum - Absolutely top-class museum that has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Some artists you can't overlook are Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. The must-sees are Rembrandt's Night Watch and Vermeer's Milkmaid. The museum also boasts a substantial collection of Asian art. The Rijksmuseum is under heavy construction until at least late 2012. Until then, there is a limited collection on display called 'the Masterpieces', showing all the highlights that are absolutely worth a visit.
Van Gogh Museum - Even someone with little knowledge of art must have heard about Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. This museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world.

The Museum Card (Museum Jaarkaart)  covers the cost of admission to over 400 museums across the Netherlands and you can buy it at most major museums. It is valid for an entire year, and you will need to write your name, birthday, and gender on it.

Zoo and botanical garden : For Artis Zoo and botanical gardens, head for Plantage.

Attractions and tours:
The Heineken Experience. Former Heineken Brewery , Stadhouderskade 78 . Do not expect a beer museum but rather to be flooded with Heineken advertisements.
Vodka Museum Amsterdam In a old townhouse in the center of Amsterdam , Damrak 33 :  A fun attraction for people interested in Vodka. It's mainly targeted on tourists, and therefore the chances are small you'll find a Dutch speaking guide. Most of the guides have a Russian background. Could be a good start for your Stag or Hen event.
The Amsterdam Dungeon :  is a horror tour through several dark chambers with live actors. It ends with a roller coaster raging through a real 13th century church.
Visits to diamond factories,  and canal cruises.

City beaches : Amsterdam has three trendy city beaches:
Blijburg (take tram 26 to 'IJburg')
Stand West (take bus 22 or 48 to 'Spaaarndammerstraat')
Strand Zuid (take tram 4 to 'Europaplein' or metro 41 to station RAI)

Red Light District : The Red Light District consists of several canals, and the side streets between them, south of Central Station and east of Damrak. Known as 'De Wallen' (the quays) in Dutch, because the canals were once part of the city defences (walls and moats). The whole area has a heavy police presence, and many security cameras. Nevertheless it is still a residential district and has many bars and restaurants, and also includes historic buildings and museums - this is the oldest part of the city. The oldest church in Amsterdam, the Netherlands-gothic Oude Kerk on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal at Oudekerksplein, is now surrounded by window prostitution. The area has many sexshops and peep show bars. Note: Don't try to take photos of prostitutes even from the streets, or you might lose your camera without any warning. This section of town is a common attraction for bachelors celebrating a stag night, if you ever get hassled, a firm and loud "Leave me alone" will work most of the time. You can book a tour of the Red Light District via the I amsterdam information booths. The tour starts at 5PM at the VOC Cafe and is found to be very informative and entertaining.

Things to Do in Amsterdam :

Canal cruises :  usually lasting from one to two hours. Departures from: Prins Hendrikkade opposite Centraal Station; quayside Damrak; Rokin near Spui; Stadhouderskade 25 near Leidseplein. The Canal Bus . Runs three fixed routes, stopping near major attractions . You can cruise the canals yourself, without the commentary with a canal bike (pedal boat) or rented boat.

Queens Day : The national holiday, nominally in celebration of the Queen's birthday (in fact the previous Queen's birthday) is hard to describe to anyone who's never been there. The city turns into one giant mass of orange-dressed people (all Amsterdam locals, and another 1 million or so from throughout the country visit the parties in the city) with flea markets, bands playing, and many on-street parties, ranging from small cafes placing a few kegs of beer outside to huge open-air stages hosting world-famous DJ's. An experience you'll never forget! April 30th - but if that is a Sunday, it is one day earlier (to avoid offence to orthodox Protestants).

MEETin Amsterdam  :  A not-for-profit social group to help expats meet new people away from the bar and dating scene. The site's primary focus is to provide a relaxed, 'non-pickup-scene' social environment for people to enjoy without paying membership fees. For people who have either just moved to Amsterdam or lived there for a while, this group can be a great way to meet new people in the area. Events are arranged by MEETin members and include a variety of activities such as pub crawls, potlucks, movies, concerts, day trips and much more. You have to register and create a profile in order to participate. The group consists mostly of expats from around the world The site is financed through voluntary donations.

Canal Pride :  Amsterdam gay pride on the first weekend in August. One of the biggest festivals in Amsterdam with parties, performances, workshops and a boat parade on the Prinsengracht on Saturday afternoon which is always well worth seeing.

CityNavigators  Offers handheld GPS tourist maps for rent through participating hotels or online. The GPS devices are pre-programmed to take you to popular attractions or to guide you through walking (or bicycle) tours.

Play Futsal :  Football tour organisers Eurofives stage special tournament weekends in Amsterdam at which you can enjoy some Dutch-style five-a-sides.

Amsterdam  Flights & Airports : Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) , is one of the busiest airports in the world, situated 15 km south-west of the city. Jet2.com , Easyjet , and other low-cost carriers serve Schiphol, providing a fairly economical way to city-hop to Amsterdam from other spots in Europe. As Amsterdam is a very popular destination, the cheapest tickets may be gone, and in that case a traditional carrier might be cheaper. So it pays to check a number of airlines before booking, to get the best deal. The national carrier for the Netherlands is KLM , now merged with Air France. With partner Delta Air Lines they offer worldwide connections. The US, Asia and Europe are particularly well served at Schiphol. British Airways offer up to 15 flights per day to 3 London Airports; Heathrow, Gatwick and London City .

Summit Tours offers travellers intrested in Amsterdam  plenty of travel options and Travel Services Including Holidays Packages , wide range of Best Hotels offers and discounts , Return Flights to and from : Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) . Our Holidays Pakages Include Amsterdam  Culture & Classic Tours - Amsterdam  Christmas & New Year Tours - Amsterdam  City Tours - Amsterdam  Travel & Holidays Packages .
 

 
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