Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Amsterdam - the city of Canals

Amsterdam, the city of canals is the largest city of Netherlands. It is truly a biker’s city, although pedaling along the labyrinthine streets can get a little chaotic. Stick to walking and you won’t be disappointed. The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein Square. Pop into the Red Light District if you must—if only so you can say you’ve been there. It is also a city of museums most notable of them being the Rijksmuseum that boasts a sensational collection of works. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences a traveller can have, and the Van Gogh Museum is another must visit.
Some sights of Amsterdam -
The Royal Palace, Amsterdam
Built in 1665 during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th Century , the Royal Palace dominates the Dam Square in the center of the town. This was originally conceived as the Town Hall of Amsterdam and when built was the largest and most expensive town hall in entire Europe. It was only in 1808 when Napoleon’s brother crowned himself King of The Netherlands that the Palace transformed itself into a Royal Residence. Currently, the Royal Family of Netherlands uses the palace only for official ceremonies.
Amsterdam is a city with over 150 kms of canals and 1500 bridges over them Prinsengracht is one of the 3 main canals and is the most popular with a number of historical buildings on its banks most of which were built during the Dutch Golden Age. This 17th century canal ring area is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Waag was one of the medieval gates of Amsterdam known as St Anthony’s Gate. This is a 15th century building on Nieuwmarkt square in Amsterdam. The ground floor is now a café and restaurant.
This is a museum with some outstanding works of art. Amongst others, there is a great collection of Rembrandt, Steen, Vermeer and Van Gogh. I took the the audio guide ( costs 5 Euros) which is a perfect way to understand the artists and the story behind the paintings .
Rembrant4038mPainting by Rembrandt at the Museum
The museum is large and spread out making it possible to enjoy the paintings without getting cramped . You can easily cover the museum at your own pace and if you get tired, there is ample seating where you can rest and listen to the detailed audio commentary. At least 3 to 4 hours are needed for a visit
An easy way to reach the museum is to take the tram (No 5) from the Centraal station or the Dam Square if that is closer which takes about 15 to 20 minutes and drops you just minutes away from the museum. Close by is the Van Gogh museum which is also certainly worth a visit.There is a nice café as well as a shop to pick up souvenirs as you exit from the museum.
Basilica of Saint Nicholas
This 125-year-old church is a major Roman Catholic Church in Amsterdam. The architecture is Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance
Nieuwe Kerk
This is a 15th-century church in Amsterdam, located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace
Another interesting building is the Centraal Station in Amsterdam. This station handles over 2,50,000 people every day. The station was opened in 1889 and is a Gothic/renaisance buidling.
CentralStn3786mCentraal Station of Amsterdam
If you are a first time visitor to Amsterdam, it is a good idea to stay near the Centraal Station as this is convenient and easy for transportation. All tours take off from Damrak - the road in front of the station. We found the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel in front of the station to be comfortable and convenient.

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