The wooden drawbridge Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) was built in 1671. It spans the river Amstel and can be opened if necessary to allow larger ships to pass. At night, hundreds of lights turn the Magere Brug into a radiant beauty. The "Magere Brug" is considered the most beautiful bridge in Amsterdam and is one of the most famous landmarks of the city. The bridge is still a traffic structure and tourists should be careful not to get in the way of bicycles.
The Begijnhof in Amsterdam was a small town in the city. The Begijn were a religious community of women, which was founded around 1150. However, the Begijnen were not nuns and could leave the community at any time. The Begijnhof was originally isolated from the rest of the city by a moat, the courtyard was only accessible via a footbridge. The women lived in single rooms. When the last sister died in 1971, the houses were renovated and merged into larger apartments. The green courtyard with many beautiful houses is worth a visit. The community of the Beguines no longer exists, the houses are now used as a residential complex. The Begijnhof also has one of the last two wooden houses in Amsterdam.
The "Paleis op de Dam" or "Koninklijk Paleis" (Royal Palace) was inaugurated in 1655. The building was originally built as the city hall of Amsterdam, but is now used by the royal family for representative occasions. The architect Jacob van Campen designed the building in a classicist style. It has been used by the royal family since 1808. However, it is not the royal residence of the Oranje-Nassau family. The official office of the Oranje is at Paleis Noordeinde in The Hague.
The pedestrian zone of "Kalverstraat" is the largest shopping street in Amsterdam and runs from the "Dam" to the "Munt Toren". The crowded street offers the tourist shops and international brand stores. The name of the street has the meaning of Calves Street.
The Zuiderkerk has the most beautiful church tower in Amsterdam. The best way to see the 80 m high tower from the Staalstraat towards Groenburgwal. You can also climb the tower and have the best view of the city center and the canal belt from above. The architect Hendrick de Keyser designed the brick Renaissance church, where he also found his final resting place. The first Protestant church in the Netherlands was consecrated in 1611. The church is used as an information center for urban planning since 1992.
The building "De Waag" was originally a gate in the city fortifications. After Amsterdam was expanded, the former city gate Sint Antoniespoort stood on a square in the city center. The building was then used as a scale (dutch Waag) for port operations. De Waag was later used by various guilds. Today there is a beautiful café in the historic building, which is very popular in summer due to the large square.
The "Munttoren" on the Singelgracht were formerly part of the fortifications and consisted of two towers erected in 1487. Both towers were destroyed by a fire in 1618. In 1620, one of the two towers was rebuilt and in 1650 was given a bell play, which is still in operation. In 1672 Amsterdam got the right for coining money, the name Munttoren means "Mint Gate". The building is one of the most beautiful towers of Amsterdam.
The "Koopmans Beurs" was built as stock exchange in 1903 and is a multifunctional exhibition hall today. The architect was Hendrik Berlage, who together with other architects founded the "Amsterdamse School" in 1911, a flow of modern architecture in Amsterdam. The building is also known as "Beurs van Berlage".
With 85 meters The "Westerkerk" has the tallest church tower of Amsterdam. The Protestant church was built in 1620 by Hendrick de Keyzer. On the top of the tower is the crown of Maximilian II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire he was a Roman Catholic. He stood for peace between Catholics and Protestants. The crown is therefore a symbol of tolerance.
The "Oude Kerk" (Old Church) was built as a small wooden church in the 13th century. In the 14th century, a new stone church was built, which was expanded over and over again in the following centuries. Through the large windows, the church looks bright from the inside.
For many visitors to Amsterdam, the train station is the starting point for a stroll through the city. From Amsterdam Central Station, which opened in 1889, there are direct train connections to Paris and Frankfurt, as well as many other cities in Germany. If you walk through the train station, you can take the ferry to the north bank of the IJ. You can also rent bicycles at the train station, the best means of transport to explore the city. The train station is also a tram junction, from which you can quickly reach many parts of the city. In front of the station there are also the piers for the boat tours.
The St. Nicholas Basilica is a Neo-Renaissance church that was built in 1887. The architect of the Catholic church was Adrianus Bleijs, one of the few Catholic architects in the Netherlands. You can see the big church when you stand in front of the Amsterdam train station and look to the left. The basilica has two bell towers and a high dome. The interior is worth seeing because of the many murals and the beautiful dome.
The Dutch did not have a colony in China, but the Dutch colonies in Asia brought many Chinese, Indonesians, Vietnamese and Thai people to Amsterdam. Many Asian restaurants and shops have settled around "Zeedijk" street. Here is also the Buddhist He Hua Temple, which belongs to the Taiwanese Fo Guang Shan. The Lotus temple was opened in 2000.
The "red light district" of Amsterdam is a mixture of party mile with stag and hen parties, sex shops, bars and prostitutes in the shop window. Amsterdam tries to abolish shop window prostitution but the prostitutes fight for their preservation. In the evening it can get very crowded in the narrow streets. The center of the Amsterdam red light district is between Oudezijds Achterburgwal in the west and Zeedijk in the east, and between Korte Stormsteeg in the north and Barndesteeg in the south.
Those who are traveling with children should avoid this area, because the women are standing in the shop window wearing light clothing.
On the Albert Cuypstraat you can find everything you need. Between Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat everything is offered from Poffertjes, Stroopwafeln, Pannekoeken, T-Shirts, pants and even refrigerators. It is this mixture that makes up the charm of the "Albert Cuyp Market". Opening hours of the Albert Cuyp Market: Monday to Saturday 9 am-5pm, closed on Sundays.
Welcome to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The historical trading metropolis created the channels for the transport of goods. Today the countless waterways and bridges make the city so attractive. You can discover the city on foot, by excursion boat or by bike. The typical means of transport for the Dutch is the bicycle. Anyone arriving at the main train station can rent a bike from "MacBike" to explore the city. There are also providers that offer guided bike tours, such as "Mike's Bike Tours".
Tourists' Amsterdam has two parts. The historical center and the "canal belt". The historical center of Amsterdam developed from the former fishing village in 1250. The port was located where the main train station is today. The center grew like an onion, layer by layer. From 1612 the "Canal Belt" was laid out, it tripled the city area in just 50 years. The "canal belt" consists of three wide canals that surround the center. Behind the canal belt is the "Museum Quarter" with great museums such as the Rijksmuseum, theVan Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum.
Amsterdam also has beautiful parks and gardens. Some hide in backyards, others like Vondel Park are huge, like New York's Central Park.