AMSTERDAM FACTS | THINGS TO SEE & DO
AMSTERDAM FACTS: THINGS TO SEE & DO
Want to learn some Amsterdam facts, things to see & do? One of my first trips over to Europe (apart from actually travelling to places in England) after arriving in the UK was Amsterdam. It’s a pretty, chilled, laid back kind of city and I definitely recommend adding it to your bucket list. A single trip is never enough. There is plenty to see and do, including day trips out of the city which I hope to do another time. What’s great about Amsterdam is that it is just a short flight from Manchester, meaning it can make a perfect little weekend getaway. Read on to learn some Amsterdam facts, things to see & do below.
SO WHERE IS AMSTERDAM?
Amsterdam is situated in Western Netherlands.
WHAT ARE AMSTERDAM PEOPLE CALLED?
The answer is Amsterdammers. It makes sense when you think about it.
WHAT IS THE POPULATION OF AMSTERDAM?
With a population of over 800,000, there are over 100 different nationalities living in this beautiful city, with close to 50% being from ethnic minorities.
WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK?
While the official language spoken in Amsterdam is Dutch, many also speak English. Dutch can also sound very similar to German and most locals will understand. I know this for a fact, because I have spoken German myself while visiting and managed to be understood, which is always a win. It’s great to be able to put your language skills to the test too and gain some extra confidence.
AMSTERDAM AND BIKES?
We all know that there are more bikes in Amsterdam than people. This is a fun fact.
Amsterdam is known for being the bicycle capital of the world, because with more bikes than people, why wouldn’t you be. So why do the Amsterdam people ride their bikes so much? Well, there are many reasons, but let me give you a couple. Firstly, it is convenient and cost effective, as parking fees can be expensive. Secondly, Amsterdam has a flat terrain and with a vast network of cycling paths, this makes it easier and enjoyable to ride your bike. It’s also a great form of exercise too.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY IF I VISIT?
Like most cities, there are endless options when it comes to accommodation, from luxury hotels to cheap affordable back packer hostels. It really depends on your budget and taste.
Personally, for us, we chose to stay out of the city, in a place/area call Zandvoort aan Zee, about a 25 minute train ride out, as we decided we wanted to be near the beach and we absolutely loved it. We booked our accommodation through airbnb and this was super easy and the owners very accommodating.
During the evenings, we would take late walks on the beach and watch the sunset. After long days of exploring and eating, it was always the perfect way to end the day.
WHAT CAN I SEE AND DO IN AMSTERDAM
VISIT AMSTERDAM TOWN SQUARE
Dam Square as it is known, is the city’s main square and is flooded with toursits, especially during the peak of summer. It’s an ideal first stop to anyone visiting. The Royal Palace is an eye catcher with its yellow like sandstone and old architecture. It is the most historic and visited building
SEE THE RIJKSMUSEUM
If you’re anything like my husband, you’ll visit a museum everywhere you go. The Rijksmuseum, a Renaissance building, showcases Dutch and foreign paintings. You could spend a good couple of hours here, making your entry of around 20 Euros well worth it. To find out more about visiting the Rijksmuseum, check out their website.
VISIT ANNE FRANK HOUSE
Take a trip back in time and learn the history of Anne Frank. A young Jewish girl who hid inside the back of their canal house for around 2 years with her family, in the hope of escaping Nazi persecution. She was just 15yrs old when she died. As with many museums, free audio guides are available after entry which is great to fully understand the history and objects inside.
CRUISE THE CANALS
Take your pick as you decide on which little boat to ride on as you cruise Amsterdam’s canals. With the canal waterways being such an intrinsic part of the city, it’s no wonder you can’t help but to just get on board. Sit back and relax as you learn about the history of the waterways and take in the views of the bridges, churches and old houses.
PEDAL POWER / CYCLE
If you’re a visitor, the perfect way to experience Amsterdam as a true local is to use some pedal power. Cycle through some of the hidden gems and narrow streets and take your time as you explore this city. There’s plenty of bikes for everyone, so you won’t miss out. Amsterdam is a very cycle friendly city and certainly enjoyable given it’s flat terrain.
TRY SOME CHEESE
I never realised just how much the Amsterdammers are into their cheese. It’s definitely a big deal. Many cheese shops allow you to try before you buy and with the vast amount of choices, you could be there for a while. This was one of my husband’s favourite activities to do.
HAVE A STROOPWAFFEL
If you’ve never tried a stroopwafel, then make sure to add it to your list. I’m so glad they sell them here in the UK. I’ve only ever seen them in Sainsbury, but if you know of other shops that sell them, make sure to let us know. Imagine a freshly grilled waffle, oozing with gooey caramel type syrup in the middle. You can taste it now, right.
While these can be enjoyed hot or cold, that feeling of a warm stroopwafel melting in your mouth just can’t be beat. Having said that, I’ll happily eat one or two cold, maybe even three or four.