Amsterdam – City of channels
There are three things that are immediately noticeable when you arrive in Amsterdam. Firstly the Dutch are tall, very tall. Secondly, bicycles have the right of way and there are a lot of them (12,000 bikes get dredged out of the canals annually). Thirdly, Amsterdam is a beautiful city where life flows along in a relaxed fashion. There’s also plenty of culture in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum, the largest museum in the Netherlands, is famous for works by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals.
The Van Gogh Museum houses some 200 paintings and 550 sketches showing the artist in all his moods. The Civic Guards Gallery, which is free, (Schuttersgalerij) offers more paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Another great Amsterdam tradition is its cafe culture. At every corner there’s a cafe, from jaor chains to small and intimate places with crazy sairs and low beams that hark back to a nage when people were shorter. They are the perfect places to watch Amsterdam’s life go past.
But the Dutch also know how to be festive and Holland’s ‘Koninginnedag’ – the Queen’s birthday celebrations on April 30 – has a special place in every Dutchman’s heart. It attracts millions of partygoers, and every year it just gets bigger. Amsterdam turns into the world’s largest flea market with thousands of stalls springing up in every available space.
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