ann frank house
this was one of the most emotional places i have ever been. to know the story of Ann Frank (which i read when i was a little girl) really brought her family's plight to life for me. After being here i better understood what the nazi's did here. Being Native American i can relate.
take to the streets and feast...
take to the streets and feast your eyes on the rich diversity of this canaly city's architecture, which is not too much ostentatious but of a myriad charming details. Too many gable and cornice types, uninteresting to discuss but sure your eyes will like it more.
The canal houses of Singel, Herengracht '(gracht means canal), Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht are what I'm talking about. Long and narrow, they're built primarily of lightweight bricks with large windows to reduce the weight. And a hook on every house's protruding roof forms part of the facade, used to winch hugh stuffs like furniture up to its attic cuz the stairway is just wide enough for a regular size body to go through. Some of them are even deliberately tilted to prevent crashing against the windows.
Amsterdam is so overpopulated that some thousands of Amsterdammers have to live on canal boats which ranges from nicely restored barges, gaily painted with rooftop gardens, to utilitarian floating sheds. But it is a deliberately chosen way of life for the many few who simply like to do things on rolling waters. The fragrant flower market on Singel, or Bloemenmarkt, floats on barges and is one example.
The interesting thing about Amsterdam is much of the land around is below sea level and was reclaimed by constructing a complex system of dykes and dams to hold back the sea. Wind-powered mills were used to drain the low-lying land by raising the water through a series of ring canals, each one higher than the last, so that the water can be drained away into the sea. Nowadays the task is handled by electric pumps, but well-preserved windmills are still a characteristic feature of the Dutch landscape especially to the north of Amsterdam. And that keeps this land alive.
Most definitely every visitor will enter Amsterdam via the Centraal Station, always packed with tons of people among them are pickpockets and drug-pushers. Though its facade is decorated with magnificent sculptures almost none stop to admire. The Amstel River which once flowed through the heart of the city was dammed by of cuz a dam, which north and south ends are today known as Damrak and Rokin. Damrak stretches from outside the station to the Dam Square before Rokin takes over. The Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) dominates the square, partnered by the tall Gothic New Church. Across the end of Damrak, the beginning of Rokin, is the National Monument which serves to commemorate the Dutch who lost their lives in WWII. The end of Rokin stands the Munttoren, a clock tower which shadows the nearby floating flower market.
Running parallel to Rokin connected by narrow alleys is Kalverstraat, a shopping area where I would call the Day Light district of Amsterdam. Well you know where to head at night; the Red hot one the whole world knows. If you're such an innocent dude, here's the direction to enter the twilight zone. From the National Memorial, go east along Damstraat until you hit Oudezijds Voorburgwal then start to explore. If you're really hopeless in directions, follow the suspicious blokes and sure you'll find yourself getting somewhere. In the near vicinity stands the Zuiderkerk, which spire is a prominent landmark. Today it is no more a church; perhaps the holy stucture really had made the sexually stimulated souls feel very guilty.
Amsterdam boasts many great museums; the two major ones being Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, both within walking distance southwest from the floating flower market. Or you can hop onto a Museumboat from outside the Centraal Station to take you there. The heavily ornamented Rijks houses a vast collection of artworks including Dutch paintings and historical artifacts. And the Van Gogh's displays a good collection of this mentally unstable but talented artist's paintings.
Wherever there're canals or rivers, there has gotta be cruise or tour operators sticking by the bank. No exception in Amsterdam; boats depart from a number of embarkation points, mainly from opposite the Centraal Station (ticket costs ~G 12). Going on a canal tour is a relaxing and the best way to see the city. You certainly will want to get a bottle of chilled Heineken on board as you sit back and enjoy.
That's almost about what Amsterdam has to offer. If you're gonna visit between late March and May, make a trip to Keukenhof, the showcase of Dutch bulb industry and a hugh park which erupts into riotous color this period of the year. To get there, take a train from Centraal Station to Lisse (weekend return ticket costs G 23.75) and buy the day-trip ticket (G 28.50), which covers park admission and a bus ride to Keukenhof, from the ticket booth outside the Lisse Station.
Several miles away east of Keukenhof south of Amsterdam is the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the largest in the world. Kindda interesting to watch the proceedings from an elevated gallery which provides a bird's eye view of the auction itself. A pointer of a huge clock sweeps round from its 100th mark (highest price) down to 1, with divisions in between. Bidders stop the clock by pressing a button on his/her desk and a transaction is dealed.
Almost everywhere something to delight the eye, Amsterdam apparently will never be accused of dreariness. At least for now it remains an invigorating, cultural and energetic city; sure to regret if it's not on your list.
When visiting Amsterdam I was invited to help out on the world famous alternative music show at radio VPRO, with the talented DJ, singer/songwriter and very good friend, Jaap Boots. Thanks mate, and keep up the good work.
Canal boat tours
While visiting Amsterdam, one good option is to do a tour by boat around the channels. That will provide a beautiful view of this beautiful city and allow you to get an overview of Amsterdam. Unfortunately i had no time left for this, since i thought i would do it by the end of my short visit, but i had no time left for this. On Centraal Station's square you can find several boats that will do city tours.
Look at Queen's Palace. This...
Look at Queen's Palace. This building shown on a picture is a residence of Dutch Queen, but I was told that she does not use it often. Palace is located on the main square of old Amsterdam, there are lot of other attrractions there, like church, WWII victims memorial, museum of madame Tussaud, etc.