Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Famous Sights of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great destination for a city break, with easy access by plane, train and ferry. It is renowned for its cultural heritage, including great works of art and historic architecture. If you're planning a trip to the city, here are the top five sights.

Canal Ring
This network of canals was constructed in the 17th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over 100km of canals in the city, which has earned it the title 'Venice of the North'. It was originally developed to attract wealthy homeowners and is still home to some exclusive neighbourhoods. The canals surround the old city centre and it's a beautiful area to walk around or try one of the many tourist boat trips. However you choose to explore this part of Amsterdam, you'll be surprised at the peacefulness and tranquillity.

Anne Frank's House
Probably the most famous historic resident of Amsterdam, Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis in this house during World War 2. Taking a look inside the property allows you to truly experience how small the area was in which they lived with another family for over two years. The museum also features an exhibition highlighting the struggles of Jewish people in the country during the war.

Great Works of Art
Amsterdam is famous for the works of the 17th century Dutch Masters and Van Gogh. At the Rijksmuseum you can view pieces from Vermeer, Hals and Rembrandt. The country's biggest museum houses 40 Rembrandt's and 4 Vermeer's, as well as a fantastic collection of doll's houses. The Van Gogh Museum holds 200 pieces from the world famous artist. Visitors can also browse through his many sketches and letters, in order to really understand the man behind the paintings.

Magere Brug
If you're looking to experience great feats of engineering, then the Magere Brug is well worth a visit. This traditional Dutch drawbridge sits across the River Amstel. There has been a bridge on this site since the 17th century, but the present structure was built in the 1930s. It's a great place to sit by the canal and watch the boats travel up and down. The bridge opens regularly throughout the day to let boats pass.

The City's History
Across Amsterdam, there are a number of museums and buildings that document the city's heritage. The Het Scheepvaart Museum (National Maritime Museum) is a great attraction for families. The museum is housed in a 17th century warehouse and details over 500 years of the country's maritime heritage. The interactive exhibitions will keep everyone entertained and there's even a replica of a 17th century ship to explore. For a unique experience, visit the houses that make up the Begijnhof. This is a small community of Catholic women and the central garden is a true oasis in the city centre. One of the houses is the oldest in Amsterdam.

Whatever your reason for visiting Amsterdam, you'll leave wanting to return. There's so much to see and experience that you'll probably need a second trip anyway. You can find cheap flights to Amsterdam here:

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