Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. With more than one million inhabitants in its urban area, it is the country's largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative centre. Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North, because of its lovely canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. There is something for every traveller's taste here, whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.
The medieval centre and most visited area of Amsterdam. It is known for its traditional architecture, canals, shopping, and many coffeeshops. Dam Square is considered its ultimate centre, but just as interesting are the areas around Nieuwmarkt and Spui. The Red Light District is also a part of the Old Centre.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Canal Ring was dug in the 17th century to attract wealthy home owners. It is still a posh neighbourhood with many Dutch celebrities owning property. The Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are the city's prime nightlife spots.
A traditional working class area gone upmarket with plenty of art galleries, hip boutiques and happening restaurants. Also includes the Haarlemmerbuurt and the Western Islands.
Most of Amsterdam's museums are gathered in this area. Just beyond the Waterlooplein you will find the Jewish Historical Museum, the Hermitage Amsterdam and the botanic gardens. All within walking distance from the Artis Zoo, the Tropical museum and the spectacular Scheepvaart Museum.
One of Amsterdam's prime areas, a trip to the city is not complete without a visit to the Museum Quarter. You can chill in the Vondelpark with a bottle of wine, or go hunt for bargains at the Albert Cuyp Market. It is the most popular area for accommodation as rates are considerably cheaper than in the city centre.
A vast suburban area that can be divided in Old and New West. The Old West is a charming area built in the late 19th century. The New West was built after World War II and often catches newspaper headlines for crime; urban renewal is underway to improve living conditions in this area.
The North is mainly a residential suburb that lies at the northern side of the IJ, with a rapidly developing hub of cultural activity along the shore of the river. Many visitors are attracted to the area east of the motorway A10, a protected polder area that culturally belongs to the Waterland and Zaan Region. This traditional Dutch countryside is best explored by bicycle.
The East is a large and diverse residential area. The Eastern Docklands and IJburg stand out as relatively affluent neighbourhoods known for their modern architecture.
An exclave of Amsterdam, the Bijlmer was foreseen as a neighbourhood of the future with large apartment blocks separated by tracts of green. It turned into a lower-class residential district home to people of over 150 nationalities, often associated with crime and robberies. Its safety record has improved remarkably the last years, but it still is mostly visited by adventurous travellers (and football fans).
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