Travel reports enthuse about the capital city of the Netherlands, with its many historic places of interest. Gabled houses and of course the many canals are typical of Amsterdam. Classic travel reports recommend a boat trip along the canals, with the prospect of discovering many famous places of interest from the water. Art lovers are advised to visit the impressive and much praised Rijksmuseum (State Museum) or the Van Gogh Museum, while party lovers might prefer to retire to the Rembrandtplein, the best-known nightlife district of Amsterdam. The other famous places of interest include numerous theatres, cinemas and restaurants. Why not copy the locals and go on a bicycle tour of discovery!
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Amsterdam has a moderate climate with mild winters, cool summers and a fair bit of rainfall.
Everyone's heard of the big ones, the Rijksmuseum of Art and History, the Rembrandthuis and Van Gogh Museums. They are basically a must for any visitor to Amsterdam. But the Dutch capital also offers an array of more off-beat, specialized exhibitions. How about paying a visit to the Tulip, Tropical or Houseboat Museum?
Introduction:Pure romance? Or just ordinary, everyday life? However you see it, the 2000 odd houseboats still used as homes in Amsterdam are certainly a tourist attraction. The best way to find out exactly how life in a floating home works is to tour the Hendrika Maria. Built as a freighter in 1914, she later served as a houseboat for two decades. In fact, the living room still contains its 1950s furnishings and looks as if it's just waiting for the owners to return.
Information:Houseboat Museum: Prinsengracht 296 K, Tel.: +31-20/427 07 50,www.houseboatmuseum.nlOpening times: all year round except January, Fri-Sun 11am-5pm, March through October also Tue-Thu. Admission: €3.50, reduced €2.75
Introduction:Amsterdam's future is on everyone's lips here. ARCAM provides a forum for new ideas and projects and debates about the city's future development, which and often fascinating. Dutch architects are among the world's most sought-after and most innovative in their field. ARCAM hosts a permanent exhibition on the history of architecture in Amsterdam since 800, as well as changing exhibitions on specialized subjects.
Information:Architectural Resource Center B.V., ARCAM: Prins Hendrikkade 600, Tel.: +31-20/620 48 78, www.arcam.nlOpening times: Tue-Sat 1-5pm. Admission: free.
Introduction:FOAM – these four letters have long been internationally recognized as a hallmark for excellent photography. The museum has earned an excellent reputation for its changing exhibitions of famous star photographers and promising newcomers, and houses a library as well as a very nice café with large reading desks, and a commercial gallery. If you simply can't wait to visit FOAM now, why not try the next best thing and order a copy of the English-language FOAM magazine the museum publishes every quarter.
Information:FOAM: Keizersgracht 609, Tel.: +31-20/551 65 00,www.foam.org. Opening times: daily 10am-6pm, Thu/Fri 9pm, closed on some public holidays. Admission: €8, reduced €5.50. FOAM magazine:www.foammagazine.nl
Introduction:More an experience than a museum! At the NEMO, visitors are not just allowed but actively encouraged to touch many of the exhibits. The NEMO is a science center where science becomes an adventure, where complicated aspects of biology, chemistry and physics are explained in a way that's both easy to understand and fascinating. How does the brain work? What is DNA? And what holds the world together? The answers to these and other questions are supplied by an array of interactive experiments and games. The NEMO is impressive on the outside, too – thanks to star architect Renzo Piano, who designed the spectacular ship-shaped building. For great views of Amsterdam's old town all year round and a city beach in the summer, don't miss the NEMO's rooftop piazza.
Information:Science center NEMO: Oosterdok 2, Tel.: +31-20/531 32 33, www.e-nemo.nlOpening times: all year round, Tue-Sun 10am-5pm; June through August, during school vacations in the Netherlands and on certain public holidays, also Mon. Admission: €12.50, reduced from €6.50.
Introduction:Hard to credit today, but nevertheless an historical fact: For centuries the little Netherlands was master of a huge world empire with colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia. In 1871, a colonial museum opened to exhibit exotic raw materials and products from the country's overseas territories. That museum's successor, the Tropical Museum, today recalls more than just the Netherlands' colonial history. In fact, it is now chiefly devoted to non-Western cultures – and aims to be a place of cultural exchange.
Information:Tropical Museum: Linnaeusstraat 2, Tel.: +31-20/568 82 00,www.tropenmuseum.nlOpening times: daily 10am-5pm, on some public holidays only 10am-3pm or closed. Admission: €9, reduced €5.
Introduction:Once the favorite flower of Oriental rulers, later the cause of the world's first stock market crash, the tulip is the national flower of the Netherlands today. The Amsterdam Tulip Museum is dedicated to the fascinating cultural history of this popular flower. The adjoining museum shop stocks antiques and literature on the subject, not to mention tulips and all kinds of other flower bulbs, as well.
Information:Amsterdam Tulip Museum: Prinsengracht 112, Tel.: +31-20/421 00 95,www.amsterdamtulipmuseum.comOpening times: daily 10am-6pm. Admission: €4, reduced €2.
Amsterdam boasts an impressive public transport network including metros, buses, trams, ferries and trains to help you get around the capital.
Amsterdam has an excellent public transport network including trams, busses, metro and ferry, making it very easy to navigate the city.
Taxis are a popular form of transport in a city where many residents don't own a car and tourists are plentiful.
Amsterdam welcomes all visitors by car, but to make the most of your trip, there are some factors to keep in mind.
On the outskirts of Amsterdam, near the A10 Ring Road, there are designated Park & Ride locations. These offer affordable parking with public transport links into the city.
PO Box 7501, 1118 ZG Schiphol, The Netherlands
Telephone: (020) 794 0800 or 0900 0141
The airport is situated 15km (9 miles) southwest of Amsterdam.
The airport is situated off the A4 motorway, which links Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. The exit to the airport is clearly signposted.
Bus Public buses (tel: 0900 9292) run regularly to Amsterdam and other cities. Bus 197 and bus 370 (interliner) run to Amsterdam city centre and Amsterdam Zuid. Buses depart from platform A7, in front of the Arrivals hall 2. Full details of routes can be found on the airport website. Shuttle Many hotels offer a free airport shuttle service to guests. The Connexxion Schiphol Hotel Service (tel: (038) 339 4771; ) is a daily hotel shuttle service running from the airport to over 55 hotels in and around Amsterdam; the Connexxion desk is situated in the Arrivals hall 2, for tickets and information. Taxi Schiphol Travel Taxis are available from outside Schiphol Plaza (journey time into Amsterdam - 15 minutes). Taxis can be booked in advance on the airport's website. Rail There is a railway station in the terminal's central hall, under Schiphol Plaza; direct trains run to Amsterdam Centraal Station (journey time - 15 minutes). Night trains serve Utrecht, Amsterdam Centraal Station, Leiden, The Hague, Delft and Rotterdam. The reservation-only, high-speed Thalys train serves major European cities. Other international services run to Berlin, Hannover and Leipzig. NS (Dutch Railways) ticket machines and desks are located in the baggage reclaim halls 1, 2 and 3, and Schiphol Plaza. Rail information is available on 0900 202 1163 (www.ns.nl).
Public buses (tel: 0900 9292) run regularly to Amsterdam and other cities. Bus 197 and bus 370 (interliner) run to Amsterdam city centre and Amsterdam Zuid. Buses depart from platform A7, in front of the Arrivals hall 2. Full details of routes can be found on the airport website.
Many hotels offer a free airport shuttle service to guests. The Connexxion Schiphol Hotel Service (tel: (038) 339 4771; www.airportshuttle.nl) is a daily hotel shuttle service running from the airport to over 55 hotels in and around Amsterdam; the Connexxion desk is situated in the Arrivals hall 2, for tickets and information.
Schiphol Travel Taxis are available from outside Schiphol Plaza (journey time into Amsterdam -15 minutes). Taxis can be booked in advance on the airport's website.
Schiphol information desks are located before passport control in Schiphol Plaza, halls 2 and 3 in Arrivals, and behind passport control in Lounges 2 and 3. Eight transfer desks, situated on the piers, offer information on transfers and connecting flights. Multiphone units, with touch-screen technology for information on the airport, are located throughout the terminal. The Customer Contact Centre (tel: 0800 7244 7465) can provide further information. The VVV Holland Tourism Information Office (tel: 0900 400 4040) is situated in Arrivals hall 2, with tourist information and an accommodation reservation service.
Money and communications:
There are numerous banks, which also offer VAT reclaim facilities, ATMs, currency exchange machines and bureaux de change. There is a post office in Lounge 2, and mobile telephone hire at the Telecom Rentcenter at Schiphol Plaza. Multiphone multimedia telephone units, which can be used for telephoning, Internet access and an SMS service, are situated throughout the airport. Wireless Internet is available in designated communication zones in the terminal building.
Eating and drinking:
There are numerous restaurants, bars and cafés situated throughout the terminal building.
There are numerous shops, including duty-free and a 24-hour supermarket, at Schiphol Plaza (before security) and on both sides of immigration. A duty-free pre-order and collection service is available online.
Seal & Go, at various locations in the Departures check-in area (tel: (0252) 629 323) seals baggage (irrespective of size) within one minute. Lockers are situated throughout the terminal. Left-baggage is open daily in the basement between Arrivals 1 and 2 (tel: (020) 601 2443). There are free trolleys and a porter service (tel: (020) 601 2303) is available on request. There is a lost and found office; information desks can provide more information.
The airport has a medical centre, 24-hour emergency medical services (tel: (020) 649 2566) and a pharmacy. There is a fully equipped baby room and several play areas on Holland Boulevard; baby change facilities are provided in the toilets. Shower facilities can be found at the terminal hotel (see below), available 24 hours a day. Massages, a casino and a prayer room are also available.