Amsterdam – the city of Rebrandt
Amsterdam is only less than an hour and a half from Warsaw by plane from Okęcie airport, and in fact the distance of almost 1,200 kilometers is the most comfortable and fastest way to travel by plane. However, we suggest going to the capital of the Netherlands with a car rented from PANEK Rent a Car, because the country offers a whole lot of amazing attractions that we certainly won’t be able to see when traveling by public transport. We can get here from Warsaw via the motorway, which is tolled only on the Polish section. Therefore, we invite you to check the offer of PANEK car rental and plan a trip to the Netherlands.
In fact, it’s hard to say which season of the year is the best to visit Amsterdam. In April and May it is the flowering period of tulips, the holiday season is the best weather, but also the largest crowds of tourists, while September and October are the months when the city takes on pastel colors again, and the lower temperatures allow you to explore attractions more freely.
The history of the city begins in the 12th century, when a bridge over the Amstel River was built in a small fishing village. This breakthrough moment initiated the development of the city, which for years was and still is one of the most important cultural and industrial centers in Europe. The historic center of Amsterdam is marked by Rokin and Damrak streets, connected by the historic Dam Square. In the old days, the square was the highlight of the commercial life of the capital of the Netherlands.
In the past, the city was surrounded by defensive walls, but today you can only see the former City Gate, transformed into a Scale Building (loads brought to the city were weighed here), and a defensive tower. The most important point of Dam Square is the Royal Palace, built in the 17th century during the so-called Dutch Golden Age. In the first years, the building served as the town hall and only in the nineteenth century, it was inhabited by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte – the king of the Netherlands by giving his brother, Napoleon Bonaparte. After Napoleon’s reign, the palace remained the seat of Dutch rulers. The palace can be visited with a guide or on its own, and it is best to do it from the great hall decorated with a 6-meter high sculpture of Atlas holding a globe on his shoulders. It alludes to Dutch sea expeditions and expansions.
Red Light District
The De Wallen district is naturally famous for all bodily pleasures, pubs and coffee shops, but there is also the 800-year-old Old Church considered to be the oldest building in Amsterdam. It is worth taking a longer walk around the district to visit the “Church in the Attic” in a residential tenement house, the smallest house in Amsterdam, Het Wapen van Riga – one of the most interesting buildings in Amsterdam, the stock exchange, or the Red Light Secrets museum.
An interesting place worth visiting is the Nieuwmarkt square bordering De Wallen and the Chinatown. The square’s greatest ornament is the majestic Libra Building, which today houses a restaurant. After a short walk, we will get to Chinatown, full of Asian restaurants. There is also an Eastern-style Buddhist temple called Fo Guang Shan Holland. An interesting structure referring to the culture of Asia is also a pagoda-style restaurant located on Lake IJ.
The Polish accent in Amsterdam is the building of the Tuschinski Cinema. It is also one of the most beautiful cinema buildings in the world. It was established in 1921 by the Polish Jew Abraham Tuschinski (Tuszyński). Today it still hosts cinema screenings. You cannot forget about Rembrandt Square, in the middle of which you will find an original monument referring to the famous work of the Night Watch. Walking along the Singel canal, we come across the largest flower market in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1862, but today it is mainly a tourist attraction.
A little south of the old town of the city center is the Jewish quarter. In the past, the Netherlands had a liberal attitude to the religious issue, which resulted in an influx of Jewish people willingly settling in the friendly space of the city. Unfortunately, the events of World War II meant that the inhabitants were evicted from their homes and most of them lost their lives. Unfortunately, the district did not regain its splendor after the war.
One of the most interesting places in Amsterdam is the Museum Square, where the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch National Museum, is located. The stunning structure houses over 8,000 exhibits, the most important of which is the national treasure, Rembrandt’s Night Watch. You should definitely visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Diamond Museum. Staying in the atmosphere of museums, be sure to visit the Maritime Museum and the NEMO Science Museum located in historical warehouses, in front of which 20 historic ships, which are an exhibition of the famous Museumhaven, are moored.
When writing about Amsterdam, one cannot forget about the fascinating canals that are the city’s greatest attraction. They have been fully inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and a romantic cruise and sightseeing of Amsterdam from the water level will surely remain an unforgettable experience.
In the capital of a country so closely associated with the sea, the most popular snack is naturally pickled herring. It is served in many ways, the most common of which is accompanied by onion and pickled cucumber. Sometimes it is served on a sandwich, but it tastes best when held in the mouth and held by the tail. Another Dutch delicacy is fries with mayonnaise, or basically a mayonnaise-based sauce with the addition of onions and peanuts.
Amsterdam is also famous for its hot dogs served in hundreds of ways, and since the city is best explored on foot, such a quick snack becomes a good supplier of carbohydrates for the next kilometers. Another variation of Dutch street food is Kroketten and Bitterballen. Delicious snacks with meat or vegetable fillings invite you to try more variations on them. You will certainly not be disappointed, and after a few tastings you will create your own ranking.
As a very liberal and cosmopolitan city, Amsterdam offers plenty of food from all over the world. South and East Asia is particularly well exposed here, and the variety of dishes can make many lovers of “Chinese food” dizzy. You cannot leave Amsterdam without costing the work of Dutch cheese makers and brewers. Here, cheese and beer combine to form an inseparable duo, and we leave their specific choice to you. We will only mention coffee shops as an editorial duty.
Amsterdam is only an introduction to discovering the charms of the Netherlands. The country has many attractions to offer, and each city is an architectural pearl in a country that is constantly struggling, tearing out every inch of land from the sea. It is worth coming here by car to learn the secrets of engineering wonders, spend time among windmills and colorful tulip fields.