During our most recent Europe trip, Amsterdam was by far my favorite city that we visited and here’s are four reasons why:
Reason #1: History
As with any European city, there is way more history than you could ever imagine. Buildings, monuments, art, etc dates back centuries. It’s amazing to walk through the streets of Amsterdam and think about all the history that’s been written by things that happened right where your standing.
One of my favorite pieces of history was in regards to the World War II era. This was obviously a very sad and unfortunate time especially for the Jewish community that lived in the Netherlands. Like many kids, I had to read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was in school. However, it wasn’t until I set foot in the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam that the story truly came to life. This museum is a MUST SEE in my opinion. Just be sure to book your tickets in advance.
Reason #2: Culture
The culture of Amsterdam was super intriguing to me. In our free walking tour, the guide told us how there were three unspoken rules within the community. They consisted of the following:
- Not Loud/Disturbance
- Good for Business
- Not Hurting Anyone
Now how do these exactly play out? Let me give you an example. In the 17th century, Catholicism was banned in the Netherlands, which meant Catholics weren’t allowed to meet in public. Instead, a hidden church was built in the attic of a house. It’s now a museum called, Our Lord in the Attic (I highly suggest visiting, it’s only 8 euros/person).
This church in the attic of the house could hold roughly 200 people so it’s hard to imagine that people didn’t notice. However, it was not being a disturbance to the surrounding neighbors, it was good for the businesses in the area, and it wasn’t hurting anyone. Therefore, people including police essentially turned a blind eye.
This is why pot shops in Amsterdam are called “coffee shops”. Because of this attitude towards life and community, it brings together of all sorts of people from different backgrounds, lifestyles, and cultures into one city.
Reason #3: Public Transit
It is also really easy to get around Amsterdam. We mostly used the tram. You can buy a 24 hour pass or multi-day passes. It is relatively cheap and allows you unlimited rides for whatever pass you buy. There are trains going in every direction and they stop pretty frequently. The main hub is called Amsterdam Centraal and many trams originate form here. Furthermore, from Amsterdam Centraal you can take a quick train ride to the Amsterdam Airport or even catch a train to elsewhere in Europe.
Amsterdam is also a very walk-able city and there is plenty to explore while you’re walking around. Overall, we felt very safe walking through the city. Warning: if your a pedestrian, watch out for the bikes. Bikes typically have their own dedicated lanes so look both ways before you cross these protected bike lanes.
Reason #4: The Canals and Architecture
Last, but definitely not least, the city of Amsterdam is beautiful! The way the canals cut their way through the city with bridges arching over the water. The stone and brick buildings stand tall and narrow framing the canals perfectly. Everywhere I turned I wanted to take a photo. It’s absolutely amazing!
There are several other reasons why I fell in love with Amsterdam, but I’ll save those for another blog post. So far Amsterdam is one of my favorite European cities, but I’m excited to explore and visit more.