Recently I had the opportunity to see for the first time Amsterdam, the capital of Netherlands. This metropolis is unique by its architecture and by the channels that cross the whole city, reason for which it is surnamed the “Venice of the North”.
There are not many high buildings (i.e. scratch clouds), and in the downtown most buildings do not overtop three storeys. I have noticed that all of them have large windows, allowing the rooms to be filled by the light Dutch people enjoy less than us, Romanians, because it rains more often there. The window shutters are not closed; we can assume from this that the mentality of the inhabitants does not make them shy, and have a clue over their liberal spirit.
It is interesting that, while walking through the city, you can see the inhabitants in their rooms, involved in all sorts of activities, without minding the looks of thousands of tourists who are present there even at the end of November: in the house at the corner of the street a girl reads near a lighted lamp, on the other side two gentlemen have supper together, somewhere else a man on the top of a long ladder paints his ceiling etc. It is not by chance that I have mentioned the painting: it seems that Dutch people have an obsession for building and restoration because the downtown is full of cranes and it is impossible to find a house that were not clean and stylish, and look like new.
If you want to do a tour of Amsterdam by day or by night you can take the bus, but in my opinion it is more interesting to choose a short cruise of one hour on the channels that seem to form a true jumble of streets, bridges and little bridges. I am quite confused about the transport system, as the streets are divided in pavements, highways, tram rails, and bicycle tracks. One should pay great attention to the cyclists (and there are a lot) who do not put on the brake, but only honk.
Among the attractions for tourists and not only you may count the National Museum and Van Gogh Museum. The latter one is really impressive. Beside the paintings, there are exhibited on the walls Van Gogh’s biographical data concerning the period when he realized the respective works. This way you can understand better the context and can enjoy looking such works of art.
Who likes beer would probably go to visit “Heineken” factory where it is produced the beer with the same name, initially created in Netherlands, but I think the visit is worth more for the samples you receive.
Another interesting fact is the massive commerce with plants and flowers that is carried on in the flower markets from Amsterdam. There, in addition to tulips, they sell more peculiar species that I do not know if one can see elsewhere.
As a conclusion, Amsterdam is an excellent holiday or leave destination that, after a quick visit, lets you a memory imbued with red brick.