With its Golden Age canals, 17th-century mansions, world-class museums, and well-established counterculture, Amsterdam is a European capital with an edge. While some come for tulips, cheese, and windmills. Others are drawn by the city’s reputation for easy sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Whatever brings you to this charismatic global village, you’re sure to be charmed by its fairy-tale landscapes, tolerant vibe, and historical legacy. It that harks back to the small, 13th-century fishing village on the Amstel River that would become an international capital.


The inner part of the city center, the Old Centre, dates from medieval times. The oldest streets are the Warmoesstraat and the Zeedijk located in the Nieuwmarkt area of the Old Centre. As buildings were made of wood in the Middle Ages, few buildings from the period have survived.


Amsterdam has an amazing collection of museums, ranging from masterpieces of art to porn, vodka, and cannabis. The most popular ones can get very crowded in the summer peak season, so it’s worth exploring advance tickets or getting there off-peak.


Since the Middle Ages, the Netherlands was a country with a relatively high degree of freedom and tolerance towards other religions and cultures. Especially compared to other countries in Europe. As the Netherlands was a protestant nation, most of the churches are from this branch of Christianity. The late-medieval city also had smaller chapels such as the Sint Olofskapel (circa 1440) on Zeedijk, and convent chapels such as the Agnietenkapel on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal 231 (originally 1470), now the University of Amsterdam museum.


The locals spend their summer days in Amsterdam opening a red wine in the Vondelpark. Every district in Amsterdam has at least one par. But the Vondelpark in South is notable for its size and convivial atmosphere. The neighborhood best known for its greenery is the Plantage. Besides its leafy boulevards and grand mansions, it also features the botanical gardens of the Hortus Botanicus. Finally, Artis Zoo is a good attraction for the kids. Street markets originally sold mainly food, and most still sell food and clothing, but they have become more specialized. Amsterdam is also a cultural haven with year-round festivals for every pocket.