Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands is built around a concentric network of canals spanned by over 1000 bridges making canal cruises one of the most attractive ways of viewing the city. Many of the houses date back to the 17th century. These narrow-fronted merchants' houses are characterised by the traditionally Dutch ornamented gables.
The oldest part of the city is Nieuwmarkt, located near the first canals - Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht - built to protect the city against invasion in the 17th century. Today, Amsterdam's famous liberalism has survived in the city's 'coffee shops and thriving sex industry.
The city has also long been a centre of diamond cutting and it is still possible to see diamond cutters at work. Amsterdam has a booming cultural life, boasting 53 museums, 61 art galleries, 12 concert halls and 20 theatre. A special canal boat (the 'museum boat') links 16 of the major museums. In the local countryside it is still possible to see working windmills. There are annual events such as the Amsterdam Arts Week and the Holland Festival.
Things to see and do
* Museums & art gallleries
* Rijksmuseum - masterpieces exhibition
* Anne Frank house
* Van Gogh Museum
Cruise Season - March - Nov
Currency - Euro () (EUR)
Language - Dutch
Land Area -220 sq km's
Population - 743,905
Electricity - 2 pin round pins European style
Time - GMT plus one hour
International Country Telephone Code - +31
Port Location - Ships dock right at the main cruise ship terminal just a ten minute walk from Amsterdam's central train station and the entrance to the central part of Amsterdam's grid of canals and streets.
Transport Links - Amsterdam's Schiphol airport offers connections all over Europe and the world. Direct trains connect Amsterdam to Paris, to major Belgian cities like Brussels and Antwerp, and to German cities like Cologne, Frankfurt or Berlin. Ferries run from Amsterdam to Britian and Norway. Buses are the most economical way to travel to and from Amsterdam.
Getting around Amsterdam is easy on foot or bicycle as it is completely flat. There is also an efficient public transport system.