The capital of the Netherlands is so charming, it might be one of the prettiest cities in Europe. A small fishing village in the 12th century, today it’s one of the top financial centers in Europe and is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. Home to seven of the world’s 500 largest companies and many other technology companies, it’s also the cultural capital of the Netherlands and has been ranked one of the best cities to live.
Its 17th century canals are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the oldest in the world, and its many museums, red light district and cannabis coffee shops draw more than 5 million visitors every year.
I’ve had the pleasure to visit the city twice and both times I didn’t have anything big planned out. The city is so alive and energetic, specially in the summer when you see people of all ages biking around everywhere and having boat parties, that it just feels great to walk around and feel that vibrant atmosphere.
It’s easy to walk to all the main attractions the city has to offer. The canals add an extra novelty, an element of romance to the experience that makes everything feels even more special. My friends and I did a walking tour, then a boat tour and had some really delicious Dutch pastries. We stayed at a really cool hostel in the middle of Vondelpark, where got up really early in the morning and got to have the Amsterdam sign all to ourselves for a little while.
Amsterdam is such an obvious destination, so I don’t need to recommend it to anyone, but in case you haven’t had a chance to visit it yet, I’d say put it on your list!
Now here’s a bunch of pictures.