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Amsterdam - Planning your trip

From charming canals lined by tilting stunning buildings to the intriguing Red Lights District with severals cannabis coffee shops in between, Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a unique destination. The treasure museums, vintage shops, colorful tulips, exotic wooden shoes, curious windmills and tons of bicycles everywhere, it's easy to understand why Amsterdam is one of the top destinations in Europe. Let us help you to explore this beautiful city.

Vondel Park in Amsterdam

What you need to know before you go

Transportation - Driving in Amsterdam is not recommended as the city center streets are narrow and parking places are limited and expensive. Of course, renting a bike or taking a guided cycle tour is a great way to discover Amsterdam, but public transport will be essential too. Public transport within Amsterdam is run by city transport company GVB and includes trams, metro and buses which travel further out. Visitors can buy 1 hour ticket – €3.20 or Multi-Day tickets, which are the best for 1 to 7 days and cost from €8.50 to €37 depending on how many days you may need. If you plan to visit other cities around Amsterdam, there are trains operated by NS (Dutch Railways) which connect Amsterdam to Schiphol Airport and the rest of the Netherlands. (Links below).

The OV-chip card (OV-chipkaart) smart card system is in use for all public transport in the Netherlands. You can also use your credit card to pay the fares easily and most places.

Flixbus is a long-distance international bus company from Germany, which operates coach services from Amsterdam, other Dutch cities and European destinations. It's one of the most affordable way to travel to countries around Netherlands.

Accommodation - Whether you are looking for cheap place close to the suburban or a luxury hotel around the main landmarks, Amsterdam has it all. Visitors can even choose between some of most unique accommodations to have different viewpoint on Amsterdam and pick from eclectic lofts, deluxe townhouses, and innovative houseboats.

Weather - Similar to that of Great Britain, the climate in Amsterdam is strongly influenced by the North Sea, which is located only 23 kilometers east from the city. Locals use the Buienradar App to understand the exact moment will be raining during the day and the raincoats are an essential accessory. Here is what you need to know before to choose the best time to visit Amsterdam:
April to May, this is the time when the famous tulips are blooming and perhaps it's the best time to visit Amsterdam. The months July and August have a nice average temperature, with a great level of sunshine. The weather is perfect to relax in the park or enjoy Amsterdam from the water. September to November is when the extreme crowds are gone, hotel prices are much lower and the autumn leaves everything special. The weather in Amsterdam is fairly mild during wintertime, December to March but temperatures can drop below freezing. Occasionally the Amsterdam canals freeze.

Food - The Netherlands is not known for its food, but when visiting Amsterdam, you should try at least some of this traditional Dutch food items:
1. Stroopwafel - This the most famous and popular pastry from The Netherlands. It is a waffle made from baked batter, sliced horizontally with two thin layers of the waffle filled with special sweet and sticky syrup (the ‘stroop’) in between.
2. Kroket - The ‘kroket’ is a deep fried roll with meat ragout inside, covered in breadcrumbs. The ‘Febo’ is the most popular snack bar located on different spots all over the city and famous for its ‘kroketten’.
3. Patat - The Dutch version of French Fries has many different words: ‘Friet’, ‘Frites’, ‘Patat’ or ‘Vlaamse frieten’. They are thicker than the normal French Fries and were actually invented in the northern part of Belgium 😉 The ‘Patats’ are typically served in a paper cone or box and The Dutch really like them with a lot of toppings such as mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, curry or peanut sauce. Manneken Pis and Vlaams Friteshuis Vlemminckx are some popular places to try some of them.
4. Chesse - OMG! In the top list of famous Dutch food, don't forget the cheese. The Dutch have been making cheese since 800 B.C and consume an average of 21 kilograms per year per person. ‘Gouda’ and ‘Edam’ are the most popular cheeses from the Netherlands, but there are a great variety of Dutch cheese you can try. The Cheese Museum is free and a great place to learn about it, and of course to try a lot of them.

Holland vs Netherlands, what is the difference?

Many people use “Holland” when talking about the Netherlands, the Netherlands has 12 provinces, while Holland has only two of them: Noord- and Zuid-Holland together are considered Holland. Because Amsterdam and the most well known places in the Netherlands are in the two main provinces, most people say Holland when talking about the country, however the correct is Netherlands.

In addition, did you know part of the Caribbean belongs to Netherlands? Yes, there is the Dutch Caribbean, which refers to three ‘special municipalities’ of the Netherlands: the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Located in the Caribbean Sea, there are also three islands that belong to the kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. See more details in this video.

TIps for first visit

1. Ride on a bike – When traveling to one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, riding a bike is an essential experience! Renting a bike or taking a guided cycle tour is a great way to discover Amsterdam. The popularity of cycling the city is due to the fact that Amsterdam is flat, compact and densely populated. Today there are around 400 kilometres of bicycle paths criss-crossing the city, with an estimated half of all city journeys taking place on two wheels.

2. Be respectful with cyclists – Remember to be respectful when you are on the other side, locals used to say: If you hear a bell go to hell, which means if you are a tourist don’t get on the way of those going to work. Locals bicycle about two million kilometers every day and 57% of Amsterdammers use their bicycle on a daily basis. Just to give an idea, there are 7,800 official bike parking places near Amsterdam Central Station, and more than 8,200 bicycles are typically parked there. In addition, It’s estimate around 100,000 bicycles are stolen and approximately 15,000 bicycles are pulled out of Amsterdam’s canals each year. There are actually more bikes than people – 22.8 million bikes or about 1.33 bikes per person.

3. Visit the windmills – Since the 13th century windmills were used in the Netherlands. You will find more fascinating windmills outside Amsterdam. You can easily buy a day trip or go for a 15 minutes train ride to ‘de Zaanse Schans’. This is an open air museum with windmills, which is free of charge. For those with limited time, the easiest way to visit this beautiful cities, is buying a tour from Amsterdam. The most popular tours include the visit to the windmills in Zaanse Schans, the wooden shoe steam factory in Marken and the cheese factory in Volendam.  You can also add a cruise to enjoy great views from this stunning region.

4. Take a cruise in the Amsterdam Canals! Taking a canal cruise is one of the most popular things to do in the city. The Canal Cruise is the most convenient way to get along the historical buildings and bridges. The tickets are affordable $10+ and last around 1h. It’s beautiful to see the city from another perpective.

5. Have some cash in your pocket! Most supermarket do not accept international credit cards. Only cash or national debit cards.

Heineken Experience in Amsterdam
Anne Frank in Amsterdam

Essential Information

Passport and Visa – Netherlands is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that most people may enter in Amsterdam without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.

Currency – As in most European countries, the currency of the Netherlands is the Euro – €. Other currencies are normally not accepted, so be sure to change money when visit the country.

Language – The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. Most people in Amsterdam speak pretty great English and you’re very unlikely to face a language barrier in the main cities.

Tax Free – If you have permanent residence in a non-EU country, you are legible for 16% tax refund. Click here for details.

Tipping – The Dutch do not have a tipping culture. A tip of around 10% is appreciated but not expected.

Population – There are ~ 880,000 people living in Amsterdam and 17.5M is the population of Netherlands. This is the 5th most densely populated country in Europe.

Economy – The Netherlands is one of the most developed countries of the world. The country has a thriving service sector and boasts outstanding achievements in science, engineering and industries like electronics, food, flowers, chemicals and water technology.


When you walk around Amsterdam it’s common to find three Xs everywhere.  What does it mean?

There are many different theories about the meaning of triple Xs. One of the most popular theories says that the three Xs represent the three ordeals that Amsterdam faced repeatedly during their history: Floods, Fires and the Black Death.

The second theory romantic. Dutch people exchange three kisses when greeting and saying goodbye. This theory says that each X represent one of these kisses.

The third theory says the three Xs can be linked to the noble Persian family, who owned a lot of land around Amsterdam including two other cities close to the capital: Ouder-Amstel and Nieuwer-Amstel (nowadays Amstelveen).

The three Xs (XXX) are known as the three Saint Andrew’s crosses. St. Andrew was a fisherman who was martyred on an X-shaped cross in the 1st century AD, which is relevant to Amsterdam as the city’s symbol dates back to 1505 when it was a fishing town and all ships registered in Amsterdam flew this flag. Today you will find this symbol in every government building and severals places around the country.

Van Gogh fan?

Van Gogh fans can visit the Collection of this iconic Dutch painter from the comfort of their couches. Click here to plan your visit to the Van Gogh Museum.

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