One may think of prostitution, marijuana, and nightclubs upon hearing the word Amsterdam, but there's more to this place than the liberal and fun-loving culture.
Whether you're a party animal, nature lover, art enthusiast, beer connoisseur, or an adventure-seeker, Amsterdam devotes a special place to suit your age and taste.
For the artistic
Amsterdam has over 50 museums for interesting obsessions ranging from the educational sports and technology museums to the more eerie ones featuring erotica, torture, and Heineken. We had to devote an entire week and rent short stay apartments Amsterdam to visit them all.
Among them are the famous Van Gogh Museum and the Rembrandt House Museum where Rembrandt lived. Being the commercial capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is also the home of advanced architecture and landscape design. As if these are not enough, every sidewalk in the city features eclectic street art, from graffiti to sophisticated 3D murals. In fact, the city regularly holds art conventions drawing artists from different cultures.
For the nature-lover
Complementing the city's amazing architectural wonders are its relaxing landscapes, nature parks, and flower gardens. Among them is Plantage, a neighborhood especially devoted to greenery, and the ancient Hortus Botanicus that houses over six thousand species of plants from all over the world, all wonderfully arranged around meandering lakes. If you're a flower-lover, don't miss the vast, fairy-tale-like rainbow fields of tulips at the Keukenhoff Gardens. For a more romantic nature experience, take a cruise at the famous Prinsengracht canal surrounded by shady trees, ornate galleries, and fancy coffee shops. Take your children to the Kinderboerderijen where they can have close encounters with exotic animals, or to the Artis Royal Zoo, home to almost a thousand species of animals.
For the adventurous
The city's narrow canals are perfect for holding professional skating races in the winter. Year round, anyone can join the Vondelpark 20-km skating tour at night. If biking is your thing, the countryside bike tours will give you a break from the bustling city.
For the connoisseur
Taste all kinds of Dutch cheeses and liquor with the guidance of cheese and wine experts at the Reypenaer tasting room in Amsterdam's Centre. For the vintage lover, the 16th century Wynand Fockink's tasting bar offers aged liquor and exotic spices. A visit to Amsterdam won't be complete without dropping by the famous Heineken Experience, a drink-all-you-can brewery museum and amusement gallery, and the House of Bols, an interactive cocktails and bartending gallery where they also give free shots.
Kids won't get bored with the advanced racetracks of Race Planet where they can drive pedal cars, monorails, and even Formula 1 cars. But the all-time kids' favorite is the Efteling Theme Park, also designed by contemporary artists to showcase Dutch history and culture.
An entire week is not enough to explore everything that this melting pot of cultures has to offer. Overall, there a lot more family-friendly spots than red-light districts in this awarded “second best city in the world”.