Amsterdam is a captivating metropolis, a city of canals in which anything is allowed as long as it does no harm.
In 1567 the much-travelled Italian, Lodovico Guicciardini, referred to Amsterdam as ‘The Venice of the north’. Today the view across the main square and royal castle gives little hint that the city is supported by stakes and that Amsterdam is the largest lakeland village in the world.
The bicycle is one of the city’s main features and indeed parking spaces have been designed specially for this mode of transport that shows that even in a large city there is an alternative way of getting about.
In the city centre there are nearly seven thousand protected houses and warehouses most of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries and the three hundred year old Magere Brug is of wood construction and is one of the most beautiful drawbridges in the world.
The Bloemenmarkt has been in existence since the 17th century and in bygone days fresh flowers were delivered by boat and sold on board. Here a great variety of colourful tulips and bulbs is offered for sale as well as many exotic plants and seeds.
New Church is almost six hundred years old but due to it’s lack of worshippers it is now used as a venue for exhibitions and concerts which fund its continued maintenance.
Built in around 1300 A.D., Old Church is the oldest religious building in the city. During the Middle Ages it served as a refuge for vagrants but today it is surrounded by a seedy sex and entertainment district.