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-traveled Italian, Lodovico Guicciardini, referred to Amsterdam as ĎThe Venice of the Northí. 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 cityís main features. Parking spaces have been designed specially for this mode of transport and it shows that even in a large city, there is an alternative way of getting about.
In the city centre, there are nearly 7,000 protected houses and warehouses, most of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The 300 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 colorful tulips and bulbs is offered for sale, as well as many exotic plants and seeds.
New Church is almost 600 years old but due to itís lack of worshippers, it is now used as a venue for exhibitions and concerts which fund its continued maintenance. Built 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 sex and entertainment district.
In 1682, the city fathers decided to create a leisure area east of the city, in the centre of which the Artis Zoo was subsequently established, the oldest zoo on the European continent.
Amsterdam possesses an inescapable charm that is adored by both aged hippies and trendy teenagers alike. It is Europeís irresistible 'Capital of Cool'!