Amsterdam: The Venice Of The North

If your are opting for a European vacation, be sure not to miss the majestic city of Amsterdam, Netherlands in the province of North Holland. You'll be amazed of how the classic way of living is harmoniously blending with today's modern sophistication. Interesting isn't it? But before you ever think of flying there, it's interesting to know first the basic facts about the city.

Amsterdam is the capital and the biggest city of Netherlands. The city basically got its name from its origin: “Amstel dam”, meaning a “dam in the river Amstel” where the Dam Square is today. In a bird's eye-view, the city is shaped like a horseshoe surrounded by four famous canals namely: Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. Dug in the 17th century for the purpose of residential development, defense and water management, the canals of Amsterdam led the city to being termed as the “Venice of the North”.

Aside from the historical canals, other major attractions in Amsterdam include: the Rijksmuseum – it holds the country's largest collection of arts and artifacts, including 40 Rembrandts and four Vermeers, dating back from the 15 century; the Van Gogh Museum, showcasing 200 paintings and 500 drawings of the world-famous artist, Vincent van Gogh; Ann Frank House, the 17th century canalside house of the Jewish young girl Anne Frank. Her story and life during World War II was known through her kept diary. As it was published, tens of millions of copies of the diary have been printed and distributed worldwide in a total of 55 languages; and the most famous and most visited of all is Amsterdam's Red Light District. Here, prostitution has been legalized. Most visitors who happen to visit this place find the experience incredibly fascinating. Another fact, besides prostitution, the use of cannabis here in Amsterdam is allowed or at least decriminalized. In fact, there are many cannabis coffee shops around the area.

Despite criticisms and discretionary views with the issue of morality in Amsterdam, more and more visitors still flock here; even more curious of this liberal haven. Besides, locals themselves remain indifferent about this issue. Above all, it continuous to draw 4.2 million tourists each year.


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