“God made the world,” say citizens of Holland, “But the Dutch made Netherlands.” Nearly half of the land in Holland has been reclaimed from the sea, thereby making this country one of Europe’s popular waterways. Yet, there is a lot more to the city of Amsterdam than just being the business capital of Holland or being a well admired sea port.
Amsterdam is no doubt known to be one of the wildest cities across the world, but there’s something magical about this city that will leave you enchanted. Right from its traditional windmills to its cheese factories, their trademark wooden shoes and of course the exquisite tulip gardens which make you instantly fall in love.
Here’s what you can begin with, visit Heineken, which is one of the biggest breweries in Europe. There’s a treat for all beer lovers, if a tourist happens to visit the brewery on his birthday he stands to get a complementary half barrel of Heineken draught beer.
Holland in miniature
Then head to Madurodam, a museum which has al of Amsterdam in miniature! Yes, hard to believe, but the entire city has been redesigned in miniature and you can walk through this feeling like Gulliver only to find man-made Lilliputs.
Madurodam has everything, right from an affordable entry ticket to a café. But the interesting bit still remains with walking thru the entire city of miniature Amsterdam. There’s a miniature airport which has battery-run flights moving about, a football stadium, a highway that actually has tiny cars and trucks driving their way through.
The good ol’ feeling
If you’re a culture vulture, you must visit the museums in Amsterdam. There’s the Amsterdam Historisch Museum which offers all the historical information you require to know the city. Or simply take a walk, this city never sleeps and is absolutely safe, despite its wild surroundings.
When you take a stroll in the evening, you pass the traditional windmills which remind you of some Dutch paintings or even fairytales. Some of these traditional windmills have houses in them making them all the more appealing. The greenery around these windmills only adds to their beauty.
Cheese and wooden shoes. . .
Whether you are a food lover or not, you must visit the cheese markets and cheese factories in Amsterdam. There are so many cheese factories which have the widest range of cheese to offer. From smoked cheese to Gouda cheese, it’s all here.
What’s even better is that most of these cheese factories have the wooden shoes factories adjoining them. Here’s a little history, earlier, cheese was manufactured by those who wore wooden shoes to maintain cleanliness.
Besides, wood was easily available. But now, these wooden shoes make a style statement and you can buy miniature wooden shoes to take home as souvenirs.
Coming to the nightlife, Amsterdam has a wide variety of nightclubs, bars, cabarets and now, it even has places surpassing the ‘hotspots’ of cities like Hamburg, although none of these are as elegant as Paris, but they are worth visiting nonetheless. The most bizarre sexy haunts are never over publicised and one can visit these places only through word of mouth.
Unfortunately, the tulip season starts in March and lasts only till the third week of May. If you do happen to visit Holland during the season, then Keukenhof is the place to be. It is the garden of tulips and once you’re there, you feel like you’re in paradise.
If you’re late, don’t worry, there’s Volendam, the best fishing village (which does not have any foul odour) which offers a panoramic view of the sea port and the sunset in this village is unbelievably romantic.
Unlike countries in Africa, Holland does not require a medical check up. You might have missed the tulips, but there’s still a lot you can look forward to in Amsterdam. Make an excuse to visit this city again so that you can go see the tulips next April.