The secrets of Amsterdam, 2018 and 2019.
The seventeenth century, the Golden Age of the Netherlands, is an era I’m sure you’d love to witness with your own eyes. While we may be unable to travel through time, magical Amsterdam is here to transport us to that enchanting world. Where else would I begin my story than in the city where bicycles are the main protagonists, canals replace streets, and the famous tulips adorn every corner?
Amsterdam, seemingly gentle and peaceful, reveals its splendor and strength through history, architecture, and culture. But in this text, I will be writing about something other than the usual things you can find in tourist guides; instead, I’ll reveal the hidden secrets of Amsterdam, which will leave you anything but indifferent. Navigating through the labyrinth of canals and cobblestone streets, I moved through the magical city, whose beauty dazzles all the senses. Amsterdam has so much to offer; despite being well-known, much remains undiscovered. If you’re adventurous, allow me to guide you through Amsterdam’s gems you must not miss.
How did it all begin? Did you know that Amsterdam grew from a fishing village? The Amstel River once played a crucial role in the area’s economy, and to this day, it remains part of the network of canals that form the heart of this city.
Canals and the underground church
From the Golden Age to modern times, Amsterdam will walk you through the centuries with its canals. Some of these canals hide incredible stories, such as the case with Singel. Did you know this canal once served as the city’s last line of defense? It is even historically known as “Singelgracht,” meaning “moat.”
If you’re intrigued by mysteries, you must take advantage of a visit to the Begijnhof, one of the oldest courtyards in Amsterdam. Here, you’ll find the oldest house in the city, dating back to the 15th century. As you stroll through this mysterious place, you won’t help but notice the tranquility that surrounds it, giving you a feeling as if you’ve stepped into another world.
One of the secrets of Amsterdam that remain etched in my memory is the underground church “Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder” (Our Lord in the Attic). Hidden in a seemingly ordinary 17th-century house, this church was a refuge for Catholics when practicing religious rites was forbidden. Through narrow staircases and mysterious rooms, you’ll discover an amazing world of religion and secrets hidden behind a plain façade.
Art and architecture
It’s no secret that the Dutch are known for their art, and Amsterdam is home to some of the greatest masters, such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh. However, did you know that the Rijksmuseum houses a lesser-known but fascinating collection of miniatures depicting everyday life in the Golden Age of the Netherlands? These miniatures provide a glimpse into life at the time through breathtaking scenes.
Cycling along the cobblestones of this charming city, you’ll come across unusual and colorful house façades that make up Amsterdam’s recognizable skyline. But did you know that some houses are intentionally tilted towards the canals? This architecture, known as the “Amsterdam stair-step façade,” serves a practical function – it enables easier lifting of furniture to upper floors using a hook at the top.
Lastly, let me introduce you to one of Amsterdam’s most beautiful secrets – the flower markets. Here, you’ll find the most diverse spectrum of tulips, daffodils, and other wondrous plants adorn this country. Visit the Bloemenmarkt to marvel at the lavish floral paradise, and who knows, you might even discover a rare species that will forever remind you of this unforgettable city.
Amsterdam is a city full of secrets waiting to be uncovered. If you’re ready to stray from the beaten tourist path and delve into the hidden corners of this enchanting city, I’m confident you’ll fall in love with it, just as I have. Let your Amsterdam adventure include an essential bike ride, as this city is the cycling capital. Choose one of the numerous rent-a-bike services and explore the city on two wheels. Park by the canal and admire the beautiful buildings and bridges while sipping Dutch beer. Enjoy discovering Amsterdam your way, which makes every journey unforgettable.
A Bird’s Eye View
Considering that I’ve already shared some of Amsterdam’s hidden beauties with you, it’s time to discover this city from an entirely different perspective. Sometimes, it’s necessary to soar above the cobblestone streets to appreciate this city’s splendor. Amsterdam’s rooftop terraces present the perfect opportunity to enjoy the charms of this city from above. How about savoring a refreshing drink while watching the reflections of the setting sun over the canals? One such place is the SkyLounge Amsterdam, located on top of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. This popular bar offers a fantastic view of the city and its illuminated canals, allowing you to experience nighttime Amsterdam like never before.
If you desire even more unforgettable experiences, visit the A’DAM Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Amsterdam. Besides providing a stunning city view, this building also features a panoramic terrace with swings. If you dare to embark on this adventurous experience, an indescribable feeling of freedom and excitement awaits you.
More places worth visiting
Take your time enjoying the viewpoints; dive into exploring the unusual art galleries and workshops that conceal the secrets and stories of Amsterdam. Visit Electric Ladyland – a unique gallery dedicated to fluorescent art, where you’ll be surrounded by neon colors and glittering installations, leading you into a world of imagination.
When it comes to art, we must remember Amsterdam’s music scene. This city is home to many talented musicians and impressive concert halls. If you’re a jazz lover, visit Bimhuis – one of the most renowned venues to enjoy top-notch jazz performances and an intimate atmosphere.
But that’s not all. Amsterdam offers much more for lovers of architecture, nature, and adventure. If you’re interested in architecture, visit the De Pijp neighborhood, known for its eclectic and colorful building styles. Here, you’ll find architectural masterpieces like the Museum of Modern Art, whose impressive design captivates visitors’ attention.
For those seeking a quieter ambiance, I recommend visiting Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest and most famous park. Here, you can spend hours walking the paths and observing the diverse plant and animal life that inhabits the park.
If you’re craving adventure, try some of Amsterdam’s numerous activities, like taking a boat ride through the canals or exploring the city by bicycle. For an unforgettable experience, you can embark on a hot air balloon ride above the city, where you’ll have the chance to see it from an entirely different perspective.
Whether you’re a history, art, music, or adventure fan, you’ll find something here that will enchant you and leave an indelible mark on your heart. Explore Amsterdam your way and allow it to captivate you with its unique energy and charm. And after a busy day, unwind in one of the numerous bars and cafés. Enjoy a local beer like Heineken or a glass of quality Dutch jenever. If you’re a cocktail lover, visit one of Amsterdam’s speakeasy bars, where imaginative drinks and an exciting atmosphere await. The secrets of Amsterdam are inexhaustible, and each visit to this magical city will reveal an entirely different world. Uncovering the secrets of this city will create precious memories, connecting you to it forever.
Hope you’ll enjoy your visit. To read more stories from Europe, click HERE.