The Netherlands is a striking place to visit offering a flat landscape full of canals, colorful tulip beds and more bicycles than people. Situated in the northwestern part of Europe, this country has a lot to offer beyond its notorious Dutch Apple pies, clogs, windmills, liberal views and dollhouse-like houses. Visitors should get accustomed to riding down tiny, cobblestone roads passing by massive amounts of museums and the largest flower garden in the world. With over 1,281 bridges and counting, put on your walking shoes to stroll through Amsterdam, the capital city and heartbeat of The Netherlands which has something to offer for everyone. Continue reading for a guide to this magical city!
Important dates in Amsterdam
January 1- New Year’s Day
April 16- Easter Day
April 27 – King’s Birthday
May 25- Ascension Day
June 4- Whit Monday
December 25- Christmas Day
December 26- Second Day of Christmas
December 31- New Year’s Eve
Dutch and English
Taxis are not readily available within Amsterdam… in fact, if you need a taxi you will need to order one in advance to pick you up. Luckily, Amsterdam’s public transportation system is one of the finest in the world and if you are really in a pickle, Uber is fully operational within the city. Purchase an ‘I Amsterdam City Card’ for unlimited travel on metros, trains, trams, ferries, and buses. For a healthier option, consider renting a bicycle. The city is wonderfully bicycle friendly and you can often rent one for around 10 euros per day. When traveling by bike, try to avoid rush hour, lest you get lost or overwhelmed in the rush of thousands of afternoon cyclists.
Amsterdam’s Red Light District dates back to the 1300’s with the “world’s oldest profession.” While prostitution was illegal, workers were able to get around the laws by sitting behind windows lit with red lights. Today the area is still a thriving neighborhood with businesses including coffee shops, art galleries, and museums. Over the past 10 years the Amsterdam government has diligently been working on ensuring the safety and regulation of any and all workers in the Red Light District. If you do plan to visit the area, be aware of pick pockets and respectfully refrain from taking photographs.
Know the difference between the coffeeshops, cafés, and coffee houses. Wait… they aren’t all the same thing? Not in Amsterdam! A café could be a place to grab a light lunch… or it could be a bar. A coffee house does actually serve coffee. Coffeeshops offer weed and hash. We are not expressing any viewpoints on the subject of smoking or consuming space cakes- simply educating you on the finer differences of the terms!
Good to know
As a visitor, you will require a short stay visa or “Schengen” visa. The Schengen visa is the standard visa that is valid for all the 26 countries in the Schengen EU area, including The Netherlands. This short stay visa is issued for 90 days within a 180 day period from the date of first entry to the Schengen Area. The visa is issued for single entry or multiple entries. Please check the official Schengen websites for more up to date information.
Culture and Etiquette in Amsterdam
Culture and Etiquette When you are arriving or leaving a social setting it is considered polite to shake hands with everyone present. You should also introduce yourself.
Raising one’s voice or causing a public disturbance is not common for Dutch people. Punctuality is respected and you should arrive slightly early for appointments. Humor is often subtle and slightly reserved however the society, in general, is frank and forthcoming. Always maintain eye contact. Praise is offered sparingly, as are compliments.
Amsterdam is extremely bicycle friendly. There are 400 kilometers (248 miles) of bicycle paths. As most residents have grown up traveling by bicycle, if you plan to join in, it is imperative that you adhere to the rules of the road. Never walk in a bike lane, obey all traffic signals, attach a light at night time, and always lock your bike up when going into a shop or restaurant.
Fashion is a free game in Amsterdam. Wear whatever feels comfortable to you. Clean, casual, and slightly smart is always a stress-free way to go! Leggings are very popular in Amsterdam, so Yogis, you will feel right at home no matter what season. In the winter, pair your leggings with some thick-soled leather boots, and during the summer, flat sandals or sneakers. Both sexes tend to wear army green, tan, black, and denim.