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Amsterdam | Netherlands

Discover Roland's highlights of the city of Amsterdam in this city guide.

A glass-top canal-boat cruise is the easiest way to get around Amsterdam's canal network and handsome Golden Age waterfronts. Bikes are a way of life in the Dutch capital too, and a sustainable means of getting around the laid-back street culture and traditional 'bruin' cafes for which this more-liberal-than-most nation is famous. Art is in this city's DNA with its wealth of galleries and museums (over 50 in Amsterdam) dedicated to the nation's artistic greats such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer, and there’s many a nod to the impressive Dutch shipping legacy too. Beyond the capital, spring carpets the Netherlands’ bulb-growing regions with tulips, and those iconic windmills are never far from view.


The view from a bridge filled with bikes in Amsterdam

Canal Boat Cruise

Water transport is vital in the Netherlands and when you think of Amsterdam, you think of canals. There are actually 165 and the best way to experience them is by canal boat. Together these canals give the city its unique character and since 2010 some have been UNESCO World Heritage-listed.
Traditional wind mills along the coast, Holland

Zaanse Schans

The Zaanse Schans is one of the best places to experience working windmills and gain a glimpse into the pastThis living museum preserves the skills, arts and crafts of bygone days through its thriving community, where people still live in historical Zaan district houses.
Garden beds full of various shades of pink tulips leading down to the lakes edge

Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof's spring gardens are among the world's most beautiful and only open for eight weeks of the year. The rest is spent preparing them for this seasonal display. Discover more than 70 acres of renowned parkland, and themed gardens filled with bulb flowers in bloom, including tulips.

Local Recommendations

When it comes to local knowledge there's no one better to show you the way than our on-the-ground team. Read on to find out their favourite dining venues, places of interest, customs or secrets that keep them returning to these cities time and again.

Meet Local Expert – Roland Noordermeer

Based in the Netherlands and Austria, Roland has been with APT since 2009, as a Cruise Director aboard European River Cruises and Small Ship Cruises. Amsterdam is a regular port of call and Roland shares some insider tips with us here. Ways to make the most of Amsterdam's highlights, as well as cultural, dining or everyday experiences you'll only come across if you know the ins and outs of this city.


ch a au amsterdam roland noordermeer 12 5

Amsterdam | Fast Facts

Country: Netherlands

Euro (EUR)

International dialling code:

Local time:
GMT +1 

Tree lined canal at dusk in inner city Amsterdam
Population: Although only one seventh the size of the state of Victoria, the Netherlands has a population of over 17 million, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Amsterdam, its capital city, is estimated to have over 1.14 million inhabitants.

Language: Dutch

Useful phrases: Hallo (hello); Bedankt (thank you); Daag (goodbye); Goedemorgen (good morning); Goedenavond (good evening)

Bicycles: "Amsterdam is a city known for being environmentally friendly as most people ride bicycles rather than drive cars as a mode of transport." 

Brown cafe history: "Seamen who had been at sea for months drank, ate and slept in the taverns (brown cafes) right on the waterfront and when they could not pay they settled their bills with exotic animals, usually monkeys."


Canals: "The city’s oldest canal is the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, dug in 1385, while the widest is the 17th-century Emperor’s Canal with a width of 31 metres and the longest is the Singelgracht which is over 6 kilometres long."


City life: "Amsterdam is an extraordinary city, notorious for its red light district and coffee shops, loved for its night life, but also world-renowned for its unique untouched historic centre, canal houses, windmills, quaint bridges and of course its long list of world-class museums. Amsterdam is proud of having the world’s highest museum density."


(Words by Roland Noordermeer.)