Amsterdam | Netherlands
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.
Canal Boat Cruise
Meet Local Expert – Roland NoordermeerBased 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.
"With a bit of imagination the tower across the water from Central Station resembles an oil drill, the original design intention as this is the former headquarters of Shell Laboratories. Nowadays, it's known as the A'DAM Tower, the perfect place to go for a glorious panoramic view of the city. In the Lookout, on the roof, you'll find a bar and terrace, where you can order a drink. You can also go swinging above the city, at a height of 100 metres, on Europe’s highest swing."
"The Jordaan district is the western part of the city centre across from Prinsengracht canal. My favourite area is between Brouwersgracht and Rozengracht canals, especially around Westerstraat and Noordermarkt. You'll find interesting shops, former almshouses, typical brown cafes and small trendy restaurants. You can also visit different markets – my favourite is the Noordermarkt. On Mondays there’s a flea market, an extension of the enormous textile market along Westerstraat, and on Saturdays there's a great organic farmers' market."
"If you visit the Old Town, then you certainly have to experience a brown cafe (bruine kroeg), a quintessential part of Amsterdam. The term 'brown' comes from their generally dark interiors with old rocking chairs and tables, wooden floors and walls stained by decades of regulars' smoking. Most brown cafes have several different sorts of beer on tap and Dutch jenever (a juniper-flavored traditional spirit sometimes equated to gin)."
Amsterdam | Fast Facts
Currency: Euro (EUR)
International dialling code: +31
Local time: GMT +1
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."