This museum in Amsterdam has the world's largest collection of famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh's works, from paintings to sketches and even letters. The museum chronicles the artist's career, from his years living in Nuenen, Netherlands beginning in 1880, up to his years in France and till his death in 1890. Some of Van Gogh's most famous works are on display in these galleries, including The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers and Bedroom in Arles. The museum also chronicles works by some of Van Gogh's artist friends and inspirations, including Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin, with whom Van Gogh had a close friendship, and Jean-François Millet.
Rijksmuseum, also known as the National Museum, is considered a true national treasure. It features a vast collection of artwork and historic artifacts from the Middle Ages through to contemporary times, creating a veritable cornucopia of cultural riches. Its exhibits include the paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen from the Netherlands' 17th-century Golden Age. Rembrandt's Night Watch is the museum's centerpiece. You'll also find works from the Middle Ages and the 18th and 19th Centuries, superb collections of silver and Delftware ceramics, old doll houses, and fantastic examples of Asian art. After undergoing renovation, the museum's 1885 Renaissance Revival building has been diligently restored and revamped to accommodate modern infrastructure. The museum building itself is a masterpiece of art and architecture, designed by Pierre Cuypers and ornamented with sculptures, paintings, tile tableaus and stained glass that allude to the nation's rich history.
Grachtengordel, also known as the Amsterdam Canal District, is the cultural hub of Amsterdam. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the network of canals dates back to the 17th Century. This neighborhood is also noted for its impeccable urban planning which is impeccable even after four centuries. A major landmark situated in this area is the Anne Frank House, which is a museum dedicated to the Jewish writer Anne Frank.
The story of Anne Frank is one that is known the world over; an emblematic personal account of the Holocaust that is now preserved at the Anne Frank House. Spurred by the German occupation of the Netherlands, and the subsequent persecution of the Jewish community, Anne went into hiding with her family on July 6, 1942. Over the course of two years, Anne maintained a diary detailing life in the Annex, that was eventually published by her father. Although there aren't many memorabilia, films and other sources, including Anne's diary, present a vivid picture of what life was like during those times. The museum opened on May 3, 1960, and the enormous visitors' center was constructed in the 1980s.
This large, green oasis was created in the second half of the 19th Century, and named after the poet Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), a statue of whom was unveiled here in 1867. Today Vondelpark, one of the most-visited spots in the city, is a restful haven for citizens away from the city's chaos. Come here for inline skating, let your children play in the large playground or have a cup of coffee on one of the four terraces.
Many internationally-acclaimed artists have performed at Paradiso, formerly a church. It features a spacious dance floor and a balcony offering excellent views of the surrounding balustrade. Every week, this venue hosts different bands in action, from regional musicians to world-famous artists like the Rolling Stones. Occasionally, the stage on the first floor is reserved for smaller indie bands that draw an eclectic crowd of locals and tourists.
Afficionados of fine art and particularly the Dutch Masters should take the time to check out Re:mbrandt, All his paintings at the opulent Magna Plaza in Dam Square. This exhibition has compiled reproductions of all 325 of Rembrandt Van Rijn's paintings. Displayed chronologically, visitors can take a journey through the famous painter's career. This exhibit is a great way to see all the master's works in one place without having to travel to museums all over the world.
The Nieuwe Kerk is a 15th-century building, partly destroyed and refurbished after several fires. Located in the bustling Dam Square area of the city, this historic church has held a prominent place in the country's political and religious affairs over the centuries. It has been the venue for coronations of kings and queens, and also plays host to an array of exhibitions, concerts and cultural events. Admire its Gothic architecture, splendid steeples, glass-stained windows and ornate detailing.
Amsterdam's Royal Palace is the crown jewel of the city's cache of architectural marvels from the Dutch Golden Age. The palace was originally constructed in the 17th Century as the new Town Hall, designed by Jacob van Campen as a symbol of the Netherlands' far-reaching influence and its hefty stake in global commerce at that time. The palace is an embodiment of opulence and lavish taste, generously adorned with marble sculptures, vivid frescoes and sparkling chandeliers that illuminate rooms of palatial proportions. Within, are numerous symbolic representations of the country's impressive economic and civic power in the realm of world politics in the 17th Century, including a larger-than-life statue of Atlas. In 1806, Louis Napoleon, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, was named King Louis I of Holland, transforming the former Town Hall into his Royal Palace. Today, the historic abode is one of the three palaces granted to the Dutch Royal House by an Act of Parliament. The Royal Palace hosts visiting heads of state and serves as a venue for Royal Receptions and other events.
The Dam Square can be rightly considered as the epicentre of the Amsterdam City Center. This old center of the city is rich in history, architecture and culture. Some of the beautiful bridges that let you navigate across the city center have been around since the 17th Century and the magnificent buildings that dot this area belong to the medieval period. There are several options for a quick bite and even for a laid back lunch, if hunger strikes during your escapade. Global, retail outlets are also available but the essence of the historic, city center are the local vendors and their charming shops.
This distinctive bridge over the historic Singel canal has stood since 1648 and is easily identified by its unusual width. 39 meters (128 feet) wide, the bridge is able to hold the terraces of two nearby cafés, a statue to Multatuli, and a street large enough for cars to pass over. The bridge, whose name means "tower lock," held a tower known as the Jan Roodenpoortstoren until 1829, and close examination of the bridge's stonework still reveals the shape of the tower that once stood there. In its long history it has also served as a prison, and barred windows of the dungeons can still be seen underneath.
Dutch writer Eduard Douwes Dekker is best known by his pen name, Multatuli, and was one of the most prominent critics of the Dutch colonial system (as well as a favored author of Sigmund Freud). In 2002, he was declared the most important Dutch writer of all-time. A statue to Multatuli now sits on the Torensluis bridge, over the Singel canal, and was created by Dutch artist Hans Bayens. The statue features a stylized bust of the author, looking out over the terraces of the cafés that now dominate the bridge.