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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.
In the mid-17th Century, painter Jacob van Campen was given the assignment to design a new town hall. The city council wanted a grand symbol of their leading role in Europe at that time - Holland's Golden Age - as well as their economic and civic power. The building had to make this clear for everyone to see. The Koninklijk Paleis became the biggest in Europe at the time of its construction. In 1808, this building was refurbished into a Royal Palace by the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis, king of the region during the French occupation. The Dutch royal family, the Oranje-Nassaus, receive royalty and dignitaries at the palace. After coronations, the new king or queen also present themselves to the citizens of the Netherlands from the balcony of the palace.
The Amsterdam Museum is nestled in a 14th-century building, which was originally an orphanage. Through its artworks, maps and models, this museum narrates the expansion of Amsterdam through seven centuries. The Civic Guard Gallery is among its most popular features, replete with historic group portraits dating back as far as the 16th Century. Do not miss their exhibits such as The Little Orphanage and Amsterdam DNA. Visitors can also enjoy a cup of piping hot coffee at the Café Mokum or shop for memorabilia at the Athenaeum Museum Shop on-site.
The Begijnhof lies hidden away from the noisy shopping street Kalverstraat, across from the English Reformed Church. Most of the houses in this area were built in the 17th Century; the oldest one here dating back to 1475. Wooden establishments slowly disappeared because the city forbade their construction in order to prevent fire in the densely populated inner city. The courtyards were created by small religious communities in an attempt to retreat from the world and live their own isolated lives. The Begijnen - a Catholic order - was only tolerated after the Reformation in the 16th Century. Only single women were allowed in the Begijnhof to lead the life of a nun.
Anne Frank and her family went into hiding here on July 6, 1942, and lived in isolation for over two years. The German occupants removed all the furniture from Anne Frank House when the inhabitants were detained in 1944. However, films and other sources, including Anne's diary, give a good idea of what life was like during those times. The museum opened on May 3, 1960, and an enormous visitors' center was constructed in the 1980s.
The Netherlands' most renowned church has been the source of inspiration for many musicians. The famous tower was completed in 1638, its bells manufactured by the renowned François Hemony foundry in 1658. Though the Protestant community owned Westerkerk, the tower was the property of the local authorities and served as a lookout. This marks the site of Rembrandt's burial, as well as the marriage of Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus. For Anne Frank, whose hidden annex is located just a few doors down, the ringing of the clock was a beacon of hope during World War II.
Amsterdam's Centraal Station dates to the year 1889, when it was first used for the transport of goods. Today, besides being Amsterdam's largest and busiest railway station, it is a rijksmonument (Netherland's national heritage site) and an important tourist attraction in its own right. The designer of Rijksmuseum, P.J.H. Cuypers, was the chief architect during its construction. Its magnificent facade is a blend of Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival styles of architecture. The building's foundation consists of 8687 wooden piles while its roof made from cast iron stretches for 40 meters (131.2 feet). The original construction has been rebuilt more than once due to rapidly expanding traffic and rail transport. With an influx of more than 250,000 passengers everyday, it ranks among the top three busiest railway stations in the country.
One of the city's oldest neighborhoods, The Jordaan traces its roots to the 17th Century as an area built for the working class. Unchecked immigration and neglect over the years led to it being one of the poorest areas of the city at one point. In the more recent years however, efforts by it residents have worked, and the neighborhood has transformed handsomely into an upscale quarter. Today, the neighborhood is a harmonious blend of the old and new, with charming historical courtyards, stellar art galleries and great dining options.
Eccentric bags, unique bags, or famous bags; every bag you can imagine can be found housed in a beautiful 17th-century building at the Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassenmuseum Hendrikje). From Chanel Versace and Vuitton to antique bags and everything between, you can see them here. Regularly there are also exhilarating exhibits displaying the work of Dutch designers. Don't forget to stop by the cafe for a bite.
This bridge, as it stands today, was constructed in 1934. Its history, however, goes back all the way to 1691, when it was a 13-arch bridge known as Kerkstraatbrug. Renowned for its limited width, it began to be called magere brug, or "skinny bridge." Situated centrally in Amsterdam, this bridge over the Amstel River was given its present form in 1934, and its final touches in 1969. One of the city's most famous landmarks, the Skinny Bridge has been featured in movies such as Diamonds are Forever. It is particularly beautiful in the evening, when 1200 lightbulbs exude a wonderful glow.
Housed inside a huge green hull, Science Center NEMO is located in the center of Amsterdam. Inaugurated by Queen Beatrix in 1997, this five-story museum has interactive exhibitions and workshops that makes science and technology intriguing for all ages. Whether it is the mysterious world of DNA, the secrets of the human brain or the powers of physics, the discoveries are fun filled, innovative and informative. NEMO is not only a architectural wonder but also a great place to explore and learn more about the world around us.
Founded in 1838, Natura Artis Magistra or Artis is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. This bewitching menagerie houses an aquarium, a planetarium, a geological museum and a zoological museum in its premises. There is also a huge library on the history of zoology and botany. Surrounded by luscious greenery, of which many are exotic plants, stroll on winding paths and spot the many wild animals that have made this place home. Visit the historic Wolf House and Masman Garden House to learn about 19th-century architecture. If you want to get closer to nature without leaving the city, then come explore the enthralling Artis.