Your Amsterdam holiday
Amsterdam emerged as a fishing town in the late 12th century – its name taken due to its proximity to a dam on the river Amstel.
During the 15th century, the town saw rapid development and trade innovation, paving the way for the Dutch Golden Age from 1585 to 1672. In this period Amsterdam was a financial hub with the strongest market in the world. The first multinational corporation, The Dutch East India Company, was created in 1602 and soon had a far-reaching geopolitical power.
While Amsterdam was the wealthiest city in the world, the cityscape expanded and changed, and some of the most important buildings were erected, including many of the beautiful canal homes and the former town hall and current Royal Palace in Dam Square. Immigration increased during the 17th century, leading to a deliberate city plan that involved the creation of four major canals that emerged at Amsterdam’s waterfront, the IJ Bay.
Holland’s modern history is marked by the German invasion of the country in May 1940 and the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. The city’s entire Jewish community was nearly wiped out, and with it the city’s historic diamond trade that was mostly controlled by Jewish businessmen.
The cultural openness of the city has roots in Amsterdam’s central role in the 1960s and 1970s as a hippie hub. The 1970s also saw a spike in immigration from Suriname (a former Dutch colony), Morocco, and Turkey.
Best time to take a vacation to Amsterdam
Amsterdam has an oceanic climate, which means winters are mild. The best time to travel to Amsterdam is between April and September, when the weather is mild and comfortable. The summer months have an average temperature of 20Â°C. Spring has an average temperature of 10Â°C. The winter months have an average temperature of 4Â°C, while fall has an average temperature of 8Â°C.
Insider tips for Amsterdam travel
Visit this popular historic concert venue to hear the world's most beautiful orchestra concerts and acoustic bands.
This casual restaurant that locals patronize regularly serves home-style Dutch fare.
This top-rated restaurant serves authentic Dutch cuisine. Everything is fresh and prepared to order.
Greetje serves high-end Dutch cuisine in an exceptionally classic atmosphere. Book ahead of time to reserve a table.
Alto Jazz Cafe
Enjoy live jazz at this popular bar.
Where to stay in Amsterdam
Old Centre & Central Station
The Avenue hotel offers both comfort and design with its nine historic buildings featuring unique decoration in every room. Less than half a mile from the city centre, the hotel is complete with wireless Internet access and its own café.
The newly redesigned Renaissance Hotel, just a short walk from Central Station, welcomes you in after a day of sightseeing with its brand-new lobby, Renaissance Bedding, and HDTV. Enjoy a delicious Mediterranean dinner at the restaurant Scossa, or have a drink at the hotel’s lounge bar, 2B. The Renaissance also hosts catered business events and offers luxury suites and club rooms.
The four-star Albus hotel is a smaller, stylish boutique hotel with spacious rooms and queen-sized beds. Centrally located and easily accessible by trams and trains, the Albus offers a selection of luxury suites complete with a Phillips 32-inch flatscreen, a Nespresso coffee machine, high-speed Internet, and a state-of-the-art Sensiq communication system.
The Bilderberg Garden hotel, steps from the city’s best museums and Vondelpark offers luxury, taste, and an intimate, friendly atmosphere during your time in Amsterdam. Rooms are complete with air-conditioning, robes, slippers, and a mini-bar. The hotel also features the famous French-Mediterranean–style restaurant De Kersentuin, serving both lunch and dinner.
If you need more choice, check out our Amsterdam hotel offers.
How to move around in Amsterdam
Amsterdam generally has a cool climate with warm summers. Best time to visit is flower season, April and May, or in the warmer months, June to September.
Best bets for transportation are to go on foot, by public transport, or by bike. Driving is discouraged in the city centre as many streets are for pedestrians and bikes only.
Public transport consists of the GV bus, metro, and tramlines. To ride any and all of them, purchase an OV-chipcard at a station or supermarket.
Trams run regularly until 12:15 a.m., night buses from midnight to 7 a.m., and the small blue Stop/Go bus from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (it runs through Old City and makes all requested stops).
Cruises, electric boats, water taxis, and buses traverse the canals, and there are three free ferries that take pedestrians and cyclists over to Amsterdam-Noord across the IJ waterway.
Think about car hire in Amsterdam if you want to explore the environs of the city. Head out to Volendam, a magnificent little village a few dozen kilometres outside of town.
From The Airport
From the Schiphol International Airport, there is a Direct Rail Link that runs every 10 minutes to Amsterdam’s central station for under €5. Purchase tickets before boarding the train to avoid a €40 fine. There are also Connexxion airport shuttles leaving every 10 minutes that service a number of major hotels.
Dialing code: 00 31 (20) for Amsterdam.
While frites are more a staple of Holland’s neighbour Belgium, those served at Vlaams Friteshuis (Voetboogstraat 33) have been a favourite in town since 1887. Smothered in mayonnaise, mustard, or a whole host of other special sauces, these freshly made crunchy frites give American French fries and English chips a run for their money.
As you stroll through Old Town, make sure to pause at De Bakkerswinkel (Warmoesstraat 69). This renowned cafe and bakery is known for its delicious bread, scones, pan au chocolat, and excellent coffee and tea. Serving sandwiches, quiche, and soup in addition to its baked goods, De Bakkerswinkel is a good place for a light lunch on your way to the next sight.
Located near the hip neighbourhood of Leidseplein is Blue Pepper (Nassaukade 366), a trendy and intimate restaurant featuring modern Indonesian cuisine. Choose from three menus of the day or order a la carte and enjoy such dishes as lamb satay, grilled scallops with black bean sauce, chili dumplings, or banana and caramel fritters.
This down-to-earth and affordable Dutch-French bar/restaurant is a favourite of locals and visitors alike. Located across a canal from the Anne Frank House, Cafe De Prins is known for its no-frills, friendly atmosphere and quality pub food that goes well with one of the local beers on tap. Try the cheese fondue and, during the summer months, see if you can get a table outside to enjoy a great view of the canals. Though small and often crowded, this local gem is worth the wait.
Health & Safety
The health infrastructure of Holland is excellent, and should you be in need of assistance, you are sure to receive it. Pharmacies are well stocked and open seven days a week. If possible, try and obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before departing home. There are also a number of clinics and public hospitals, and nearly all practitioners speak English.
Fire or Police Department: Dial 112
Medical Emergency: Dial (020) 555 55 55
Amsterdam Foreigners’ Police: (020) 559 63 00 (8:30am to 4pm)
Clinics and Hospitals: AMC Hospital, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam Zuidoost, (020) 566 91 11. Slotervaartziekenhuis Hospital, Louwesweg 6, Amsterdam, (020) 512 93 33. VU Hospital, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, (020) 444 44 44.
Amsterdam is a relatively safe city, though caution is necessary in the Red Light District and near Central Station. Keep an eye out for pickpockets and avoid walking alone after dark.. In case of emergency, keep a copy of your travel documents on your person at all time.
Soft drugs, such as cannabis, are legal for “personal use” in the country. But selling or carrying more than five grams of cannabis can result in fines, and large quantities (over 30 grams) in prison sentences. Hard drugs (LSD, cocaine, and heroin) are strictly forbidden.
Amsterdam Holiday Packages
Location and value in contemporary Amsterdam hotelWell located in a traffic-free square close to shopping and restaurants in central Amsterdam, the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre offers value and... More
Modern 4 star hotel about 6 minutes away from the city center. Haarlem and Schiphol airport are only 15 minutes away. All rooms are soundproofed and equipped with airconditioning and free wifi. On... More
A cozy, modern choice near the airport and all Amsterdam attractionsLocated conveniently on the quiet outskirts of Amsterdam and minutes from Schiphol Airport, West Side Inn Hotel Amsterdam offers... More
Prins Hendrikkade 108 Map
Stay 3 nights and get 15% off
Feel part of Amsterdam’s rich elegance at this Art Nouveau landmark Dating to 1913 and formerly a shipping office, the Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam is a five-star Art Nouveau masterpiece.... More
Contemporary comforts at three star prices in AmsterdamCasa 400 Hotel Amsterdam is a contemporary hotel built in 2010 perfectly located for visiting central Amsterdam. This ideal accommodation for... More
Historic elegance, classic comforts in the heart of old-world AmsterdamBuilt in 1911, the De Roode Leeuw Amsterdam Hotel offers contemporary style, plush comforts and high-tech amenities in a... More
Leidsekade 97 Map
Book in advance and save 10%
Enjoy history, elegance and style at this exciting Amsterdam favoriteBuilt in 1902, this vibrant Art Nouveau monument treats guests to historic elegance alongside chic furnishings and modern... More
Room Mate Aitana is a modern designer hotel built in 2013 on the new artificial island in the IJ river 500 meters from the Central Station and 19 min. walking from Dam's Square, the heart of... More
Piet Heinkade 11 Map
Save 10% on your stay
Combine the best of business and leisure at this waterfront dazzlerBoasting unparalleled waterfront Amsterdam views, the Moevenpick Hotel combines luxury amenities, sleek comforts and business... More
Conscious Hotel Vondelpark is a stunning, luxurious, eco-friendly hotel in the heart of Amsterdam and right beside Vondelpark, 470,000 m2 of parkland equally suitable for energetic in-line skating... More
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 176 Map
Stay 2 nights get 10% discount
Enjoy elegant, old-world Amsterdam at this historic, centrally located charmerJust blocks from the historic, breathtaking Dam Square stands the Die Port van Cleve Hotel, a classic 121-room tribute... More
Dijsselhofplantsoen 7 Map
Free wifi and Nespresso
Luxury oasis in upscale Apollolan neighborhood with boutiques and cafesThe boutiques and caf?s of Amsterdam's upscale Apollolan district set the backdrop to this experience in 5-star, contemporary... More
East meets West in gastronomic canal-side hotelInspired by Japanese minimalism and design, the Okura Hotel Amsterdam is a shiny modern 23 story tower with inspiring views of the city, and sits on... More
The Student Hotel Amsterdam is finally here! Opening August 2013, we are located in the West of Amsterdam, 10 minutes from the city centre and 3 minutes from the bustling neighbourhood of... More