Romantic and charming, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Called the Venice of the North for its exceptional canal system, Amsterdam is both a beautiful city straight out of a storybook and the capital of fun and excess, just think of the Red Light District or the Coffeeshops.
Amsterdam is famous for its museums, no less than 75 including the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House or the Rijksmuseum, to name but the most popular, modern architecture and, of course, the 17th century buildings that line its 165 canals. Convivial and cosy, the essence of Amsterdam can best be appreciated in the Bruin Cafés, the traditional places with wood panelling on the walls, where you can get a small taste of Dutch cuisine.
The old, sloping merchants’ houses, the almost 9,000 historical buildings, the picturesque bridges, the bicycles everywhere, the 2,500 houseboats, the 40 parks, the 32 markets, the famous IAmsterdam sign, a much sought-after photo scene with its letters more than 2 metres high, and the 1,500 cafés will make a hole in every tourist’s heart.
Amsterdam should be discovered slowly, perhaps on a bicycle, in order to appreciate its beautiful architecture, bridges and picturesque hidden corners.
In this article, we have put together some information that will be useful to you before and during your stay.
European citizens can enter the Netherlands with only a valid identity card or passport. If your identity card has been renewed with an extension stamp, you should have no problems with the Dutch authorities. Minors must be in possession of their own identity card.
The Netherlands is in the Central European time zone and applies daylight saving time at the same time.
In Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands, the electricity voltage is 230 V. Electric sockets have two round sockets. If you need an adapter, you can easily buy one once you arrive in Amsterdam.
The central number to contact in an emergency is 112 , which coordinates the police, fire brigade and ambulance service. A 24-hour emergency service can be contacted on 088 003 0600. The operator will connect you with an emergency doctor in your area.
EU citizens are only entitled to free healthcare in public facilities for most medical services by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), i.e. the classic health card.
In Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands the EURO (symbol €) is in force. ATMs can be found outside most banks, at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and at Central Station. All major credit and debit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Maestro or American Express are accepted.
If you need to call a number in Amsterdam you have to dial 0031 followed by 20, the city code, followed by the desired number.
Shop opening hours vary according to the season. From May to September, the busiest tourist season, business hours are as follows: bars, cafés and coffeeshops open around 12 noon, banks are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., museums are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., large shops open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and small shops from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., restaurants are open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and for dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Remember, however, that it is forbidden to take photos and videos inside the red light district.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.