The city centre is the main tourist area with Damrak, a wide avenue, which runs from Centraal Station to Dam Square. The latter originally gave Amsterdam its name. Amsterdam is a city with plenty to do, many attractions and a thriving entertainment scene.
The districts, towns and villages surrounding Amsterdam are steeped in history and offer wonderful landscapes with many an old windmill – a photographer’s or artist’s paradise!
Amsterdam's relaxed attitude and tolerance of a number of things which you would not find elsewhere make it an unusual European city. For instance, on open display in the city you’ll find pornography and hashish cafés. This city is home to one of the most lurid red light districts in Europe and its relaxed stance on drugs has given it the reputation of being the world’s cannabis capital. This easygoing lifestyle has drawn people from all over the world to live here and immigrants now make up over 30% of its population.
The traditional history of Amsterdam still exists though and the architecture, medieval churches, museums and galleries that are all around the city are a favourite with tourists and locals alike. It is a haven for the arts with Rembrandt being its favourite son.
Located on the estuary of the river Ij, Amsterdam is only 20 kilometres from the coast of the North Sea. The Netherlands is renowned for its lowlands and canals, many of which wind their way through the city centre and provide ideal scenery for a lovely holiday aboard a boat or barge.