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One of the most tolerant cities on the planet, Amsterdam cherishes freedoms that are only tinkered with in other Western cities. But beyond the pot and the red-light sleaze is a dignified metropolis that echoes with its previous incarnation as a great trading port. The city is a melting pot of cultures and is proud of its diversity which is evident in a creative arts scene that has produced some of the greatest painters of all time including the city's favorite son - Rembrandt. Museums and galleries are dotted around the city center and along with music, theater and dance, Amsterdam burns with creative energy, very much infused as a part of ...

One of the most tolerant cities on the planet, Amsterdam cherishes freedoms that are only tinkered with in other Western cities. But beyond the pot and the red-light sleaze is a dignified metropolis that echoes with its previous incarnation as a great trading port. The city is a melting pot of cultures and is proud of its diversity which is evident in a creative arts scene that has produced some of the greatest painters of all time including the city's favorite son - Rembrandt. Museums and galleries are dotted around the city center and along with music, theater and dance, Amsterdam burns with creative energy, very much infused as a part of everyday life for locals. This is a city for walking and, of course, cycling - the locals are mad, keen cyclists and dodging bikes on the streets is a way of life. The leafy canals combine with gabled residential frontages and a collage of architectural styles from the 16th to the 20th century (there are 7000 registered historic buildings) to create a center that is intimate and perfect for strolling.

Alan Murphy
About the Expert

Alan Murphy is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Britain, Scotland, India and North India. He has been writing and updating travel guidebooks for the past 12 years.

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Alan Murphy for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year round, but late spring, early autumn and summer, May to September, is best.