The Royal Palace!
"Even old New York was once New Amsterdam" is an excellent lyric from a catchy tune called "Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” This refers to the fact that the Dutch conquered New York; one of the most interesting historical facts. But did you know that Amsterdam is chock full of historical sites? Whether you remember Amsterdam in the textbooks because of their beautiful canals or the terrors of WWII, there’s a lot to learn about this old European capital.
Perhaps you recall from your school readings the story of Anne Frank; a Jewish teenaged writer in the middle of WWII. Her compelling, yet tragic story is known ‘round the world and it comes to life at the museum dedicated to her life. The Anne Frank Huis is the home where her family hid for two years from the Nazis. The chilling facts and real life photographs and pieces still in place from the day they were caught makes anyone understand how poignant her story was.
Amsterdam Historisch Museum
What better place to learn about the history of Amsterdam than the actual Amsterdam Historisch Museum. Thanks to the creative Dutch, the exhibits are fascinating and interesting, rather than just listening to a guide. You’ll take a historical trip through history starting from the Dutch Republic and their expansion abroad (Even to New York!) all the way to present day as a modern and cosmopolitan capital. Take the experience further and download their app to take you to the actual historic places around town on a historical walking tour!
UNESCO World Heritage Canal District
The pride and beauty of Amsterdam lies in the canals that have been a vital part of the city for centuries. They were created for more than just aesthetic reasons, but for the new port built in the 16th century. It was the connection to the outside world and brought imports from travels around the world, like the tulip or Chinese porcelain. Nonetheless, they are a quintessential part of Amsterdam and part of the Dutch lifestyle. You can bike leisurely around the city to view the canals or take a canal cruise to observe the beautiful row houses on the waterfront. Make sure to visit during the day and at night as they are equally beautiful and worth the photo shot!
The Schreierstoren is such a lesser known historical landmark that many Dutchmen aren’t aware of its importance in history. In the 15th century, Amsterdam was a medieval city with a protective wall. The name comes from the Dutch word for "Weepers Tower.” Legend says that it was the place where women wept for their husbands when they left to fish or for war. More importantly, it was the location where famous navigator Henry Hudson said bon voyage on a journey to North America that would lead to the discovery of Manhattan. Today, it is simply a café where you can eat, drink and connect to Wi-Fi.
Americans are fascinated with the British Royal Family, especially with the birth of a new royal coming this summer. But, did you know that The Netherlands celebrated a grand celebration of their own? This past April, Amsterdam celebrated the crowning of the new King. This was quite an event since a King hasn’t been crowned for over a century. Learn about the Dutch Royal Family at the Royal Palace; a breathtaking building where the Royal Family can work or call home. Dating back to the 15th century, the building was once the Town Hall for Amsterdam. Tourists can visit and explore the Royal Palace when it is not being used for Royal events.