"The World Spins in Circles" Amsterdam by acemj

Amsterdam Travel Guide: 10,369 reviews and 21,776 photos

There is something mesmerizing about the concentric canals of Amsterdam. As you stroll along their edges, you almost feel as if you are being pulled into the city itself, as if you are slowly becoming a part of it. While it is certainly not the most authentically Dutch city in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is undoubtedly charming. The tacky souvenir stores selling mini windmills and wooden shoes do nothing to diminish the smell of aged Gouda in the air. Turn down another street and you'll smell tulips, hear the splash of the canals and see impressive surviving examples of the Golden Age of architecture.

Amsterdam is very accessible as are its citizens. The inescapable sight of locals biking around make it feel like a big neighborhood and not a big city. I'd recommend walking as much as possible in order to really soak up the atmosphere. Distances are not too great and there's always something interesting to see along the way.

Amsterdam is well-known for its sex and drugs and for attracting the grungy, backpacking crowds that only barely resemble the hippies that once made it the capital of European Free Love. The city is still known for being very liberal and accepting toward tourists seeking these kinds of enticements, but what I noticed more than that, was the cosmopolitan nature of the place. The city is at once small, walkable and charming and at the same time is extremely educated, multilingual, and global in perspective. It's hard to run into too many people who don't speak English and there are great ethnic restaurants all around town. Historical preservation efforts have made many of the old buildings glow again and the local business community is attracting investments from all over the world. In short, things are happening in Amsterdam and visiting really made me feel like I was a part of a city that has really hit its stride . . . or I should say, a city whose wheels are always spinning.

  • Last visit to Amsterdam: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated Oct 17, 2005
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Reviews (40)

Comments (18)

  • andreasfmpro's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2007 at 6:28 AM

    The love afair of the Dutch with bicycles is amazing. Here in greece, I seem to be among the few who find the bicycle the most reasonable means of transportation.

  • vpeter's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2007 at 2:27 PM

    Yep, bikes are everywhere. Not only in Amsterdam but in the whole Netherlands:-) Happy travels. Greetings from the Netherlands.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2007 at 4:22 AM

    Glad you enjoyed your visit despite the February weather. I rented a bike when I was there last May and had a great time cycling all around.

  • tissie's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2006 at 5:56 AM

    Thanks, reminded me of my trip to Amsterdam too long ago (1980), it's a lovely place, must go back sometime!

  • awladhassan's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2005 at 3:56 AM

    Another great page. It has brought back a lot of memories.

  • TXgal's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2005 at 1:39 PM

    Great pics! I was only there for a day for layover, can't wait to go back!

  • lomi's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2005 at 9:43 AM

    Enjoyed your pages. I nearly got knocked down by a street train in A'dam, only to step out of the way to get hit by a cyclist!

  • IrishFem's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2005 at 4:32 AM

    Great tips. I am off to Leiden in April for a few days, hope all is well with you. :-)

  • excitableone's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2005 at 8:52 PM

    very well put together page, i enjoyed reading it.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2005 at 9:43 AM

    Fantastic page with great suggestions, good advices, beautiful pictures, interesting and some amuzing observations. Thanks for Maoz Falafel, I will find it next time...


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