The capital of the Netherlands is famous for its waterways and those narrow 17th-century canal houses. It's also famous for its laid-back and liberal approach to life.
Its list of attractions is long. Major museums include the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House, and Van Gogh Museum, which has the world's largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh. The Anne Frank House, where Anne wrote her diary, is now a popular museum.
The de Wallen area, in the centre of the city, is where you'll find the red-light district and many "brown cafes" (the "brown" refers to not only the smoke stains, but a Dutch word, gezellig, which translates as something approaching cosy).
This year, the Amsterdam tourism board is keen to highlight some of the city's lesser-known cultural gems. These include the secret attic church (Our Lord in the Attic - Ons Lieve Heer op Solder), the Museum of Bags and Purses and the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.
Amsterdam is a great city to see on two feet or on two wheels. Bicycle rentals are readily available. Several low-cost airlines including easyJet and bmibaby offer cheap flights to Amsterdam, touching down at Schiphol Airport, just 20 minutes from the city.
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