What comes to your mind when you think about Amsterdam? Let me guess – party, red light district and coffee shops, right?
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We visit our family in the Netherlands every two months. In the past we were coming here at least once a month. Even though I have spent so much time here I only knew Amsterdam as a party city. We would arrive there around 11 PM and leave the city right after the party.
Last weekend we were meeting our Slovak friend who came back from the US to Europe after six years. We didn’t see him from the time he left and we were very excited to finally spend some time together. He decided to move to Amsterdam so we visited him there. This was a great opportunity to get to know the city a little better and see what it has to offer!
Today I will show you this party city in a different light!
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Amsterdam is a very green city. There are many big parks with people running, biking, playing with their kids or just sitting and enjoying the atmosphere. It was a great sunny day so we went for a walk in Beatrixpark.
Beatrixpark is one of the oldest modern parks in Amsterdam. It is located in the south of the city and it was opened in 1938. I was surprised by its size. Actually it is supposed to be one of the smaller parks so I didn’t expect it to be so big. It’s hidden behind the new administration buildings and I can only guess the size of other parks if this one is considered to be small.
There are different parts of the park. This area is called ‘ereplateu’. It’s where the winning plants from Floriade exhibition in 1972 were placed. The trees are very big and provide refreshing shade during hot days. For those who want to sunbathe and get some tan there is a big area behind the trees used for this purpose.
While we were walking around the park I have spotted this tree with yellow flowers. It’s a pity there was no sign showing its name.
There are a few statues in the park. This one is my favorite. It’s called ‘Playing dog’ and it was designed by Elena Wisse-Engelsen.
If you don’t like sitting on the ground you can take a seat on one of many benches placed in the park. I only saw people sitting on the ground so I guess this is the preferred option.
We don’t have much time now as we’ve promised my in-laws to be back for dinner so we have to leave this green spot if we want to see a bit of the city as well.
On the way to the car we passed this bridge with very nice flower decoration.
We were waiting for a few minutes for the best shot as there were so many boats passing by. At the end I managed to take a shot with one boat ‘hidden’ behind the flowers?
Water, bikes, boats – this is Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is well known for its canals (grachten). In total there are more than 100 km of canals in the city. Three main canals form kind of concentric belts around the city, known as the Grachtengordel. You can see it on the map too. These three canals are Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht. They were created in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age.
All of the houses that you can see below have a hook attached above the window on the top floor. These hooks were used to get the packages from boats in the past.
On the way to the grachtengordel you will see many other canals. This one is called Nieuwe Prinsengracht.
Many people decide to live on the river and this is why you will find a lot of houseboats around. They can vary from very simple old houseboats to new and trendy apartments on the water.
You can’t avoid water in Amsterdam. It’s really everywhere. It was a rather quiet day on the streets of the city but it was definitely not quiet on the water. There were so many different boats with tourists cruising around.
This summer is exceptionally hot in the Netherlands. For a few weeks already the temperature goes easily up to 30 degrees which is very unusual. The summer here is usually milder with more rain and wind so nowadays you don’t only see tourists enjoying boat rides but also locals on the smaller boats.
There are many small narrow houses in the city center simply because there was not too much space for buildings. But this house got me! You can see how small it is if you compare it with the bike parked in front of it. I guess now it is used as a part of the house next door but in the past it was used like a standard house as there was a door that is now walled up.
Now we are coming to the heart of Amsterdam – small canals, old bridges, old bikes, boats and narrow houses.
Look at the boat traffic! I wonder if you still enjoy being on the water when there are so many other boats around.
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