Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most unique cities I’ve seen to date. The canal system leaves a beautiful footprint that people have creatively filled with homes, an abundance of art museums, and coffeshops aplenty.
I love seeing cities that continue to thrive amidst their historical foundations–believe it or not, this place has some history. Their earliest known records date back to 1275. Although compared to other Dutch cities (like Rotterdam, which I’ll get into later), Amsterdam is quite young. However, it remained relatively untouched by the bombings of WWII, allowing us to enjoy the 17th century architecture that is so endearing.
It was during the 17th century that Amsterdam became the wealthiest city in the world. Merchants sailed in from all over, making it a huge hub for trade and the financial center of the time. Eventually, as disputes raged in Europe, their power wained until the industrial revolution vamped up the area yet again.
World War II took a high toll on the citizens of Amsterdam. Over 60,000 Dutch Jews were taken from the city to concentration camps, including the young Anne Frank. The annex where she and her family hid is now a highly visited site. Such a heartbreaking story amidst what is now a happy place.
Stories of the past are sprinkled throughout the streets and canals of the city. Dutch culture thrives through history, art, culture, food, and nightlife. If you’re there, make sure to get an order of bitterballen or homemade cheese as you cruise along the canals. What could be more delightful?