Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital city of and the most populous within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the Dutch capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlandsthough it is not the seat of the Dutch government, which is The Hague.Amsterdam has a population of 810,909 within the city-proper, 1,108,297 in the urban region and 1,571,234 in the greater metropolitan area. city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises much of the northern part of theRandstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, receiving more than 4.63 million international visitors annually, this is excluding the 16 million day trippers visiting the city every year.The number of visitors has been growing steadily over the past decade. This can be attributed to an increasing number of European visitors. Two thirds of the hotels are located in the city's centre. Hotels with 4 or 5 stars contribute 42% of the total beds available and 41% of the overnight stays in Amsterdam. The room occupation rate was 78% in 2006, up from 70% in 2005.The majority of tourists (74%) originate from Europe. The largest group of non-European visitors come from the United States, accounting for 14% of the total.Certain years have a theme in Amsterdam to attract extra tourists. For example, the year 2006 was designated "Rembrandt 400", to celebrate the 400th birthday of Rembrandt van Rijn. Some hotels offer special arrangements or activities during these years. The average number of guests per year staying at the four campsites around the city range from 12,000 to 65,000.

If you're planning a European trip, first read this list of reasons to include Amsterdam on your journey. You might be surprised by a few!

You'll Get to Know an Urban Village One of my favorite things about Amsterdam -- and perhaps one of the lesser known facts -- is that the city is small enough (roughly 740,000 locals inhabit its central area) that visitors can get a real feel for its people, neighborhoods, sights and secrets. Compared to sprawling Paris and London, this European capital is more of a village -- and visitors can see nearly all of it on a bike ride, walking tour or public transportation in just a few days. This accessibility means you'll spend your time making memories instead of making sense of an overwhelming itinerary to see too much in too little time.

A Floating City is Truly Magical Most people who've never even been to Amsterdam have at least heard about its canals. They are certainly worth seeing, as the 165 waterways create a seemingly floating city of 90 islands connected by 1,281 bridges. A canal cruise is a must-do activity in Amsterdam; and just walking the winding, narrow streets along the waters will give you a sense of the magic this city possesses.

You'll Get One of Europe's Best Visual History LessonsWith more than 6,800 houses and buildings protected as monuments and dating from the 16th to the 20th century, Amsterdam boasts the largest historical inner city in Europe. The towering, sturdy warehouses and elegant homes built by wealthy merchants during Holland's Golden Age (the 17th century) line the city's canals and are perhaps its most distinguishing architectural features.

Unique, World-class Museums AboundTake your pick: see the works of Dutch masters and treasures of a time when Amsterdam was the richest city in the world at the Rijksmuseum; learn about the styles and secrets of the man who could be considered Holland's most interesting painter at the Van Gogh Museum; or walk through the tiny annex that a group of eight called home for two years during Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in World War II at the Anne Frank House. These are among the top museums in Amsterdam, but there are nearly 50 more to teach, entertain or move you.

No visitor should miss out on a water-borne tour of the splendid canals of Amsterdam. The canals, which were declared a UNESCO monument in 2010, aren't just a picturesque attraction, but were essential to defense and transport in 17th-century Amsterdam. With the arrival of the automobile, hundreds of canals were filled in nationwide to accommodate the new mode of transport, but Amsterdam has retained 165 of its historic canals, more than any other Dutch city. (Leiden, a South Hollandish university town, comes in at second place.)

A canal tour makes for a wonderful first impression, as the tour boats take in much of the monumental architecture that lines the Canal Belt, the four concentric semi-circles that loop around the the historic Center. While any canal tour will be an experience to remember, the options are plentiful: hop aboard an open-top boat from the St. Nicolaas Boat Club, or charter a private boat or a special themed or catered tour.

In general, most travelers visit Amsterdam betweenApril and September, when the days are longer and temperatures are milder than during other months.

But, the one thing that's constant about Amsterdam weather is that it's unpredictable. While there's never a guarantee of good weather, the Dutch pay no mind and carry on with whatever festival or party they have planned -- and so should you.

The Cheapest Time to Visit Amsterdam

Visitors will find the cheapest prices for Amsterdam flights and accommodations from late October to early March. The exception here is the holiday season in December.

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