Only in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an incredibly diverse city. Old and new, calm and bustling, artistic and commercial, small-town and cosmopolitan atmosphere – there is no way to describe the city without contradictions. Let Marco Polo show you some unique experiences to be had in Holland’s capital…

Only in Amsterdam

Life on the canals
Depending on where they stand, the houses on Amsterdam’s canals (canal = ‘gracht’) can be crooked and leaning to one side, or imposing and elegant. Lining the canals of the old part of town, shoulder to shoulder, they were all built of brick, but when you look more closely, no two are alike. The finest residences are in the Gouden Bocht (Golden Arc) on Herengracht.

Brown cafés
They have to be wood-panelled all round, but above all cosy and sociable: the ‘brown cafés’ that you find on almost every corner in Amsterdam. Some examples of this type of establishment, like De Oosterling or ‘t Smalle, are several hundred years old.

Koningsdag
Every year on 27th April the Dutch all over the country celebrate their King. But only in Amsterdam do they hold a city-wide flea market, which turns into a big open-air party in the afternoon. To be part of it, dress from head to toe in orange and prepare to lose all your inhibitions.

Bridges everywhere
In the historic parts of the city there are no less than 600 bridges. The most famous of which is the Magere Brug across the Amstel. At the junction of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht you can even take in 15 bridges all at once.

All around the globe
The shelves are filled with foodstuffs from Thailand, Surinam and India, and salsa music pours from the hi-fi system. If you want to see how cosmopolitan Amsterdam is, peek inside one of the tokos, the little shops that sell exotic provisions. (There are many to be found around Albert Cuypmarkt.)

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Discover The Netherlands

Think that the Netherlands is all about Amsterdam!? Think again.

 Amsterdam is amazing and well worth a visit… but there are so many other places to discover! Marco Polo’s guide to the top places to visit in The Netherlands (other than Amsterdam):

Rotterdam Cube Houses

Rotterdam

The famous Kubuswoningen (Cube Houses) in Rotterdam are located on Overblaak Street, right above the Blaak Subway Station. They consist of 40 conventional houses, tilted 45 degrees to become the first cube-shaped houses in Holland and were designed by Piet Blom.

One of the houses has been converted into a “museum” so you can see inside for yourself! (The others are residential houses!) Opening times: 11am – 5pm, 7 days a week. Admission 2.50 EUR. For more information visit: Kubuswoning.nl

Markthal“Good food, every day”. The first indoor market in the Netherlands opened its doors in Rotterdam in October 2014.  With 100 fresh produce units, 15 food shops, 8 restaurants and 228 stalls, there really is something for every taste and budget. Opening times: 10am – 8pm Monday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm Sunday. For more information visit: Markthalrotterdam.nl

Rotterdam Cube Houses

Utrecht

The Dom (de Dom) Tower of Utrecht was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin. It was never fully completed due to lack of funds. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674, the Dom has remained a free standing tower. It is, in fact, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands.

It’s possible to climb the 465 steps (there is no lift) and view the beautiful city of Utrecht from the tower galleries at 70 and 95 metres. For more information visit: Domtoren.nl

Canals – The Oudegracht, or “old canal”, runs through the center of Utrecht. Take time to walk along it an explore the wonderful views! Better still – you can take a canal cruise. Further information via visit-utrecht.com

Naarden Vesting

Naarden-Vesting

Naarden, located in the province of North Holland, is an example of a star fort, complete with fortified walls and a moat. The moat and walls have been restored and are currently in excellent condition. It is the home of the Netherlands Fortress Museum (Nederlands Vestingmuseum).

Naarden is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon, exploring the fort, visiting St. Vitus Church (pictured), soaking up the local culture and dining at one of the town’s excellent cafes or restaurants.

Maastricht

Photo credit: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported © Michielverbeek

Maastricht

Maastricht, situated in the Southeast of the Netherlands is the capital city in the province of Limburg. Known for its lively squares, narrow streets, and historical buildings – the city has 1,677 (national heritage sites), more than any Dutch city outside Amsterdam!

Highlights include the Meuse river, Basilica of Our Lady, Caves of St. Pieter, Het Vrijthof (beautiful square in the center of old town Maastricht) and Basilica of St. Servatius. For more information visit: Holland.com/Maastricht

Essentials for your visit: Netherlands Marco Polo Map

Netherlands Marco Polo Map

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