Not Your Typical European Capital

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Amsterdam: it conjures up many an image in one’s mind, and usually ones that include activities not legal in this country.  It’s a shame, because quite frankly, Amsterdam is a beautiful city that is rich with culture and home to some of the friendliest people Europe has to offer.

I spent a weekend in Amsterdam, and by the first day I’d fallen head over heels in love with the city. Walking along the canal, I felt as if I’d been transported back in time and was not in 21st century Europe but somewhere in the 20th century.

The buildings still hold the charm of that era, and teamed with the quaint little side streets home to a variety of restaurants and the army of cyclists only reinforce this feeling.  The vibe of the city is not one typical of a capital; it feels relaxed, welcoming and romantic at times – a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city slickers in cities such as London.

It’s impossible to deny that Amsterdam holds reputation as a hot spot for party goers, but in actual fact, there is a fusion of historic tourist sites such as Anne Frank’s house and the Van Gough museum to more modern attractions such as the Heineken museum.

It underlines the fact that Amsterdam is not a city for those simply looking for a good time; it is able to cater for people looking for a more culturally enriching experience.  Even if none of the above sound appealing, the pure beauty of the city is enough to occupy anybody for a weekend – some of the most stunning pictures I have ever taken were in Amsterdam.

Ironically, even though Amsterdam has a reputation for being a notorious destination for people looking to party, the atmosphere of the city on both Friday and Saturday night was completely different to the often electric ones felt in the UK city centres.

Even though I was in a foreign country, I felt safe and relatively at ease.  This was probably helped by the fact that the majority of people spoke English, to a high level, but also because the people on a whole were welcoming.

Consequently, the result of my stay in Amsterdam is one I feel has ignited something of a love affair of the country which I can see myself returning to again and again, and I urge everyone to visit it at least once.

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