Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. With more than one million inhabitants in its urban area (and almost two and a half million inhabitants in its metropolitan area), it is the country's largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative center. Amsterdam derives its name from the city’s origin as “Dam” of river “Amstel”. In the past, the name was "Amstelredamme" which later changed as “Amsterdam”.
Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, attracting over 7 million international travelers annually.Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North because of its lovely canals that crisscross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. There is something for every traveler’s taste here; whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.
While visiting the city, you will be more than comfortable speaking English. Around 90% of the Dutch can speak English (around 70% can speak German and 30% can speak French!) and the language is used in many international businesses, organizations, and universities. In addition to this, there are also the various languages of numerous immigrant communities that are widely spoken in major cities (such as Turkish, Arabic, and Indonesian).
Amsterdam uses the Euro.
- ATM: ATMs can be found throughout Amsterdam, particularly in the tourist areas. If you plan on withdrawing money or using your credit card while traveling, don't forget to notify your bank before you go for security purposes and to check what international withdrawal fees may apply to your card.
- Cash: Before you leave home, it is important to convert some of your Australian Dollars into Euros to have with you when you arrive in Amsterdam.
- Travel Card: For safe spending similar to that of a credit card but without the risk of accruing debt, a pre-paid travel money card is ideal for international travel. Cash Passports can store your money in the form of Euros, which can then be accessed with a plastic card at ATMs and used wherever MasterCard is accepted.
Amsterdam is overflowing with accommodation choices for every type of trip.
Whether you're visiting for a romantic weekend, a business trip or a fun holiday, Restscene has a variety of hotels for you to book from. Visit our website for more booking options.
Food and Drink
It's probably fair to say that Dutch cuisine is not world-renowned, but Amsterdam, it's capital city, is home to some mouth-watering treats – yes. From authentic Amsterdam street food "war fries" to "wrong coffee", here are our top 10 things to try in Amsterdam.
- Pancakes: Dutch pancakes (pannekoeken) are simple to make and can be topped or filled with a variety of options, everything from cheese and bacon to banana and chocolate sauce. Thinner than American pancakes, but still thicker than French crêpes, they are often eaten as a main course and frequently served at children’s parties.
- Fries: You can’t go wrong with a decent portion of fries, and Amsterdam has no shortage of places where you can indulge in this crowd favorite. For an authentic Dutch experience, order a patatjeoorlog, or “war fries”, served with Dutch mayonnaise (creamier and a tad sweeter than other varieties), raw onions and Indonesian satay sauce (a thick peanut sauce with a spicy kick).
- Croquettes (Krokets): Dutch croquettes, or krokets, are a textural marvel: crunchy on the outside and deliciously smooth on the inside. Traditionally created as a way of using leftover meat, the dish exploded in popularity during WWII. Krokets typically contain beef (rundvleeskroket) but can include anything from vegetables to prawns.
- Stamppot: No Dutch winter is complete without a hearty stamppot. Commonly made from potatoes mashed withvegetables such as cabbage, endive or spinach, and paired with smoked sausage, this dish will please your palate. Originally regarded as peasant food, Dutch families across the country now eat stamppot with great gusto.
- Herring: Slippery, salty and fishy, herring may not be on everyone’s must-try list. For the Dutch, however, herring is more than just a pickled snack, it’s a way of life. Fishmongers and fish stand throughout the city often sell the delicacy with a generous helping of raw onions. There’s only one way to eat it: grab it by the tail, tip your head back and gobble it down.
- Brunch: From quirky, independent cafés to boat-based eateries, enjoying brunch in Amsterdam is an experienceunlike any other. The city’s millennials have turned it into a weekend ritual. With a wide variety of food, from eggs and avocados to pancakes and porridge, the city caters to everyone during this tempting time of day.
- Apple pie (appeltaart): Apple pie is as traditional as Dutch cuisine comes, tracing its existence back to the Middle Ages. Made with a lattice upper crust and usually served with ice cream or whipped cream, a slice of appeltaart is the perfect afternoon indulgence.
- Stroopwafels: One of the most popular and well-loved Dutch sweets is the humble yet delicious stroopwafel, or “syrup waffle”. The oldest known recipe is attributed to Gerard Kamphuisen, a baker from Gouda who recorded his tasty invention in 1840. Stroopwafels are now enjoyed around the world and make a scrumptious addition to a cup of coffee or tea.
- Coffee: Amsterdam runs on coffee. The Dutch love this bitter black liquid so much that, on average, they drink about 8.4kg per capita, and the city boasts enough cafés and coffee houses to keep any caffeine addict happy.
- Beer: The Dutch are beer connoisseurs, and their capital city is awash with local specialties such as Amstel, Heineken, and Brouwerij ‘t IJ. Ask for a biertje and you’ll get a small glass of beer with a decent sized head. This foamy layer protects the beer from becoming too oxidized and losing its flavor.