Expert guide to Amsterdam
A msterdam somehow manages to have it all. It has the buzz of a metropolis, with few big-city drawbacks. It’s small enough to walk or cycle almost anywhere you want, yet is rarely dull.
Dinky gabled buildings, pretty bridges and quiet canals give it village-like charm, yet you’ll also find top-ranking art museums and one of the best orchestras in the world. Most of all, Amsterdam combines its glittering past with a wry, rough, rebellious contemporary edginess.
Free things to do
Weekend break in.
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When to go to Amsterdam
P opular songs have it that spring’s the time to come tulip-plucking, but really any season in Amsterdam has its allure.
At the slightest hint of good weather the chairs and tables go out at pavement cafés. On the downside, expect rain or Tupperware-grey skies any time of year – but then there’s more than enough on the museum front to keep you entertained indoors. Summer can be a heady time of long evenings on outdoor terraces, autumn for bracing walks along the canals, winter ideal for snuggling down with good Dutch beer in a cosy, wood-panelled café.
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Know before you go
B ritish Embassy (00 31 70 427 0427), Lange Voorhout 10, 2514 ED, The Hague
British Consulate-General (0031 20 676 4343), Koningslaan 44, 1075 AE, Amsterdam
Emergency services: dial 112. For non-emergency police matters dial 0900 8844
Tourist office and information: the Tourist Office (0031 20 702 6000; iamsterdam.com) is on Stationsplein, across from the main entrance to Centraal Station. Open daily, Apr-Sept 9am-6pm; Oct- Mar 9am-5pm
Local laws and etiquette
It’s not true that “anything goes” in Amsterdam. Public drunkenness, rowdiness, and smoking dope in the street meet with severe – if silent – local disapproval.
C urrency: Euro. Few establishments will accept notes of over €50, and prices are rounded off to the nearest 5c (1c and 2c coins are not used in The Netherlands)
Travel times: flying time from London to Amsterdam is just over an hour. Trains (with a change in Brussels) take about six hours
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