Amsterdam is the capital and most populated municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government which is The Hague. The name of the city is indicative of the city’s origin as a dam on the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), due to its innovative developments in trade. The 17th century canals of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in the world and is center of bicycle culture with good facilities for cyclists such as bike paths and bike racks and several guarded bike storage garages which can be used for nominal fee. Bicycles are used by all socio-economic groups because of their convenience, Amsterdam’s small size, the 400 kms of bike paths, the flat terrain and arguable inconvenience of driving an automobile.
Canal cruise in Amsterdam is a rewarding experience. You board a glass topped boat and glide past regal mansions, house boats and bridges. The city is famous for its red light district which is also a major attraction among tourists. The city also holds a sex museum which is called Venus Temple.
Amsterdam is famous for its cheese and clogs (wooden shoes). If time permits you can make a visit to one of the cheese making factories which demonstrates this traditional business. Amsterdam is famous for Gouda cheese, a Dutch yellow cheese made from cow’s milk. It is named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. One of the most popular cheeses worldwide, the name used today as a general term for a variety of similar cheese produced in the traditional Dutch manner.