The city also happens to be experiencing something of a
renaissance of late, which is what particularly peaked our
interest. In fact it's a wonder anyone at all visited Amsterdam in
the last few years with so many of the highlights undergoing
intense renovations of late. Exhibit A is the spectacular
Rijksmuseum, which has finally emerged from a decade long (and €375
million) chrysalis better than ever. This remains home to an
unparalleled collection of art chronicling Holland's Golden Age and
featuring gems from Dutch masters from Rembrandt via Vermeer to van
Meanwhile, Vincent's very own Van Gogh Museum took the chance to
enjoy a small refurbishment itself in 2013 and is now also open for
business again, which equates to some 1.6 million visitors a year.
Finally, the modernist Stedelijk Museum is home to an outstanding
collection of modern and contemporary art as well as design.
We think the combination of these museums alone makes Amsterdam
Short Break territory but it's worth bearing in mind that
Amsterdam has the highest density of museums of any city on the
planet, with Anne Frank's House and the National Maritime Museum
two other highlights. Culture Vultures will also doubtless
gravitate to the Concertgebouw, the national concert hall with
famously good acoustics that is home to arguably the finest
orchestra on the planet. Discuss.
Now a word of encouragement for the more, shall we say,
culturally ambivalent. Museums and concert halls aside, this is a
very pretty city just to wander around, with 17th century Dutch
gabled townhouses that were once home to wealthy merchants lining
beautifully maintained canals. Hop on board a canal boat or bicycle
(flat is good, remember) for another way of seeing what the city
has to offer, and come evening there is a resurgent restaurant
scene to enjoy with everything from bistros to Michelin stars to
choose from. And any country that thinks chocolate hundreds and
thousands are a good accompaniment to breakfast gets our vote. This
is also a city that does a good beer, with many a decent pub in
which to enjoy said beer, and some excellent shopping
opportunities, especially in the Nine Little Streets neighbourhood.
Finally; we know that there are cafes catering to consumers of a
certain herbaceous variety, and a red light district, but unless
you're a twenty-something bloke on a stag party that's presumably
of little interest in a city with so much else to see.