Archive for the ‘Amsterdam’ Category

De Wallen

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

De Wallen is the largest yet best known red light district area in Amsterdam, and the world. It’s a major tourist attraction that’s located in the heart of oldest parts of Amsterdam city. The area covers multiple blocks around the Oude Kerk and crosses several canals. De Wallen, together with the prostitution areas Singelgebied and Ruysdaelkade is locally known as “Rosse Buurt” and worldwide known as “Red Light District”.

De Wallen is a network of narrow streets containing approximately 300 one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their services behind a glass door with red lights. In between the prostitutes there’s a number of sex shops, sex theaters, peep shows, bars and coffee shops selling marijuana. Though besides the sex industry which is most present in this area, there’s several other things to do. For example visiting the Sex museum (about $5 entrance fee) or the The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum (about $15 entrance fee) which are both located in the heart of red light district. They show interesting sights on the history of sex and soft drugs.

The area also offers narrow streets near canals, with plenty of small cozy cafe’s, bars and restaurants. It’s recommended to stay in for a drink, the average price per beer is about $3,50 depending on the exact location and bar you’re in. In any of the coffee shops, were smoking marijuana is legal you may not smoke regular cigarettes or purchase alcohol.

In the recent years, the Dutch government has tried to change the reputation of de Wallen worldwide by making it safe, like more police surveillance and opening “regular establishments” such as shoe shops, office buildings and bakery shops in between the red lights of the prostitutes.

Schiphol Airport

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) is the international airport of The Netherlands located just 10 miles of Amsterdam city, Schiphol is considered to be one of the busiest and most important airports in Europe. The airport is owned by Schiphol Group (N.V. Luchthaven Schiphol) with as main shareholders the Dutch government and the municipality of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Almost all of the airlines companies fly through Schiphol whether they may be a small Europe city hopper airline such as EasyJet or Transavia but also large international airlines such as North West, KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) and China Airlines. With nearly 50 millions travelers on yearly bases Schiphol Amsterdam has truly marked themselves for being one of the largest airports, it even ranks 12th on worldwide scale. Unlike other large airports there’s no free WIFI, internet is available through paid service points from KPN.

Travelers that pass through, arrive or depart from Schiphol and have the opportunity to spend time at the airport have a wide scale of possibilities to their availability, for example the Holland Casino which is centered in the passengers lounge, foreign currency exchange and ATM’s, business centers & lounges are spread out over the airport, several international restaurants for fine dining, a highly recommended restaurant is the Panorama terrace, for fantastic views of the aircraft’s, gates and platforms. For this fascinating spectacle, just follow the route between Arrivals hall 1, 2 and 3 and of course duty free shopping in any store after the passport control, recently Schiphol even made it possible to have your wedding at the airport.

When traveling with the family, and need your kids to lose a little steam. Bring them to Kid’s Forest for a play in between a kids dream content area with forest-like surroundings, actual tree houses with slides and a range of climbing and play equipment. All this free of charge located on Holland Boulevard – Between Piers E and F (Beyond Passport Control). Just imagine enjoying a “Back to Life” massage yourself for 10 (€16,50 about $25 US) or 20 (€27,50 about $40 US) minutes while your kids having fun during their travel!

When traveling outside the airport you can use the public taxis, be aware that taxi’s are considered a luxury in the Netherlands and prices for a short ride to Amsterdam easily exceeds €40 ( about $60 US). The most affordable way to travel is by train. There’s 8 stations at the airport right in the arrivals hall with intercity trains to Rotterdam, Den Haag and other destinations within Netherlands and Europe. There’s one NS Highspeed Fyra train connected that departs hourly to Rotterdam and soon to add London, Paris and Berlin.

For further information about Schiphol airport, contact the Holland Tourist Information open from 7 AM till 10 PM. For those would like or need to stay at the nearest airport hotel have several choices for example right on the arrival halls there’s Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Mercure Schiphol Terminal which both have good ratings.


Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. The city which on the latest count had a population of 800 thousand people, comprises the northern part of the Randstad. The 6th-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of around 6.7 million people.

Its name Amsterdam is derived from Amstel dam, indicative of the city origin: a dam in the river Amstel where the Dam Square is located today. Amsterdam settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, became one of the most important ports worldwide during the Dutch Golden Agen, as a result of its innovative developments in the trade market. During those years the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and the 20th centuries, the city expanded and many new neighborhoods and provinces where formed.

The city is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many of the big universities, Dutch institutions and the world’s leading companies have their headquarters located in Amsterdam. Amsterdam’s main attractions, including the historic canals, the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, its world famous red-light district De Wallen and its many cannabis coffee shops, draw 4.2 million tourists each year.

Travelers arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport need a valid passport and visa. American citizens can visit without a visa for up to 90 days. Amsterdam is a relatively small city so a good way to get round in the city is to rent bicycle or simply walk. The best time of the year to visit Amsterdam is between June and August this is when its summer in the Netherlands.