Amsterdam is much more than the capital of the Netherlands and home to some 2.2 million people in its metropolitan area. In all my travels, there is nothing quite like Amsterdam. For those of us who reside, visit and soon to visit, it is a city to fall in love with, and there are few reasons not to. The city's rich heritage and culture, romantic canals and architecture, world-class museums, quirky art and music festivals, laid-back coffee shops, friendly and tolerant people and liveability set it apart from other global cities.
Dam Square with Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) and De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in background
There are more reasons in 2013 to fall in love again with this European city that manages to be all things to all people. Throughout the year, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area will be home to many special celebrations that appeal to a wide demographics of residents and visitors. There will be special commemorative jubilees and festivities for youths, families and seniors that connect the rich history and contemporary facets of the city. Of the extensive programme, here are the 10 best reasons to visit Amsterdam in 2013.
Note to Readers: For more updated information on Amsterdam's festivities, events, attractions, museums and nightlife, please visit the official portal website of the City of Amsterdam at www.iamsterdam.com
Renowned around the world for its unique acoustics, the Concertgebouw plays host to more than 700 concerts and some 700,000 audiences each year. In 2013, this acclaimed concert hall will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a wide array of special concerts and events.
Celebrations of its former glories and live performances by internationally-acclaimed soloists, orchestras and conductors will be shared with residents and visitors throughout the year. Visit www.concertgebouw.nl for more updates.
Along with the Concertgebouw, the renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra or 'Koninklijk Concertgebouworkestalso' celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2013. It was conferred the "Royal" title by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1988 and ranked the best symphony orchestra in the world in 2008. It comprises of 120 talented and dedicated musicians led by chief conductor Mariss Jansons.
Throughout 2013, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will travel the 6 continents and deliver 48 concerts in 30 cities around the world in addition to 70 concerts back home. It will also lead the popular Prinsengracht Concert on 24 August. For more information, visit www.concertgebouworkest.nl.
The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands. Completed in 1876, it is world-renowned for its famous collection of Old Masters painting especially works by by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals in addition to hundreds and thousands of items including paintings, ship models, sculptures, archaeological artifacts, clothing, weapons, historical prints and photographs that make up a comprehensive Dutch history collection. This 'cathedral of Dutch art' underwent a massive 10 year renovation, rebuilding and restoration since 2003 but remained partially opened during that period.
On 13 April 2013, the Rijksmuseum will reopen its doors to the public, revealing 80 restored halls in which 8,000 items narrate the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history, from the Middle Ages up to present day. Once again, its world famous examples of Dutch art including Rembrandt's 'Nightwatch' can be enjoyed by visitors from home and abroad in ideal surroundings. For more information, visit www.rijksmuseum.nl/
Founded in 1778, the Felix Meritis on the Keizersgracht was a place of literature, science art and music for the local intelligentsia well into the 19th century. Today, European art, culture, philosophy and politics continue to form the foundations of daily activities at Felix Meritis. In 2013, this independent and iconic European centre for art, culture and science as well as an meeting place in Amsterdam will celebrate 225 years of tradition. To mark its special anniversary on 18 April, the building's unique Observatory will once again be open to the public and visitors are invited to participate in the guided tours of the roof of this iconic canal house. Visit www.felix.meritis.nl for more information.
The Van Gogh Museum is one of the 25 most-visited museums in the world. It welcomes some 1.6 million visitors each year eager to view the world's largest collection of drawings, paintings and letters by world-famous Dutch artist Van Gogh as well as works of his contemporaries.
An extensive collection of Van Gogh's works are on display at the Hermitage Amsterdam until 25 April 2013 due to extensive renovation. The Van Gogh Museum will celebrate its 40th anniversary by officially reopening its customary location at the Museumplein on 2 May and host an exhibition featuring over 200 works that offer insights into the creation process behind Van Gogh's famous paintings and drawings. Visit www.vangoghmuseum.nl for more information.
Families may be interested in the oldest and most famous zoo in the Netherlands, located in the heart of Amsterdam. Founded in 1838, Artis Zoo is currently home to some 6,100 animals from about 900 different species. It is also popular with families because the zoo is also a playground, garden, monumental city park and cultural meeting place.
Children will enjoy viewing the tropical fishes in the Aquarium, walking through the Birdhouse and studying the animal species. In 2013, Artis Zoo will come alive with colours as thousands of flowers bloom through the entire area. For more information, visit www.artis.nl.
150 Years of Slavery Abolition
Monument to 1795 Slave Revolt in Landhuis Kenepa of Curaçao / Photo by cphoffman42 of Flickr
The Foundation for the Commemoration of Slavery 2013 or 'Stichting Herdenking Slavernijverleden 2013' has been set up to
prepare a schedule of events to commemorate the abolition of
Dutch slavery was abolished in the former colonies of Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. It will be exactly 150 years of such abolition on 1 July 2013. The Foundation will be working with the City of Amsterdam to deliver a national commemoration that connects that past with a broad attention on the history of slavery and various forms of slavery in the present while providing an opportunity for various institutions and groups to celebrate freedom.
The Frans Hals Museum is home to the largest collection of paintings in the world by Dutch painter, Fran Hals, who specialised in portraits and was acclaimed for his accurate, expressive style. Located in Haarlem, the museum boast some about 800 paintings in addition to its collection of historic art.
Frans Hals' 'Banket van de officieren van de St. Jorisdoelen, 1627' / Photo by legalizefreedom of Flickr
In 2013, the Frans Hals Museum will host a jubilee exhibition with 50 masterpieces by Frans Hals along with paintings by peers such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian. To mark its centenary, the museum will also present a new permanent multimedia exhibition. Visit www.franshalsmuseum.nl for more information.
2013 celebrates the close relationship between Russia, the Netherlands and Amsterdam. The strong economic, cultural and socio-political ties between both countries dates back to 1697 when Czar Peter the Great visited the Netherlands. Amsterdam's magnificent canals inspired his construction of St Petersburg.
In the 19th century, kinship was formed between both royal families through the marriage of one of the Russian Tsar's daughters to a member of the Dutch royal family. This special relationship was celebrated with the opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam in 2009. During the year a major exhibition dedicated to Peter the Great will be held at the Hermitage Amsterdam. Visit www.hermitage.nl for more information.
The Amsterdam Canal Ring or 'Grachtengordel' is an architectural expression of the success, wealth and growth of the city during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. It forms the heart of the city and Its uniqueness of design, engineering and city planning has been recognised by UNESCO as a world-acclaimed monument and added to the World Heritage list in August 2010.
2013 marks the 400th anniversary since construction began on Amsterdam's world renowned Canal Ring and various 17th century type activities will be organised on and around the canals throughout the year with the museums, hotels and restaurants that call the canals home. The Canal Ring is one of the world's most unique urban environments with a blend of 17th century history, beautiful canals, quaint bridges that offer a one-of-the-kind backdrop for events.
when you are in the netherlands you can buy a train ticket for the whole day, or more days, and with that ticket, you can travel as much as you want that days with the train. then you see more of our county! it's really nice, and it is better than look only in amsterdam. so, check out the most nice countries to visit and have a netherlands-trip! (PS: i'm sorry for my bad english. i am 13 and have only 1 year lesson in english. you see, i come from the netherlands.)