Amsterdam, the Venice of Northern Europe

Here we are with a new appointment for sostravel.com’s journey to discover the most popular destinations for your travels. Last week we took the romantic itinerary of Menorca, an island in the Balearic archipelago. Today we will discover Amsterdam, one of the most beautiful locations in Northern Europe called the “Venice of the North” thanks to the blue waters of its canals that will immerse you in a magical post-impressionist atmosphere!

The origins of Amsterdam

To understand all the charm, we have to go back in time and discover the origins of a name that has given life to the essence of this city. Did you know that “Amsterdam” derives from the union of the words “Amstel” and “Dam”? They indicate exactly the position in which the city was born in the thirteenth century, an ancient fishing village and precisely the first word is the river, the second the dam located near the village. Amsterdam is, therefore, the ideal destination for all those who want to breathe history and modernity, classic and contemporary, culture and social life. For this reason, sostravel.com has chosen to take you on the discovery of the most secret corners of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam-Noord hipster neighbourhoods in the world

Our itinerary starts from the streets of this little jewel of Northern Europe. Who doesn’t love to walk through the streets of a new city discovering characteristic corners, picturesque neighbourhoods and enjoying the atmosphere of a city with history, intricacies and lots of culture? So you certainly don’t want to miss Noord, one of the most hipster neighbourhoods in the world.

An old industrial area now a den for artists and a real eco-sustainable kingdom where you can visit vintage shops, alternative markets and taste lots of organic food. In this corner of the city once stood old warehouses and shipyards, now fallen into disuse and revalued in spaces for sharing culture, entertainment and craftsmanship that create a relaxed atmosphere.

Amsterdam-Noord is, therefore, a neighbourhood that will make you feel almost in a world of its own, surrounded by greenery that continues to maintain its rural character. Visiting Noord you will be fascinated by the solidarity of the people who live there, just as in a small village where everyone knows each other and gives life to a true community. Bars, hardware stores, small harbour, small shops, laundries, shutters with graffiti … nothing is missing from Noord!

Noord, one of the most hipster neighborhoods in the world
Noord, one of the most hipster neighborhoods in the world

Grachtengordel: the centre of Amsterdam

Continuing the discovery of the city, you simply have to stop and look at the beautiful canals, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, that by crossing the city won it the title of “Venice of the North”: a true urban masterpiece made of bridges, boats and houseboats. Indeed, with its 165 canals that stretch for about 100km, Amsterdam is considered a true city on the water with great charm and beauty. Did you know that the centre of Amsterdam is bordered by some of the most important canals? A literal belt called “Grachtengordel” embraces the heart of the capital of the Netherlands.

Some canals were built in the 15th century for defensive purposes, others were built in the first decades of the 17th century for residential purposes. To fully admire their picturesque charm, a boat trip is definitely mandatory. Ideal experience to discover all the beauty, along the river, of characteristic high and narrow brick houses with a triangular front, elegant residences, old recovered warehouses and romantic terraces on the water that return the poetic atmosphere which envelops the entire city.

View of the canals of Amsterdam
View of the canals of Amsterdam

Bloemenmarkt: the Flower Market

You might already know Amsterdam for the fame of its red light districts, but certainly what you don’t know is that it is considered the world capital of bicycles! In fact, more than half of its citizens cycle every day through the streets of the city. For this reason we suggest you rent one and reach the Flower Market!

Strolling through the Bloemenmarkt, a small and pretty floating tulip market, is a unique and suggestive experience, full of entrancing colors and intense perfumes that will inebriate your senses. Located above the Singel canal between Muntplein and Koningsplein, this market dates back to the 1860s when greenhouse growers went up the Amstel River and moored boats here to sell their products.

The flower market is therefore a historical symbol of the city and is located in the so-called southern belt of the canals of Amsterdam, which is the most popular one, full of night clubs, restaurants, antique shops and small original museums that you will love to visit.

Tulips, a historical symbol of the city
Tulips, a historical symbol of the city

There are truly many attractions to discover in the suggestive Venice of Northern Europe. Here at sostravel.com, we have only revealed a few locations of the almost secret and unconventional Amsterdam that we hope has intrigued you and made you want to explore it. Our journey continues with the appointment for next week, to discover new destinations and sensational experiences you don’t want to miss.