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Behind the scenes in Amsterdam.

It’s so easy to get to Amsterdam for a short-hop city break and there are so many things to see and do to keep you busy. Traditional must-see places to visit are the Royal Palace, Wester Church, Dam Square, Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Flower Market and it’s always a joy to wander the canals that give the city its nickname, ‘Venice of the North’. A great way to get around is by hiring a bike (www.bikecity.nl), or by using the canal bus to explore the city’s attractions.

But if you’re looking for something different, either as a first visitor or if you’re returning to the city and have ‘done’ the usual tourist sites, bear in mind that, when it comes to avant-garde, Amsterdam doesn’t sit on its laurels. Head for the World Trade Centre (www.mywtcamsterdam.com) and surrounding area (pictured) to see the town’s inspirational contemporary architecture by day then dance the night away to live music in the Paradiso (www.paradiso.nl) which is housed in a converted church.

Or if you prefer a little tradition but like to ‘go local’, visit the Vondelpark in Oud-Zuid, which also has a film museum and open-air theatre to keep you entertained. On the shopping front, the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat has amazing antique shops, or try the concept store SPRMRKT (www.sprmrkt.nl). Housed in a converted supermarket, the store sells great fashion items and accessories.

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