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Holidays in Amsterdam: The Venice of the North

Head to the most vibrant city in the Netherlands, its capital, Amsterdam. Known for its historic port, as well as the hundred or so kilometers of picturesque canals weaving through the city, no wonder its nickname is “Venice of the North.”

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The canals of Amsterdam are the best way to go sightseeing around the city; travelling the waterways will allow you to view the beautiful and ornate canal houses, stately mansions, and other medieval structures built beside them. You'll find the famous flower market along the Singel canal, one of the major arteries of the Amsterdam waterways.

For art aficionados, the most popular museum in Amsterdam is the Van Gogh museum which houses most of the artist’s early works; some of the more famous Van Gogh paintings on display are the "Aardappeleters" and "Zonnenbloemen." The most visited art museum in Amsterdam, the city's most important collection of classical Dutch art can be found in the Rijksmuseum. It has up to a million pieces of art, including works by Rembrandt and his pupils; his masterpiece, Nightwatch, is one of the most notable exhibits in the museum.

Amsterdam is also infamous for its red light district and cannabis cafés. It's the perfect place for a stag party! However, the government is currently trying to curb the number of places where prostitutes can operate.

There are close to 140 big festivals during the year in Amsterdam; the most popular are Queen’s Day or Koninginnedag on April 30, where thousands of visitors join the freemarket because anyone can sell anything; Gay Pride, held in August, a lavish costume party with gays parading around the city; and Uitmarkt, held in late August, which is a cultural event featuring artists, musicians, and poets.

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