Amsterdam Canals Amsterdam, capital city of The Netherlands, is reputed worldwide for its liberal attitudes towards social and cultural issues. With youthful vibrance, tolerant drug laws and a reputation as the gay centre of Europe, Amsterdam has defined itself as a progressive, lively city and has become a "must see" for many backpackers making their way around Europe.

Amsterdam is named for its location on a dam, built in the 13th Century, on the Amstel River. Today, Amsterdam encompasses a web of canals which wind their way through the city, providing both transportation and a distinctive appearance.

Amsterdam has many art galleries and points of historical and cultural signifigance. Of particular interest are Anne Frank's House (Anne Frankhuis), the great Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum, home to a collection of 17th Century Dutch paintings.

Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District, coffee shops (which serve more than just coffee), wild nightlife, and proximity to Britain have all contributed to make it a mecca for partiers. On any given weekend you are likely to encounter a group of British tourists intent on having a big weekend away.

The popularity of Amsterdam as both a party and tourist destination means that accomodation, although abundant, is in high demand. Hotel prices are often exuberant. Hostels, while still somewhat pricey, are a better deal. Whatever your accommodation of choice, it is highly recommended that you book ahead.

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