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Areas of Amsterdam
Dam Square: Five minutes walk south of the station, is the centre of town, but there are several other 'centres', all within walking distance.
An enclosed courtyard dating from the early 14th century. Hidden behind the busy Spui shopping strip, it's an oasis of peace, with tiny houses grouped around a well-kept courtyard. One of the houses dates from 1465, making it the oldest maintained wooden house in the country.
Southern Canal Belt:
Amsterdam at its most gracious, with the tall, narrow canal architecture reflected in the water. Amsterdam's centre is embraced by five circular waterways called the Grachtengordel (canal belt). Along the Herengracht (Gentleman's Canal) sit the city's largest private mansions. South of the Herengracht are the Keizersgracht (Emperor's Canal, named for the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I) and Prinsengracht (Princes' Canal, after the House of Orange).
Getting There & Around
Schiphol airport is 14km SW of the city or 20-30 mins drive. Via sailboat: Harwich-Hook of Holland (6.5hr) or Hull-Rotterdam (14hr).
Good public transport systems, including trams, buses and bicycles.
Highlights & Sights:
Canals, The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Artis Zoo, Red Light District