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What do South Africa, the USA, Holland and the Indian Ocean all have in common? – They all have an Amsterdam !

However, only one of them has over 800 000 inhabitants from 140 countries, who do their shopping in 10 334 stores, 165 antique shops and 26 markets. They rush about at a leisurely pace on their 550 000 bicycles across 1 281 bridges, zig-zagging around 160 canals, riding through one shower of rain after another and chasing the minority of car drivers who still venture onto this territory claimed by the trusty bike.

Yes, of course, this is the Amsterdam, coronation city and capital of the Netherlands ! Of course the seat of government is in The Hague, but the City of Canals is the true “First Lady”. She wears the cosmopolitan scent of a world city, she is open-minded, lively and breathtaking. As early as the Golden Age of the 17th century the city had acquired great wealth by trading with the exotic lands of Asia. Nowadays the times of the great sea adventures are long gone, you can only admire museum reconstructions of the proud East Indies cutters in the port. Instead of the merchants and sailors haggling over china and spices, today more than four million visitors pour into the city each year. Amsterdam is a jewel, and the hallmark “Amsterdam cut” is recognised by more than just dealers in precious stones as a sign of the highest quality.

So, you don’t have to go as far afield as South Africa, the USA or the Indian Ocean. The most beautiful Amsterdam is right here on your doorstep.

 

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