Overview:

Amsterdam began life as a series of interconnected trading posts sat amongst marshy swampland and has since grown to become one of the world’s most diverse marketplaces; northern Europe’s great bazaar grouped around the most beautiful canal networks in the world.

Their close relationship with the sea meant that the Dutch quickly established themselves as the great maritime traders of the world and this outward looking mentality remains in evidence to this day, nowhere more so than in the great city of Amsterdam.

As well as their openness and tolerance the people here pride themselves on their ability to bring you unique and outlandish goods from around the world. It makes the city a bona fide shopper’s paradise.

Whether you are looking for fine art, jewellery or just the plain bizarre you will find Amsterdam’s shops stuffed full of weird and wonderful objects from around the globe. You won’t find any monstrous shopping centres, just 100s of small retailers with goods stacked to the rafters.

There are also lots of different events throughout the year; the best time for outdoor amusement is between June and September when a whole range of open air concerts, festivals and theatre productions take place across the city. The winter on the other hand is the best time to go on a budget as this is when Amsterdam’s hotels reduce their prices and the weather makes for a particularly inspiring cityscape.

Christmas and New Year however are the exception to this rule; New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is the stuff of legend and this is reflected in the lack of hotel vacancies around the city.