Amsterdam, it is worthwhile to take the whole day to explore the beautiful city
. The Netherlands is located along the North Sea, its coast lined with bays and estuaries. Its history is full of conquests of distant lands and spectacular travels. In addition to the development of land overseas the Dutch struggled with areas of their own territories - since the Middle Ages to present day, the Dutch won back territories from the sea, building dams and various other defenses. The ancient city of Amsterdam, as well as all of the Netherlands, is no exception: its appearance and history are inextricably connected with the sea. Amsterdam is located at the mouth of Amstel and Hey rivers (which are connected with the North Sea). The city is crisscrossed by numerous canals, a symbol of the Netherlands.
The Amsterdam Train Station is located on the bank of the canal linking the city to the North Sea. It was built in 1889 on top of three artificial islands and 8600 blocks of wood, "curtained off" Amsterdam from the sea. However, now the railway station is surrounded by waterways from almost all sides - the famous canals of Amsterdam immediately greet passengers coming out of the train.
In the foreground is one of the many canals in Amsterdam, and in the background stands the spire of the famous
("Old Church"), with a history that began in the 13th century.
Passing the Red Light District adjacent to the train station in the center of the historic city:
In the middle of the stone-paved Nieuwmarkt square is an urban weigh house (Waag). Enhanced by surrounding towers, this building represents the oldest remaining city gate. The Waag became the city weigh house in the middle of a trade area in 1617, which is now the restaurant "In de Waag".
The western part of the Old Town, also known as the University quarter, is crossed by a rectangular grid of canals, where the facades of buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries stand. Winter, perhaps, is not the best time to visit given the amount of rain and slush that accumulates. Nevertheless, the lack of sun and greenery emphasizes the unique, urban architecture. Like the "black and white" Amsterdam of 1600 - 1700s, you may feel as if you have been transported back in time!
The building below is a fine example of 17th century architecture. It was built in 1605, and the facade since then has remained virtually unchanged. It once housed the powerful Dutch East India Company which was founded in 1602 and dominated trade with India.
Another trading company of that time, the West India, was founded in 1621 which concentrated on the New World and the slave trade. The beginning of the 17th century, for Holland, was a period of worldwide expansion through trading routes with several countries including North and South America, India, Persia, Arabia, Japan, and China. The country's merchant fleet became the largest in the world. In 1606 the Dutch discovered Australia, in 1642 Tasmania and in 1625, in the southern part of Manhattan Island, the city of "New Amsterdam", now known to everyone as New York. The Dutch also dominated territories beyond the polar circle, spending winters on the Novaya Zemlya, settling in Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa and conquering the city of Recife in South America. It was the golden age for Netherlands, especially for Amsterdam, leading to a rapid increase in the population and the building of three large canals around the city.
Walking through the old quarter, which has retained its original appearance.
One of the most famous attractions in this part of the city is the Zuiderkerk ("South Church"), built in 1603. Its steeple rises high above neighboring buildings.
One of the many pleasure boats passing the gate of the Oudeschans canal.
The Rembrandt museum is situated in the eastern part of Old Town. The 17th century was the golden age of art for the Netherlands, leading to a cultural symbol for the Dutch. Rembrandt lived and worked in this house (below) from 1639 to 1660. Many of Rembrandt's most famous paintings were created in the workshop of this house. Rembrandt's paintings are easily recognizable and can be viewed all over the world including in the St. Petersburg Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Each of his famous paintings features a special face, mood or philosophy. Rembrandt masterfully conveyed light and life through his paintings.
The original interior has been preserved within the museum. The works of Rembrandt's students are also presented on the ground floor.
The portrait below is the work of one of Rembrandt's students. The lighting reflects the famous painter's style.
And here is the famous workshop of Rembrandt.
On the upper floors there is an exhibition of miniature etchings - a kind of engraving on metal. Below is "The Return of the Prodigal Son".
And this miniature self-portrait by Rembrandt is a symbol of the Amsterdam museum.
The quarters of the 17th century, crossed by canals.
Winter in Amsterdam:
Numerous bridges have been built over the canals of Amsterdam,showcasing interesting turning machinery.