In and around Amsterdam
Accessible & compact
The city of Amsterdam is a national and international junction. The main airport, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, is considered one of the best in the world and is just 20 minutes from the city center. Amsterdam’s compact city center makes for outstanding public transport service and means that most facilities and sights are within walking distance. Amsterdam's network of canals also offers the unique opportunity to transport your delegates by water.
Amsterdam was founded in the Middle Ages near a dam on the Amstel River. The city truly blossomed in the early 17th century, when it became the world’s largest center for trade and art. The historic heart of the city, known as the Grachtengordel (canal ring), has remained beautifully intact to this day. But this area is not just a preserved open-air museum; it is the functional and friendly heart of the city, where locals and visitors alike create a vibrant energy.
The Netherlands' capital city has been a center of creativity and culture for centuries. Works of the 17th-century Dutch Masters Rembrandt and Vermeer grace the walls of the Rijksmuseum. Van Gogh Museum houses the world's largest collection of artist's masterpieces and Stedelijk Museum is a world-renowned bastion of modern and contemporary art. Virtually all points of interest are well within walking distance. The city is also home of the acclaimed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dutch National Ballet and Dutch Opera. Other cultural treasures include Anne Frank’s House, where the young Jewish girl hid from Nazis and penned her now-famous diary. The baroque Royal Palace on Dam Square, Rembrandt House and newly expanded Hermitage Museum are just a few more of Amsterdam's trove of offerings, sure to satisfy the cultural palate of the most discerning visitor.
Hub of knowledge
During the 17th century, Amsterdam was a stockpile of trading goods. Today, its location on the edge of Europe still positions the city as a central marketplace for free and efficient exchange of ideas. With two highly developed universities and several laboratories, Amsterdam is planted firmly on the world map as a fertile bed of knowledge and innovation. The city draws many prominent academics and has become an attractive meeting place for science and research professionals.
Amsterdam is home to a plethora of bars, nightclubs and cafés. Find a cosy neighborhood atmosphere in authentic 18th- and 19th-century pub on every corner. Or opt for one of their contemporary counterparts, the designer grand cafés and sleek lounge bars. A well-known hub of dance music, Amsterdam attracts some of the world's top DJs to its trendy nightclubs. The most popular nightlife areas Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein have something for everyone, from mellow jazz and blues cafés to late-night bars and a large casino. Or discover a local-favorite haunt by wandering just off the beaten path.
Some 30 to 40 festivals take place in Amsterdam each year, many of which attract world acclaim. The Holland Festival showcases the very best in theatre, opera and ballet; the Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival) features classical music played on floating stages; the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival screens art-house to mainstream masterpieces; and Uitmarkt opens the annual performing-arts season with free previews on outdoor stages across the city. There are also several weekly events, including football matches at the futuristic Amsterdam ArenA Stadium, where you can join fans to support their home team, Amsterdam Ajax.
Many people think of the Netherlands as the land of tulips and windmills. In just 15 minutes from the center of Amsterdam you can experience these idyllic scenes. The fishing villages of Marken and Volendam are open-air museums with an unrivalled display of authentic Dutch houses and windmills. Springtime visitors can tour the spectacular bulb fields or take in millions of blooming flowers at the world’s most photographed location: the Keukenhof.
Amsterdam has always stood out among other European capitals. During the 17th-century ‘Golden Age’, the city distinguished itself as the leading hub of trade and art; in the 1960s it emerged as Europe’s ‘magical center’. People are what have made Amsterdam the unique city it is, one with a character that's highly individual, spirited and young-at-heart. ‘Amsterdammers’ are traditionally friendly, tolerant and cosmopolitan by nature; it is no coincidence that most speak at least two languages (English is almost always one of them). With 174 different cultures, Amsterdam is one of the top three most diverse cities in the world.
Business with pleasure
Home to the world’s first multinational company, the Dutch East India Company, Amsterdam today receives consistently high scores on the annual European Cities Monitor, a survey of the region's best cities for business. Perhaps that's why companies like Philips, ING and Royal Ahold have made it their global headquarters, and dozens more multinationals have set up operations here. Several advertising and design firms also prefer Amsterdam for its ability to attract creative people. And the city ranks among the world's top 10 most preferred conference locations. With the ambience of a global village, a convenient compact size and excellent infrastructure doing business in Amsterdam is a pleasure.