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Amsterdam 2

Presenters: Jonathan Atherton & Brianna Barnes

Brianna Barnes and Jonathan Atherton travel to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. They start by exploring the compact city centre, built around a network of beautiful Jonathan Athertoncanals overlooked by the gabled mansions of 17th century merchants. Whilst Jonathan looks around using the locals’ favourite means of transport, the bicycle, Brianna takes a tour of the waterways with the free-spirited Saint Nicolaas Boat Club. Amsterdam is renowned as one of the world’s most liberal cities, and en route they check out the city’s famously tolerant attitude to soft drugs like marijuana, and the nefarious goings-on in the city’s infamous Red Light District.

As befits one of Europe’s major cultural centres, Amsterdam is also home to numerous excellent museums. Jonathan visits the Rijksmuseum, which has a magnificent collection of paintings by the great Dutch Masters, whilst Brianna marvels at the artistic genius of Vincent Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum.

On the rougher fringes of the city, beyond the lovely 17th century Golden Age mansions and canals of central Amsterdam, lie the city docks. Brianna visits a replica of an East Indiaman cargo ship moored here, discovering how the great wealth of the city during its Golden Age depended predominantly on the riches that its merchants were able to extract from the Dutch colonies in Asia. Jonathan, meanwhile, visits a dockland squat — Amsterdam, it seems, has a severe housing shortage, in part because of the difficulty of building new apartment blocks in the historic city centre preservation zone.

On their final day in the city, whilst Jonathan does what he does best – having fun – Brianna by contrast follows the trail of the city’s darkest days during World War II. In particular, she visitsBrianna Barnes, Amsterdamthe Anne Frank House, once home to the young Jewish girl whose famous diary recorded her family’s last days as they hid from the Nazis in an attic, before their hiding place was betrayed to the Gestapo by a collaborator, and they were murdered in the Holocaust.

Alongside the Jews, the Nazis persecuted numerous other minority groups, including homosexuals, but happily today, in liberal Amsterdam, gays and lesbians can celebrate their love freely. Jonathan ends his trip partying along with them at one of the city’s biggest events of the year – the Gay Parade – as a procession of boats and floats make their joyous way along the city centre canals.

Credits

Travel tip: Be sure to get your hands on a convenient IAmsterdam city card, for easy access into museums, attractions, discounts on food and entertainment, hop-on-hop-off public transport access, and you’ll even enjoy a sublime canal ride! Click here for all the details.

Places Mentioned - Netherlands

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Amsterdam

Netherlands

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Europe

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Netherlands

Europe

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