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10 Reasons to Visit Amsterdam

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It’s Faraway Friday! Today I’ve got 10 reasons to put Amsterdam on your “to go” list. My sweet husband made yet another of my life-long travel dreams come true and whisked me away for a weekend at the Tulip Festival! Tulips are my #1 favorite flower, and a trip to Amsterdam is the best way to enjoy them! Whether or not you share my love of tulips, here are 10 reasons to visit Amsterdam soon!

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To the tulips! 
10. To Try on the Little Wooden Shoes (or Klompen)

I mean, does it get any cuter? Believe it or not, these shoes are pretty practical and purposeful. Fishermen wore wooden clogs with a point on the end to help sort their nets. For those working to harvest peat, the sole was flat and square to better distribute their bodyweight on the muddy fields. Wooden shoes absorb perspiration, so the feet can breathe, and those who still wear them today claim they are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than modern shoes! They are usually painted yellow with red and black accents, but they can be painted any color or design you desire!

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My perfect fit!
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An assortment of klompen
9. To Feel the Breeze with the Windmills

Is there anything more iconic of the Netherlands than a windmill surrounded by tulips? That dreamy view was dancing through my head for months before our trip! We found this 126 year old windmill twirling at the Keukenhof Gardens.

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Iconic windmill at the Keukenhof Gardens
8. For a Romantic Walk along the Canals

Amsterdam has more bridges and canals than iconic Venice! Did you know? It’s terribly romantic to walk hand in hand along the canals with the adorable canal houses leaning with charm, or it’s just interesting to walk around on your own and pick out the houses you like best! You can take a canal boat ride (it was too cold for us when we visited, or we would have taken one ourselves!), or you could even stay in a houseboat right on the canals for a unique Dutch experience!

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Morning stroll over the canals
7. To Learn the History

Amsterdam’s best-known history is certainly that of Anne Frank and those hiding with her. But Amsterdam has also long been known for its liberality. Even the Puritans fleeing from England made a stop here to take advantage of the Dutch people’s noted tolerance of all people and faiths. There are literally centuries-old churches right next to sex shops and cannabis “bakeries” and “coffeeshops.” It’s kind of bizarre to see that as an American, but Amsterdam has been making shocking history as long as it has existed!

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Historic canal houses… now housing cannabis shops.
6. To Visit the Bloemenmakt, or Flower Market

This was such a delight just to walk through, especially since most of out weekend was cloudy and gray! The Blumenmakt,  or Flower Market, is right on the innermost canal and is a bright spot for any day. You can purchase flowers, bulbs, seeds, souvenirs, and more right here!

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Flower Market along the Canal
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A glimpse inside a Flower Market stall
5. To Visit World-class Museums

Amsterdam boasts many world-famous museums, and has even dedicated a whole city square to them! Get your tickets early, and consider getting an Amsterdam Museum Card if you plan to visit them all! The most popular museums in town are the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijksmuseum, which is the museum of the Netherlands! The cutest museum? Definitely the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.

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Did you know “tulip” comes from the similarly-shaped “turban”? Now you know!
4. To Try the Gouda!

What kind of cheese is Dutch cheese? Gouda! There are other cheeses here as well, but Gouda cheese is named for the town of Gouda, just south of Amsterdam. Have it for every meal–we did!

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Gouda all stacked up and ready to go!
3. To Spoil Your Supper with Sweets

Stroop waffles! Proffertjes! Deco waffles! The Netherlands may be on the small side as countries go, but they do desserts in a big way. Pack an appetite, and don’t be afraid to try new things! Want more Dutch food? Check out What I Ate in Amsterdam!

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Dutch sweets all in a row!
2. For the Dutch Charm

Old World Europe never gets old to me. I love the architecture, the tiny streets, the traditions–I love it all! Seeing Amsterdam’s canal houses and bike paths make me feel nostalgic for the old world ways… even as I take photos with my iPhone!

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Canal houses
1. To Visit the Tulips!

In case you’re still not sure… I love tulips! They are my favorite flower, and seeing them in the country that made them famous was the whole reason for our trip. Sure, I can get tulips at my local Trader Joe’s, but sometimes it’s nice to do something a little special for something that’s so special to me! There were frilly ones, pointy ones, “black” ones (actually a very dark purple because black does not occur in nature!), marbled ones, and more! We had red and yellow tulips for our wedding weekend, so those remain my favorites. But I had never before seen them look like a crown like the ones below!

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There are about a bajillion types of tulips, but these are my favorite!

I hope you’ll put Amsterdam and their Tulip Festival on your “to travel” list soon! Are you ready to make Amsterdam the next stop in your adventures? Tell me below!

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