Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam — and no, we’re not talking about the expected ban on marijuana sales to tourists that’s had so many people in a tizzy. The Dutch city will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of its famed Canal Ring, which has given Amsterdam the moniker, “Venice of the North.” In 2013, Amsterdam also marked the 175th birthday of the Artis Royal Zoo, the nation’s most famous zoo, which houses 900 species of animals.

Considered as one of Europe’s most liberated capitals, Amsterdam showcases a plethora of attractions and events worth looking forward to. With a treasure trove of festivities such as the Amsterdam Gay Pride, Amsterdam Dance Festival which is the largest clubbing celebration in the world, Crossing Border which is meant for poets and musicians, Museum Night which makes every gallery and museum open until the wee hours, Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day), and Oudejaarsavond (New Year’s Eve) among others. The lattermost mentioned event is regarded as one of the merriest since people flood the streets and celebrate with overflowing drinks and food.

Amsterdam Hermitage

The Hermitage Amsterdam is the Dutch branch of the world-famous Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Located on the banks of the Amstel River, the Hermitage Amsterdam is an exhibition space and cultural education centre with a focus on Russian history and culture.

Hermitage Amsterdam displays rotating selections of pieces from the Hermitage collection in Russia. These include paintings, graphic works, sculptures, applied art and archaeological discoveries. Hermitage Amsterdam has a special children’s section and regularly holds workshops focused on fun and creativity.

Tsar Peter had a special relationship with Amsterdam, having lived in the city for several years. He founded the very first public museum in Russia, and some of the exhibits at the original Hermitage were items he acquired in the Netherlands. Back then, the museum offered visitors a free shot of vodka to entice them inside.

Additionally, after years of extensive renovation, the iconic Rijksmuseum reopened in spring 2013, showcasing 800 years of Dutch history and art in 80 restored halls. The upcoming year is also the 125th anniversary of both the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Concertgebouw concert hall. Also of interest to visitors is the 160th birthday anniversary of the Dutch master Vincent van Gogh, and the 40-year anniversary of the popular Van Gogh Museum, which is also reopening after renovations.

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