1. Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, located in Western Europe. While it doesn’t tote a nickname like “The City of Love,” it has a distinct culture that you can’t find anywhere else in Europe. You’ll learn that there’s more to the Netherlands than just tulips and wooden shoes!
2. Weather in the Netherlands is mild. While you’ll find it’s cold in the winter months and hot in the summer, the temperatures rarely reach extremes. This makes it an ideal honeymoon destination — whenever you go, odds are the weather will be bearable.
3. Schipol Airport is the major airport that will fly you right into the city. From there, the city offers many forms of transportation to get to where you need to stay — from train to tram.
4. Speaking of trams, they’re the primary public transportation in the city. The subway only serves a small portion of the city, so tram will allow you the most accessibility. There is also a bus system that runs in place of the tram at night and can take you to suburban areas surrounding the city if necessary.
5. The public transportation system requires that you use OV chip cards (kaarts), which are reusable cards that you tap while getting on and off the tram. You can buy a reloadable card or a disposable one for temporary use. However, the reloadable card comes at no extra cost, so for a longer stay, it is usually the better option.
6. While Dutch is the national language of the Netherlands, a majority of Dutch people also speak English. While you may come across some language barriers, for the most part, the city is easily navigable for English speakers.
7. The Netherlands use the euro, which is the currency of the EU. The exchange rate is .80 euro for every dollar, so you’ll unfortunately be getting a little less bang for your buck.
8. While many places take cards, just as many will only take cash. While it may seem like a given, always carry cash on you. You may be surprised at how many places will take cash only.
9. If you truly want a taste of Dutch culture, rent a bike to get around. Nearly every single person in the city owns a bike, a fact which is apparent from the moment you enter the city. There are an abundance of bike rental facilities, such as Rent a Bike Amsterdam, located in the city center. Just be sure to exercise caution. It’s easy to get your bike around, because the city is very bike-friendly, but it’s just as easy to get your bike stolen. Bike theft is the most common crime in the Netherlands, so consider investing in a lock.
10. I Amsterdam is more than just a successful marketing campaign for the city. The I Amsterdam card allows you to prepay for public transportation. You can choose to prepay for up to 72 euro. While it may be pricier than the OV chip card, it also allows you a free canal cruise, free entry to major museums, and discounts on other activities that you may want to do around the city, such as theatre productions and concerts. For an extra 10 euro, you also get a free bus trip to the surrounding towns and free entry to museums there. Not a bad deal.
11. Amsterdam is also well-known for its diverse makeup. While a majority of the population is Dutch, there are more than 177 ethnic groups living within the city, making it one of the most diverse in the world. This further adds to the flavor of this capital city.
12. Pickpockets are a common problem in cities, especially in Europe. Always be aware of your surroundings if you’re staying there. Purchase a money belt to tuck under your clothes.
13. Also be wary of vendors in the street. Many may try to sell you drugs or stolen bicycles, both of which will get you in a lot of trouble. Avoid any situation that could be sketchy.
14. Due to the decent amount of public transportation, you don’t need to worry about renting a car. It’ll just inconvenience you more and you’ll be able to get by using trams during your trip.