Top 15 Cities To Visit: No. 8 Amsterdam, Netherlands

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This is my own personal list of my 15 favorite cities in the world to visit. I have ranked them in 10 categories on a scale of 1-10: local cuisine, non-local food, public transportation, safety, scenery/beauty, history, price, cleanliness, tourist friendly, and walkability.

These are my own personal opinions, and I am sure that many people would disagree with the rankings. These are only cities that I have personally visited, so if your city is not on here, that may just mean I have not been yet.

Scenery/Beauty (how pretty/cool the sites and nature were to look at): 10/10

I really enjoyed the scenery of Amsterdam because the city was a great blend of nature, old buildings, and new buildings. There are canals and lots of nature which can make you forget you are in a big city. Also, there are sections of Amsterdam that have been intact for 100s of years, and it makes you feel like you are walking down the same streets as Van Gogh and other historic Dutch people. There are also buildings such as Holland Casino, which are new, but still manage to blend in really well with the city as a whole. It really is a city that people with all different preferences would like.

History Monuments (how the city’s historical monuments are): 10/10

Amsterdam also has plenty of historical sites to visit. Just to name a few, there is the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, Rijskmuseum, etc. The Van Gogh Museum has over 200 paintings by Van Gogh, as well as plenty of other works. I didn’t get to go inside the Anne Frank house, but I heard that it is a really cool experience. Unfortunately, you have to wait to buy tickets really early in the morning if you do not buy them ahead of time, so be sure to preorder months in advance.

Safety (how safe I feel the city is): 10/10

Considering the reputation of Amsterdam (mainly because of the Red Light District), you may expect it to be an unsafe city. However, it is actually the complete opposite; maybe because there is the Red Light District, people do not feel compelled to commit crimes (since so much is legal already). I am not sure if this is actually true, but I know that whatever the reason is, Amsterdam is a very safe city.

Local Cuisine (how good the cities local cuisine/food was): 6/10

The local Dutch cuisine is definitely nothing special. Unfortunately, Dutch food is relatively plain, and they tend to use the same ingredients over and over. Some combination of bread, seafood, and vegetables make up a large portion of their cuisine. There is nothing wrong with Dutch cuisine, it is just a little bland for my liking. However, if you like sweets, there are plenty of bakeries in Amsterdam. The stroopwafel is the famous Dutch sweet, so be sure to try it!

Non-Local Food (how good food from other places was): 8/10

I would say that the non-local food is better in Amsterdam than the local Dutch cuisine. Since Indonesia is a former Dutch colony, there are a lot of places you can get Indonesian food in Amsterdam. Also, I recall having pretty good Vietnamese and Indian food in Amsterdam as well.

Public Transportation (whether they had trains, subways, buses, etc. and how accessible they were): 8/10

While there is no subway system in Amsterdam, the tram system is very clean and well run. The trams are expensive (it is about $3 or so a ticket if I remember correctly), so they can add up if you take it too much. Overall, it is good enough to get around, but I would use it only when I was going somewhere I could not walk to.

Price (how expensive it was to visit the city, not including airfare (lower score means more expensive, higher score means good value)): 7/10

Amsterdam prices are relatively reasonable. Apart from the trams (which I already mentioned were pretty expensive), restaurants, hotels, tours, and other items are not that expensive. Even if you are on a budget, you should be able to visit Amsterdam (just don’t lose all your money at the casino!)

Cleanliness (how clean the city was in general): 9/10

Amsterdam is a very clean city, especially considering how old it is. I think Dutch people as a whole are very clean and organized, and the country reflects this fact.

Tourist Friendly (how accessible and accommodating the city is for tourists (mainly English speakers)): 9/10

Most Dutch people speak very good English, so you can easily get around the city. Also, Amsterdam is an extremely popular city, so there are plenty of destinations and attractions to visit.

Walkability (how easy it is to walk around the city): 9/10

It is a really great experience to walk around Amsterdam. Although it was a bit cold when I went, seeing all of the diversity in scenery throughout the city was really great. Furthermore, the city is flat and relatively small, so it is easy to walk around the whole city.

Conclusion: Originally, I did not expect to enjoy Amsterdam as much as I did. I had a weird impression of it because of everything I heard about the Red Light District; however, actually visiting Amsterdam, you will see that the Red Light District is actually just a small part of the whole city. In reality, the entire city is super clean, safe, and full of other things to do. I actually think the Dutch people are being very practical creating the Red Light District (because they make everything legal in one area, they can control normally illicit activities). Be sure to give Amsterdam a chance, and it will get rid of any preconceived notions you have of it!

Total Score (Combined Score of all the categories): 86/100


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