Encircled by canals and bursting with color, Amsterdam is a city of bike trails, tulip beds and 800 years of history. Start pedaling...
Author Adam K. Raymond Photography Ball & Albanese
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS OPEN YOUR EYES in this 13th century metropolis and you’ll see that the bustling Dutch capital is alive with color, from the pink and purple tulips standing guard in front of canal houses to the dusty brown brick paths snaking between them. Look a little closer and you’ll see splatters of the bright orange representing the Dutch royal family, the blinding yellow of the city’s overflowing cheese shops and the burnt sienna and glowing ambers favored by its most famous artists, Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt van Rijn.
There was a time when Amsterdam came in but two hues: the green of the rolling Dutch hills and the icy blue of the Amstel River. Eight hundred years ago, fishermen dammed the river, giving the city its name and starting the transformation from small port village to global hub of business and culture. It has endured the rule of feudal lords and Spanish kings, flourished as a center of art and finance, and suffered plagues brought by rats and terror wrought by Nazis. But a visit to present-day Amsterdam proves this city is a resilient one, maintaining its medieval charm while growing into one of Europe’s most forward-thinking and brightly colored metropolises.