As Eurostar announces a new direct train to Amsterdam – a city celebrated for its art, culture and coffee houses not to mention its legendary tolerance and pragmatism – TNT shares how to spend a weekend in the delightful Dutch capital
On yer bike
Amsterdam is a city of 750,000 people and 600,000 bicycles – undoubtedly the best way to explore and enjoy this refreshingly compact city. One caveat: before you clamber on your bike, be warned that the Dutch are aggressive cyclists. Stay safe by sticking to the designated cycle lanes and ring your bell loudly, when nec-essary, to warn others of your imminent approach.
Pay your respects to the amazing Anne Frank
Open every day from 9am-10pm (April-Oct) and 9am-7pm (Nov-March) and visited by more than one million people a year, the Anne Frank House is where the legendary Jewish girl, and her family, hid in a bid way to escape the Nazis before being mysteriously betrayed to the Gestapo in August 1944. Anne’s father, Otto, was the only member of the Frank family to survive and after the war he published his daughter’s diary which today has been translated into 60 languages. Tickets can be booked two months in advance for timed entry between 9am and 3.30pm. Not that organized? Tickets are available on the door after 3.30pm.
Red Light District (RLD)
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a wander around the infamous Red Light District (RLD) where tourists are juxtaposed alongside drug dealers, pimps and yes, prostitutes. The ‘girls’ pay around 60 to 100 euro a day to rent their window and typically charge 50 euro for a 15-minute encounter. Strange but true: only five percent of the women working in the red-light district were born in Holland - the lion’s share of the prostitutes hail from Eastern Europe, with randy Brits accounting for 40 per cent of their ‘business’.