December is upon us and the holiday season is in full force, with Sinterklaas just a few days away on the 5th. Find out more of what to expect from Amsterdam in December.
Initially skeptical of the service, the city of Amsterdam has now wholeheartedly embraced Airbnb, a social network of sorts in which individuals rent out their own homes to tourists - a uniquely intimate way to experience the city, and often at phenomenally low rates. Find out more about how to book your Amsterdam accommodations with Airbnb.
The Tramwaymuseum in Amsterdam is a beloved institution that allows visitors to ride restored versions of the historic trams that traced the city streets as early as the turn of the 20th century; while the trams only run weekly from Easter to late October, the visitors in November and December can enjoy special winter-themed rides even in the off-season.
Impress your hosts with some basic Dutch: the first in a series on how to decipher Dutch menus, this Dutch menu decoder teaches visitors to read the drink menu and to order drinks at a typical Dutch restaurant.
Everyone knows that someone from Germany is called a German and most probably speaks German. A Dutchman, however, comes from the Netherlands, speaks Dutch (which is not the same Dutch, incidentally, as Pennsylvania Dutch), and may or may not actually be from Holland. Learn the story behind the multitude of Dutch-related terms here.
What exactly are the Low Countries? For starters, there's no real consensus as to what defines the term, and their boundaries have shifted over time. Suffice it to say, the Netherlands is certainly one of them; as for the rest, see my explanation for the finer details, and for travel tips for a tour of the Low Countries.
Tourists in countless major European cities face the same predicament - most museums and tourist attractions are closed on Mondays. Not in Amsterdam, however. See this short list for the only attractions that close their doors on Mondays - and a few that are closed some other days of the week - to make sure your itinerary is solid.
Sinterklaas made his official arrival into Amsterdam last Sunday, and with him, his crew of controversial helpers, the Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes). Kids may love Sint's jovial helpers, but adults in the Netherlands are particularly divided about the tradition and its racist undertones. Find out more about the Zwarte Piet controversy that sweeps the country each fall.
The traditional Sinterklaas treats - chocolate letters, speculaas, pepernoten - have been in stores since as early as September, and now the arrival of Sinterklaas is almost upon us. In just a few weeks, festivals all over the country will celebrate the saint's return from Spain; catch him in Amsterdam on November 17.
November is just one week away, with its own set of memorable holidays, festivals and events, such as the cherished tradition of Sinkterklaas's return in mid-November. Find out what else is on for November in Amsterdam.