Amsterdam Life and Travel Tips
(Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands)
Dutch is the principal language but English is spoken by almost everyone throughout The Netherlands.
For those who like variety and a choice of cuisines, Amsterdam offers an immense range of restaurants with virtually every nationality represented. Most eateries are concentrated in the city centre. Amsterdam pubs exude charm and character and are warm and friendly places with many featuring good food. There are also fast-food eateries from all over the world as well as Amsterdam's home-grown fast-food outlets dotted all over the city centre.
Tipping in Amsterdam is quite discretionary and not essential but can include restaurants, taxi fares, hotel staff and toilet attendants. Restaurants often include service charges and these are always clearly stated on the menus, otherwise a gratuity of around 10% to 15%, if you are pleased with the service, will be appreciated. Pay tips in cash, as this way you can be sure that the person it is intended for receives it fully.
Places of Worship
Visitors to Amsterdam will notice the great number of churches. Many belong to the Church of Netherlands (Protestant Episcopalian), while some are other Protestant denominations, such as Presbyterian and Methodist, but the vast majority are Roman Catholic.
Rules restrict smoking in many buildings and public transport, and is normally indicated by symbols denoting no smoking with signs placed in prominent places. However, most pubs and bars welcome customers who wish to smoke, although this may be restricted to different areas that are set aside for this purpose. It is always best to exercise discretion when choosing a place in which to smoke and the best advice is to only smoke if others around you do so.
Tips for Using the Euro
Euro banknotes and coins are now the currency of The Netherlands. There are eight Euro coins denominated in 1 and 2 Euro, then 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. There are seven Euro notes in different colours and sizes which are denominated in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euro. Every Euro coin carries a common European face, and on the obverse, each Member State decorates the coins with its own motifs, while the banknotes look the same throughout the Euro states. All banknotes and coins can be used anywhere in the Euro area.
When to Visit - Arts and Museums
The Netherlands is particularly rich in art treasures with more per square kilometre than any other country. Its museums which range from the world-renowned Rijksmuseum, attracting more than one million visitors per year, to the smaller but equally fascinating museums, are sure to offer something for everyone.
Amsterdam is a shopper's paradise with an infinite variety of shops ranging from the larger department stores to the side street shops where bargains can be found. Book stores large and small are a prominent feature of the city. Stylish designer stores, fashionable boutiques. jewellers and exclusive shoe shops with accessories are all well represented. There are opportunities for excellent shopping for art, antiques and curios in established galleries and auction rooms, as well as the various markets which are held regularly around the city.