Amsterdam’s History and Spring Events

by Jules on March 7, 2013

The City of Amsterdam is steeped in history and culture.  Indeed, this historical and cultural icon can trace its roots back to the thirteenth century when its origins were as a tiny fishing village on the banks of the Amstel River.  Along with a multitude of regular events in the early part of 2013, the Amsterdam option will allow visitors to experience both the city’s past and how it thrives today all in one journey.

A Notable History

As the city was located along a relatively major trading route, it did not take long before a quaint village was transformed into a vibrant city which held a vital stake in the Dutch East India Company.  In fact, Amsterdam is considered to be the first multicultural capital of the world.  This “golden age” of trade and profit brought massive urban expansion and industrialisation coupled with and influx of peoples and traditions from across Europe.  Thus, by the 20th century, Amsterdam had become world-famous as an important city of commerce and exchange.  After World War 2, an influx of migrants from no less than 180 countries around the world had truly defined this eclectic city as the destination of choice for tourists from across the globe.

Some Notable Events for Visitors

With such a cosmopolitan history, it should be of no surprise that Amsterdam plays host to a variety of events certain to leave an indelible impression upon its numerous visitors.  This mélange of cultures has also brought a wide variety of foods to this city and Amsterdam’s annual restaurant week which occurs during the first half of March is an excellent way to partake in exotic delicacies from a wide variety of origins.

Conveniently, this culinary festival coincides with an event known as “5 Days Off”.  Much more than a mere break from the rigours of work, this week-long exhibition is centred on dance and electronic music and is perfect for those wishing to add a bit of physical activity and adrenaline after the food festival.

Coupled with dining and music, Amsterdam is also widely known for its numerous open-air markets.  As most of these have been closed during the decidedly inhospitable months of winter, spring and early summer is an excellent time to take one of a selection of cheap mini cruises with P&O Ferries across the channel and partake in the sights and sounds that these markets have to offer.  Both the Spui Art Market and the Thorbeckeplein Modern Art Market both reopen in March and whether one is merely browsing or is serious about purchasing a colourful painting from a regional artist, these markets are not to be ignored.

The culture of this wonderful city should also not be missed and one of the best ways to experience this is through one of the most sacred traditions a visitor can witness – what is known as the “Stille Omgang”, or Silent Procession in English.  This religious tradition is based around the legend that an unwell man who was given the religious sacrament vomited up the host which would thereafter not burn in any fire.  Visitors are able to follow the solemn and respectful procession through the old centre of the city; combining the ancient and surreal with the modern and multicultural.

Later in April and May, the Amsterdam Fantastic film Festival and the Art Amsterdam Fair keep the culture coming for those arriving in the city.

So, Amsterdam is a city that fulfills many desires and feeds a host of interests.  Whether you are in the mood for becoming immersed in history, to dance the night away or simply you to taste foods from across the globe, this is a place which is certain not to disappoint.  With a wide variety of channel crossings from the United Kingdom with to choose from, experiencing Amsterdam this early summer is closer than you may think.

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