When strolling through the streets of Amsterdam, don’t be surprised to find yourself face to face with a scantily dressed prostitute in the Red Light District, or wandering past a coffee shop filling the streets with the smell of cannabis (yes, Amsterdam travel can be a very liberal experience). So liberal, in fact, that for years, it attracted tourists who planned an Amsterdam vacation with the sole purpose of practicing some Dutch Debauchery. In recent years, the Dutch government and Amsterdam City Council have tried to tone down the depravity. But an Amsterdam vacation has far more on offer than just hookers and pot—it is the birthplace of some of the most successful artists in the world, and home to some of the best museums. The Dutch speak Dutch, of course, but you’ll find that English is also extremely common in Amsterdam. Most signs, menus and timetables are in Dutch and English, and almost everyone in the city speaks fluent English. Still, it never hurts to learn a couple of words of Dutch when you’re traveling to Amsterdam. Before traveling grab a rope toy for your dog.
Best Time To Travel
June – September
Amsterdam weather is similar to what you see on the East Coast of the U.S., with summer temperatures varying between 75 and 90 degrees F. Because the Netherlands is a coastal country, there is usually a cooling breeze off the North Sea. Unfortunately, that same sea also contributes to summer and autumn storms, some which can be quite severe. Summer is when Amsterdam is at its busiest. While that does mean you’ll find crowds, busy public transit and pricey hotels, the great weather makes it the best time to visit Amsterdam.
October – March
Dutch winters are relatively mild, and while Amsterdam weather during this time can regularly drop into the 20s, violent winter storms are very rare. One of the best reasons to visit Amsterdam in the winter is for ice skating. As soon as the canal and river ice reaches a safe thickness, the Dutch strap on their skates. The experience of “koek en zopie” refers to the food sold during the skating season. Skating on a lake then stopping for some split pea soup and hot cocoa makes the cold seem more bearable. Even if you don’t skate, walking on the ice in your shoes is perfectly acceptable, and a great way to join in the fun.
March – May
Even though the shoulder season is one of the mildest times of year to visit Amsterdam, the crowds can often be overwhelming. On April 30, the Dutch celebrate Queen’s Day, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors during the celebrations on surrounding days. Other extremely busy days in Amsterdam are on May 4 for Remembrance Day and May 5 for Independence Day.