Enjoy the Sights and Sunshine in Amsterdam this Summer

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Surround yourself with flowers, art and new cultural experiences in Amsterdam

Chasing the sunshine is a beloved past-time in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where the country has more than 14 hours a day of brilliant blue skies to enjoy. With a pair of laced-up white tennis shoes, an airy sundress and a boho-chic straw hat, you’ll be ready for anything¾biking along the canals and postcard-worthy homes, picnicking in one of the many flower gardens and sight-seeing the historic castles and famous paintings. It’s the perfect summer getaway!

The famous Dutch tulips are usually gone by June, but don’t be dismayed: the luscious gardens of Amsterdam are still filled with some of God’s most stunning blooms.  

With 4,000 different species of plants from seven different climates (including an amazing collection of carnivorous plants that can catch live insects!), Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is a must-see attraction for flower enthusiasts. These botanical gardens offer a glimpse into the beauty and history of Amsterdam! The Snippendaal Garden, for example, has the same 796 plant species that was first catalogued in the garden in 1646 when it was a medicinal herb garden. Additionally, the Hemisphere features an impressive architectural garden design built in the 1800s, and the Great Pond is a summertime oasis, with flourishing Gunnera leaves and a serene pond surrounded by colorful flowers.   

Beauty and blossoms also abound at Muiderslot, a 13th-century castle. Tour the stately grounds surrounded by a lake and see the aromatic gardens. From now until Sept. 1, you can see the Castle Garden in Bloom display, where you can see the flowers and attend special activities, tours and demonstrations¾including soaring shows with the castle’s birds of prey. Or, shop for flowers and treasures at the Bloemenmarkt, a collection of boutiques located on the Singel Canal. This floating flower market sells the prettiest tulips and other flora, seeds to plant your own and handmade souvenirs.

See nature and animals flourishing at ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, where you can enjoy the beautiful summer day under the shade of trees that are hundreds of years old. In addition to seeing classic zoo animals¾lions, giraffes, zebras, oh my!¾you can also visit the Micropia, home of the only microbe museum in the world. Other activities include seeing sharks, rainbowfish and other sea creatures inside the aquarium, stargazing inside the planetarium and listening to live music every Saturday evening from now until August.

Amsterdam offers plenty of artistic and cultural experiences to enjoy as well. Fan of “Starry Night?” Spend a day in the Van Gogh Museum, the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in the world. “Ohh” and “ahh” over the vibrant “Almond Blossom” and “Sunflowers,” get to know more about the painter through his lesser known works and let your creative side takeover during the walk-in workshops each Saturday in June, which are free painting lessons inspired by the artist.

History buffs will be fascinated with the Anne Frank House, the real place where Anne Frank and many other people hid during World War II. Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was the only one of the people from the Secret Annex to return from Auschwitz. He worked to preserve this house and Anne’s memory by opening this museum in 1957. Now, over 1.2 million visitors a year come through to remember this solemn time and honor those we lost. Other historic must-sees during your trip include the Oude Kerk, a stunning church that is the oldest building in Amsterdam (built in the 13th century), and the prestigious Royal Palace Amsterdam, built in 1655, which is currently the official reception palace for the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander.

Finally, what is a vacation without shopping? First, learn the about handbags through the ages at the Museum of Bags and Purses, located inside a beautiful 1666 canal house. Don’t miss the seasonal Bags in Bloom display (through August), filled with wildflowers, cherry blossoms, embroidered florals and so much more. From designer purses to everyday bags, this museum is every fashionista’s dream! After getting inspired, head to Dam Square to do a little shopping of your own. This bustling town square is home to many historical landmarks, boutique and high-end fashion, little eateries and coffee shops, and plenty of places to hang out. If busy European city-life excites you, this is the place to be.

Summer is a magnificent time to visit Amsterdam. When the city comes alive, with nature, art, people and history waiting at every turn, you won’t want to miss it!