Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. It's a city built on swampy(沼泽的,湿地的) marshland(沼泽地) reclaimed(开垦,归还) from the North Sea. Although it has a population of less than one million, it is also one of Europe's major cultural centers.
It's easy to reach Amsterdam by train from almost anywhere in northern Europe, which has some of the most sophisticated rail links in the world.
So this is Amsterdam, bicycle capital of the universe. Check out the bikes. This city's got like 720,000 people but every year they get something like three million tourists, so.
Amsterdam is a compact(紧凑的,紧密的) city and you can see a lot of it on foot, but for longer distances it's worth using the efficient tram(有轨电车) system. The trams run from six in the morning during the week, but start a little later at weekends. After midnight a special bus service takes over. There is another way to get around, that old Amsterdam cliché(陈词滥调): the bike.
Well I'm on the Herengracht, it's one of the most famous canals(运河,沟渠) in Amsterdam. From the 17th century and as you can see, these buildings are sinking into the sand. Have a look at this one. There's a lot of houses like this in Amsterdam. The whole town was built on sand, its reclaimed land and half of it is sinking. Much of what we think of as Amsterdam is the product of the Golden Age of Dutch classicism, the 17th century. It's the quality of the city's residential architecture, which distinguishes it. There are no grand monuments and only a few buildings that impress with size.
There are more than 60 miles of canals flowing in, out and around Amsterdam. It's also a very green city with more trees per square mile than any other capital in Europe. It is said that many residents never use the canals and miss out on the unique perspective of the city that they offer.
Two thousand bridges, 170 canals, it's full of romantic little spots where you can just chill out.
You know Amsterdam is a very cultured city. They got 141 art galleries(画廊,图库) and 42 museums. If you want to see a museum you're much better off seeing a proper one. Now this, this is a serious museum. This is the Reich's Museum. It's full of all the interesting stuff you find in museums but today I want to see is Rembrandt's(伦勃朗,荷兰画家) Night Watch, one the world's most famous paintings. The Night Watch was painted in 1642 by Rembrandt. Its relatively informal depiction of a group of merchants was considered innovative at the time.
Vondelpark is the oldest park in Amsterdam. Duringthe70's, it was kind of like a non-stop Woodstock. Tents set up it was like a Mecca(麦加,伊斯兰教圣地) for hippies, people lived in the park. Although you can't live in the park these days, there's no law against living in the 70's.
Now, this is the Albert Cuyp Market, it's the biggest market in the Netherlands, bits and pieces from all over the world. Most of it like you'd expect from any market just chintzy(便宜的,俗气的) rubbish. But here you can also get a lot of ethnic food, because 40 percent of the population of Amsterdam are from other cultures, immigrant population. So here they buy their salted fish and their tropical fruits. You can get just about anything here.
So that's Amsterdam and to tell you the truth, I'm pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a city full of absolutely stoned(飘飘欲仙的) hippies or some…I don't know what I expected, but what I found was a city full of life. I mean this is the artistic capital of Europe. This is the crossroads or cross canal of all realities. It's vibrant(充满活力的), it's creative, it's special. It's Amsterdam and if nothing else, check out the architecture.