Standing at sea level (Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is actually 5 metres under sea level), Amsterdam is a city of huge international significance in many fields making Amsterdam school trips the perfect choice for a wide range of subjects. The artists Rembrandt and Van Gogh both lived and worked here creating some of their great masterpieces, during WWII the city was under Nazi occupation and has protected many of its historical sites from that time. These days Amsterdam is a major player in the international diamond trade and a shining light in tolerance and understanding and was the first to allow same sex marriages in 2001.
Due to its low level the city is considered to be at high risk from rising global warming and sea levels and has become one of the leading authorities on flood defences.
Amsterdam has more than 100km of canals, including around 1,500 bridges and 90 islands, while some 1550 historical buildings lie along the main canals. The central ring area, dating back to the 17th century, has also been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Students can explore these famous waterways on a relaxed cruise, soaking in the history of this remarkable city and offering a unique perspective on the challenges faced by architects as they work to build around this truly one-of-a-kind canal system.
The Anne Frank House is a museum dedicated to preserving the life and memory of Anne Frank, the world-famous wartime diarist who documented her experience of Nazi persecution, imprisonment and time in Auschwitz concentration camp first hand. Visitors can explore the house on guided tours, and witness the secret annex where the Frank family hid from the SS for over two years.
The museum also features several exhibitions on the lives of the other families who hid within the annexe, and how their stories fit into the wider issue of prejudice in Europe.
Located on the site of the remains of concentration camp Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch, the Camp Vught National Memorial is made up of a memorial centre and a museum dedicated to documenting the atrocities of the SS and the enduring spirit of the victims imprisoned by them.
The museum, separated over several floors, features a stone model of the camp during the height of Nazi occupation. While visitors can also see the crematorium, the execution site memorial and the camp's last remaining military barracks.
Amsterdam's Corrie Ten Boom House is a memorialised property in the Haarlem district, marking the bravery and the fascinating story of the Ten Boom family in their mission to save Jewish lives during the Nazi occupation of WWII. The house appears exactly as it did in the 1940's, including the now famous "false wall" hiding place in Corrie's bedroom, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in this remarkably historic site.
Guided tours of the house offer visitors a chance to discover the great risks the Ten Boom's undertook in hiding refugees from the Gestapo, as well as a large collection of objects, photographs and mementos from the second world war.
The Dutch Resistance Museum highlights the remarkable real-life stories of Amsterdam citizens as they struggled against the Nazi occupation of the 1940's. Students can witness an intriguing selection of artefacts used in attempts to escape the city, violent guerrilla strikes, illegal radio equipment and more passive forms of resistance in the shape of a hand-made Christmas tree, forged in the Nazi Weteringschans prison.
Visitors can also enjoy several exhibitions featuring authentic objects, photos, documents and multimedia elements to uncover the experiences of average people in the city throughout the war years.
The Netherland's vast Jewish history is celebrated in Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum. Set within four synagogues in the city's old Jewish quarter, the museum covers 400 years of history and houses a collection of around 11,000 art objects. Guests can also explore the museum's modern exhibitions, using multimedia technology including 3D presentations, videos and paintings to bring the history of Holland's Jews to life in brand new ways.
For younger students there is the Children's Museum. Designed to look like a typical Jewish family home, this engaging environment is ideal for teaching the fundamentals of Jewish culture.
Commonly referred to as "The Garden of Europe”, Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in Europe and one of the biggest on Earth, covering a total area of 79 acres (32 hectares). The garden's collection of plants includes a total of 800 different types of tulip. Students can also explore several exhibitions such as "Tulpomania" uncovering the history of Holland's iconic flower, as well as remarkable flower shows featuring as many as 500 growers.
Established in 1949, the gardens have grown substantially in the past 50 years, welcoming around a million visitors each year in its 8 weeks of opening.
Amsterdam's fascinating Our Lord in the Attic Museum depicts the Dutch reformation, where Catholics were prohibited from celebrating mass. This famous 17th century house is perfectly preserved, from the grand hallway, to the narrow corridors and the incredibly grand church in the attic where many Amsterdam residents hid from the authorities to practice their faith.
Now considered a national symbol of tolerance and free speech, the museum and its vast collection of historical objects is visited by over 100,000 guests each year. Visitors can also explore exhibits detailing the creation of the chapel and the wider history of the reformation.
Amsterdam's historic Portuguese Synagogue tells the story of the Spanish Jews, who, under the guise of Portuguese refugees, found a safe haven in this famously tolerant city at the time of the Spanish inquisition. Built in the late 17th century, the Synagogue is a remarkable example of Dutch Golden Age architecture, and today houses over 800 ritual objects from four centuries of Jewish history.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy regular cultural events and explore the different exhibits recalling the Synagogue's impressive 300-year history.
The 200-year-old Rijksmuseum owns a complete collection of around a million objects, spanning an entire millennium of Dutch history. The museum welcomes an astounding 2.5 million annual visitors, and recently underwent a €375 million refurbishment. Guided tours of the museum highlight the 8,000 historical objects, artefacts and artworks currently on display. Including a vast collection of 400 masterpieces featuring 18 Rembrandt works and Vermeer's renowned "The Kitchen Maid".
Guests can also enjoy temporary exhibitions celebrating the work of specific artists, highlighting Holland's most prolific art movements and examining their cultural impact.
Attracting a remarkable 1.9 million annual visitors, the Van Gogh Museum is one of the most visited museums in The Netherlands and houses the world's largest collection of 1,300 Van Gough paintings, drawings and historical artefacts. The museum showcases the different phases and turning points in Van Gough's artistic career, exhibiting some of his most famous works including Self-portrait (1888), Sunflowers and Almond Blossoms.
On the third floor, visitors can discover a gallery devoted to Van Gogh's contemporaries, showing how he influenced the larger art world through his own distinctive style.
Amsterdam school tours will find the city’s history is well documented through its museums and protected sites such as Anne Frank’s house, there are also many art museums and galleries featuring modern Dutch artists as well as the more familiar Dutch masters. Economically the city is a European powerhouse with 70% of the world’s bacon, being a leader in commercial flower production and also a world renowned brewery which exports more beer than the USA and owns many other large brands such as Strongbow.
Amsterdam Facts - Did you know...
The city's 165 canals run a combined 60 miles.
The canals are now a UNESCO heritage site.
The city’s building are supported by around 11,000,000 wooden poles driven down into the mud.
Approximately 25,000 bicycles end up in the canal each year.
Amsterdam has more bicycles than people.
The city's population is less than 1,000,000.
More than 85% of Dutch people speak two languages.
They’re tall, the average height is 6’3” for men 5’6” for women.
Places to go, people to meet...
Great Amsterdam Locations
Anne Frank House
Van Gogh Museum
Rembrandt House Museum
Natura Artis Magistra
Our Lord in the Attic
NEMO Science Centre
Museum of Bags & Purses
Famous Amsterdam Residents
Vincent Van Gogh
Armin van Buuren
John de Mol
Willem van Oranje
Baruch de Spinoza
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