Amsterdam, the city of sex, drugs and Heineken. The Dutch capital has always been a booming tourist destination, not in the least because of its libertarian reputation. But a foodie will not be disappointed either. Traditional Dutch food doesn’t have much of a name in the culinary world, but Dutch gastronomers and chefs do. For centuries spices and products from all over the world were traded in the ‘Venice of the north’ and you would probably have a tough time finding another city of its size (800.000 citizens) where you can eat so many different cuisines.
Amsterdam is a welcoming city for foreigners. Most of the Dutch speak English and will be happy to point you in the right direction if you get lost in the labyrinth of canals and fanned out streets and alleys. But in recent years the numbers of visitors have skyrocketed. The rise of AirBnB is partly responsible for this, but it is also a success story of city marketing. Boasting some top notch museums and an almost untouched and well maintained 17th century cityscape, Amsterdam worked hard to get rid of its infamous reputation. The result is a doubling of visitors since 2009 to a whopping 16 million a year now and that number is still growing.
Reaching the limits of what is considered liveable the city is now trying to get tourists to leave the center and explore the region around Amsterdam.
Amsterdammers are starting to feel that their city is being hijacked, especially in the summer, and are looking for ways to stop this trend. One way to do this is to rename attractive sights in the area to suggest a link with the city. So while Amsterdam is not located near the sea there is now an Amsterdam beach (actually Zandvoort) and there is an 'Amsterdam castle' ten kilometers from the city limits (actually Muiderslot in Muiden). Bars and restaurants of Muiden and Zandvoort are happy to see new guests coming and Amsterdam is glad to see them go. If it works out it is a win win arrangement.