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46 Reasons You Should Never Leave Amsterdam

Beautiful architecture, oodles of culture and awesome people. Amsterdam is the best.

1. Because the city has so many beautiful bridges.

Flickr: brenopeck / Creative Commons

There are over 1200 bridges in Amsterdam, adding to the city's romantic charm and they're the perfect place to marvel at the rest of the city from.

2. And canals of course.

Flickr: astro-dudes / Creative Commons

So many photo opportunities!

3. Because the houses all look like this.

Flickr: mariano-mantel / Creative Commons

4. And the houseboats look pretty too.

Flickr: stephencurtin / Creative Commons

5. Because there's oodles of nature.

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You can canoe around the Waterland reserve, picnic in Vondel Park or ice skate around IJburg. At times, it barely feels like you're in a city at all!

6. Because Keukenhof is just a train journey away.

Flickr: kalyan02

Keukenhof is arguably the most beautiful garden in the word, filled with millions of colourful tulips. Your jaw will drop.

7. And when it gets chilly, the city still looks spectacular.

8. Even in the snow.

Flickr: januski83 / Creative Commons

9. Because Amsterdam's nightlife is unrivaled.

Flickr: passetti / Creative Commons

Unfortunately Trouw is closing at the end of 2014 :( but luckily there are clubs aplenty! There's Paradiso & Bitterzoet for amazing live gigs and if you want to go all out, AIR is unmissable.

10. Because there's always something to do, no matter what time of year.

Flickr: luc-mechelen / Creative Commons

There are hundreds of festivals happening around the city throughout the year, from big dance parties to fashion events and arts fairs. Boredom doesn't exist in Amsterdam.

11. Because there's the Parade.

Flickr: haagsuitburo / Creative Commons

The Parade is a traveling theatre festival and it hits Amsterdam in the summer. They have tons of performances for non-Dutch speakers as well.

12. Because the best place to celebrate Gay Pride is in Amsterdam.

Flickr: cgeorgatou

Pride festivals are fun wherever you choose to celebrate but Amsterdam Gay Pride is really one of a kind. All major events take place between the 31st of July and the 2nd of August, colourful floats take to the canal, people dance in the street - it's a party like you've never seen before!

13. And Pride confetti makes the place look like a magical wonderland.

Flickr: cgeorgatou / Creative Commons

14. Because the Negen Straatjes are a shopper's paradise.

Flickr: ronel_reyes / Creative Commons

You are guaranteed to find the perfect outfit in the Negen Straatjes (the nine streets) with beautiful vintage shops like Laura Dols, Second Best and Episode.

15. Because Amsterdam is filled with library porn.

Flickr: williamsdb / Creative Commons

This is the Rijksmuseum research library <3.

16. And amazing bookshops. / Via Flickr: bcnbits / Creative Commons

Het Spui is filled with bookshops and cosy literary cafés and there's a ton of English Language offerings scattered throughout the city like the American Book Centre and the aptly named English Bookshop.

17. Because everyone wants to come visit you.

Flickr: b_hurwitz / Creative Commons

When you live in Amsterdam people can't wait to see how you live and explore the capital with you.

18. Because the city really comes to life at night.

Flickr: jimnix / Creative Commons

The lights reflecting onto the canal water are truly spectacular.

19. Because it's easy to get swept up in Dutch national pride.

Flickr: merlijnhoek / Creative Commons

Whether Dutch people are cheering on their national football team or taking to the streets to celebrate King's Day in April - soon enough you'll find yourself dressed in Orange shouting: "Hup Holland Hup!"

20. Because the locals are hilarious.

Flickr: gremio / Creative Commons

The people of Amsterdam are known to be quite blunt and direct but they're also full of life, good-humored and pretty eccentric.

21. Because you can travel everywhere by bike.

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22. Or hop on the back of your friend's bike.

23. Because this is how people take their kids to school.

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Way more fun than sitting in the back of a car.

24. Because it's easy to get to places thanks to the trams.

25. Because you can smoke weed if you want.

Flickr: arthur-caranta / Creative Commons

If you want to avoid the stag dos head into The Pijp where the coffeeshops are less touristy.

26. Because the Bruin cafés give you a slice of authentic Amsterdam life.

Flickr: benandclare / Creative Commons

Bruin cafés, or brown cafés, are unique to Amsterdam. These Dutch pubs may look a bit dark, damp and nicotine-stained but within the cosy interiors you're bound to meet some local celebrities.

27. Because the IJ-Hallen are a thrifty shopper's paradise.

Flickr: jts

The IJ-hallen markets form the biggest flea market in Europe. The ferry will take you there from central station, which is a mini adventure in itself.

28. In fact, the city is full of excellent markets!

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Whether you want to shop for antiques, vintage clothes, flowers or Dutch cheese (the best cheese FYI) - there's a market for all your needs!

29. Because you can eat poffertjes.

Flickr: dennisburger

These are basically baby pancakes and are traditionally served with melted butter and icing sugar.

30. And they even sell them on the street.

31. In fact, street food in general is awesome.

Flickr: tyodickerson

Once you walk past a stall that sells stroopwafels you'll be in heaven. You'll recognise the sweet, warm, syrupy smell from miles away.

32. Because you can get fast food out of a wall.

Flickr: maltman23

Drawing hot food from a wall is very normal in The Netherlands and super convenient.

33. Because they know how to serve chips.

Flickr: vitamindave / Creative Commons

What you see here is a "Patatje Oorlog" which is chips covered in "war" sauce, a mix of mayonnaise, peanut sauce, and raw onions. It tastes better than it sounds.

34. Because Amsterdam takes its coffee very seriously.

Flickr: screenpunk / Creative Commons

If you're fan of a milky latte be sure to order a "Koffie Verkeerd", which actually translates to "wrong coffee" because of how much milk goes into it.

Bonus: in The Netherlands you'll never be served a coffee without a biscuit on the side.

35. Because New Years Eve in Amsterdam is one of a kind.

Flickr: trixer

Seriously, Dutch people go crazy for fireworks.

36. And the firework debris the next day turns the city into a mesmerizing sea of red.

Flickr: trixer / Creative Commons

37. Because the people of Amsterdam love to hang out on terraces.

Flickr: franklinheijnen

Sit on a terrace, order a large glass of wine and watch the world go by.

38. They even squeeze terraces onto little decks over the canals.

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39. Seriously, people-watching in Amsterdam never gets boring.

40. Because you can marvel at the Concertgebouw.

Flickr: dailym

Not only is this venue breathtaking, it hosts some of the world's most talented musicians.

41. Because you can get your theatre kicks at the Westergasfabriek.

Flickr: cerfon / Creative Commons

This venue used to be a massive gas factory and now it's turned into a hub of arts and culture, with tons of high-profile events and festivals.

42. Because there are museums aplenty. / Creative Commons

Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum are the most well-known museums but you can go for something a little different at the Sex Museum or check out the Royal Institute for the Tropics, to learn more about tropical areas around the world.

43. Because the city is steeped in history.

Flickr: jeffblum

Visiting the Anne Frank house is a must when you're in Amsterdam.

44. Because Schiphol is so near you can jet off on holiday whenever you like.

45. Because of "gezelligheid".

Flickr: senorhans / Creative Commons

"Gezelligheid" is a Dutch word that's tricky to translate into English because there's no literal translation but it perfectly encompasses Dutch culture. Closest translations are "cozy" and "welcoming", often referring to a warm atmosphere.

So imagine you're sitting on a terrace, enjoying some wine, chatting with your friends and feeling totally at ease with the world - that's gezelligheid, and that's what Amsterdam is all about.

46. See, even the animals love it here!

Flickr: lukasvermeer / Creative Commons

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