2009 Athens to Amsterdam travel blog

Now that's a block of cheese.

Peter at a cafe, not a coffee shop; you need to know...


National Memorial

Today was an easy day around town, just walking around and enjoying the sun and the laid back life here.

We dropped by dam square. This was created in the 13th century when a dam was built around the river Amstel to prevent the Zuiderzee sea from swarming the city. One of the features of the square is the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Palace). Although no longer home to the Dutch Royal family, this grand 17th century Royal Palace is still used to hold official receptions. Also on the square is the National Memorial statue, erected in memory of Dutch soldiers and members of the resistance who died in World War 2. Unveiled in 1956, the monument stores soil from all of Holland’s provinces as well as from the Dutch East Indies.

There are over 500 cafés of one sort or another in the centre of Amsterdam alone and this includes those known as the bruin (brown) cafés. These traditional drinking haunts derive their collective name from a combination of dark wood interiors, years of studiously unwashed nicotine stains and low-wattage lighting.

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