Flirten in amsterdam

While many visitors head straight to the busy chain-store mecca of Kalverstraat, those in the know get their retail therapy at one of the city's more locally flavoured shopping meccas.

The most well known of these is De Negen Straatjes or ‘The Nine Streets’ at a quaint warren of cobbled streets that connect the main canals between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat.

Alternative tip: Escape the crowds at Amsterdam's biggest museums by checking out some of the city's lesser known - but no less worthy - museums, such as FOAM photography museum, the spectacular Tropenmuseum, and the Willet Holthuysen, where you can explore the perfectly preserved home of a rich Golden Age family.

Many visitors to Amsterdam never manage to venture north of Amsterdam Central Station - which is a shame, considering the vibrant food, drink and cultural scene that’s burgeoned across the water, along the banks of the IJ.

You’ll spot haringhandels (herring carts) serving up this Dutch speciality all over the city - ask for a ‘broodje haring’ to get the fish served in a small sandwich with pickles and onions.

The best time to try raw herring is between May and July when the herring is said to be at its sweetest.

Here you’ll find over 200 retailers, including a fine selection of independent boutiques, vintage shops and specialty stores selling everything from designer dresses to handmade cosmetics.

Ditch the map and lose yourself in the labyrinth of narrow lanes that sprawl eastwards from Prinsengracht canal known as the 9 Streets; one of Amsterdam's most rewarding shopping experiences.

Alternative tip: If you’re looking for souvenirs to take home, skip the tourist traps and shop for authentic Dutch design and quality Amsterdam brands at the Local Goods Store in De Hallen or the I amsterdam Store in Central Station.

Reflect on the atrocities committed against the Jewish people during World War II at the Prinsengracht house where diarist Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years after feeling persecution in Germany.

And this isn’t just any windmill – for under the sails of this striking landmark is Brouwerij‘t Ij; an award winning artisan microbrewery with a large outdoor drinking terrace and 30-minute guided tasting tours.

The brewery produces a range of organic standard and seasonal ales that you'll find in many Amsterdam bars, though nothing tastes quite as good as beer brewed on the premises.

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