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5 Reasons to Visit
Amsterdam in 2013

by Lesley Peterson

One of Europe’s most charming cities celebrates a landmark year with a bouquet of cultural milestones. Here are five of the top reasons the world will be coming to Amsterdam in 2013.

400th Anniversary of the Canals

Amsterdam’s elegant Canal Ring, or Grachtengordel, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an engineering marvel just as useful and beautiful today as when it was first built. Learn about the canals’ history at the Het Grachtenhuis Museum, located in a beautiful 17th-century canal house, then explore the city by bike or boat tour. Stop at the Amsterdam Museum for a peek into Amsterdam’s past, including the oldest surviving plan of the city.

Amsterdam-Canal

Rijksmuseum Reopening

After a spectacular 10-year renovation, the largest museum in the Netherlands reopens April 13 with new public facilities, freshly landscaped gardens, a new Pavilion of Asian Art and a new interior layout. First opened in 1886, the renovated Rijksmuseum meets the demands of a new millennium and restores the original design of architect Pierre Cuypers. The museum’s trove of 8, 000 works includes masterpieces from Holland’s Golden Age by Vermeer, Hals and Rembrandt van Rijn. Reinstalled reverently in its original location will be Rembrandt’s magnificent The Night Watch (1642).

225 Years of Felix Meritis

First established as a ‘Temple of Enlightenment’ in 1788 by wealthy citizens, Felix Meritis is still a centre for culture and science in the city. For the first time in 200 years, the Felix Meritis astronomical observatory will open to the public as part of a specially commissioned art project. For Amsterdam of Above – Amsterdam of Below, artist Joseph Semah will install works of art throughout Amsterdam that can only be seen from the observatory. The project begins April 19.

175 Years of Artis Zoo

Nature meets culture at Amsterdam’s zoological garden, Natura Artis Magistra, founded in 1838. A planetarium, geological museum, insect house, aquarium and indoor/outdoor animal viewing areas make Artis enjoyable year-round. Handsome architecture incorporates elements from the natural world as well as names of illustrious zoologists and scholars. The zoo’s anniversary year will be a colourful one, with 17, 500 flowering bulbs planted for the occasion.

Amsterdam-Zoo

Van Gogh Museum Reopening

Happy birthday, Vincent! The reopening of the Van Gogh Museum on May 1 will celebrate the museum’s 40th year as well as the 160th anniversary of the Dutch artist’s birth. The museum is the world’s top steward of Van Gogh’s work, holding in its permanent collection 200 paintings, 500 drawings, more than 700 letters and the artist’s collection of Japanese prints. Seven years in the making, a new exhibition titled “Van Gogh at Work” will explore the techniques and creative process of one of the world’s most beloved artists.