Stepping out of Centraal Station in Amsterdam can be quite a site to be seen, especially for someone who had never left North America until this moment. This was one of my first real sights of Europe. When the snow had finally eased after a few days and the sun had arrived, we seized our opportunity to see as much of Amsterdam as possible.
When leaving Centraal Station you have to get far enough away to take a look back and marvel at the site that is the station itself. The station opened October 15, 1889 to replace the Amsterdam Willemspoort Station. The station sees over 160,000 passengers a day.
We only ran into issues with the train when the snow was very heavy, but this was to be expected. Trains were not arriving on time and when one would show up, everyone would pile into that one because no one wanted to stand around in the cold for the next one that may not come. Understandable. This was definitely the closest I had been to strangers while using public transport so far.
Dam Square is one of the many sites not to miss in the city and is less a 1000 meter walk from Centraal Station. The area links the streets Damrak and Rokin. The national monument is a large landmark in Dam Square. This was erected in 1956 in remembrance of the victims of World War II. There is also the Royal Palace that was a city hall up until 1655.
Next to the palace is the 15th century gothic Nieuwe Kerk, and the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The square is like something out a fairy tale; you are surrounded and engulfed by the culture of the city.
This was made even better with the fact that it was nearing Christmas, and there was a large beautiful Christmas tree in front of the royal palace. With the snow and the Christmas tree, and all of the beautiful architecture around, we knew that we had chosen the perfect place for our first stop on our first trip to Europe.