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If you are visiting this popular Dutch city this winter, you may want some tips and suggestions to enjoy your time in Amsterdam away from its well-trodden path of city-centre ‘adult’ museums – and a larger number of ‘coffee’ houses. Here, then, are some good ideas for visiting some of the brightest and well-lit tourist attractions, to brighten up the short winter days.

Enjoy the culture and art of the Rijksmuseum, including an exhibition called ‘Modern Times´ which has been designed to celebrate photography in the twentieth century. Running until 11th January 2015, the Rijksmuseum’s collection of old and modern photography will be on show as one large display – for the first time. Nearby, there is also the unusual, exciting opportunity to ice skate in an open-air ice rink – only during the winter months, due to low average North Sea temperatures.

ijsbaan

For book and film lovers, the large public library offers excellent views from its top floor and there is an occasional opportunity to listen to relaxing piano music while there. In addition, the EYE or Film Institute has a large exhibition hall, including a permanent exhibition in the basement to which admission is free. This building is an impressive piece of architecture, quite photogenic and resembling an elongated sail or ship.

If you are considering seeing in the New Year in Amsterdam, there are numerous parties with fireworks and sound. Oosterdock is the base for the official party and display. Alternatively, if you want to enjoy watching the fireworks but without being present in the direct revelry of the East Dock partygoers, the main canal bridge is a good viewing post. There is also an old tradition that is followed by the local population of burning a wooden effigy to say goodbye to the previous year.

Additionally, there is a light festival that runs for more than a month and a half. Lighting up the city’s houses, bridges and canals with an almost fairy-tale like enchantment, it is a cheering and uplifting sight to brighten up those typical gloomy winter late afternoons and evenings. There are also laser wall lighting projections and light sculptures along with diverse installations created by numerous Dutch and international contemporary artists.

amsterdam light2

Artist: Aether & Hemera, image Janus van den Eijnden

To enjoy the light festival fully, there are two options – either a canal tour, or a city walk. The boat option is entitled Watercolours (27th November 2014 to 18th January 2015); some mini-cruises include a meal and drinks. This gives you different views of the city and is a great opportunity to take some interesting photos; it also offers a chance to rest one’s legs. Alternatively, view the brilliant show on foot – this option is called ‘Illuminade’ and runs from 11th December 2014 to 4th January 2015. Illuminade involves a guided walking tour to help visitors appreciate the talented artwork, with the route passing around the city and through a park or two.

Enjoy the city lights!

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