News of: Thursday, May 09 2013,
Here's the problem: Amsterdam has more to offer than just the canals, the museums and the Red Light District. There are various great attractions very near Amsterdam, but how to explain this tourists?
If you go to Amsterdam, you can also visit a real medieval castle, and in half an hour you're on a broad white sand beach that stretches out for miles along the entire North Sea coast.
Tourist marketing organizations have thought a long time about how to get tourists to use these attractions, even although they're not in Amsterdam but close to Amsterdam.
The answer is: call it Amsterdam anyway. The tourist board has now learnt that it helps to call the beach in Zandvoort the Amsterdam Beach. It is not really in Amsterdam, but you can easily take a train from the Central Station to Zandvoort (just half an hour), and from the Zandvoort train station it's just a 5 minutes' walk to the beach.
Similarly, the 15th century castle Muiderslot now advertises itself as the 'Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot', and voila: the number of foreign visitors has doubled in 2012.
The castle is really in Muiden, but it is only 8 or 9 miles (or so) away from Dam Square.
You can get there by public transport, but it also makes a nice bike day trip.
Amsterdam now also has an 'Amsterdam Flower Strip', the area with the flower fields around Lisse and Hillegom. Here is also the famous Keukenhof Flower Garden, which opens every year in spring.
And they're right. There are various nice attractions near Amsterdam that are well worth visiting. Just north of Amsterdam there is a beautiful rural area with picturesque old villages, along the IJsselmeer coast there are old fishery towns, and near Zaandam there is the Zaanse Schans, a windmill museum park.
Beach at IJmuiden
Muiderslot (in Muiden)