Okay, my partner and I are planning a trip around Sept - Nov next year (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Singapore). Most of it we've got covered, especially as they are destinations we have been to before, or in the least have enough knowledge of them to get around.
However Amsterdam is a complete unknown for either of us.
At this stage we're planning on taking the train from London but that's about as far as it got. Outside of the complete obvious reason for making a venture to this place, what else is there to see/do? We're most likely only going to be in town for three days (tops). Is it expensive? Are the people friendly? Is the fact that neither of us speak a word of Dutch necessairly a problem?
Any and all advice would be fabulous.
Amsterdam should be a little different from the rest of your list. Besides the obvious decriminalised drugs and legalised prostitution, there are also beautiful canals, the Anne Frank house, Rijksmuseum (Rembrandt, Vermeer etc), Van Gogh Museum etc. The tulip season is over. There are windmills, some old buildings (not impressive compared to London but very charming and quaint), canal cruises, etc. You can also go to cities (The Netherlands is tiny) like Maastricht (2 hours by train) or closer, Utrecht (40 minutes by train from central Amsterdam).
Amsterdam is expensive but not as expensive as London. People aren't friendly but only because it's very much of a mind your own business culture but if you need help, they will definitely help you! The Dutch speak English and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time
The Dutch speak perfect English, at least those under about 50 anyway, and they share a slightly eccentric nature with the English too (!) so the Aussie sense of humour will no doubt be appreciated.
without meaning to sound too environmentally unfriendly, there are plenty of budget flights to amsterdam if you wanted to save time. I found the people friendly enough, and found the costs to be about the same as Manchester.
I visited Amsterdam in early November and had a great time. It's a very walkable place and the weather in November will be very pleasant for exploring on foot. Bisca has listed out some interesting sights worth your time, and Haarlem, a quaint city, is just a short train ride away. Amsterdam is definitely cheaper than London.
I found the Dutch to be quite friendly, so no worries on that score.
U could see Anne Franks house, smoke marijuana in coffee shops, visit van Gogh Museum, visit the Heiniken Brewery.
Dutch people are generally friendly and the Netherlands is a safe place to travel. Be a little careful in the old town in Amsterdam, because of pickpockets.
Almost all Dutch people speak very well in English. U wont have any problem there, because u dont speak Dutch.
a bit late..but eurolines goes each day or 3 times a day from london central city to an suburb of amsterdam if you can't find a cheap airticket perhaps this is a good option
and one warning, in their speech the dutch are very direct (i've caused with that already enough culture shocks) and more and more have an attitude that can be discribed as 'don't bother me, than i won't bother you' this means that when you're lost they won't come up to help you but if you ask polite in english most of them will help you. But there is a large difference in politeness compared to esp the UK. Don't take that personal
and hire a bike.. everyone in amsterdam has a bike and it's a really good way to see the city! or take a trainride to another city, perhaps something like haarlem, or gouda or delft or if you are into modern cities rotterdam *the germans bombed it so it's now modern* amsterdam has great musea and there is more to see than just anne frank.. or the coffeeshops and it's possible to get normal coffee but not in a coffeeshop, therefore you need a cafe
how long are you staying btw?