Did you know that Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon once kicked butt in Amsterdam's Dampkring coffeeshop in the Hollywood blockbuster Oceans Twelve? Or that Amsterdam has a Jewish quarter with a museum that tells the story of the Jewish community in Amsterdam since the 17th century? There's also a Portuguese Synagogue and the flea market at nearby Waterlooplein, the market where Jews shopped in the 19th-century, now a source for ethnic clothing and cheap CDs.
Discover these highlights and more on free walking tours offered by Sandemans New Europe. The two- to three-hour strolls begin at the National Monument in Dam Square at 11:15 and 13:15 PM. Look for the young tour guides in red T-shirts emblazoned with the Sandemans logo.
While providing an overview of city geography, the tours walk you through the history of Amsterdam, from its early beginnings as a fishing village on the Amstel River to the Golden Age, when the tiny outpost on the Amstel transformed itself into 17th century Europe's most important trading city. Learn about prostitution's wild history and the decriminalization of soft drugs, as well as the legacy of teenage Anne Frank and her family's flight from the Nazis.
Sandeman guides work for tips only, so be generous if you'd had a good time and/or learned a thing or two. Other tours offered by the company cover the Red Light District and Amsterdam coffeeshops. Or, you can choose to see the city the Dutch way―on a bike.