The sites already mentioned are among the most popular destinations for tourists with limited time. But there is one more site worth seeing:
The Anne Frank House, at Prinsengracht 263, was remodeled in 1999 so that all of the interior more closely resembled the physical arrangement during the two years-plus of World War II when the Jewish family hid from German occupation troops.
For anyone who has read the teenager's diary, discovered in the building after the war, it can be an extremely moving experience. However, the house museum is also a major tourist destination; in order to avoid the long lines and the crowds that detract from the solemnity of these small rooms, arrive as early as possible.
It is open daily, in the winter months generally from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and in the summer months, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission for adults is 6.5 euros; for children 10-17, 3 euros; children 9 and under are free. Not all areas are accessible to wheelchair users.
Staying there: English is widely spoken in Amsterdam, and the current exchange rate between the dollar and the euro is about even. Quality hotels are operated by such major chains as Radisson SAS, Hilton, Sofitel, Crowne and Best Western. Check your favorite chain's Web site or go to the booking site www.bookings.nl/for rates and packages, or consult these guidebooks:
"Insight Guide Amsterdam," 283 pages; APA Publications, $22.95; Citypack Amsterdam, pocket-sized at 93 pages plus foldout map; Fodor's, $11; National Geographic Traveler/Amsterdam, 269 pages, excellent maps, newest of these three; National Geographic Society, $22.95.
Also, contact the Netherlands Board of Tourism, 355 Lexington, Ave., New York, NY 10017; call toll-free 1-888-464-6552; the Web site is www2.holland.com/us/