We visited Amsterdam at the end of April and beginning of May in 2006, continuing to Paris via the Thalys train before returning to Austin.
We arrived in Amsterdam on the Dutch holiday of Koninginnedag. In 2006 it was celebrated April 29th rather than the ususal April 30th because the 30th fell on a Sunday. There was orange everywhere, as the current Dutch dynasty is the House of Orange. According to The Amsterdam Times, roughly 350,000 took to the streets and canals to celebrate.
In Amsterdam, Day of Liberation celebrates the end of German Occupation on 5 May 1945 and commemorates the lives lost in World War II. We joined the crowd in Dam Square and almost got a glimpse of Queen Beatrix.
This hotel met our needs; it was very close to the Central Station, and the breakfast buffet at the bar next door was great!
We took the Grayline Canal-Bus to experience the canals and get oriented to the city, but we got lost in Amsterdam's Centrum area many times nevertheless.
Thalys Train from Amsterdam to Paris