What you see here above are three hotels. Each hotel consists of just one room. It is the latest trend in tourism: sleep in a “folly”. In the past, many of the 1680 bridges in Amsterdam were managed by a bridge keeper in a little bridge-house, but since this is all done electronically the watch houses have become redundant. They have been transformed to a distributed hotel, where rooms are not clustered in a single building but are dispersed over the city. Room service is a little bit difficult, but actually it may be nicer to stroll through the city for your breakfast rather than having it served in the basement of an anonymous skyscraper. The bridge-house hotel is also much cheaper than another popular “folly”: the Faralda Crane Hotel, two rooms of utmost luxury located in a crane on an abandoned shipyard, which despite the costs have to be booked months in advance. It’s worth the money: the experience and the view in this “hotel” are breathtaking while enjoying your bubblebath 70 meters above the city.
Perhaps a more easy option for alternative sleeping is one of the many house boats in the Amsterdam canals which are offered for bed & breakfast. There is quite a variety. Some others are located at the edge of the city, for those who love the landscape around Amsterdam, with its numerous cute 17th century villages. Most B&Bs provide free bicycles, with which the city and congress center are reached rather easily. Amsterdam is small, with only 750.000 inhabitants, and can be crossed by bike from north to south within an hour. You could also book a romantic hotel in one of the small towns along the river Amstel, south of Amsterdam, and cycle to the RAI congress center in a relaxed half hour.
Wherever you stay in or around Amsterdam, you will enjoy walking around the historic center. Amsterdam is fascinating, surrounded by a beautiful and unique landscape, everything up to several meters below sea level. In your congress bag you will find a little booklet with recommended tours by foot or by bicycle. The city is safe and the people are friendly; everybody speaks English. Just watch your money, because pickpockets are everywhere. The congress center is located at the outskirt of Amsterdam, in a nondescript area with large, modern buildings. To get a feeling for the real city, we recommend to take Tramline 4, which stops every 10 minutes just in front of RAI congress center, and stay on board until the terminal after 25 minutes: this is the central train station, at the opposite end of town. Walk through the station and take a free ferry back and forth across the wide river that leads to the sea. After this you will feel comfortable to get off the tram at places like the Dam Square or the Floating Flower Market, which are starting points for recommended walks.