Amsterdam Diamonds – Why Amsterdam Sparkles As a City Break Gem

Amsterdam hardly ever makes the grade in anyone’s hit list of Europe’s top romantic cities. Paris, Rome, Venice – even London – are likely to leave the Dutch capital in the shade. Some frown on Amsterdam’s links with red light sleaze and its drug smoking ‘coffee shops’. Others may think Amsterdam just a little too dull for a decent city break. Whatever the reasons, when a romantic weekend city break is on the cards, Amsterdam rarely turns up trumps.

What a pity! Despite what you may hear, Amsterdam is not all cannabis and carnality. Amsterdam also turns out to be a gem of a city break destination that could win the heart of the one you love. And what gives this city a romantic gloss?   Amsterdam, in fact, is one the the diamond capitals of Europe. And what surer way to win her heart than a glitzy tour of its diamond workshops? It’s a glittering jewel in this tourist city’s crown. And what’s more – it’s free! One of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions is the diamond factory tour.  

The Gassan diamond-polishing factory in the city centre is itself considered a jewel in the city’s tourist crown. Factory tours are free – but you should book in advance to be sure of a place. You get to see where diamonds are found, how they are classified, cut and polished. You can even watch the polishers at their craft and wonder how they resist the temptation to drop the odd stone into a pockets. Visitors agree that the tours are every bit as sparkling as the gems themselves.   About 340.000 visitors come to see Coster Diamonds craftsmen at work every year in the heart of the Museum District.

During free guided tours, which are available in more than 25 languages, the process of cutting and polishing a diamond is explained in detail by an efficient and accommodating staff. Costa is the firm that re-cut the 5,000-year-old Koh-i-noor diamond which sits in the British Royal Crown in the Tower of London. As an added treat you can admire their impressive diamond and jewellery collection – a brilliant experience you will not forget in a hurry.   Amstel Diamonds Limited, one of the oldest diamond factories of Amsterdam. They have been polishing gems here since 1876. The factory is found on the Amstel river in an old canal house in the very heart of historic Amsterdam and factory tours are free.   It all makes buying diamonds in Amsterdam a very special occasion for any visitor. This city has been a world centre for the diamond trade since the 16th century. It all began when Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition sought the safety of a tolerant and welcoming Amsterdam.

Many jewelers brought the diamond trade with them and, when diamonds were discovered in the Dutch-colonised parts of southern Africa, the diamond trade boomed   Many rough diamonds have been handed over to the expert tradesmen at the factories and workshops of Amsterdam for polishing and processing. The trade flourished until the Nazis occupied the city in the Second World War and the Jewish community was almost wiped out.   Much of the Amsterdam diamond trade moved to Antwerp in the wake of Nazi atrocities.

But the Amsterdam diamond trade has prospered again in recent years thanks to the city’s large and growing tourist trade, in particular its rising popularity as a weekend city breaks destination.   OK, classy diamonds may be a trifle too expensive for most pockets but there is nothing like window shopping and even trying on some of the most dazzling jewellery to be found in the world. What better way to dazzle that special person in your life with a city break trip that has that extra sparkle?