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Welcome to Amsterdam, the bike capital of the world 

ESC Congress News 2013 - Amsterdam

Date: 31 Aug 2013
Prof Freek Verheugt gives his suggestions and view of Amsterdam.

This is the fifth time that an ESC congress has been held in the city of Amsterdam, returning now after 13 years following congresses in 1976, 1991, 1995 and 2000. 

With the huge airport of Schiphol lying close by, Amsterdam is an ideal location for the world's largest meeting in cardiology; and the RAI congress centre within easy reach of the city centre and its cultural and social attractions. Amsterdam's 17th century ring of canals is now listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Getting around the city is easy, simply because Amsterdam has only 700,000 inhabitants and the centre occupies only a few square kilometres. The congress centre is just 5 kilometres away from the central Dam Square with its Royal Palace. 
Most hotels are less than 15 minutes by bike from the congress. Remember that today Amsterdam is the bike capital of the world. Cars and taxis, which are expensive, are slow because of the narrow streets. If you take the tram, line 4 will bring you from the city to the RAI congress centre, with its station close by. For public transport, buy an OV card at a special price at the registration area, which can be loaded in the ticket machines.
Needless to say, Amsterdam has three world famous museums which have just reopened after extensive renovations: the Rijksmuseum, with its numerous paintings by the Dutch and Flemish masters Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals and Rubens; the Stedelijk Museum for modern art; and the Van Gogh museum with the works of this Dutch impressionist exclusively. 
For music, the Concertgebouw , one of the finest concert halls in the world and located in the museum quarter sets the stage for a concert by 80 Dutch cardiologists Sunday 1 September at 20:00 in support of the CRASH project (Resuscitation Course for All Students In Holland). Amsterdam's second concert hall, Muziekgebouw aan het Ij, is in the port area and worth visiting. In the same area you can view the brand new museum of photography called Eye. 

For drinks and dining the city centre has many small and larger restaurants serving typical Dutch food (often fish) and Asian products from the former Dutch colonies. Drinks are served in numerous Dutch brown pubs, where the well known national beers are on tap. And try the relaxed ambiance of the coffee shops, where the typical strong coffee is served, again a popular national drink.
Amsterdam is an easy-going and safe city, but always be aware of pick-pockets. And pedestrians should stay on the narrow side-walks to avoid the many cyclists.
Holland typically enjoys a seaside climate with mild and relatively wet summers. So always take a small umbrella with you, which can also be useful on the bike - but this takes some practice.
So, this year enjoy the scientific environment of the ESC, as well as the typical and very Dutch atmosphere of Amsterdam. 

No excuses.  Cycle for your heart - rent a bike to reach the congress centre and enjoy the Dutch atmosphere of Amsterdam

What could be better for an ESC Congress in Amsterdam than a dedicated 5 kilometre bike lane from the city centre to congress centre?
The lane will be open and in operation each day of the congress. 
Bikes can be hired for one or several days from the ESC's exclusive partner Yellow Bike at three locations around the city 
- at the RAI train station (open daily from 08.00 to 20:30, except Sunday), and in the city at Nieuwezijds Kolk 29 (open from 09:30 to 18:00) and Armsteeg 22 (open from 11:00 to 17:30) 
Reservations can be made online at 
Bike stands will be available for congress participants as they arrive at the Amsterdam RAI.

The ESC is Backing an initiative of the Dutch Heart Foundation which, from 2 September, will alert women in the Netherlands of the dangers of heart disease.  You can support the campaign by collecting the ESC's 'Women at Heart' pin from the ESC stand.


Iamsterdam - Experience the city

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Authors: Prof Freek Verheugt , ESC Congress News

Notes to editor

About the European Society of Cardiology
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) represents more than 80,000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.

About ESC Congress 2013
The ESC Congress is currently the world’s premier conference on the science, management and prevention of cardiovascular disease.  The spotlight of this year's event is “The Heart Interacting with Systemic Organs”.  ESC Congress 2013 takes place from 31 August to 4 September at the RAI centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands. More information on the scientific programme.