Amsterdam is the perfect place for a city trip. Some tourists may flock to Amsterdam for its image as a sex and drugs city, but there are a lot of other reasons to visit Amsterdam.
The symbol of the Dutch capital is the ring of canals, but you’ll also find lots of museums about the city’s history and about great artists. For example, pay a visit to the Anne Frank House or the Rembrandthuis, and don’t forget the highest swing in Europe!
1. Canal tour
When you think of Amsterdam, you probably think of the canals. The canals of Amsterdam are everywhere and you certainly don’t have to look for them. The canals were built about 400 years ago and immediately became the most important symbol of the city. Since 1999 they are even on the UNESCO World Heritage List. So you really can’t skip them.
2. The Dam
The Dam is the heart of Amsterdam and the city also owes its name to the place. At the square is the Royal Palace, the New Church and the National Monument where, among other things, the Second World War is commemorated. Visiting Amsterdam without going to Dam Square is not a good idea. Bring a visit to the Royal Palace on Dam Square, so you can admire the marble Burgzaal and works of art from the Golden Age.
3. The Red Light District of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is known everywhere for its “red light district”, also known as the Wallen. It is therefore a place you should definitely pass by as a visitor. Do so especially when it is already dark, because then the area turns completely red by all neon lights. There is also the myth of the “blue light district”, many tourists mistakenly think that in the windows with a “blue light” transsexual sex workers are at work. This myth was once created by ill-informed travel guides and has now taken on a life of its own.
There are about 750 prostitutes a day working in Amsterdam, ranging from window prostitution to strip clubs to sex clubs. Notwithstanding the activities, this neighborhood is certainly no more dangerous than the rest of Amsterdam.
4. Ajax Stadium: Johan Cruijff ArenA with guide
Feel the beating heart of Ajax during a 75-minute tour of the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The enthusiastic guide tells you everything about the stadium and Ajax, and takes you to the dugout, the field and other parts that are normally closed.
5. EYE Amsterdam
The EYE Amsterdam is a striking white building on the IJ River, opposite Amsterdam’s Central Station. In the EYE Amsterdam you will find the city’s film museum where you can dive into the world of film. Exhibitions are held about the history of film and about the making of a film itself, which are regularly supplemented with temporary exhibitions about big names from the film world.
In addition, you can also just watch a film at EYE. You won’t see any big blockbusters from Hollywood on the poster, but you will see lesser known arthouse films.
6. The Vondelpark
If you’re craving peace and quiet during your visit to Amsterdam, the Vondelpark is the place to be. The Vondelpark is the city park of Amsterdam and has also been a national monument since 1996. In the warm summer days, many people come to sports, picnics, barbecues or relax in the sun.
Be sure to visit the Vondelpark Open Air Theater during the summer months and buy a drink in the Vondelpark Pavilion VondelCS. Concerts, theater and dance performances are then performed in the park.
7. The Old Church
The Old Church was builtin the fourteenth century in honor of St. Nicholas and is therefore the oldest surviving building in Amsterdam. For five centuries the brick Gothic building was built and rebuilt. Inside you will find many graves of famous Dutch people such as the naval hero Jacob van Heemskerck and the first wife of the painter Rembrandt. There are also three organs in the church.
Until 1578 it was a Catholic church that bore the name St. Nicolaaserk. Then the building was handed over to the Protestants and the name changed. Although you can rent this church for parties and events, it also continues to serve the function of Protestant church. The church can be visited for a fee.
8. The Beurs van Berlage
In the Beursplein, the most curious objects serve as gas lanterns. From here you also have a good view of the tower of the stock exchange building, the Beurs van Berlage. There, the inscription “Beidt uw tyd”, on the opposite side of the tower reads “Duur uw uur“. These texts aim to encourage investors to be careful, to take their time, only then to make their move.
Since the end of the last century, this building has not been used as a trade fair building. It is now an event hall with offices. Temporary exhibitions as well as performances are on the bill here. The building cannot be visited except for organized tours. During the tour, the tower can be climbed.
9. The Concert Hall
The Amsterdam Concert Hall was built in 1883 according to the design of architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt. The new building quickly became a very popular monument of the people of Amsterdam. The building has three halls where about 800 concerts are held annually. It is one of the best attended concert halls for classical music.
10. The A’DAM Tower
The A’DAM Tower is the place to go for a stunning panoramic view of the city. On the Lookout on the roof you will also find a bar where you can get a drink. Who has no fear of heights can also sit on the highest swing in Europe. At a height of 100 meters you can swing above the city. The name of the tower refers to the name of the city, but is also an abbreviation for Amsterdam Dance and Music. The tower is the creative corner of the city. Among others, the A’dam Music School and an event company are located in the tower.
11. The Magna Plaza
The Magna Plaza is a lesser known monument of the city and is hidden behind the Palace on the Dam. The building once served as a post office, but today is a luxury shopping mall similar to Paris’ Galeries Lafayette and Harrods in London. Like many other monuments in the city, the Magna Plaza has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is therefore well worth a visit.
12. The Weigh House
13. Madame Tussauds Amsterdam
You propose Madame Tussauds probably don’t need to. In Amsterdam, they excel because of their ideal location on Dam Square, the most central spot in the city. The establishment is also one of the best of Madame Tussauds. Of course, you can see famous stars there as if they were standing next to you in the flesh. You can have your picture taken with Anne Frank or Van Gogh, and you can also meet the Dutch royal family. But Madame Tussauds also stands for a unique experience that undergoes a thorough transformation every year.
The 17th centuryWesterkerk rises above all the buildings and you can easily recognize the emperor’s crown on the 87 meter high tower. This was applied in honor of Maximilian of Austria. Rembrandt was buried in this Protestant church, but people don’t know where to find his grave anymore. Again, you notice the small stores built against the facade. As if they were chicks, taking shelter with mother.
15. Beguinage Amsterdam
The Begijnhof was founded in the 14th century and is located in the heart of the city. As you enter you will see on your left a wooden house that is said to date back to the 15th century. Most of the houses you see are 17th and 18th century. They have been thoroughly restored and are only allowed to be occupied by women. Although there have been no beguines for 40 years, it is still the case that no men live within the walls. This oasis of silence and greenery has a beautiful English church. This church is located since the 17th century in the former Beguinage Church, which the beguines had to give up to the English. Directly opposite the entrance you can see the Catholic chapel, which had to compensate for the loss of the Beguinage Church.
16. Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
Who says Amsterdam, also quickly says weed and coffee shops. Even though the city government has already imposed stricter rules for buying joints and weed there are currently still about 110 coffee shops in Amsterdam. Since the smoking ban is in force in the hospitality industry, it is of course strange that you go to a coffeeshop but actually have to go to a separate area to smoke a joint.
If you are curious what a coffee shop looks like, just walk in, buying or consuming is not obligatory. The most famous coffee shop in Amsterdam is probably The Bulldog.
17. Heineken Experience
Heineken is one of the 3 largest beer brewers in the world. The green bottles with a red star on them are available just about everywhere. The Heineken Experience is an interactive exhibition where you can learn everything about the Dutch beer brand, but you can also get to work brewing beer yourself.
18. Foodhallen Amsterdam
If you are in Amsterdam and would like to do some culinary experimentation, then you should definitely visit the Foodhallen. In this indoor food market in the Old West district (Bellamyplein), you can enjoy a drink or a snack at one of the 30 stalls. Culinary start-ups are happy to come and give you a culinary surprise here.
The Rembrandtplein is well equipped with restaurants, cafes and other entertainment venues, eg the Escape (disco) and De Kroon (cafe-restaurant, beautiful old interior!). It is therefore one of the most famous nightlife areas of Amsterdam, and the ideal place to take a break!
In the square there is a statue of its namesake, Rembrandt, the oldest surviving statue in the city. A bronze arrangement of his most famous painting, The Night Watch, is sometimes there, sometimes not. You have to be lucky. At number 47 you can see the former Amsterdam Bank, now Booking.com, built by Berlage. There is also a water feature with a rock fountain.
20. Nine Streets Amsterdam
The Nine Streets are – how could it be otherwise – nine streets in the Jordaan where shopping is central. There are all kinds of nice boutiques, flagship stores of major brands, eateries, cafes, pop-up stores…. It’s a pleasant crowd. A few years ago a Dutch film was shot there: Hartenstraat, named after one of the streets.
The area lies between the Prinsengracht and Singel. Many of the street names are reminders of the traders and craftsmen who used to live and work here, specializing in the trading and processing of hides of deer, wolves, bears… Take your time to walk between the stores and eateries and take it all in, shop and/or have something to eat.