Amsterdam; 12 things to do with culture and entertainment
Amsterdam, the vibrant capital of the Netherlands, is a city that seamlessly blends rich history, artistic heritage and a laid-back atmosphere. There are picturesque canals, historic architecture, and a large cultural scene. This spans museums, galleries, and very lively neighborhoods. Because of this, Amsterdam offers a unique experience for every visitor. In this article, we’ll explore the top 12 attractions that make Amsterdam a must-visit destination.
Amsterdam City Card
Are you in Amsterdam for a couple of days and do you want to see as much as you can? Check out the Amsterdam Go City Pass for free access to your favorite attractions. If it says ACC behind the title, it’s accessible with the Amsterdam City Card. This card is an easy way to gain quick and cheaper access to you favorite museums and tours, als including tours to places outside of Amsterdam. It doesn’t include public transport in Amsterdam, but you can use your credit- or debitcard for that. Or you can buy the Amsterdam Transport Pass, which gives you a whole day or multiple day access to all of Amsterdams public transport.
1: Rijksmuseum: A Journey Through Dutch Art and History (ACC)
The Rijksmuseum is a treasure trove of Dutch art and history, housing a vast collection of masterpieces from the Golden Age. Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” are just a couple of the iconic works on display. Visitors can delve into the country’s rich cultural heritage while exploring this majestic museum. You can also book a guided tour in which you get more information about the artists and the history.
2: Anne Frank House: A Poignant Journey Through History
The Anne Frank House preserves the hiding place where Anne Frank, a Jewish girl, wrote her famous diary during World War II. The museum is a powerful reminder of the impact of intolerance and the importance of human rights. Visiting the Anne Frank House is a moving experience that encourages reflection on the past. If you want to know more about Anne Frank and the history of World War II, we recommend this walking tour.
3: Canal Cruises: Navigating Amsterdam’s Waterways (ACC)
Exploring Amsterdam by canal is an essential experience. The city’s UNESCO-listed canal ring is a masterpiece of urban planning, and a canal cruise offers a unique perspective of Amsterdam’s historic architecture and charming neighborhoods. Whether by day or night, the canals provide an enchanting backdrop to the city.
Tip: Make sure to check if there are combination tickets available with museums to save yourself some expenses!
4: Dam Square: The Heart of Amsterdam
At the center of the city, Dam Square is a bustling hub surrounded by historic landmarks and modern amenities. The Royal Palace, the National Monument, and the Nieuwe Kerk are just a few of the notable attractions at this broad square. From here you have easy access to the main shopping streets: Kalverstraat, Nieuwendijk and Damstraat.
5: Vondelpark: A Tranquil Oasis in the City
Escape the urban hustle and bustle by strolling through Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest city park. A green oasis in the heart of the city, Vondelpark offers a serene retreat with its winding paths, ponds, and open spaces. It’s a popular spot for picnics, leisurely bike rides, and outdoor performances. It lies close to Leidseplein, where you can sit on a terrace or dance in a bar or club.
6: Van Gogh Museum: Immersing in the World of a Genius
Dedicated to the life and works of Vincent van Gogh, this museum is a pilgrimage site for art enthusiasts. The collection includes some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, providing a captivating insight into the artist’s evolution and struggles. The museum’s multimedia exhibits offer a holistic understanding of Van Gogh’s brilliant mind. There is also a guided tour available where you can learn even more about this great artist!
7: Jordaan: Bohemian Charm and Artistic Vibes
Jordaan is a picturesque neighborhood known for its narrow streets, cozy cafes, and boutique shops. This former working-class area has transformed into a trendy district filled with art galleries, vintage stores, and charming courtyards. Explore the local markets and soak in the bohemian atmosphere.
Tip: If it’s a national holiday, this place is overcrowded. The Dutch know how to party, and they do it together. Try to visit the outskirts of the Jordaan during King’s day (27 April) and see how they celebrate.
8: Amsterdam Museum: Unraveling the City’s Story
The Amsterdam Museum provides a comprehensive overview of the city’s history, from its humble beginnings to its current status as a global cultural hub. Through interactive exhibits and artifacts, visitors gain insights into the diverse facets of Amsterdam’s development, trade, and cultural exchange.
9: Heineken Experience: A Toast to Dutch Brewing Tradition (ACC)
Beer enthusiasts will appreciate the Heineken Experience, a brewery tour that takes visitors through the history of this iconic Dutch beer brand. Interactive exhibits, brewing demonstrations and, of course, tastings make for an entertaining and informative experience. You will experience everything about this pure Amsterdam beer, even if you don’t like the taste, you’ll love the excitement.
10: Red Light District: Exploring Amsterdam’s Edgy Side
Famous for its nightlife and distinctive character, the Red Light District is an area that both intrigues and challenges perceptions. Visitors can explore the district’s narrow alleys, visit quirky museums, and gain a nuanced understanding of this controversial but integral part of Amsterdam’s identity. Don’t worry about embarrassment, it’s next to the Oude Kerk (Old church) and the Nieuwmarkt (New Market). This means you can walk around without all the hassle of the workers behind the windows.
11: Rembrandt House Museum: Stepping Into the Artist’s World (ACC)
Located in the house where Rembrandt lived and worked, this museum offers a glimpse into the life of the renowned Dutch painter. The meticulously restored interior provides an authentic setting, allowing visitors to imagine the artistic process behind some of Rembrandt’s masterpieces.
12: Amsterdam’s Street Markets: A Shopper’s Paradise
Amsterdam’s street markets are a treat for those seeking unique souvenirs and local delicacies. The Albert Cuyp Market, Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market, see picture) and the Waterlooplein Market offer a diverse range of goods, from fresh produce to vintage finds. Exploring these markets is a delightful way to experience Amsterdam’s dynamic street life. And of course the local “cuisine”. Try some Old Amsterdam cheese, their famous stroopwaffle or a herring with onions and pickles.
Are you looking for a pure Amsterdam place to try Amsterdam liqueurs for an evening? Then go to Wynand Fockink in the Pijlsteeg. In their tasting room, you can try many types of truly Dutch drinks. Just be sure to drink in moderation and always use alcohol responsibly.
Amsterdam’s allure lies in its ability to seamlessly blend the old and the new, the traditional and the avant-garde. World-class art museums, historic canals and a vibrant street life. Amsterdam offers a diverse range of attractions that cater to every interest. This city is not merely a destination. It’s an immersive experience that invites visitors to explore its rich tapestry of culture, history and creativity. There is so much more to Amsterdam, that this article will extend constantly. Don’t forget to check out the Amsterdam City Card.