Our Amsterdam Guide
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More than two hundred paintings
The Van Gogh Museum
When in Amsterdam, you simply cannot miss The Van Gogh Museum. Although never earning any notoriety during his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh has become the most recognisable artist the world has ever known. This museum has collected hundreds of the man’s art in one convenient location, including ‘Sunflowers’ and ‘The Potato Eaters’ which always leave an indelible impression on visitors. In addition to marvelling at the talent, visitors can also gain an insight into the troubled life of the man himself as the museum boasts 700 hundred letters personal letters written by Van Gogh.
An overview of Dutch art and history
The Rijksmuseum is a museum that is home to some of the greatest works in Dutch history. With a vast collection of over 8,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, and artefacts, this is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Netherlands. Some of the highlights of the Rijksmuseum include Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”, Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid”, and numerous works by other famous Dutch artists like Jan Steen and Frans Hals. The building where the museum is housed is another reason to visit as it showcases impressive Dutch architecture.
More than six thousand trees and plants
The Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
The Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam is a hidden gem that many tourists overlook, but it's a must-visit for anyone interested in plants, nature, and history. This botanical garden is one of the oldest in the world, with a history dating back to the 17th century. It was founded initially as a medicinal herb garden for doctors and apothecaries and it has since gone on to play a significant role in the development of modern botany.
The Hortus Botanicus is home to a vast collection of plants from around the world, with over 6,000 different species in its 1.2-hectare grounds. Visitors can explore a wide range of greenhouses, gardens, and outdoor areas, each with its own unique atmosphere and plant life. Some of the highlights of the garden include the Palm House, which houses an impressive collection of tropical and subtropical plants, and the Butterfly House, where visitors can observe a variety of colourful butterflies up close.
The garden is located in the heart of Amsterdam, just a short walk from the city centre, making it an easy and convenient stop. So, if you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle, the Hortus Botanicus is a great place to stroll around beautiful gardens and relax while marvelling at quaint bridges and peaceful ponds.
A museum about the beer brand Heineken
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without sampling the world famous beer that the city has to offer. In fact, the much-loved brand Heineken was born in this city and it’s possible to revel in this fact at the Heineken Experience located in the old Heineken Brewery on the Stadhouderskade in Amsterdam South. Here you will learn all about the history of the brand and the brewing process with a tour that features interactive multimedia. And the best part - two drinks at the museum cafes are included in the admission price.
A museum for art exhibitions
The Hermitage Amsterdam
Initially built as a retirement home for women in the 17th Century, the Hermitage has become one of Amsterdam’s premier museums, hosting countless exhibitions from museums around the world.
More importantly, the museum’s permanent collection includes 17th century art from the Dutch Golden Age such as Rembrandt’s "Young Woman with Earrings". The Hermitage Amsterdam is located in the heart of Amsterdam and is open seven days a week, making it easily accessible to visitors. It is also surrounded by a variety of restaurants, shops, and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring the city.
The largest daytime market in Europe
The Albert Cuypmarkt
Experience shopping at the Albert Cuypmarkt, one of the oldest outdoor marketplaces in Europe. Walking through its stalls is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in the city's rich cultural heritage. The Albert Cuypmarkt offers an incredible variety of goods so, whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewellery or a fresh herring sandwich, you'll find it here. And in the unlikely event you’ll get bored, you can always sit down and people watch as the market is said to attract millions of visitors each year.
In design and spatial layout
The Portuguese-Israelite Synagogue
The Portuguese-Israelite Synagogue of Amsterdam, also known as the Esnoga, is one of the city's most historic and significant cultural landmarks. This beautiful 17th-century building is a must-visit for anyone interested in Jewish history and culture. It is a magnificent example of Dutch-Portuguese architecture, combining elements from the two cultures to create a stunning and unique building. From the ornate carved wooden ceiling to the beautiful stained-glass windows, every detail has been carefully crafted to create a harmonious and awe-inspiring space. The Esnoga is a testament to the multicultural and tolerant vibe of Amsterdam that is deeply rooted in the country’s history. Here visitors can also witness traditional Jewish prayers and ceremonies, and learn more about the religious practices and beliefs of the Sephardic Jewish community.
The flower and plant market
Cap off your shopping odyssey at the Bloemenmarkt, also known as the flower and plant market. This permanent fixture of Amsterdam has been around for centuries and has undergone many changes in that time. Sitting on the bank of the canal, the flower stalls now resemble beautiful little greenhouses bursting with colour regardless of the season. While flowers may not last the trip home, perhaps purchasing a bulb or two will allow you to grow a reminder of your time in Amsterdam.
The museum district for luxury shopping
The Nine Streets
When one thinks of shopping destinations, Paris, London and Milan automatically come to mind, but did you know that Amsterdam is an up-and-coming retail paradise? One only has to walk to De Negen Straatjes "The Nine Streets" to see what we mean. Located in the heart of the city, this charming area is famous for its narrow, winding streets and beautiful canals as well as its shopping. Here you’ll find anything from vintage clothing to handmade jewellery in a variety of boutiques and specialty stores. And when you are all shopped out, sample Dutch cuisine at the many restaurants and cafes that line the area while admiring the stunning architecture of the 17th century buildings.
A broad selection of high-end brands
Department stores and shopping centres
The most famous department store in Amsterdam is De Bijenkorf, which houses all the best brands in one convenient location. The store offers a wide range of products, including fashion, beauty, and home goods, as well as a restaurant and rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city. The fact that this store is housed in a beautiful historic building is an added bonus and well worth the visit just to see it.
For those who want a more high-end shopping experience, the P.C. Hoofstraat, Amsterdam’s up-market fashion street, has got you covered. Find fashion icons Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent as well as some lesser known but high-quality Dutch designers in this area.
For affordable fashion, don’t go past HEMA, a popular Dutch chain with all the popular brands and a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Magna Plaza is another option and is located in a historic building right near Dam Square and has all the brand staples a shopper could need such as Mango and Sissy Boy. Located within a minute of the Bloemenmarkt is De Kalverpassage which is another shopping centre filled with dozens of shops.
Amsterdam’s centre for antiques and art
Art & antiques in the Spiegelkwartier
If it’s antiques that you are after, then the Spiegelkwartier will be right up your alley. A short walk from the Rijksmuseum, this area encompasses more than 70 shops that sell all sorts of antique oddities from Netherlands and all over the world. Many of the shops specialize in specific periods or styles, such as Art Deco or 17th-century Dutch furniture. Some of the most famous antique shops in the area include Antiekcentrum Amsterdam, Oud Amsterdam Antiques, and De Klok Antiques. In addition to antique shops, Spiegelkwartier also has a variety of art galleries, showcasing the work of both established and up-and-coming artists. The galleries offer a diverse range of art styles, from contemporary to classical, and many of them participate in local art fairs and events.
A city is full of green spaces
Nature in and around Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a bustling city known for its vibrant culture, rich history, and beautiful architecture. However, it is also home to an array of natural wonders that offer a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. From serene parks and gardens to pristine beaches and lakes, there are plenty of nature activities in and around Amsterdam for visitors to explore.
Pack your picnic blanket and a selection of Dutch cheeses and amble over to one of the many parks and green spaces within the city limits of Amsterdam. And if loafing around is not really your vibe, then there are plenty of adrenalin-racing activities like rock climbing, ice skating and kayaking.
If you want go further afield and experience nature outside of Amsterdam, then head to De Hoge Veluwe National Park, which is just outside of Amsterdam and is certainly worth the trip. This vast park covers 55 square kilometres and has a wide range of landscapes, from sand dunes to forests. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including red deer, wild boar, and foxes. You can explore the park on foot, bike, or even by car. De Hoge Veluwe National Park is the perfect destination for those who want to experience the beauty of Dutch nature in its rawest form.
Just another short train ride from Amsterdam, Zandvoort Beach is a beautiful stretch of coastline that offers a welcome respite from the city's urban sprawl. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or surfing in the pristine waters, or simply take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shores.
Amsterdam is a city that offers an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor activities. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat, an adrenaline-pumping adventure, or simply a chance to connect with nature, there are plenty of options to choose from in and around Amsterdam.
Find yourself a relaxing spot to unwind
Parks Galore in Amsterdam
Usually known for its narrow, multi-floor brick buildings and cobbled streets, Amsterdam also hosts a variety of green spaces not to be missed. Catch some sun, chill out under some leafy foliage and keep fit at the many different parks that Amsterdam has to offer.
One of the most famous parks in Amsterdam is Vondelpark, which is located in the heart of the city. This park is the perfect place to go for a picnic, a bike ride, or just a stroll through the greenery. With a size of over 120 acres, Vondelpark is Amsterdam's largest park and has something for everyone. You can find ponds, walking paths, cafes, and even a theatre within its borders. If you're looking for a break from the city's noise, then Vondelpark is the place to go.
Amsterdamse Bos is a sprawling park located just outside the city centre. This forested area covers more than 1,000 hectares, and it is the perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy the fresh air. You can bike, hike, or take a canoe on one of the many lakes in the park. The park also has an array of attractions such as a goat farm, a sculpture park, and even a pancake restaurant. Amsterdamse Bos is the ideal spot for nature lovers and families with children.
The Amsterdam’s most charming neighbourhood
Get lost in arty Jordaan
Many remark that Jordaan is the most attractive region of Amsterdam. Once a working-area, it has since been transformed into a trendy and artistic community and is now packed with cosy galleries, quaint gardens, antique stores as well as charming bars and local restaurants.
The Jordaan is also home to some of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Anne Frank House, which is located on the Prinsengracht canal. Visitors can also explore the Westerkerk, a 17th-century church with a distinctive tower, or take a stroll through the famous Noordermarkt, which features a lively outdoor market on Saturdays.
With so much to see and do, you’ll definitely want to set aside an entire afternoon to delve deep into the history and culture of the unique and remarkable Jordaan.
Cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life
Cycle like a local
What better way to keep fit, save money and see a city than to cycle? This is the most convenient form of transport in Amsterdam and one that is favoured by locals. Bicycles can be found everywhere. In fact, it is reported that there are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam! Bicycles are also perfect for getting out of the city and seeing some of the sites on the outskirts such as the lake at Sloterplas or the quaint village of Ouderkerk founded in the Middle Ages. Practically all of Amsterdam and its surrounds can be viewed on bike owing to the well-built bike paths and accessible routes that crisscross the area.
Explore the diverse attractions of the surrounding area
Spy Windmills and Beaches
If you have some time to spare during your visit to Amsterdam, take a trip further afield to rolling fields, golden beaches and, of course, windmills. At Bloemendaal aan Zee and Zandvoort aan Zee, you can rest and relax on the sandy beaches with dunes that span as far as the eye can see. And, for windmills, you can't go past Zaanse Schans which is a quaint neighbourhood that lines up several windmills on the river bank. At the Zaans Museum, you can view traditional Dutch costumes, miniature windmills and hands-on exhibitions on the art of making chocolate. Several workshops in the area display artisanal crafts such as wooden clog carving and barrel making.
The cultural beating heart of Amsterdam
Immerse Yourself in Amsterdam's Cultural Treasures at Museumplein
Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the Museumplein is a cultural hub that attracts millions of visitors each year. This large public square is flanked by some of the city's most important museums, including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The square is also surrounded by grassy lawns and trees, with plenty of benches and seating areas where visitors can sit and take in the scenery. Throughout the year, various events such as outdoor concerts, festivals, and cultural performances are held in the Museumplein. During the warmer months, you can wade through the shallow pool and, in the winter months, you can ice-skate over it. Museumplein is a fantastic open space that is filled with oodles of museums and fun things to do – it’s definitely worth checking out!
The quintessential postcard-perfect vision of Amsterdam
Cruise through the Canals
Amsterdam is a city of canals, and there's no better way to experience its charm and beauty than by taking a cruise on the waterways. From the water, you will gain a new perspective on all the attractions that Amsterdam has to offer including its historic bridges and picturesque parks. You’ll also appreciate the history of the city with an informative tour where you will learn about Amsterdam’s origins as a fishing village and its transformation into the centre of trade during the colonial period.
Many cruises also offer a restaurant experience where visitors can take in the sights while also sipping on a beer or wine and dining on some local cuisine. Explore at your own pace and choose from a selection of tours that last from 30 minutes all the way up to the leisurely paced 3-hour excursions. Some cruises also offer private tours, which can be customized to meet your individual needs and interests.
A range of organic standard and seasonal ales
Try local beer at a historic brewery
For the more discerning beer connoisseurs among you, scoot over to Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Islands) and take a peek at the Brouwerij ‘t IJ, an award-winning craft microbrewery. The brewery is located in De Gooyer, one of the eight windmills that still stand in Amsterdam. Here you can sample the fine selection of ales during a guided tour. And if that doesn’t slake your thirst, then continue the fun on the outdoor terrace where you can purchase the full range of drinks.
Independent boutiques, vintage shops and specialty stores
Amsterdam’s independent shopping streets
Amsterdam is filled with streets that are as much fun to try to say as they are to shop at. A favourite is Utrechtsestraat, which is located just south of the city centre and is known for its high-end boutiques and stylish cafes. Visitors can find everything from designer clothing to artisanal chocolate, and can take a break from shopping to enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many trendy bars and cafes along the way.
For aspiring foodies and shoppers alike, take a look at Van Woustraat, a street located in De Pijp neighbourhood. Here you can browse a variety of independent shops, including bakeries, cheese shops and organic grocery stores.
Up next is Haarlemmerstraat which is a charming street situated in the heart of Amsterdam and it is filled to the brim with a variety of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants all in the world-famous and unique Dutch architectural style.
A hotspot for arts, crafts, fashion and food
Experience eating in a former tram
A culinary paradise located in the confines of a former tram depot that has been converted into a multipurpose facility called De Hallen. Sample the finest street food from a variety of respected and well-known Dutch restaurateurs in one location. Once you have filled up on grub, check out the other attractions in the same location such as the Filmhallen, a cinema that shows a variety of arthouse productions, or the boutique stores and even a boutique hotel. Every second week, there is also a local market that is held here where visitors can purchase art, craft, fashion and everything in between.
A definitive symbol of Dutch culture
Wake up and smell the tulips
Tulips are synonymous with the Netherlands and have inspired many great artists and authors such as Alexandre Dumas. The Netherlands is full of these wonderful kaleidoscopic flowers and if you're in Amsterdam in the spring then it's definitely worth the trip to the tulip fields in Bollenstreek which is a short 20 minutes away. These colours will dazzle and impress as they stretch far into the distance. For those who suffer from hay fever, don't forget to pack your antihistamines! If you’re strapped for time, fear not! There are plenty of tulips to be viewed in the city centre of Amsterdam at the Tulip Museum and during the Tulip Festival which occurs in April.