Best things to do in Amsterdam
Find out more about those top places in Amsterdam
Alongside Venice and Paris, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most iconic cities. While the elegant canal side districts of Jordaan and Centrum have for decades been one of Europe’s most visited destinations, the Dutch capital’s lesser-known districts have plenty of hidden gems to reward intrepid visitors. Across the river from Amsterdam’s charming center is Amsterdam-Noord, which has gained a reputation as one of Europe’s coolest and most innovative neighborhoods. The EYE Film Institute, housed in a space-age iceberg, provides a mesmerizing tour of Dutch cinema while former industrial estates house organic restaurants, microbreweries and techno clubs that are the envy of Berlin. Further south, the formerly rundown neighborhood of De Pijp hosts an eclectic range of flea markets, North African and Indonesian restaurants and a relaxed bohemian pace of life. With the resurgence of long-neglected neighborhoods, Amsterdam is thriving making now the best time to visit.
With over 1.5 kilometers of galleries and 7500 art works displayed, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s largest and finest museums. Most people come for the local heroes with Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh all prominently displayed but are also enchanted by the spectacular array of Delftware, Oriental art and spectacular sculpture gardens. In short, you simply have to visit the Rijksmuseum when in the Dutch capital.
With more than 1 million visitors per year to the Anne Frank House, the popularity of Anne Frank’s harrowing yet optimistic writing is not subsiding any time soon. Tour slots must be booked in advance and once inside the small home you can look into her perfectly preserved bedroom and explore the famed secret annex where the Frank family hid until their arrest and murder by the Nazis.
Immortalized through his whimsical and phantasmagorical artworks, such as The Starry Night (1889) and Sunflowers (1889), Van Gogh is the Netherlands most famed son. At Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum you can explore these works and more with the exhibition detailing his life and work from tentative beginnings to his creative breakthrough towards the end of his tortured life.
Canals are everywhere in Amsterdam so why not hop on a traditional Dutch canal boat and set sail on the city’s Canal Belt. On these tours, which can be organized at day or at night for a romantic evening adventure, you will cruise past some of the city’s iconic attractions including the bohemian district of Jordaan.
Alongside London’s Hyde Park and Berlin’s Tiergarten, Amsterdam’s Vondelpark is one of Europe’s greatest green spaces. A private park until as late as the mid-1950s, today it is where Amsterdammers come to unwind and you can explore its winding pathways, fountain peppered ponds and boisterous beer gardens freely. The park is best seen in the summer when sometimes it seems as if the whole city is there having fun.
Across the water from Amsterdam’s historic center lies one of Europe’s hidden gems – Noord. Fast becoming one of the continent’s coolest hangouts, this formerly industrial district has more than its fair share of attractions with daily tours encompassing the futuristic EYE Film Institute, the artistic community of NDSM-Werf and the sky-high viewing platform atop the ADAM Tower. Once you have explored, sit back and enjoy the atmosphere in one of the area’s microbreweries.
Tour one of the world’s best loved breweries at the Heineken Experience. On guided tours of the vast 19th century factory complex you will learn about the history of the company, how they produce their award-winning drink and get to sample various Heineken brews at a tasting.
Originally opened as a city hall in 1655, the gilded building was transformed into the Royal Palace during the 1800s. It was designed to showcase the great wealth the Netherlands had gathered from their worldwide empire and this is still displayed today with a dazzling array of gold chandeliers, frescoed ceilings and art from East Asia.