What to see and do in Amsterdam
Since moving to Amsterdam about 10 months ago, we’ve had just about as many visitors. For a multitude of reasons, Amsterdam is incredibly popular with tourists. Every weekend the population of this small city swells ridiculously. In 2010 alone, 5.3 million tourists visited Amsterdam. That’s a lot of people in a very small area!
Anyway, for all our future guests and anyone else visiting Amsterdam, here is my list of attractions. They’re not in any particular order and I know I’m missing a bunch, but it’s a start!
There are a lot of museums in Amsterdam, most of which seem to be art related.
Rijksmuseum – Image sourced from Wikipedia – Amsterdam Rijksmuseum
- Van Gogh Museum
- Rembrant Museum
- Cat Cabinet
- Anne Frank House
- Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum)
- Jewish Historical Museum
- Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder
- Amsterdam Tulip Museum
- Amsterdam Historical Museum
There are several old churches dotted around Amsterdam. It may seem a bit strange but Oude Kerk is right in the middle of the red light district!
Westerkerk – Image sourced from Flickr – Steve Cadman – Amsterdam Westerkerk
You can spend days just wondering the streets of Amsterdam. The buildings are so beautiful and well maintained. The tree-lined canals and little bridges just can’t get any more picturesque on a sunny afternoon. But then again, there are heaps of other things to do as well, such as…
Heineken Experience – Image sourced from Info Barrel – Heineken Experience
- Heineken Experience
- Canal cruises
- Dinner canal cruise
- Liquor Distillery
- Cheese Tasting
- Whiskey Bar
- Torture Museum
- Walk along the canals & streets in between
- Eating a herring from a street vendor
- Walk around the Jordaan
For such a small city, Amsterdam has several particularly well known areas. Some are pretty obvious (like the red light district) whilst others are much more hidden away (like the Begijnhof). Whatever your style, there’s something for everyone.
Red Light District (De Wallen) – Image sourced from Wikipedia – De Wallen
Like every proper European city, Amsterdam has its fair share of markets. Some only operate on the weekend and most have a particular theme.
Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt) – Image sourced from Wikipedia – Bloemenmarkt
- Bloemenmarket – Flower Market
- Noordermarkt – Organic Farmers’ Market
- Waterlooplein – Flea Market
- Albert Cuyp Market – Street Market
Shopping in Amsterdam is not like it is in the USA or Australia where you have everything you could possibly need in one large shopping mall. Malls like that don’t really exist in Europe where shopping is more ‘boutiquey’. There are shops dotted around the city and a few streets, like Kalverstraat, are lined with them.
Shopping (Kalverstraat) – Image sourced from Flickr – Kevin Oliver – Kalverstraat Shopping, Amsterdam
Dutch cuisine is not particularly varied but there are definitely some dishes you must try while visiting Amsterdam or Holland in general.
Fondue – Image sourced from Life In Amsterdam
- Bacon pancakes
- The Pantry
- Hofje van Wijs Tea and Coffee
- The Five Flies
Holland is a tiny country. It really is. Nowhere in Holland is more than an hour or two away from Amsterdam so there are lots of options for day trips. Public transport (both train and bus) is very convenient, comfortable and affordable.
Zaanse Schans – Image sourced from Eropuit.nl