Worldwide Tours: Netherlands
Amsterdam has a broad spectrum of recreational and cultural sights that range from fascinating old buildings, like the Oude Kerk, to oddities such as the Hash Marihuana Museum.
Museums are the main tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Everyone knows the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum, but there is much more. Amsterdam has over fifty museums attracting millions of visitors every year. Read further about the museums in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam's Top Attractions
Among Amsterdam’s most visited attractions are the National Maritime Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Amstelkring, and the Anne Frank House. The following sites are also an essential part of the Amsterdam experience.
This old church with little houses attached to its sides, remains a calm heaven in the heart of the frenetic Red Light District. The sailors used the buildings to get their bearings. They especially chose the Gothic-Renaissance style octagonal bell tower.
A narrow, vaulted passageway leads to this charming garden surrounded by old houses. The houses in the courtyard were once occupied by devout celibate Béguine nuns and are still home to single women today. In the center of the lawns is a medieval church and at No.34 stands the oldest home in Amsterdam. The entrance is on the Spui and is indicated by a carved sign. Entry is free.
The Dam is the very center and heart of Amsterdam, although there are arguably prettier sights in the city. As an historical site however, it is fascinating and worth taking the time to appreciate. The Dam has seen many historical dramas unfold over the years, and served for example, as the reception area for Napoleon and his troops during the 1808 take-over of the city. The impressive history of the square is well documented in the Amsterdam Historical Museum. The Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis), which dominates the square, was originally used as the town hall, and its classical façade and fine sculptures were intended to glorify the city of Amsterdam and its government. In contrast to its turbulent history, the square is now a peaceful place and home to hundreds of pigeons and tourists who stop to rest.
The Magere Brug, or "Skinny Bridge" is the most famous of Amsterdam’s bridges. It is a traditional double-leaf, Dutch draw-bridge connecting the banks of the river Amstel. Approximately every twenty minutes, the bridge opens to let boats through. The original bridge was built on 1670, but as the traffic on Amstel increased, a wider bridge was built to replace the narrow one.
Right in the center of Amsterdam, you will also find the oldest zoo in Holland. It consists of four main areas: Zoo, Planetarium, Botanical Gardens, and Geological and Zoological Museum. The zoo has animals from all over the world. In addition, a unique canal aquarium shows which animals roam the canals of Amsterdam. The planetarium offers children a trip through the universe. In the peaceful gardens, you can find many old trees and statues of contemporary artists as well as an impressive tropical rainforest greenhouse. The geological museum shows how the planet has evolved over the past four billion years.
Condom Shop Het Gulden Vlies
This shop is a kingdom of condoms. It has all colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors. Some are even hand painted and are for decoration only. You can find a surprising amount of information and books about our rubber friend, and there is even a small condom museum.
Many visitors to Amsterdam are surprised by the sheer amount of water in the city. There are an enormous number of canals and have led Amsterdam to become known as “The Venice of the North”. Therefore, a trip to Amsterdam is not complete without a boat-ride. A canal-tour can be both fascinating and relaxing by day and enchanting and romantic at night when many of the houses and bridges are illuminated.
The four main city center canals are Prinsengracht, Herengracht, Keizersgracht,and Singel. There are also numerous smaller canals, of which the Brouwersgracht, the Bloemgracht, and the Leliegracht are especially pleasant.
Once a working class area, Amsterdam’s Jordaan has become a greatly sought after spot. The converted warehouses are especially popular and now inhabited by a mixture of students, well-to-do businessmen, and creative professionals.
Jordaan oozes visual delight and atmosphere with its narrow streets, picturesque canals, brown cafes, art galleries, and unique shops. You can easily lose yourself in a pleasant stroll through the enchanting streets that connect the three main canals.
The Leidseplein or Leidse-square is one of Amsterdam’s most popular centers for nightlife with many restaurants, clubs, coffee shops, cinemas, and theatres making it vibrant and colorful. On warm summer evenings, tourists and locals alike take advantage of the pubs’ outdoor seating for drinks with friends. Street musicians, jugglers, fire-eaters, and other performers enliven the square till the early hours.
Rembrandtplein is a tourist magnet lined with pubs, restaurants, cafes, and hotels. A popular center for nightlife, it also includes traditional Dutch pubs which play real Dutch music. In summer, the terraces are packed with people enjoying a drink and watching the world go by. In the center of the square is a small but pleasant park where you can relax or pay homage at the statue of the Great Master. Around the area you’ll also find quality night clubs, gay venues, respectable diamond dealers, and the inevitable tacky souvenir shops.
The Vondelpark is located in the south of Amsterdam, just a five minute walk from the Leidseplein and in walking distance from the Rijksmuseum, Stedlijk Museum, and Van Gogh Museum. With ten million visitors a year, the Vondelpark is the most famous park in the Netherlands.
Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuypmarkt is arguably is the best-known and busiest outdoor market in Europe. It attracts thousands of visitors every day and is especially popular on Saturdays. There are over three hundred stalls and goods that range from fresh produce, clothes, to odds and ends, with prices among the cheapest in Amsterdam. The market is located in the Pijp district, surrounded by many pleasant cafes and small shops.