110 Things to Do in Amsterdam

Actualizado: 14 de feb de 2019

A view of the Rijksmuseum from the Art Square

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. With its universities, academies and research institutes, along with more than 40 museums, numerous theaters, and entertainment venues, Amsterdam is the country's leading cultural center. In addition, the city is famous for its historic homes, laid out in a pattern of concentric segments in the shape of a fan and built on piles driven through an upper layer of mud into the firm, sandy bottom up to 18 meters below. All told, some 6,750 buildings dating from the 16th to 18th centuries are crowded into an area of 2,000 acres, dissected by 160 canals (grachten), themselves home to numerous houseboats. Many picturesque bridges link the city's 90 islands, eight of them old wooden bascule bridges, including the Magere Brug (Mager Bridge), one of the city's most frequently photographed.

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01. Centraal Station

An impressive Neo-Renaissance building has been open to the public since 1889. As the city grew, the station had to change. The situation of the station renewal became permanent throughout the last decennia. At present, the station area remains a huge construction site because of the creation of the new metro North-South line, which will be completed in 2017. The new bus terminal had been recently added at the back of the station.

02. The Damrak

It’s an avenue and partially filled-in canal at the center of Amsterdam, running between Amsterdam Centraal in the north and Dam Square in the south. It is the main street where people arriving at the station enter the center of Amsterdam.

03. In De Wildeman

A quirky bar in a former distillery is essentially a beer tasting bar. It is somewhat of an institution in Amsterdam. The bar boasts of a massive selection of 18 beers on draft and over 250 bottled beers. Try beers from local Dutch brewers.

04. Beursplein ("Place de la Bourse" in Dutch)

It’s a square that takes its name from the Amsterdam Stock Exchange that is located there, and it also hosts the department store De Bijenkorf. It is located along the Damrak, one of the main north-south traffic routes of the city center, and the Beursstraat (rue de la Bourse).

05. Nieuwe Kerk

A 15th-century church in Amsterdam, located on Dam Square.

06. The Royal Palace

Formerly the Town Hall, the Royal Palace serves as the King's residence when he's in the city. Its construction was a monumental task when started in 1648 and required the sinking of 13,659 piles to support the mammoth structure. Based upon the architecture of ancient Rome, the exterior is strictly classical, while the interior is magnificently furnished, its apartments decorated with a wealth of reliefs, ornamentation, marble sculptures, and friezes, along with ceiling-paintings by Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck, pupils of Rembrandt. Other highlights include one of the finest furniture collections in the world; the City Treasurer's room with its marble fireplace and ceiling paintings by Cornelius Holsteyn; and the Hall of the Aldermen, also containing paintings by Bol and Flinck. The largest and most important room is the Council Hall, sumptuously decorated and one of the most beautiful staterooms in Europe.

07. W Hotel Lounge

It’s not the highest but it is one of the coolest roof tops, with great views and the super modern vibe that the W Hotel is known for.

08. National Monument

It’s a 22 meter high structure.

09. Madame Tussaud

The famous wax museum, it also exists in several major world cities, in Amsterdam it has been modernized, equipped with multimedia effects, set to employ actors and extras and like any amusement park it addresses itself mainly to children and teenage visitors. Madame Tussaud was a real person, Anna Maria Grosholtz (1761–1850). Born in Strasbourg, France, she moved to Switzerland, where she served as a housekeeper to a physician in Bern. Making a wax mask of dead person or casting a model of celebrity’s hand was at the time one of the few ways of preserving the person’s image for future generations and it has been a physician’s job. Taught by her master and skilled herself in waxworks, young woman moved to Paris, married François Tussaud and witnessed the violence of the French Revolution of years 1789 - 1799. She made hundreds of death masks and head sculptures of executed aristocrats, often pulling more interesting head from the pile of hundreds decapitated bodies. She lived later in London and when she died, her collection counted 400 figures. The first Tussaud’s cabinet of wax figures opened in London at Baker Street in 1835. It included the “Chamber of Horrors” showing figures of victims of the French Revolution and famous criminals, already caught and hanged. Seriously damaged by fires of 1921 and 1941, during the Blitz – WWII German bombings of London, when many valuable figures at the Tussauds just melted, the collection has been rebuilt and today is owned by British amusement parks operator Merlin Entertainment.

10. Wynand Fockink

A traditional distillery in the bustling center of Amsterdam, it’s known far and wide for its selection of liqueurs and genevers. It’s hidden in a little alley near Dam Square. Take a tour of the distillery or head straight to the tasting room.

11. Coffeeshops

Amsterdam is known for its legalization of “soft” drugs such as marijuana, so coffee shops have been a part of the city since the 1970’s. There are about 200 dispersed throughout the city. One such shop is Abraxas, tucked away in a small alley, the Jonge Roelensteeg. Abraxas is very clean, cozy, and welcoming, with a hint of Mystic & Middle Eastern flavor. The shop and its staff have a keen eye for detail. They offer free Internet. www.abraxas.tv

12. The Amsterdam Museum

Housed in the former municipal orphanage built in 1414, it consists of a number of spacious courtyards where visitors can learn about the constantly changing role of Amsterdam in the country and in the world. Highlights range from prehistoric finds and the town's original charter to items from the present day, as well as displays describing how the land was reclaimed from the sea. The inner courtyards are also fun to explore and house other highlights such as the old shooting gallery. There's also an on-site café. The library possesses a rich collection of literature on the history of the city, and graphics and drawings can be viewed by prior arrangement.

13. The Amsterdam Dungeon

This is a Theatre that follows a similar format to the London Dungeon, York Dungeon, Berlin Dungeon and Hamburg Dungeon which are owned and operated by UK-based Merlin Entertainments and attempts to show history through an interactive adventure. Live actors, a ride, shows and special effects simulate historical dark and bleak times.

14. Oudemanhuispoort - Universiteit van Amsterdam

The Amsterdam University (abbreviated as UvA, Dutch: Universiteit van Amsterdam) is a public university located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Established in 1632 by municipal authorities and later renamed for the city of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam is the third-oldest university in the Netherlands. It is one of the largest research universities in Europe.

15. The Begijnhof

The secret garden is a rare tranquil inner-city spot that people don't notice, a hidden courtyard surrounded by cottages. Through the tiny lanes and pathways one can see some of the oldest houses in Amsterdam, including its only remaining wooden house from the 14th century. It was originally occupied by a commune of pious Catholic women (begijnen). Also one can see an old and small chapel that is still open for services.

16. Oude Lutherese Kerk

This is a Lutheran church built in 1632/33 under the supervision of Wessel Becker and Willem van Daelen. The interior is rectangular in shape, surrounded by galleries resting on Ionic columns. Doric columns support the roof structure. The pulpit dates from 1640. Due to its weak structure a meticulous restoration was carried out in 1925. The original stained glass windows were replaced in 1774 and during the restoration of 1984/86, the interior was almost completely restored.

17. Dampkring Coffeeshop

Another coffee house, this one made famous by the crew of the famous movie “Ocean’s 12′. Good drinks and good weed are served here at standard prices. www.dampkring.nl

18. Kalverstraat

A street with many smart boutiques, galleries, perfumeries, cafés, and restaurants, for a completely different shopping experience.

19. Vlooienmarkt

Amsterdam's famous flea market, held here since 1886. It's a veritable smorgasbord of wares, with everything from antiques and food to clothes, both new and used.

20. The Torture Museum

A famous museum that shows the torture methods from the past.

21. The Amsterdam Flower Market

This is the only floating flower market in the world and it exists since 1862. The flower stalls stand on the houseboats and evoke the old days when the market was daily supplied by boat. There all sorts of tulips, narcissus, geraniums and many other types of flowers. You can either buy bouquets, single flowers or bulbs.

22. Blue Amsterdam

Sleek, glass-fronted cafe & bar at the top of the modern shopping complex: Kalvertoren. It has great panoramic city views. Open until 18:30 most days (until 21:00 on Thursdays).

23. The Muntplein

It’s a square in the center of Amsterdam. The square is in fact a bridge, the widest bridge in Amsterdam, which crosses the Singel canal at the point where it flows into the Amstel River. It was once home to a sheep market in the 15th century.

24. Munttoren

Also known as Mint Tower it’s (surprise!) a tower, on the Muntplein Square (see above) which dates from 1672 when Amsterdam was the site of the mint for two years while the French occupied Utrecht.

25. Pathé Tuschinski

Originally Theater Tuschinski, it’s a movie theater commissioned by Abraham Icek Tuschinski in 1921 at a cost of 4 million guilders.

26. De Kleine Komedie

Today this is the oldest theatre in Amsterdam, dating from 1788. Situated on the Amstel near the Halvemaansteeg, the building offers a stage for both upcoming and established Dutch talents. The theatre has 503 seats.

27. Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Founded in 1638, it began as a humble herb garden for doctors and apothecaries. Today, it features rare plants and trees, exotic flowers, and a large hothouse encompassing different tropical zones.

28. The Jewish Historical Museum (Joods Historisch Museum)

It’s housed in four redundant synagogues, one of which, the Grote Synagogue, dates back to 1670. Highlights include a large collection of religious artifacts such as silver Torah containers, Torah robes, and decorated Torah headdresses, as well as hangings and ceremonial canopies (of particular interest is the white marble Holy Shrine). The museum also has a large library, while in the Upper Synagogue, the Obbene Sjoel, there's a kosher restaurant. Of note outside the museum is the Docker Monument, erected to commemorate a strike in 1941 when workers refused to co-operate with the deportation of their Jewish fellow citizens. Also of interest is the Portuguese Synagogue, a late 17th-century temple that houses the Ets Haim Library, the oldest of its kind.

29. Muziektheater (Nationale Opera & Ballet)

Every Tuesday (12.30-13.00) from September through May there is a free lunch concert in the foyer of Dutch National Opera & Ballet at Waterloo Square.

30. Normaal Amsterdams Peil

In the passage between the ‘Stadhuis’ (Town Hall) and the Muziektheater (Opera House) on the Waterlooplein, one can see the Peil (Normaal Amsterdam Peil, or NAP). It’s a bronze button that indicates the exact NAP water level, a standard that is in use in nearly all European countries. Originally created in 1684, the zero level of NAP was the average summer flood water level in the Amsterdam center, which by then was still connected with the open sea.

31. Rembrandt House

Along with his wife Saskia, Rembrandt spent the happiest and most successful years of his life in the house on the Jodenbreestraat, now home to the Rembrandt House Museum. It was here, in the Jewish Quarter, that he found models for his Biblical themes, and where he painted the sights from his many outings along the canals. Rembrandt lived here for 20 years, and the house has been furnished in 17th-century style with numerous etchings and personal objects.

32. Bluebird Coffeshop

Located in a quite modern building, Bluebird was founded in 1982 and has a good name for its range of hash and grass, its food and its multi-lingual staff. www.coffeeshopbluebird.nl

33. Zuiderkerk (South Church)

This church is where three of Rembrandt's children are buried, as well as one of his pupils. Constructed between 1603 and 1611 it was the first Protestant church to be built in Amsterdam after the Reformation and was designed by architect Hendrick de Keyser, who is also buried here. After extensive restoration, it is now a center for local cultural activities and events. Another Rembrandt-related destination in the city is Rembrandt Square, home to numerous cafés and restaurants, along with a statue of the famous painter.

34. Compagnietheater

An Amsterdam theater housed in an old Lutheran church, the building was designed by Abraham van der Hart and built in 1793. The organ of the church which was installed from 1794 to 1796 by organ builder Johannes Stephanus Strümphler moved in 1961 to the church of Sint-Eusebiuskerk Arnhem.

35. Kleinste Huis

The smallest house in Amsterdam is located at Oude Hoogstraat 22 next to the Oost-Indisch Huis and the gate to the Walloon Church. The house is 2.02 meters wide and 5 meters deep. This house represents a miniature version of a typical Amsterdam canal house.

36. The Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum

A museum, located in De Wallen, dedicated to all things cannabis and its historical uses. According to the museum, more than two million visitors have visited the exhibition since it opened in 1985.

37. De Wallen or De Walletjes

This is the famous red-light district of Amsterdam, consisting of a network of alleys containing approximately three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights. These "kamers" are a large tourist attraction. The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana. About 5,000 sex workers practice their profession here.

38. Wynand Fockink

This place started as a liqueur distillery around 1679. Soon a Proeflokaal was added, where customers could taste and buy the products. To this day, this practice has continued. Liqueurs and genevers are still being made using the same 17th century traditional craft methods. Wynand Fockink produces more than 70 Dutch liqueurs and genevers which can be tasted in an authentic 17 century environment in the old time honoured way of bowing to the drink and slurping the first sip from a traditional tulip glass.

39. Cannabis College

This non-profit center educates about Amsterdam's favorite herb. Chat with staff about coffee shop etiquette, browse bong displays, view hemp-made products or try out a vaporizer.

40. Green House

This place delivers some of the best cannabis in Amsterdam. One can find many interesting pictures of celebrities that visited the Green House. The coffee shop is situated nicely in the red light district next to a canal. www.greenhouse.org

41. The Condomerie

It’s the world's first specialist condom shop, a treasure trove of latex artistry that has helped keep the city's famous red-light district safe and sheathed since 1987. The colourful store and information centre on Warmoesstraat – one of the oldest streets in the city – displays an eye-opening collection of rubbers as well as colourful hand-painted novelty condoms in the shape of chickens, frogs and, ahem, Big Ben. There's even a small "condom museum".

42. The Old Church (Oude Kerk)

This church, built in 1306, was the first hall church in North Holland and became the model for many other churches in the region. Numerous additions were built over the centuries, such as the large side chapels from the early 1500s. Also dating from this period is a portal leading to the Iron Chapel, where documents showing the city's privileges, including the freedom from tolls granted in 1275, were kept locked behind an iron door. The tower was added in the 16th century and has a carillon from 1658 that's considered one of the finest in the country (it also offers great views over the city). The interior of the church has features dating from before the Reformation, including three magnificent windows from 1555 from the Dutch High Renaissance, and finely-carved wooden choir stalls.

43. Erotic Museum

This is a museum of erotica exhibiting sex toys, prints & artworks, including sketches by John Lennon.

44. Fo Guang Shan Holland Temple

It’s a Buddhist temple featuring classical Chinese-style roof carvings & a colorful, ornate interior. It’s the largest in Europe that has been built in traditional Chinese palace-style.

45. Zeedijk

Zeedijk is one of Amsterdam's oldest streets. Many houses along here lean at an angle from the vertical, and the 15th-century house at No. 1 is thought to be the oldest surviving building in the city.

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46. De Pijp District

Nicknamed the Quartier Latin, this district was once the home of the city's poor students and artists, and is now a lively mixture of cultures, food and sights. It’s a great place to café-hop day or night and the home of artists and sundry, colourful riff-raff. In the second half of the 19th century, the number of residents in Amsterdam exploded and De Pijp was conceived as the centre of a new, prestigious district wrapped all the way around the existing town. Georges-Eugène Haussmann had just spiced up Paris with his famous boulevards, and Amsterdam wanted in on the action. Beautiful houses and wide roads would transform the city into a modern metropolis with a gorgeous central train station at the heart of it all. Logistical and financial issues forced the city council to cancel the plans and come up with something far more modest. No boulevards, no villas and no train station, but long, narrow roads full of cheap and often inferior housing that gave the name of ‘The Pipe’.

47. Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest)

This is another of the Dutch’s artificial inventions. Forest is a misleading name though – the area includes small pools, jogging and biking trails and a river. ‘Amsterdamse Bos’ can be found just outside the city on a 20 minute bike ride from the Museumplein. Inside the forest there is a little petting zoo with pigs, cows, horses, goats, sheep and chickens which is great for a visit with your kids.