32 Things To Do In Amsterdam

things to do in amsterdam

If you’re looking for things to do in Amsterdam, you’ve come to the right place. This city is packed full of activities and adventures waiting for you to explore.

From sightseeing and touring the city’s centuries-old architecture, to indulging in its renowned nightlife and cannabis culture, Amsterdam has something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

Amsterdam is the perfect place for a city trip. Some tourists may flock to Amsterdam for its image of a sex and drug city, but there are many other reasons to visit Amsterdam.

The symbol of the Dutch capital is the canal belt, but you will also find many museums about the history of the city and about great artists. For example, pay a visit to the Anne Frank House or the Rembrandt House and don’t forget the highest swing in Europe!

1 | Canal cruise

dutch canal

When you think of Amsterdam, you probably immediately think of the canal belt. The canals of Amsterdam are everywhere and you certainly don’t have to look for them.

The canals were built about 400 years ago and immediately became the main symbol of the city. They have even been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1999. You really can’t skip them.

canal cruise

Take a nice walk along the canals or rent a bicycle to explore them. Or why not join a cruise on the Amsterdam canals? You can watch the city glide by from the water and sail under the most beautiful bridges in the city.

Booking tickets for a canal cruise costs € 15 and during a 75-minute canal cruise you can see the most beautiful places in Amsterdam.

2 | Dam Square

dam square

Dam Square (a.k.a. De Dam) is the heart of Amsterdam and the city also owes its name to the place. On the square is the Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk and the National Monument where, among other things, the Second World War is commemorated.

Visiting Amsterdam without going to Dam Square is not a good idea. Visit the Royal Palace on Dam Square, where you can admire the marble Burgzaal and works of art from the Golden Age

3 | Anne Frank House

history facts about germany
Anne Frank with her family.

Before the Second World War, the Frank family fled to the Netherlands to avoid the Jewish persecution in Germany. Once in the Netherlands, however, they couldn’t escape it either and had to hide in the secret annex of the building where Otto Frank lived. During that period, his daughter Anne kept a diary, in which she described life in the Secret Annex.

Anne Frank Huis

The Frank family was eventually betrayed and most of the family members died in one of the German camps. Later Anne’s diary was published and the secret annex was converted into a museum. During a visit to the Anne Frank House you will learn more about the family and about the hidden Jewish life during the war.

You can only buy your tickets for the Anne Frank House via the official website (this is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands).

BOOK ANNE FRANK TICKETS >

4 | Red Light District

red light area
One of the many red-lit alleys in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is known everywhere for its ‘red light district‘, also known as the De Wallen. It is therefore a place that you should definitely visit as a visitor. See the window brothels, sex shows, coffee shops and world’s first condom shop. Do this especially when it is already dark, because then the area turns completely red due to all the neon lights.

Got some more time? Then visit Amsterdam Red Light District in daytime & nighttime. There’s a huge difference.

red light district daytime
Here’s what it looks like during daytime.

In the daytime is peaceful and laidback. Attractions like De Oude Kerk, Our Lord in The Attic and Europe’s biggest temple are open.

At night it is lively and bustling. See the red light windows or visit a sex show.

Red Light District Tour

Amsterdam Red Light District pictures
Amsterdam, Red Light District, Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

Learn everything about Amsterdam’s oldest neighbourhood with fun & informative Red Light District tour. Download the Amsterdam app that offers a 2-hour audio tour. Hear stories from 22 different experts. Prostitutes, police officers, historians, residents and sociologists can be heard.

RED LIGHT DISTRICT TOUR >

Amsterdam Audio Tours
Red Light District tour with app.

This cool app guides you through the Red Light District with a virtual guide, GPS and a handy map. Learn all about the famous Red Light District. From home or in Amsterdam.

Ban

Must know: Nowadays guided tours (with real tour guides) are not allowed in the Red Light District anymore. The city has recently banned them. The only way to take a Red Light District tour is through the audio tour above.

5 | Casa Rosso

sex show

If you are in the Red Light District, it might be a tempting idea to visit the world famous Casa Rosso? This is an erotic theater in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Casa Rosso has erotic live shows every night.

Sex show Amsterdam opening hours

How about a striptease show, soft SM or the famous Banana Show? Settle down in the comfortable chairs of the lounge and enjoy this titillating theatre. This sex show in Amsterdam is open every day from 7 pm to 2 am.

I WANT TICKETS NOW >

6 | Rijksmuseum

rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands and also has the most extensive art collection in the country. During your visit to the Rijksmuseum, you will pass works by the greatest artists in the Netherlands, including Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer.

nachtwacht

Also discover major works by other well-known artists. For example, there is a separate wing dedicated to Asian art.

The Rijksmuseum also has an impressive collection of Delft Blue and wooden doll houses. Don’t forget to visit the most famous work in the museum, Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

7 | Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is located near the Rijksmuseum on the other side of the Museumplein. As the name suggests, this museum is completely dedicated to the painter Vincent van Gogh. You will find a large collection of more than 200 paintings here, but also etchings and more than 500 drawings are on display.

You will also find letters that Vincent wrote to his brother Theo, other important objects from his life and works by painter friends who inspired or were inspired by Van Gogh.

8 | The Rembrandt House

Rembrandt House Museum Amsterdam

In the Jodenbreestraat is a beautiful old mansion with red shutters. That is the Rembrandt House, where Rembrandt lived between 1639 and 1658. The museum has been completely redesigned as it would have looked in the painter’s time, with furniture and objects by Rembrandt himself. In addition, you can admire many of his works of art here and there is also an exhibition of works by new painting talents.

You can also see a demonstration in Rembrandt’s studio on how to make your own paint from pigment and oil.

9 | EYE Amsterdam

eye museum amsterdam

The EYE Amsterdam is a striking white building on the IJ, opposite Amsterdam Central Station. In the EYE Amsterdam you will find the film museum of the city where you can dive into the world of film.

There are exhibitions about film history and about making a film itself, which are regularly supplemented with temporary exhibitions about big names from the film world.

You can also simply watch a film in the EYE. You won’t see major Hollywood blockbusters on the bill, but you will see lesser-known arthouse films.

10 | Vondelpark

vondelpark bird
Spot many ring-necked parakeets in the Vondelpark.

If you long for peace and quiet during your visit to Amsterdam, the Vondelpark is the place to be. Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s city park and has been a national monument since 1996. In the warm summer days, many people come to play sports, have a picnic, barbecue or relax in the sun.

Be sure to visit the Vondelpark Open Air Theater during the summer months and buy a drink in the Vondelpark Pavilion VondelCS. Concerts, theater and dance performances are then performed in the park.

 

Would you like to explore the park in a different way? How about an organized bike ride along the alleys and secrets of Amsterdam? You cycle through the Vondelpark, but you also pass the nicest places in Amsterdam, where tourists would otherwise never come.

11 | Ajax Stadium: Johan Cruijff ArenA with guide

Amsterdam arena tour tickets

Feel the beating heart of Ajax during a 75-minute tour through the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The enthusiastic guide tells you everything about the stadium and about Ajax, and takes you to the dugout, the field and other parts that are normally closed.

best Amsterdam arena tour tickets

Even if you are not necessarily for Ajax, but you like everything related to football, visiting the stadium is a great activity. Book your stadium tour online with a guide for €15.

BOOK HERE >

12 | The Old Church

oude kerk Amsterdam
The Old Church seen from Central Station.

The Oude Kerk was built in the fourteenth century in honor of Saint Nicholas, making it the oldest standing building in Amsterdam. The brick Gothic building was built and rebuilt over five centuries.

Inside you will find many graves of famous Dutch people such as the naval hero Jacob van Heemskerck and the first wife of the painter Rembrandt. There are also three organs in the church.

the old church

Until 1578 it was a Catholic church that bore the name St. Nicholas Church. After that, the building was handed over to the Protestants and the name changed.

Although you can rent this church for parties and events, it also still fulfills the function of a Protestant church. The church can be visited for a little fee.

13 | Amsterdam Stock Exchange

Amsterdam Stock Exchange

Experience world’s first stock exchange in Amsterdam. It were the Dutch who invented stocks after all. It’s located at the Red Light District, just minutes away from Amsterdam Central Station.

On the Beursplein, the most remarkable objects serve as gas lanterns. From here you also have a good view of the tower of the stock exchange, the Beurs van Berlage. There is the inscription “Beidt uw tijd”, on the other side of the tower it says “Duur uw uur”. These texts want to encourage investors to be careful, to take their time, and then act.

This building has not been used as a stock exchange since the end of the last century. It is now an event hall with offices. Both temporary exhibitions and performances are on the bill here. The building cannot be visited except for organized tours. The tower can be climbed during the tour.

14 The Concert Building (Concertgebouw)

The Amsterdam Concertgebouw was built in 1883 according to the design of architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt. The new building quickly became a much-loved monument to the people of Amsterdam.

The building has three halls where about 800 concerts are held annually. It is one of the most visited concert halls for classical music.

15 | The A’DAM Tower

sunset amsterdam

The A’DAM Tower is the place to go for a beautiful panoramic view of the city. On the Lookout on the roof you will also find a bar where you can get a drink. Those who are not afraid of heights can also sit on the highest swing in Europe. At a height of 100 meters you can swing above the city.

The name of the tower refers on the one hand to the name of the city, but is also an abbreviation for Amsterdam Dance and Music. The tower is the creative play corner of the city. The A’dam Music School and an event company are located in the tower, among others.

16 | He Hua Temple

Amsterdam temple

The Chinese FGS He Hua Temple (pronounced “gguh ggwaa”) – meaning lotus flower in Chinese – is the largest Buddhist temple in Europe. It’s located on the Zeedijk street in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

The temple is built in the traditional Chinese palace style. The entire structure is composed of different symbols: the entrance gate represents the gate to the monasteries in the mountains, the stairs in Buddhism lead you step by step to the highest you can reach, and the dragons on the roof must fight the evil spirits. scare off. You can visit the temple and get a guided tour.

If you are into Chinese cuisine, then you are in the right place here at one of the many Asian restaurants in the area, picking up a souvenir is also not really possible in one of the many shops.

17 | Magna Plaza Amsterdam

The Magna Plaza is a lesser-known monument of the city and is hidden behind the Palace on Dam Square. The building once served as a post office, but today it is a luxury shopping center comparable to the Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Harrods in London.

Like many other monuments in the city, the Magna Plaza is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is therefore definitely worth a visit.

18 | Our Lord In The Attic

Our Lord In The Attic Amsterdam

At the end of the 16th century it was forbidden for Catholics to hold worship services. As a result, worship services were secretly held in mansions, such as at Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, where a church was built in the attic.

Other parts of the house were used for visitors and conversations with the priest. The building at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40 is now a museum and gives you an interesting look at life in the 16th century.

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19 | Madame Tussauds Amsterdam

Madame Tussaud Netherlands
Inside you have an amazing view on Dam Square.

You probably don’t have to introduce Madame Tussauds. In Amsterdam they stand out because of their ideal location on Dam Square, the most central place in the city. The branch is also one of the best in Madame Tussauds.

Of course you can see famous stars as if they were standing next to you in person. You can have your picture taken with Anne Frank, Van Gogh or James Bond. But Madame Tussauds also stands for a unique experience that undergoes a thorough change every year.

Recently Vladimir Putin has been removed from the Madame Tussauds museum in Amsterdam. Disappointed? Probably not!

20 | Westerkerk

wester church amsterdam

The 17th century Westerkerk towers above all the buildings and can be easily recognized by the imperial crown on the 87 meter high tower. It was placed in honor of Maximilian of Austria.

Rembrandt was buried in this Protestant church, but his grave is no longer known. Once again it is noticeable that small shops have been built against the facade. As if they are chicks, hiding with their mother.

21 | Amsterdam Begijnhof

begijnhof amsterdam

The Begijnhof was founded in the 14th century and is located in the heart of the city. When you enter you will see a wooden house on the left that is said to date from the 15th century. Most of the houses you see are 17th and 18th century. They have been thoroughly restored and may only be inhabited by women.

Although there have been no beguines for 40 years, there are still no men living within the walls. This oasis of silence and greenery has a beautiful English church. This church has been located in the former Beguinage Church since the 17th century, which the beguines had to give to the English.

Right opposite the entrance you can see the Catholic chapel, which had to compensate for the loss of the Beguinage Church.

22 | Coffee Shops in Amsterdam

amsterdam weed history

Whoever says Amsterdam also quickly says weed and coffee shops. Although the city council has already imposed stricter rules for buying joints and weed, there are currently still about 110 coffee shops in Amsterdam.

Since the smoking ban has come into effect in the catering industry, it is of course strange that you go to a coffee shop but actually have to go to a separate room to smoke a joint.

coffee shop The bulldog
The first Bulldog coffee shop in the Red Light District.

Are you curious what a coffee shop looks like, just walk in, buying or consuming is not mandatory. The most famous coffeeshop in Amsterdam is probably The Bulldog. It has been around since 1975.

23 | Heineken Experience

heineken brewery

Heineken is one of the 3 largest brewers in the world. The green bottles with a red star on them are available almost everywhere. The Heineken Experience is an interactive exhibition in which you can learn everything about the Dutch beer brand, but you can also get started brewing beer yourself.

24 | Foodhallen Amsterdam

If you are in Amsterdam and would like to experiment with culinary delights, then you should definitely pay a visit to the Foodhallen. In the covered food market in the Oud-West district (Bellamyplein), you can enjoy a drink or a snack at one of the 30 stalls. Culinary start-ups like to surprise you here.

25 | Rembrandt Square

Reguliersdwarsstraat

The Rembrandtplein is well equipped with restaurants, terraces and other entertainment venues, e.g. the Escape (nightclub) and De Kroon (café-restaurant, beautiful old interior!). This makes it one of the most famous entertainment areas in Amsterdam, and the ideal place to take a rest!

In the square is a statue of its namesake, Rembrandt, the oldest surviving statue in the city. A bronze arrangement of his most famous painting, The Night Watch, is sometimes there, sometimes not. You must be lucky. At number 47 you will see the former Amsterdamse Bank, now Booking.com, built by Berlage. There is also a water feature with a rock fountain.

26 | Tuschinski

Tuschinski is now part of the Pathé cinemas and has 6 screens. There are regular Dutch premieres with red carpet and paparazzi. The building is named after its founder Abraham Tuschinski who had it built according to his taste and insight.

The style is a mixture of Jugendstil, Art Deco and Amsterdam School. The entire interior up to and including the lamps, carpets, wall coverings, wall and ceiling paintings are part of the total concept. In addition to film, variety numbers were initially also staged.

Amsterdam pathe

It is one of the most beautiful movie theaters in Europe.

27 | The Golden Bend

Between Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat you can find the Golden Bend, here you will find the most expensive and exclusive houses of the Herengracht. The wealthiest Amsterdammers have lived here since the 17th century.

The grounds that became available after the so-called Fourth Explanation of Amsterdam in the 17th century were larger than in other places in Amsterdam. Small city palaces were then built here, which radiate pure luxury and wealth both inside and out.

At Herengracht 466 you will find the house of mayor Joan Geelvinck. This house was sold in 1769 for 250,000 guilders (now about 15 million euros). You can admire this part of Amsterdam during a cruise on the canals.

28 | De Jordaan

Amsterdam Markets Clothes

The Jordaan district is located in the center of Amsterdam near the Prinsengracht. Here you will find many nice shops, typical Dutch bars and trendy restaurants. Stop by at the Noordermarkt and browse through the nice stuff. You can also visit the Houseboat Museum or the Cheese Museum in the Jordaan.

The name Jordaan goes back to the early 1700s where Jordaan is used for the first time. The Jordaan meant the Prinsengracht. Others argue that the name comes from the French migrants who lived there at the time, and the corruption of the word “jardin”.

7 MARKETS IN AMSTERDAM >

29 | Nine Streets Amsterdam

The Nine Streets are – how could it be otherwise – nine streets in the Jordaan where shopping is central. There are all kinds of nice boutiques, flagship stores of major brands, eateries, cafes, pop-up stores…. It is a lively crowd. A Dutch-language film was also shot a few years ago: Hartenstraat, named after one of the streets.

The area is located between the Prinsengracht and Singel. Many of the street names are reminiscent of the merchants and craftsmen who used to live and work there, specializing in trading and processing the hides of roe deer, deer, wolves, bears…

Take the time to stroll between the shops and eateries and to take it all in, to shop and/or to eat something.

30 | De Waag

waag
De Waag on Nieuwmarkt Square.

The Waag used to be a city gate on the water. Together with the Munttoren, this is the only remaining city gate of Amsterdam. However, this function fell away when the city wall was demolished at the beginning of the 17th century.

nieuwmarkt

The building then took on all kinds of other functions, including function as a “weighing house”, a building where goods were weighed, and also housed the guilds. You cannot visit the property. Part of it is rented out as a restaurant (In de Waag) and another part to the Waag Society (art and science institute).

31 | Amsterdam Swing

Dutch skyline

Go to the north of the city, take the free ferry and experience Europe’s tallest swing. Take a ride and see the beautiful skyline of Amsterdam. You won’t regret this. It’s located on top of the A’dam Tower.

MORE DETAILS >

32 | Hash, Hemp & Marihuana Museum

Click play & peak inside this museum in Amsterdam.

Become a cannabis expert and visit this unique attraction in the Red Light District. The audio-tour inside really good and interesting. Book Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum tickets today.

Conclusion

So there you have it, our list of the best things to do in Amsterdam. We could go on and on but we don’t want to spoil all the fun. If you want to experience everything Amsterdam has to offer, be sure to add at least a few of these highlights to your itinerary.

Other Fun Things To Do?

amsterdam bench

And if you know of other great things that we missed, please share them in the comments below. We would love to hear from you! Finally, if you are looking for an amazing travel experience, book a trip to Amsterdam and let us show you around. You won’t regret it!

Is Amsterdam a walkable city?

One of the best things about Amsterdam is that it is a very walkable city. Most of the attractions are located within walking distance of each other, and the city is also very flat, which makes it easy to get around on foot. In addition, there are a number of walking and cycling paths that criss-cross the city, making it easy to explore without having to worry about traffic. Amsterdam also has a number of large parks, such as Vondelpark and Sarphatipark, which are perfect for a leisurely stroll on a sunny day. So whether you’re looking to sightsee or just get some fresh air, Amsterdam is definitely a great choice for a walking holiday.

What do I need to take to Amsterdam?

  • First, Amsterdam is known for its canals, so be sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
  • You’ll also want to pack some layers, as the weather can be cool and rainy.
  • An umbrella or raincoat is recommended during the low season (November – March)
  • In addition, Amsterdam is home to many museums and art galleries, so you might want to pack a notebook to jot down your impressions.
  • And finally, don’t forget to bring your camera! Amsterdam is full of photo-worthy sights, from historic buildings to picturesque canals.

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