Amsterdam is a center for business and the arts. Its lively streets are popular with young people from all over Europe. Houseboats usually line the canals in the center of Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is filled with old churches and merchant’s houses built during the 1600’s. Amsterdam is positively a biker’s city, despite the fact that accelerating along the puzzle of avenues can get somewhat risky and challenging.
Stick to strolling and you won’t be disillusioned. The picturesque canals make an impressive background for investigating the Jordaan area and Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square.) Navigate into the Red Light District on the off chance that you should — just so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is a standout among the most moving encounters a visitor can have, and the Van Gogh Museum has an amazing collection that will surpass your expectations.
When To Go:
Amsterdam has an unmistakable appeal that is completely its own, whether you see it under blue skies, through light mist or even in the midst of a huge influx of tourists during high season. That said, the best time to visit Amsterdam is whenever you can, regardless of the time of year. However, if your schedule is adaptable — here are a few suggestions.
As a rule, most voyagers visit Amsterdam between April and September, when the days are longer and temperatures are milder than other months. However, the one thing that is consistent about Amsterdam climate is that it is often very unpredictable. While there’s never an assurance of great climate, the Dutch do not mind and go ahead with whatever celebrations or gatherings they have arranged no matter what the weather brings.
Guests will discover the least expensive costs for Amsterdam flights and hotel accommodations are from late October up to March. The only exception here is the Christmas season in December when the low rates turn into family or group packages for the holidays.
Discover these top things to do when in the city of Amsterdam:
Located in an elegant building with Neo-Renaissance architecture, featuring beautiful columns and halls. It is equally functional as a building that is used for exhibitions, conferences and as a concert hall, but also for boxing title matches. The Conservatory provides excellent acoustics and atmosphere. The building is historic and once inside you get to feel the spirit of classical music. During the intermissions, they serve drinks (wine, coffee, tea, etc.). For orchestra concerts they also provide a free meal on the dining lounge area.
If you want to eat in the cafe at the concert hall before the concert, come well in advance, as places at the tables may fill quickly. Take a guided tour to discover the secrets of this famed temple of music — you can visit many rooms, from the largest hall that contains the impressive organ, to the artists’ dressing rooms, to the areas hidden behind the stage, from which the performances are controlled. Understand the history and value of this concert hall considered to be among the first in the world, especially for the perfection of its acoustics. The best soloists of the planet are at home on the stage of the Concertgebouw. Do not fail to watch a performance when in the city of Amsterdam.
Anne Frank House (Anne Frankhuis)
A visit to the house where this girl lived for two years — in hiding from life and liberty — is an overwhelming experience for even the most insensitive people. It is absolutely mandatory to visit the Anne Frank House, which exists so that mankind can never forget what happened here. The museum is located on the street of Prinsengracht. At the entrance there are guides that know the story of Anne Frank and her family well. The Anne Frank House is almost empty, except for the windows with a rear-house layout, photographs and infomercial production company, a map of the Allied offensive, the yardstick of growth from where Anne and Margot once stayed, the pictures that adorned the room, a portrait of Anne and quotes from her diary (which she kept in captivity).
The museum has large screens for showing a mini-film about the life of this family. You can listen and learn more about history from the audio-guided tour. It is important to see the secret room where Anne and her family hid until they were turned over to the authorities and transferred to a concentration camp. The museum covers all forms of discrimination, racism, and the true story of the Holocaust. There are lots of pictures, posters, clippings from magazines, and filmed documentary. At the exit, you can buy books about Anne. This museum is highly recommended to everyone, especially families with children.
The Prinsengracht canal is one of the most beautiful and longest canals in Amsterdam. Colorful old houses, tourist attractions and biking areas surround it — and there are many opportunities to rest, eat, talk, and enjoy the serenity of Amsterdam. It is nice to go people-watching, admire the fascinating Amsterdam architecture, cross the beautiful bridges, ride a boat (or just admire the many different types of boats) and enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the numerous outdoor cafes. Try eating some local herring with pickled cucumber on the side at one of the dining places that line this canal.
One of the best things to do when you are in Amsterdam is to take a tour of the canals, starting with the Prinsengracht (the Canal of the Prince.) It is the 4th in order of length and passes important points like the Noorderkerk, the Westerkerk, and Anne Frank’s house. The canal is also lined with cafes, bars, and shops, and is populated by interesting houseboats.
Van Gogh Museum
The museum displays paintings by Van Gogh, as well as artists that were his contemporaries — Monet, Gauguin, Picasso and others. The museum occupies three floors where paintings, drawings, and writing instruments are spaciously laid out on display. Here is the largest collection anywhere of Van Gogh paintings (donated by the painter’s nephew), and it provides an opportunity to have a full impression of him as an artist.
Many of his portraits and paintings depict his passion for nature, and his frequent periods of despair can be felt from the Japanese prints to the series “The Potato Eaters“ from the Nyuenenskogo period. The exit of the Van Gogh Museum has a decent gift shop where you can buy albums, posters, etc. There is a short film about his life and there is also an interesting opportunity to examine the technique of his painting through a microscope.
This is a chic park with lawns, paths, ponds, fountains, and separated areas for nesting birds. On weekends there can be a lot of people. On the lawns and in good weather, you can see huge crowds of visitors drinking beer, wine, or even having a barbecue — there are designated areas where groups or families can have a picnic. The Vondelpark is a wonderful park located in the city center. It is very clean and beautiful, with lots of chestnut blossom, roses, lilacs, fountains, and ducks that come out of the water as soon as you approach the pond. You can even feed the ducks and just relax.
There are many biking areas that provide the opportunity to ride and explore the whole place on two wheels. In the evening you can also have a chance to enjoy a wonderful stroll along the paths and listen to the silence. If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city it’s the perfect place to rest and gain strength.
is a cozy promenade area in Amsterdam filled with old houses, many of which were built in the distant past and have now become residences of the local government; lots of small canals; and pleasant bridges that are ideal for leisurely walking in good weather. The canals and streets in this area seem to have concentrated the spirit of the whole city in one place.
You can also dine well along the canal banks, or find a free bench and feed the seagulls while admiring the scenic views. Take a walk at sunset around this quiet and charming block to enjoy the monuments and iconic sculptures lining its tranquil streets.
The Rijksmuseum (National Museum)
This really is a very big castle, in the halls of which there are various exhibitions and expositions. It is possible to spend the whole day here admiring Dutch art, paintings, and architecture. It is an awesome museum for art lovers. Here you will find everything at once: Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer and a lot of other interesting artists. You can take the audio guide in English and also have a map of the museum.
Set aside at least 3 hours to visit the Rijksmuseum (National Museum).
The most interesting part for most tourists is the second floor, but depending on your interests, you can easily decide where to spend your time because the works are conveniently arranged on different levels by historical period. In any case, you will always find the courteous staff ready to help you. On the ground floor there is a very nice shop with souvenirs.
The Red Light District (Red Windows)
The city of Amsterdam is famous for its Red Light District; because the Dutch instituted regulation of prostitution it became very civilized in this city. The neighborhood is close to the port because historically, the prostitutes were available to sailors returning to the mainland after a long time spent at sea. The girls are inside windows that are usually illuminated by a red light. It is worth a stroll in the evening or late afternoon when there is more daylight. The calm atmosphere here will probably surprise you; this is an area meant to feel friendly, safe and peaceful, as opposed to what you might imagine.
The windows are basically not annoying or tacky, no one will approach you, and nobody is interested in what you do. There are clubs of all kinds, from the most liberal to the more traditional where you can eat and drink in peace. Everything here is very much controlled either by the police or by plainclothes agents. It is surely an opportunity to see everything for which the city is famous and why it is visited by thousands of tourists. Far from being a kind of circus, it is just a neighborhood where the main (but fairly discreet) business is female companionship; it is advisable for guests to keep an open mind about the concept of tourism in this area.
Amstelkring Museum (Our Lord in the Attic Chapel)
Located in the Red Light District (honestly you will struggle a bit to find it), and occupies the top floor of three buildings together. It has just been restored and in fact everything is tidy and intact. The audio tour, included in the price of $10, explains in detail the interesting history of this church, founded according to the will of Jan Hartman during the period in which the Protestant religion became the official religion of the city (actually causing the Catholics to become illegal occupants.)
Before getting into the attic to see the church you can visit the rooms where the Hartman family once lived. It’s very interesting to see this church hidden in the attic at the time of the reformation. With one visit you will know a lot of history of Amsterdam during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House)
One of the things to do when in Amsterdam is to visit the home of one of the greatest painters known to humanity. The Rembrandt House is right in the city center today and it is amazing how you can delve into the past here, and have the exact feeling of what life was like in the time of this genius of painting. The house is great and you can see some of the masterpieces of the painter.
In addition to giving an idea of how people lived at that time you can watch live demonstrations on how Rembrandt was working and how you should prepare canvases, pigments and colors for oil painting. You can spend a half-day immersed in the Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House). Enjoy a really exciting and well-structured visit with the help of an audio guide that is free of charge and can be collected at the entrance.