Amsterdam Tourist Attractions

An Insider’s Guide to Living in Amsterdam

This Amsterdam relocation guide has been designed with the explicit intention to provide expats and travellers with all they need to know about moving to Amsterdam.

This exciting chapter covers Tourist Attractions.

As with any city, there are a whole range of attractions to see and take part in. From all the insightful museums and galleries to the luscious greenery of the parks, there’s much to enjoy throughout your stay in Amsterdam whether you’re here in the long term or short term.

Attractions in Amsterdam

By the end of this chapter, you’ll know where to spend your free time in Amsterdam and where best to explore. Some of the attractions may well cost whereas others will be free. Regardless of this, all are worth your interest.

6.1 History

Founded as a fishing village in the 13th century, it is safe to say that it has grown far beyond initial expectations and has played an essential part in the history of the Netherlands and Europe as a whole. In the 17th century, Amsterdam became the centre of the world's economy in what is now known as its Golden Age. This time also saw the shape of the city come together, with the 1613 and 1663 urban expansions still determining the city's characteristic appearance. Some of the most important historic buildings date back to this period too like the town hall in the Dam Square (now the Royal Palace), the Westerkerk, Zuiderkerk, as well as a large number of canal houses.

Amsterdam and the Netherlands is known as the centre of tolerance, being one of the first nations to legalise same-sex marriage (in 2001). It has an openness and tolerance of all things and is considered to be one of the most progressive centres in the world. You can understand why the Netherlands is continually voted as one of the most happiest countries in the world.

Dam Square

Dam Square Amsterdam

This town square is one of the most important and well-known locations in the city and country. This is due to the many notable and historical buildings in the area and the many events that happen there throughout the year. Originally a dam, it connected both sides of the settlements along the river together. The area would eventually become a centre of commercial activity and of the government.

Montelbaanstoren

This historical sites was constructed in 1516 as part of the Walls of Amsterdam to defend the city from attack. Sitting at 48m high, this shows off how historically important the city was to the nation and the world’s economy back in the old days.

Anne Frank House

We’ve all learnt of the horrors of the holocaust and its devastating effects on the Jewish population and other minorities. This museum is dedicated to the life of Anne Frank, the young diarist and Jewish girl who, along with her family, was trying to avoid persecution by Nazi Germany. Admission is free but donations are preferred.

Jewish Historical Museum

The only museum dedicated to Jewish history in the Netherlands, it covers the history of the Jews as well as their culture and religion in the nation and worldwide. The museum's collection includes some 11,000 art objects, ceremonial objects and historical objects - only about five percent is on display at any one time. There are two permanent exhibitions as well as regularly changing temporary exhibitions.  Tickets are €15 for adults and between €3,75 and €7,50 for children.

6.2 Sports

Amsterdam has plenty of sports that will keep you going, from the obvious ones to the some other more traditional ones. Marathons, rowing races, swimming, football matches, polo and rugby can be enjoyed throughout the city.

Amsterdam Arena

Amsterdam Arena

This is the home of AFC Ajax, Amsterdam’s key football club. The stadium itself can sit up to 54,000 and is one of the places you can kick back a cheer Ajax or the Dutch national team. Tickets and prices will vary depending on the event and seat  so it is best to check beforehand.

Sporting events to look out for include:

  • Amsterdam Sevens Rugby
  • Aegon Koninklijke
  • Urban Sports Week Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam City Swim
  • Dam tot Damloop
  • Museumplein Polo Amsterdam
  • TCS Amsterdam Marathon

6.3 Parks and Recreation

Scattered around the city are a few parks that will show off some of the calming and luscious greenery that people love. Whether you’re looking for a place to kick back, calm your thoughts or kick a ball, each of these parks are a must-see.

Vondelpark

Vondelpark Open theater

This 19tyh century urban park is fully of the wonderous greenery and open space that kids and parents need to kick back, have fun and engage in. A series of ponds, playgrounds and an open air theatre makes this a great attractions. You’ll see why it’s often compared to Central Park in New York.

Amstelpark

Another great addition, this features a labyrinth, a café, a restaurant, two galleries, an orangery, a petting zoo and a mini-golf course. With all this to see and do you’ll definitely want to bring the kids here. Over 1 million visitors come here every year and you’ll be one of them.

6.4 Culture

You’ll find many areas of culture and history throughout the city. Whether you’re an admirer of art, history or architecture, you’ll be more than satisfied by what’s on offer.

Rijksmuseum

Dedicated to the arts and history of Amsterdam, this is close to other museum highlights like the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000. Some of the masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer are on display for those that love the world of art. It is the largest art museum in the country. Tickets are €17,50 for adults visitors under 18 go free.

Van Gogh Museum

Dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries, this is the art lovers’ dream. This is one of the most popular museums and galleries in Amsterdam and enables all of the artists’ fans to take in the spectacular beauty of their favourite and troubled artist. Tickets are €18 for adults and free for under 18s.

Royal  Palace of Amsterdam

Royal Palace Amsterdam

Built during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century as a town hall, it became the palace of Louis Napoleon and eventually the Dutch Royal family. Located in the heart of the Dutch capital, the magnificent Royal Palace is not only one of the Netherlands' most famous historical buildings, it is the only palace in the country that is both in active use and available for the public to visit. Visitors are welcome to discover an enchanting collection of artworks and furnishings. Admission is €10 for adults and free for children.

Heineken Experience

Take a tour of the beer giant’s history in a former brewery. This is great for fans of the brand and those that may have an interest in the brewing process. At the end of the tour you’ll be able to participate in a tasting session - a grand finale to an enjoyable experience. The experience costs €21.

Jordaan

This is one of the most up-market and trendy areas in the city. The narrow canals and streets are flanked by indie boutiques, cozy pubs and hip eateries. Stalls at the Noordermarkt square market offer jewelry, clothes, antiques and organic food. Antiques Centre Amsterdam sells vintage ceramics and paintings, while smaller galleries in the area focus on innovative contemporary art. Other attractions include the Houseboat Museum and the Amsterdam Cheese Museum.

Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

Oude Kerk Amsterdam

The Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church. It was founded circa 1213 and consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. Now it can be visited by visitors and followers of the faith. Take in the grand architecture as you wander around a truly historic building.

Science Center NEMO

Science Center NEMO Amsterdam

This science center is located in the Oosterdokseiland neighborhood in the Amsterdam-Centrum borough was founded in 1923 and opens visiots’ eyes to the wonders of science, the universe and everything. It contains five floors of hands-on science exhibitions and is the largest science center in the Netherlands. It attracts over 500,000 visitors a year and is the fifth most visited museum in the Netherlands. Ticket prices are €16,50 for visitors aged 4 and over. Those under 4 go free.

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