Fun things to do in Amsterdam

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  1. 1. Museumplein
  2. 33+ Best things to do in Amsterdam in - highlights & hidden secrets
  3. 19 Fun Ways to Enjoy a Weekend in Amsterdam

Up to the 20th century the Jordaan was firmly a neighbourhood for the salt of the earth, as well as the radical left, and was gentrified in the second half of the 20th century to become a treasured shopping and nightlife district. De Negen Straatjes nine little streets are your first stop for boutiques, design shops and stylish bars. There are semi-open boat trips, in-depth cruises for people who want to see every inch of the canals, dinner cruises, unlimited drinks cruises, cocktail cruises and no end of combined experiences.

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Tip : List of available Amsterdam Canal Cruises. Founded sometime around the early 14th century, the Begijnhof is an enclosed courtyard established as a Beguinage, a community for lay religious women beguines. As wooden buildings were outlawed in , the Begijnhof was reconstructed in brick in the 17th and 18th century. With one exception, Het Houten Huis standing on the southwestern frontage and officially the oldest house in Amsterdam. You can also visit a hidden church, built behind the facades of a row of houses after public Catholicism was banned in the 16th century.

If the canal freezes in winter, no boats are allowed to pass through, in order to help keep the ice intact for skaters. At No. As many as 50, litres of whale blubber could be stored in the basements of these buildings, a far cry from their current role as luxury apartments! The distinguished House with the Heads at No. A square for the whole nation, Dam Square is traced by the Royal Palace, the National Monument a remembrance obelisk from and the 15th-century Nieuwe Kerk. Whenever there has been civil unrest, whether it was Anabaptists in the 16th century or students protesting the Vietnam War in the s and 70s, Dam Square is the place where things have boiled over.

The last outbreak of violence was at the Coronation of Queen Beatrix in , while there was a massacre on the square at the end of the Second World War. Unlike the other waterways curling around the old centre, the Prinsengracht has traditionally been quite poor, in keeping with its location beside the Jordaan. Also keep a lookout for the exceptionally narrow house at No. Every August the classical Prinsengrachtconcert is performed from a pontoon on the canal in front of the Hotel Pulitzer.

Unlike its neighbours the Herengracht and Keizersgracht, the innermost Singel is a canal that opens onto the IJ in the north. But in the 16th and 17th centuries the canal was widened and developed, and there are plenty of holdovers from the Golden Age on its refined banks. A product of the Dutch tradition of tolerance, the Red Light District is a difficult place to describe.

The wider De Wallen area has much more to recommend it, like eccentric shops, galleries, international restaurants, rickety gabled houses and the oldest canals in the city. For an antidote to the tourist trail, this former industrial shipyard the size of ten football pitches on the north bank of the IJ has emerged as a whole cultural neighbourhood. You can get there on the ferry from the Centraal station, and one reason to make the trip is for the monthly flea market in the gargantuan IJ-hallen, thought to be one of the largest in Europe.

Be sure to keep one eye on the calendar for outdoor film screenings and annual events like the DGTL underground electronic festival in March. For the ultimate introduction to Amsterdam you can hop on a bike and take an all-encompassing three-hour tour of the city. With GetYourGuide. By the 19th century it had ceased to be used as a place of worship and was preserved as a museum in So while you can peruse a refined bourgeois house, decorated with period furniture, table clocks and Delft tiles, there are also religious treasures like paintings, marble altar columns, wooden liturgical fittings and silverware on show in the church upstairs.

In summer Leidseplein is dominated by restaurant and cafe terraces, and crowds roll up to watch a colourful cast of jugglers, living statues, break-dancers and buskers do their thing. As sights go, the neo-Renaissance Stadsschouwburg is an attention-grabber and is the former home of the National Ballet and Opera. A nuanced and thoughtfully presented ethnographic museum, the Tropenmuseum is tour through the various cultures of the world. The building is a treasure too, dating to and featuring the Lichthal Light Hall , a massive central space with a grand stairway, all overlooked by galleries.

Anne Frank could see it from her secret annexe and mentioned the tower and its carillon several times in her diary. Rembrandt is buried at the Westerkerk, although the exact location of his tomb is unknown as he was destitute when he passed. Initially worship was confined to relative secrecy, but as the 17th century wore on, synagogues were permitted in prominent places.

Completed in the Portuguese Synagogue was the largest in the world at the time, and one of the largest monuments in the city. Because the name is a holdover from a 17th-century structure that was so narrow that two pedestrians would struggle to pass each other on the crossing. Tradition has an alternative explanation, suggesting that the name comes from the Mager sisters, who lived on opposite sides of the Amstel and used their wealth to build the bridge so they could visit each other.

The original skinny bridge was demolished in the 19th century, and its successor from was replaced by the current Magere Brug in This fine building with an elongated Classical facade was built in as a charitable retirement home for women. The last inhabitants departed for new accommodation in , and over the next couple of years the Amstelhof became a mini-Hermitage.

1. Museumplein

There are two permanent exhibitions here; one going into the history of the Amstelhof, and the other charting Netherlands-Russia relations. In the second half of there was a show for 18th-century European Neoclassicism, and a set of 30 portraits from the Dutch Golden Age.

Amsterdam is a city with endless inspiration for free activities, and something that always catches newcomers by surprise is the free ferry hour service over the IJ from the Centraal Station terminal. Amsterdam-Noord is green and peaceful, for a respite from the tourism honeypots on the opposite shore.


A little closer, Noorderpark has an award-winning swimming complex and two community centres at repurposed gas stations. The institute came about after four film institutions, including the Dutch Film Museum, were rolled into one in You can get there via the free ferry across the IJ, a journey worth making, whether you want to check out the permanent and temporary exhibitions or catch some independent cinema four screens , archive documentaries or classics from Tarkovsky to Rademakers. The basement has a clever exhibition on the history of cinema, with interactive quizzes to keep kids on board, while there are thought-provoking multimedia art installations throughout.

A set of lateth-century industrial buildings on the edge of Westerpark was reworked into a cultural, shopping and dining venue in Even the gas holder has been repurposed, and with a capacity of 3, is now a spectacular space for club nights. The museum shows how the sea has shaped Dutch culture over years, with displays of maps by the eminent 17th-century cartographers Willem Blaeu and son, navigational instruments, maritime paintings, models of ships, weapons and lots more.

Moored beside the museum is a faithful replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th-century Dutch East India Company cargo ship wrecked in the channel in but rediscovered in Composed of yellowy sandstone shipped from Bentheim in Germany, the monument captures a city full of confidence and was believed to be the largest secular building in Europe at the time.

It was Louis Napoleon who turned the building into a palace in , and there are ample reminders from the city hall days. The well-connected art lovers Lionel and Kim Logchies founded this boutique contemporary art museum in In there was an exhibition of works by Banksy, the first formal collection of his art in the world.

33+ Best things to do in Amsterdam in - highlights & hidden secrets

This included icons like the Flower Thrower and Girl with Balloon, all complementing the Banksy police van, owned by the museum and on show in the garden. At the same time there was an interactive room with the work of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein rendered in 3D, and a show for the feted Iranian street artists Icy and Sot. A word for the venue, which is a Jugendstil townhouse on Museumplein, designed in by Eduard Cuypers. A former tram depot in the ultra-trendy Oud-West neighbourhood is the fitting location for an indoor food market part of the larger De Hallen complex with a diversity of little pop-up restaurants.

There are more than 20 in all, and the big choice means that even the pickiest eaters will find something to their taste. People with a globetrotting palate will have to choose between Greek meze, temaki rolls, oysters shucked on the spot, American barbecue, Vietnamese summer rolls, falafel, dim sum, tapas, gourmet hot dogs, wood-fired pizzas… the list goes on. Tip : List of Amsterdam Food Tours. On its th anniversary the stately Concertgebouw concert hall on the Museumplein was bestowed the Koninklijk Royal prefix by Queen Beatrix.

But you can also attend a free lunchtime concert in the Recital Hall on Wednesdays July and August excepted. The Albert Cuyp Market came together at the turn of the 20th century to bring some order to the hordes of traders and hawkers who would set up shop here.

19 Fun Ways to Enjoy a Weekend in Amsterdam

Originally just a Saturday night affair, the market trades Monday to Saturday during daytime hours, with stalls on both sides of the street completely shutting down traffic. You can find it all here; fresh produce, cheese, herring, spices, fabrics, cosmetics, fashion accessories, but also Surinamese, Moroccan and Antillean specialities. The high competition keeps prices low and there may not be a better place to see real Amsterdammers going about their day. Take Mycotex, which produces fabrics using myco-proteins, or Colorfix, creating dyes from engineered microorganisms.

The Plantage neighbourhood was planned as an eastern extension of the Canal Belt, but lack of demand for housing in the 17th century allowed this corner of the city to stay leafy and spacious. One of the most vital is Hortus Botanicus, founded in and among the oldest botanical gardens in the world.

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In those early years the garden grew medicinal herbs for doctors and pharmacists at a time when plague outbreaks were still common. Hortus Botanicus moved to its current location in and was soon planted with species gathered from all ends of the earth by the Dutch East India Company. More than 6, plant species grow at Hortus Botanicus today, and remarkably, a single coffee plant in this collection lead to widespread plantations around the world.

The only museum dedicated to Jewish history in the Netherlands is in a complex of four synagogues dating back to , opposite the Portuguese Synagogue. Founded in , this venerable institution in the Plantage neighbourhood is the oldest zoo in Amsterdam and also the oldest in the Netherlands. So some of the charm of Artis comes from its historic buildings, like the library and aquarium Children of course will be thrilled with the animal collection, which runs to as many as species.

Just to skim over a few, there are Asian elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, caiman, a large assortment of turtles, tortoises, snakes and lizards, as well as predators like jaguars, lynxes, Alaskan wolves and lions. Find out more. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during summer, Vondelpark puts on a festival with all kinds of acts showing off what they can do.

Expect more crowds over the weekend and a little less room for you to spread out and lounge with your new mates. Careful which park you choose to flip your burgers though, cos in places like Vondelpark you could get slapped with a fine. Book an Ecoboat through their website. If you need a reason to visit Dam this summer, we have 2 words for you. Music festivals. This cutting-edge electric dance fest is set in a forest on the outskirts of Dam. Dance Valley will blow your mind, not just because of the insane DJs, both masters in their work as well as newcomers to the scene, but because the special effects are something out of this world.

Check out these 7 Epic Music Festivals set to take in Dam for summer Jordaan is famous for a lot of things, but the food markets in this Dam district are our idea of piggy heaven. Open every Monday, this one is BIG. Carry on the Pig party and spend a night or 2 at the Flying Pig by the beach in Noordwijk - or head to the beach for a day trip. The hostel is literally 50 metres from the sea and we can get you there on our shuttle bus from our Uptown and Downtown Pigs for mega cheap - and in just an hour. Go up to the urban garden at Nest bar for a few drinks with a view.

Yogies can get there for am every Thursday for a sunrise yoga sesh. Not a morning person? Roest is all about those chilled vibes. It used to be an old factory space, so the setting is pretty edgy.