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Top 10 things to do in Amsterdam

Posted on June 11 2024

Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, is renowned for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, and narrow houses with gabled facades. This vibrant city seamlessly blends historic charm with modern amenities, offering a unique experience for every visitor. Whether you're a history buff, art lover, or simply looking to enjoy the local culture, Amsterdam has something for everyone. Here are the top 10 things to do in Amsterdam, along with some great tips for living there. 

1. Explore the Canals

Amsterdam's canals are its most iconic feature, earning the city the nickname "Venice of the North." A canal cruise is a perfect way to see the city from a different perspective. Alternatively, you can rent a boat or kayak for a more personal adventure. The best times to explore are early mornings or late afternoons to avoid crowds and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the canals (free coloring page).

2. Visit the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum houses an extensive collection of Dutch art and history, including masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer. To avoid long lines, it's best to buy tickets online in advance and visit early in the morning. Don’t miss the beautiful gardens and nearby attractions like the Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum.

3. Discover the Anne Frank House

A visit to the Anne Frank House offers a poignant glimpse into the life of Anne Frank during WWII. This historical site can get very crowded, so it's advisable to purchase tickets online and plan your visit early in the day. After your visit, explore the charming Jordaan district nearby.

 

4. Stroll Through Vondelpark

Vondelpark is Amsterdam's largest and most popular park, perfect for biking, picnicking, or simply relaxing. During the summer, the open-air theatre hosts free concerts and performances. Nearby cafes and restaurants offer a great place to unwind after your park visit.

5. Experience the Van Gogh Museum

Home to the world's largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings, this museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. To make the most of your visit, consider using an audio guide and visiting during off-peak hours. The museum frequently hosts special exhibits and events, so check their schedule in advance.

6. Wander Through Jordaan District

The Jordaan district is known for its narrow streets, quaint cafes, and boutique shops. Take your time to explore hidden courtyards and gardens. Don't miss trying local delicacies at the various eateries. The area is also home to several art galleries and museums.

 

7. Shop at the Albert Cuyp Market

The Albert Cuyp Market is the largest street market in Amsterdam, offering a wide range of goods from fresh produce to clothing and accessories. It's best to visit in the morning to avoid crowds and get the freshest products. Bargaining is common, so don’t hesitate to haggle for the best prices. Nearby attractions include the Heineken Experience and the Museum Quarter.

8. Enjoy the Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience offers an interactive tour of the former brewery, where you can learn about the history of the brand and the brewing process. The tour includes tastings and interactive exhibits, making it a fun and educational experience. To avoid long lines, book your tickets in advance and visit during weekdays.

9. Visit the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Located in the heart of the city, the Royal Palace is an architectural marvel with a rich history. Guided tours are available, offering insights into the palace's past and its current use. Plan your visit for late afternoon to enjoy the palace with fewer crowds and combine it with a visit to Dam Square and the nearby Nieuwe Kerk.

10. Take a Day Trip to Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is an open-air museum just outside Amsterdam, showcasing traditional Dutch life with its historic windmills, wooden houses, and craft demonstrations. Key attractions include the windmill tours and the clog-making workshop. It's a perfect day trip destination, easily accessible by train or car.

Amsterdam offers a plethora of activities and sights that cater to all interests. From its rich cultural heritage to its vibrant street life, there's always something to discover. For those considering a move to this dynamic city, our book "Living in Amsterdam Coloring Book" provides valuable insights into Dutch culture, practical advice for expats, and beautiful coloring pages to inspire your journey.

 

Tips for Living in Amsterdam

  • Housing: Finding accommodation can be challenging, but focusing on neighborhoods like De Pijp, Oud-West, and Jordaan can be rewarding. Websites like Pararius and Funda are great resources.
  • Transportation: Amsterdam is a bike-friendly city, and investing in a good bicycle is essential. The public transport system (GVB) is also efficient, with trams, buses, and ferries connecting the city.
  • Language: While many locals speak English, learning basic Dutch can enhance your experience. Simple phrases like "Dank u wel" (Thank you) and "Alstublieft" (Please) are helpful.
  • Cost of Living: Amsterdam can be pricey, so budgeting is crucial. Grocery shopping at markets and discount stores like Aldi and Lidl can help save money.
  • Social Life: Joining expat groups and attending local events can help you integrate and make new friends. Meetup and Internations are great platforms to start with.
  • Healthcare: The Dutch healthcare system is excellent, but registering with a local GP (huisarts) is necessary. Health insurance is mandatory, so make sure to choose a plan that fits your needs.

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