Amsterdam Things To Do
One of the city's most popular attractions, the Rijksmuseum houses the world's largest collection of Dutch masters, with big draws for visitors including iconic paintings from Vermeer and Rembrandt. There is also a wealth of Asian art, historic artefacts, ceramics and traditional crafts on display here, and the museum really offers an introduction into the Dutch art world.
The Royal Palace
This ostentatious residence overlooks Dam Square, and is one of the official royal homes of Queen Beatrix, often used for state visits, official functions and receptions. Designed in Romanesque style, the palace is almost entirely contracted of marble, with wall and ceiling murals and graceful statues, and is full of priceless ceramics and elegant furnishings.
Van Gogh Museum
Housing the largest collection of his work, the Van Gogh Museum covers his complete career, from his early sketches to the prolific periods in Paris and Arles, with iconic pieces such as 'Sunflowers' taking pride of place. The museum also has a recreated art studio, complete with displays of letters and personal effects, and really offers a colourful insight into the much misunderstood artist.
Anne Frank's House
Anne Frank's House is one of the most evocative and inspiring city attractions, and one of the city's most popular. The site of where the iconic 'Diary of Anne Frank' was written, the house is where the young author and her family hid from Nazi persecution for over two years. You can stroll round the house, view the tiny annexe where the family hid, and soak up the heart wrenching atmosphere, which is sure to leave a lasting impression.
'The Dam' is one of the most dynamic squares in the city, and a hub for entertainment, especially at night. At its centre is the soaring National Monument, a memorial dedicated to the Second World War, and all around the square are elegant historic buildings, such as the Royal Palace and the Hotel Krasnapolsky. A popular meeting point, the Dam comes alive after dark, when it is a hotspot for drinks and dining, and full of life.
The Oude Kerk
The oldest surviving building in Amsterdarm, the 'Oude Kerk', is located in the heart of de Wallen, and boasts one of the finest baroque organs in Europe, along with elaborate features such as stained glass windows and a charming bell tower. The church as excellent acoustics and is often used for gala choral and classical concerts.
The best way to see Amsterdam is from its wonderfully quaint network of famous canals. Amsterdam canal cruises come in all shapes and sizes, and you can hire an individual boat, relax on a guided tour, join a sunset Amsterdam canal cruise or simply take one of the regular Amsterdam canal buses. The Houseboat Museum will satisfy all those curious about life on an Amsterdam houseboat.
The city has particularly rewarding shopping, with plenty of unusual shops and colourful markets, and offers antiques, art, bookshops, designer clothes, retro fashion and clubbing gear. Make sure you visit the Bloemenmarkt floating flower market on the Singel, whilst Noordermarkt has a good farmer’s market on Saturdays. Pedestrian Leidsestraat is the major shopping street and has dozens of cafes with canal views.
Red lights, “coffee” and nightlife
Few visitors can resist taking a look at the famous red light district with its legalised prostitution. The resulting mix of tourists and local “traders” has a surreal quality. The red light district also has interesting architecture, unusual squares and a vibrant cosmopolitan mix of residents. “Coffee shops “or “brown cafes” are spread around the city and prove endlessly fascinating for visitors. Amsterdam nightlife is legendary, and you will find everything from old-fashioned cafes and pubs to the trendiest of clubs and after hours venues.