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Top 5 things to do when visiting Amsterdam

By Edited May 31, 2015 1 2

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. With around 1 million people the city is fairly small and you can see the highlights over a long weekend. There are a lot of interesting things to see and do. 

5. Rent a bike and explore the city

The easiest and most fun way to get around the city is by bike. You can go on a guided tour or when you're more adventurous plan a route yourself. Whatever you do, make sure to visit the Vondelpark. This park in the city center is a great place to hang out in the summer and looks like a fairytale if it is covered in snow during winter.

Make sure to visit a local market. Amsterdam has a lot of outdoor markets of which the Albert Cuyp market is the biggest. This market is located in a neighborhood called “de Pijp”.

4. Visit a museum

The biggest museums are all situated close to Museum Square. The Rijksmuseum is the largest and displays masterpieces such as Rembrandt's The Night Watch and The Milkmaid from Johannes Vermeer. In the same area you can find the famous Van Gogh and the Stedelijk Museum. The last one is more focused on modern art.

The Anne Frank House gives you a good insight in how a Jewish family lived under the Nazi regime during World War II. It provides us with a lesson from the past and that we should never forget how lucky we are that we are walking around in a free world.

FOAM is less well-known under tourists but is your best pick if you like to see photography by young and modern artists.

3. Hang out in a traditional brown bar

Do like the locals do and spend an afternoon in one of the classic brown bars. Order a drink but whatever you do don't forget to order the traditional bitterballs. These battered ragout snacks are a great appetizer and are best enjoyed while having a beer with family or friends.

The best place to find a traditional bar is probably in the Jordaan. This area west of the city center has beautiful small (shopping) streets and has a traditional atmosphere. It is only a 10 minute walk away from Central station.

2. Attend a festival

The largest outdoor festival is Queensday. It is the national holiday and each year Amsterdam turns completely orange on April the 30th. The last name of the royal family is van Oranje, which literally means “from Orange”.

Holland is known for its famous DJ's. Big names like Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and Afrojack are all Dutch. The best way to experience the dance scene is by visiting a festival in Amsterdam. Good choices are Open Air or the Amsterdam Dance Event.

Not really a festival, but if you're lucky enough to be in Amsterdam during the European or World Cup soccer, go to a bar and watch the Dutch national team. Make sure to wear an orange shirt and cheer them to victory!

1. Take a canal tour

You can choose for an organized tour or even better, rent a boat yourself! This will offer you a new perspective on the city. Most of the tours start in the city center and take you around in about an hour or two.

Many tourists make the mistake to rent a pedal boat. This looks silly and isn't convenient as you will get run over by the bigger professional canal ships. Rent a motorized boat and make sure to bring snacks and drinks like the locals do. Especially on warm summer days the canals are packed with boats so you're in for a treat.

Have you been to Amsterdam before? Please leave a comment to share your favorite thing to do in the Dutch capital.



Jun 5, 2012 5:01pm
My favorites are The van Gogh Museum, and the great canal tour.
Jun 6, 2012 2:50pm
Thanks for your comment. Combining the van Gogh Museum with a canal tour makes a great Sunday if you're in Amsterdam for a long weekend. Make sure to arrive early at the Van Gogh to avoid the queues.
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