Amsterdam is a unique city. Despite the obvious presence of thousands of visitors, its life remained authentic. To observe it is enough to stroll along the canal streets or to sit for a while in one of Amsterdam many cafés. Nevertheless, there are places in the city you should not miss during your visit. Here is our list of the best of the best.
Amsterdam canal ring
The city old centre is formed from canal rings, which give you the feeling of space, freedom and peace. Walk through these canal streets or better – take a trip with a boat by boarding one of the tourist cruises or by renting the boat yourself. Anther way to explore the Venice of the North is to take a ride on a bicycle. Any way you decide for – enjoy this city, one of the most beautiful in the world.
Het Scheepvaart Museum – The National Maritime Museum
After its renovation The Maritime Museum is a captivating place to visit, especially with children. With a 17th C. sail ship at its quay, packed with modern multimedia attractions exhibit and rich collection of fine paintings, old maps and remarkable ship models, this colourful and enjoyable museum will help you understand the history of the Netherlands – a small nation which was centuries ago one of the world’s greatest sea powers.
The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands, with more than a million visitors each year. The Rijksmuseum is currently in a prolonged renovation, but a small part of it remains open. Its exhibition called The Masterpieces shows the most famous pieces of Dutch art from the 17th c., usually called the Golden Age of the Netherlands. Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals reflect in their work different aspects of Dutch national character. You may also see the museum treasury, beautiful doll houses from the period and the traditional Delftware.
Van Gogh Museum
This modern museum houses some 200 paintings and 550 sketches showing Van Gogh in all his moods. This biggest in the world collection, combined with hundreds of letters by Van Gogh, and selected works by his friends and contemporaries, form the core of the museum’s collection.
A narrow, vaulted passageway leads to this charming quiet garden surrounded by old houses, in the very centre of town. The devout celibate Béguine nuns have been replaced by old ladies. The No.34 is the oldest house in Amsterdam. Entrance on Spui, just a step from the main commercial street Kalverstraat, is indicated by a carved sign. Entry is free.
This huge old protestant church with little houses clinging to its sides remains a calm heaven at the heart of the frenetic Red Light District. Its buildings, especially the Gothic-renaissance style octagonal bell tower, were used by sailors to get their bearings. For some adults, an evening walk in the nightlife area around the church might be interesting.
Amsterdam Brown Café
After a busy day of walking enjoy a simple meal or just a coffee or beer in one of many Amsterdam old cafés called brown. At first it will seem too much from the past and too crowded – but the atmosphere is unique, people are famously friendly, prices low. Relax and watch – most of people around will be locals. Feel like one of them – the real Amsterdammers.
Is a traditional double-leaf Dutch draw-bridge connecting sides of river Amstel. About every 20 minutes the bridge opens, as the bridge master lets boats through. The original bridge was built in 1670, but it did not change much since. Enjoy the magic of this place, take a deep breath of fresh air brought by the river.
On the edge of the Red Light District, museum houses in the restored 17th-century canal house with two smaller houses to the rear. The lower floors of the building became a museum in 1888 and today contain refurbished rooms, as well as a collection of church silver, religious artifacts and paintings.
Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House in the center of Amsterdam is the hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary during the World War II. Just a few empty rooms in the hidden annex to the house will make an unforgettable impression if you realize, that two families lived in these small quarters for more than 2 years hiding from the Nazis. The original of the diary is on display, as a part of the Anne Frank House’s permanent exhibition.
Civic Guards Gallery (Schuttersgalerij)
As the saying goes – the best things in life are free – this naturally lit gallery filled with old paintings from the Dutch Golden Age is freely open to the public. The exhibited canvas may be not always the masterpieces of art (those you may see at the Rijksmuseum), but these group portraits of Amsterdam citizens and their wives are an exquisite document of the Dutch civilization and culture centuries ago.
Exhibits and Shows
A large number of tourists visiting Amsterdam (ca. 6 millions in 2011; 11,3 millions for the whole of the Netherlands) is the reason why numerous attractions were created for visitors, mainly to entertain, but sometimes also to educate. To already popular attractions as Heineken Experience, Madame Tussauds and The Amsterdam Dungeon, new attractions like Ajax Experience, House of Bols Genever Experience, Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room, Xtra Cold Ice Bar and Tun Fun indoor playground for kids were recently added.