Amsterdam, one of the great European cities, is known for being a fun and amusing destination. With its amazing cycling culture, huge parks, and typical architecture overlooking the canals, visiting “The Dam” is a trip that must be at the top of everybody’s bucket list.
Not only does the architecture match the city’s quirky way of life, but it definitely shows how unique the city is in itself. And if you still aren’t too convinced about going, know that one of the main dishes is fresh french fries; are you packing yet? Here are 7 things to see and do in the Netherlands’ capital city!
7 Things You Must do in Amsterdam
1. Red light district
A unique attraction that is common only to Amsterdam, the Red Light District is definitely a sight to see. Not that I’m encouraging you to actually shop in it, but visiting the oldest neighborhood in Amsterdam is definitely something a visitor might be interested in seeing. With its bright lights, multicultural population (that range from cops, carpenters, prostitutes, and clerics) and bar scene, visiting the district will definitely give you a couple of memorable stories to tell. Not recommended if you’re travelling with children and don’t fancy an awkward conversation afterwards.
2. Van Gogh Museum
Definitely first on the list, the Van Gogh Museum is a must-see when in Amsterdam. Holding the world’s largest collection of works by the renowned artist, this outing will be a treat for you and your traveling buddy. Whether you’re with your significant other, children, or simply among friends, the museum is a great spot to visit. The museum is so popular that queues are likely, but fear not, it is possible to purchase your Van Gogh museum tickets in advance on sites like Musement.com so you can avoid most of of the long queuing involved.
3. Bike rides
One of the best things that sets Amsterdam apart from the rest of Europe’s cities, is its amazing cycling culture. With more bikes than cars on the road, Amsterdam has become a great city to bike around and is known as the ‘bicycle capital of the world’. Not only are there huge bike garages, endless cycle paths, and city tours on bikes, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re living in the city like a local, and without leaving much of a carbon footprint! It is simple to rent bikes once you’re there so don’t worry about how exactly you’re going to get your bike to your holiday destination.
4. Amsterdam street food/pancakes
Other than the delicious French fries, The Dam is also known for its pancakes (called pannekoeken), which are considered as a legitimate dinner dish as well; childhood dream come true! The pancakes are slightly thinner than the US ones, but equally delicious and served both sweet and savoury. And once you’ve had your serving of the pancakes, try out one of the many street food stands that will most likely serve the typical herring. The best period to try the fish is between May and July, and you can add garnish to your serving.
Read: Amsterdam Food Hunts
5. Anne Frank’s house
One of the most famous sights in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank house. Visiting this spot will definitely have you thinking about what Anne went through, and will allow you to experience on a minimal level, what it felt like living in those conditions for 2 years. A somber and moving experience, which is of course very important to remember and respect. This is also a great educational spot for you to visit with your children who may have already read Anne’s diary before your visit.
6. Canal Cruises
Coined as the “Venice of the North”, taking a canal cruise through Amsterdam is definitely a must. Equally beautiful during the day and night, the canals were created to keep the sea at bay, and the result was not only safety for the city, but the beautiful postcard-perfect water maze it now represents. Many different cruises are available, and you can either choose to hop off and on the boat, or make it one long cruise. Get your camera ready!
7. Tulip Fields
Perhaps you weren’t aware of the wonderful flower scene in Amsterdam, but let me tell you, it is definitely a sight to see! Not only can you visit the famous blooming tulip fields if you’re there during the springtime (the field is called Bollenstreek), but any other time of year take a stroll through the famous Bloemenmarkt, home to tulips and tulip bulbs that you can buy and take home with you- perhaps a nice idea for any gifts you’re planning on buying for those back home.
8. Zaanse Schans
Recall seeing the beautiful windmills of the Netherlands? A day trip from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans is like stepping into a world of another. Green pastures interspersed with white tapestry houses make for a very picturesque sight. Of course, the highlight there is the traditional Dutch wooden shoes or clogs (
These are only a selection of the incredible array of things to do, see and, of course, eat in Amsterdam. In the summer months generally the weather is fine, but I do recommend packing a lightweight raincoat in case of any showers, as well as some sunglasses for those brighter days!
Also, be sure that you don’t spend your entire trip rushing from the many Amsterdam attractions that you want to squeeze in to one day – take a moment to sit outside a café next to one of the canals, with a cool drink at a famous Amsterdam coffeeshop and relax as the world goes by. The Dutch are a laid back and open minded group of people, so take on some of their chilled out vibes, and enjoy!