Amsterdam Culture

Original open uri20160815 3469 1iuivs?1471299920?ixlib=rails 0.3
Amsterdam Culture
Thanks to the city's rich museum and gallery scene, you'll never lack for something to do. Just be sure to plan and prioritize so you don't miss out on enjoying a stroll along the canals or hanging out in one of the ubiquitous cafés with the locals.
Photo courtesy of Amsterdam Marketing
  • 1 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1iuivs?1471299920?ixlib=rails 0.3
    The Dutch Golden Age
    It’s hard to believe that the Dutch Golden Age ever ended in Amsterdam. The majority of the city's 17th-century buildings, cobbled streets, and bridges are so well-maintained that you wouldn't know they've been around for 400 years. Tearing yourself away from the beauty of the Grachtengordel (Canal Belt) may be difficult, but many other neighborhoods also hold great historical significance. In the Jewish Quarter, Nieuwmarkt, IJ waterfront, De Pijp, Oud-West, and Jordaan areas, you'll find everything from medieval structures to Buddhist temples blending in with their modern surroundings.
    Photo courtesy of Amsterdam Marketing
  • 2 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 157lbmv?1471299925?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Old Masters
    The Dutch Golden Age of painting took place from about 1575 to 1725. During this period, such artists as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, and Frans Hals created masterpieces that are now world-renowned. You may have seen Vermeer’s The Milkmaid or Frans Hals' The Gypsy Girl in books and on posters, but nothing compares to viewing them in person. The Rijksmuseum on Museumplein displays a vast collection of old masters and is not to be missed. For a closer look at one of the masters, the Rembrandthuis, where Rembrandt lived and worked for 20 years, provides deeper insight into the life of a revered painter.
    Photo courtesy of Iwan Baan/Amsterdam Marketing
  • 3 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 x0b122?1471299929?ixlib=rails 0.3
    The Historical and Contemporary Art Scene
    Amsterdam may be known for the old masters, but modern art is just as celebrated here. The Stedelijk Museum—nicknamed "The Bathtub" for the shape of its new building—highlights international contemporary art and design. Next door is the Van Gogh Museum. Crowds are common, but you can't find a larger or more impressive Vincent van Gogh collection anywhere else. The city also has a vibrant contemporary art scene fueled by small, often edgy galleries across the city and curated in the Modern Contemporary Museum on Museumplein. Amsterdam's galleries aren't concentrated in one area, so it’s best to check listings before you travel. Getting a little lost and stumbling across the city's hidden delights can be part of the fun, though.
    Photo courtesy of Amsterdam Marketing
  • 4 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1ylc506?1471299933?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Sounds of the City
    Amsterdam is known for its extremely active international music scene, with a variety of shows every night. Paradiso and Melkweg are among the top spots for seeing the big names that come to the city. On off-nights, you can also discover up-and-coming groups. If you prefer dancing, the Rembrandtplein is home to the slick and sophisticated clubs Escape and Studio 80. The beautifully designed Club AIR is also nearby on Amstelstraat. Check out Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ for world music and Bimhuis for jazz. The two modern concert halls are neighbors and overlook the IJ waterfront. For something more Intimate, head for the low-lit North Sea Jazz Club in Westerpark, or rock out at Maloe Melo, where live bands play the blues most nights.
    Photo by age fotostock
  • 5 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 19oi2gx?1471299937?ixlib=rails 0.3
    An Architectural Feast
    Amsterdam's buildings are a feast for the eyes, a mix of Renaissance, art deco, Amsterdam school, and super-modern architecture seamlessly integrated with the city’s iconic canal houses. Highlights include the 800-year-old Oude Kerk (Old Church), the 17th-century Royal Palace on Dam Square, and the 1920s Pathé Tuschinski movie theater. Many of the more recent stars on the architectural scene were built on the IJ waterfront east of Centraal Station. The Science Center NEMO, the EYE Film museum, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, and Bimhuis are all stunning during the day and spectacularly lit at night. De Hallen, a transformed tram depot on Bellamyplein, is a monumental hall housing restaurants, a public library, a movie hall, businesses, and a hotel.
    Photo courtesy of Amsterdam Marketing
  • 6 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 r1g5zb?1471299942?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Amsterdam's Festivals
    Amsterdammers love to get out in the streets and party, which can make summer seem like one long festival. The biggest annual celebration is King’s Day in April. The city swarms with people clad in orange to show their pride for the Dutch royal family, members of the House of Orange-Nassau. Every district, especially the area around the canals, comes alive with music, food, drinks, markets, and all kinds of street entertainment. Gay Pride in August gets equally wild and is not for the fainthearted. The Grachtenfestival and Uitmarkt, also in August, are more mellow and celebrate the city's classical music and cultural scene.
    Photo courtesy of Amsterdam Marketing
  • 7 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 14zqlpq?1471299946?ixlib=rails 0.3
    The Red Light District
    Well-known for being a liberal city, Amsterdam is perhaps most famous for its Red Light District. During the day, before the neon signs turn on, it's a pleasant place to stroll around. You can see the area's 13th-century architectural gems, including the impressive Oude Kerk (Old Church) and lanes filled with tiny houses that lean at peculiar angles. At night the red lights flick on and the crowds—mostly giggling tourists and rowdy bachelor parties—come to gawk at the famous ladies behind glass. Thanks to a strong police and security presence, the Red Light District is pretty safe, but do beware of pickpockets.
    Photo courtesy of NBTC Holland Marketing
  • 8 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 3c78vn?1471299951?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Discover the City on Two Wheels
    Amsterdammers eat, chat with friends, and talk on their phones with ease as they tool around town on bicycles. The city is flat and has bike lanes that are safe, well-marked, and car-free, so you can ride with ease even if you're not an avid cyclist. Rental shops are scattered across Amsterdam, and staff members are happy to give tips on navigating the city safely. If you don’t want to go it alone, there are numerous companies that offer guided tours. If you do rent a bike, be sure to lock it up securely. Locals say the city has one million bikes and one million bikes that are stolen every year.
    Photo courtesy of NBTC Holland Marketing
  • 9 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1c3kp9a?1471299955?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Eccentric Jordaan
    The über-trendy Jordaan district wraps around the west side of the Canal Belt. During the past decade, the once working-class neighborhood has transformed into a home for young professionals and a more bohemian crowd. The cozy, narrow streets are now packed with cafés, unique shops, independent galleries, and, more recently, some of the city’s top restaurants. Noordermarkt is one of the area's most vibrant marketplaces and features an organic farmers market, a flea market, and other merchants depending on the day of the week. The Jordaan also has a lively traditional music scene that's celebrated during the Jordaan Festival every September.
    Photo by Peter Phipp/age fotostock
  • 10 / 10
    Original open uri20160815 3469 155lhlo?1471299960?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Local Street Markets
    Known for centuries as master traders, Amsterdammers continue their tradition of commerce at the city's countless markets. Unlike many tourist-frequented cities, Amsterdam doesn’t have specific markets geared toward travelers. Even markets in the city center, such as the Waterlooplein Flea Market and the Nieuwmarkt, which sells produce and cheese, are as much for locals as they are for visitors. Albert Cuypmarkt in the De Pijp district is the largest street market in the Netherlands. Open six days a week, it sells just about anything you can think of, from fish and vegetables to clothing and jewelry. The market is also a great place to try local and ethnic snacks; follow your nose to a stroopwafel stand for a syrup-filled waffle.
    Photo by Jochem Wijnands/age fotostock