Amsterdam for Culture Vultures
Collected by Melissa Adams, AFAR Local Expert
Amsterdam is a mecca for culture vultures. From art and film exhibitions to theater, dance and music festivals, the city offers a plethora of options for aficionados of culture. In addition to more than 50 museums, Amsterdam boasts numerous concert halls, music venues and artistic institutions that celebrate the creative spirit and Dutch and international culture through the visual and performing arts.
Gabriël Metsustraat 8, 1071 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at the Van Gogh Museum. Sunflowers, The...
Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at Stedelijk Museum. The modern art...
If you're a jazz and classical music aficionado, you owe it to yourself to visit Amsterdam in mid-August, when the 10-day Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival) brings live music to venues throughout the city. Since 1997, the cultural celebration has...
Leidseplein 26, 1017 PT Amsterdam, Netherlands
This imposing 1894 neo-Renaissance-style red-brick building on the famed Leidseplein is home to Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the largest theater company in the Netherlands. Both classic plays and modern dramas are staged in its two major halls. The...
Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beyond tulips, windmills, and weed, Amsterdam's global image is entwined with water. The Canal Ring (Grachtengordel) is made up of 165 fluid channels developed during the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. In the ensuing years, the water network has...
IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Step inside the Eye Film Institute to discover an homage to international cinema replete with interactive displays and perched like an ivory spaceship ready for launch on the northern bank of the IJ River. The striking facility, accessible via a...
George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands
If visiting a miniature version of a country the size of a postage stamp makes no sense to you, stay away from Madurodam, a top tourist attraction in Den Haag featuring historic Dutch towns, ports, canals, roads and monuments re-created on a 1/25...
Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands
The interiors of this museum and its library are really beautiful—a mosaic of polished wood and marble surfaces. And its contents are very timely, about the history of immigration and former Dutch colonies and slavery. The library is a bit...
Amstel 3, 1011 PN Amsterdam, Netherlands
With its 14-meter curved façade overlooking the Amstel River, Amsterdam's Muziektheater cuts a dramatic swath in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Home to The Dutch Opera and Dutch National Ballet, it's housed in the same building as...
Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Grachtenfestival is a week-long outdoor classical music festival held every August in Amsterdam. World-famous musicians, ensembles and new talent perform in locations around the city. The festival's grand finale, the free Prinsengracht Concert, is...
Herengracht 497, 1017 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you tire of highbrow culture, sample a lighter approach to art devoted to a single theme at one of Amsterdam's quirkiest museums: the Katten Kabinet (Cat Cabinet). While professionally curated, this homage to all things feline has a humorous...
Keizersgracht 672, 1017 ET Amsterdam, Netherlands
If Amsterdam's 17th-century canal houses could talk, they might reveal secrets of wealthy merchants who raised families in the tall, narrow properties during Holland's Golden Age. Today, the historic residences have been transformed into hotels,...
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s State Museum reopened in 2013 after a decade of renovations, and it is oh so worth a visit! Weave your way through the museum's vast assemblage of historic art (there are over 8,000 pieces!) to check out works from Dutch masters...
Herengracht 427, 1017 BR Amsterdam, Netherlands
Exploring Amsterdam aboard a canal boat is an iconic way to see the sights, with myriad tours and cruises plying the 65 miles of waterways that lattice the city. From many spots you can join simple, hour-long cruises with narrators describing...
IJhaven, 1019 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Every five years in late August, ancient mariners as well as younger fans of sailing and sea exploration converge in Amsterdam to celebrate Holland's rich seafaring legacy. Since its debut in 1975, commemorating the city's 700th birthday, SAIL has...