Top Attractions in Amsterdam
Collected by Jennifer Ceaser, AFAR Local Expert
Any visit to Amsterdam will surely include some famous and familiar sites—the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank House among them. But the city has lots of surprises, too, beyond canal houses and cozy bars. Come explore for yourself.
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...
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...
1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beloved by locals and popular with tourists, the Vondelpark is a 120-acre oasis of green in buzzing Amsterdam, southeast of the Leidseplein. Opened in 1865 as the Nieuwe Park, it was later renamed after 17th-century Dutch playwright Joost van den...
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...
Dam, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands
The central hub of downtown Amsterdam is Dam Square, and it’s been at the heart of the city’s history since the 13th century. Today, the open-air public space is ringed by shops and restaurants and packed with people, including street...
De Wallen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The red-light district in Amsterdam is a very busy place with an odd mix of life in one small neighborhood. In a peculiar way it’s very beautiful—there’s so much happening both visually and mentally it takes a bit to process it...
Begijnhof 29, 1012 WT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Escape the bustle of the city by ducking into the quiet courtyard garden of Begijnhof. Located just a few minutes on foot from the Koningsplein and the Singel canal, this tranquil oasis dates back at least as far as the 14th century. Look among...
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
One powerful and emotional experience in Amsterdam that shouldn’t be missed is a visit to the Anne Frank House. This home, where Anne Frank wrote in her diary while she, her family, and four others hid from the Nazis during World War II, has...
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...
Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1862, fresh flowers and plants have arrived by barge from the Dutch countryside to Amsterdam. While this assemblage of flora still shows up daily, it comes by van, not boat, to the Bloemenmarkt, the world's only floating flower market. Here,...
Prinsengracht 232, 1016 HE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is known for its denim—Scotch & Soda, G-Star, and Denham all started here—but the capital’s thriving fashion scene offers way more than just jeans. The Jordaan’s trendy Nine Streets area is packed with small...
Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 7, 1015 RX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Not only is this petite Jordaan-area concept store exceptionally well curated, but everything sold here—from lighting to handbags to scarves—is made using fair-trade production practices. Artfully arranged atop vintage teak furniture...
Spuistraat 172, 1012 VT Amsterdam, Netherlands
On the second level of a bank building annex that's shared with the W Hotel is this sleek, 7,500-square-foot concept store devoted entirely to Dutch fashion, design, and art. You’ll recognize big-name Dutch designers like Marcel Wanders and...
Hartenstraat 37, 1016 CA Amsterdam, Netherlands
With their bold, unexpected color combinations and cool geometric shapes, Hester van Eeghen’s leather bags have gained a cultlike following in Amsterdam. Just about every Dutch fashionista owns one of these distinctive, über-functional...
Pazzanistraat 1, 1014 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wrapped in bright and colorful pop-art labels, these curiously named chocolate bars are ubiquitous in Amsterdam, but it’s worth venturing to the Tony’s Chocolonely brick-and-mortar store to find exclusive limited-edition varieties....
Mr. Visserplein 3, 1011 RD Amsterdam, Netherlands
Built in 1675 by Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jews who fled Roman Catholic persecution during the Inquisition, this is one of the oldest continuously operating synagogues in Europe. The massive square-shaped building still has no...
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38, 1012 GE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is known for its religious tolerance, but beginning in the 16th century, during the Protestant Reformation, Catholics were prohibited from holding Mass publicly. And so “hidden churches” began popping up in private homes...
Herengracht 573, 1017 CD Amsterdam, Netherlands
This collection of 5,000-plus bags, purses, and accessories—the largest in the world—spans more than 500 years, from a practical 16th-century goatskin money pouch to a whimsical shoe-shaped purse by contemporary Dutch footwear designer...
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...
Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Founded in 1838, Amsterdam’s zoo, just east of the Canal Ring, is one of the oldest in Europe, with a parklike setting that also houses an aquarium and planetarium (entrance to both is included in the price of admission). The grounds, while...
Overhoeksplein 5, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands
One of the hippest neighborhoods in the city is Amsterdam-Noord, situated directly across the IJ River from the main train station. Here, an iconic 1970s office high-rise has been recently revamped and rebranded as A’DAM, an acronym for...
Concertgebouwplein 10, 1071 LN Amsterdam, Netherlands
Everyone from Gustav Mahler and Louis Armstrong to Led Zeppelin and Sting has graced the stage of this gilded neoclassical concert hall, which dates from 1888. The building has three theaters, but top billing goes to the 1,974-seat Main Hall, a...
Kalverstraat 92, 1012 PH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Get an overview of the 800-year history of the Dutch capital at this beautiful museum, located in a 17th-century former orphanage on the historic Kalverstraat. Covering the Middle Ages to the present day, the collection unfolds in chronological...
Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 BD Amsterdam, Netherlands
From morning until late afternoon every day (except Sunday), this blocks-long outdoor street market in De Pijp district teems with locals and tourists shopping for everything from produce, fish, and spices to clothing, fabric, and household goods....
Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Rembrandt purchased this sizable former merchant’s house in 1639, when he was at the peak of his fame as a portraitist of the city’s elite. He lived, painted, and taught in the multistory building for nearly 20 years, and on the...
Pazzanistraat 33, 1014 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
This sprawling 19th-century former gasworks complex west of the Canal Ring was a polluted site for decades after its closing in the mid-1960s. It was cleaned up and reopened in 2003 as a park, and its architecturally significant red-brick...
Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat, 1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
From vintage shops and hipster boutiques in the Negen Straats (Nine Streets) to posh designer outlets on P.C. Hoofstraat, Amsterdam's shopping scene is nothing if not eclectic. There's something for everyone on Kalverstraat, a shopping street that...
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