As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Amsterdam has a whole range of attractions to keep every tourist entertained. The city has a history spanning 800 years, with ancient churches, quaint streets and picturesque canal houses just waiting to be explored. Just don’t forget to pack your selfie-stick!
Amsterdam has a lot to offer the tourist. No matter what your interest is, Amsterdam is sure to have it. Amsterdam has an amazing number of attractions for such a small city.
I Amsterdam City Card
Whether you’re planning on visiting museums, take a cruise along the canal or simply get lost in the city, the one thing you should consider purchasing is an I Amsterdam City Card.
This will be your golden ticket granting you unlimited transport on buses, trams and the metro, plus free entrance to selected museums, attractions and many discounts.
There are 24, 48, 72 and 96 hour cards available and can be ordered online and delivered to you within 6 working days. You can equally pick it up at Schiphol Airport or Amsterdam Central Station when you arrive. Snap up yours here: https://www.iamsterdam.com/nl/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card/bestel-je-city-card
Whether you have your I Amsterdam City Card in hand or not, here’s a list of top attractions you shouldn’t miss when in the city.
The top Amsterdam attractions.
It took some time but the newly renovated Rijksmuseum reopened its doors in April 2013 and quickly became the most visited museum in the Netherlands. Since its first opening back in 1885, the Rijksmuseum has displayed a wide variety of exhibits, including paintings from Rembrandt and Vermeer. In addition to their master pieces you can observe model ships and the much-loved “Catwalk” exhibit. Hot tip! Skip the long lines by getting your entrance tickets. I Amsterdam City Card holders will have to get their discounted tickets at the counter.
Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX
Opening Hours: 9AM-5PM
Entrance Fee: €17.50 -An audio guide to all of the museum’s highlights is available and included in the price of the museum ticket.
Anne Frankhuis (Anne Frank House)
Judging by the insanely long queues almost all year round it seems like everyone wants to visit the tiny room in which Anne Frank went into hiding during World War II.
As of May 2016 there’s a new system in place that only allows people who bought a ticket online into the museum until 3:30PM. From then onwards tickets can be bought at the door. While there isn’t a whole lot to see in the tiny space, there is an
From then onwards tickets can be bought at the door. While there isn’t a whole lot to see in the tiny space, (basicaly a few empty rooms) there is an in-house cafe and bookshop to keep you busy. Want a more in-depth introduction to the world of Anne Frank? Book the 30 Minute Program and explore the museum with a guide.
Address: Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV
Opening Hours: 9AM-9:30PM
Van Gogh Museum
Regarded by many as one of the best attractions in Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum has a little something for everyone. Home to a display of 200 paintings and about 500 drawings from Van Gogh, the museum caters for all art lovers.
‘Feeling Van Gogh’ is a permanent interactive program that allows visitors (especially those who are blind or visually impaired) to “feel the brush strokes, smell the sunflowers and listen to the paintings”. Come Friday night you can let you hair down as you take a guided tour of the museum accompanied by a few cocktails, music and a VJ.
Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ
Opening Hours: 9AM-10PM
Museum Het Rembrandthuis / Rembrandt's House
This museum, a charming three-storey house, built in the early 17th century, is where Rembrandt lived for nearly 20 years. Recently, a museum wing has been added (horrible modern buildings) with more space for a permanent collection of his work.
It is home to a comprehensive collection of 250 of the artist’s etchings and self-portraits. The work of Rembrandt’s teachers and students are also on display, which adds depth and dialogue to Rembrandt’s work.
Located at Jodenbreestraat 4–6
Tel: (020) 520 0400. Fax: (020) 520 0401.
Transport: Trams 4, 9 or 14; metro Nieuwmarkt; boat to Waterlooplein or Zwanenburgerwal.
Opening hours: Mon–Sat 1000–1700, Sun 1300–1700.
Admission: €7 (concessions available).
Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art
This is Amsterdam’s museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art and design. Here you can muse artwork collections of the early 20th century from the likes of Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Pollock and Warhol.
The best collection of modern art in Amsterdam is housed in a neo-Renaissance building, designed by AW Weissmann in 1895 – another wing was added in the 1950s. The permanent collection includes Dutch and international art from the second half of the 19th century onwards, with works by Picasso, Cézanne, Chagall and Monet, as well as photography, video, film and industrial design.
Entrance is free with the I Amsterdam City Card, otherwise it’s a €15 fee. Get your tickets online to avoid standing in line.
Amsterdams Historisch Museum (Amsterdam Historical Museum)
The Amsterdam Historical Museum shows how this city grew from a small medieval town into a modern city. Housed in a former orphanage that dates back to 1524, the museum is filled with paintings, prints and archaeological finds. One of the most interesting exhibits is an 18th-century coach without wheels. According to council regulations – and to reduce the noise of wheels on the cobbled streets – wealthy Amsterdammers had to travel by sleigh, even in summer.
The entrance fee to the museum includes free entry to the Civic Guards Gallery, a glass-roofed ‘street’ between Kalverstraat and the Begijnhof, which is lined with 15 massive portraits of the Amsterdam Civic Guards, dating from the 17th century. However, the Rijksmuseum has the most famous painting of the Civic Guard – Rembrandt’s Nightwatch (see above). There is also a great cafe / Restaurant here called David & Goliath with open terrace (In Summer) which sells really nice food at good prices.
Worth going in to see the huge statue of David & Goliath alone. It has a high-beamed ceiling and the wooden sculpture of David and Goliath, the latter 5m (16 ft.) high, was carved back in 1650 and was salvaged from a local amusement park that was a feature of Amsterdam's landscape for nearly 250 years until 1862. When the weather's fine in summer, tables are placed outdoors under the shade of courtyard trees. great place to sit and read or have a drink.
Located at Kalverstraat 92 or Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 359
Tel: (020) 523 1822. Fax: (020) 620 7789.
Transport: Trams 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 14, 16, 24 or 25.
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 1000–1700, Sat and Sun 1100–1700.
Admission: €6 (concessions available).
Voted ‘Best Amsterdam Visitor Attraction’ in 2001, (Reason unknown possibly after the free beers you feel you have had a great experience) anyway the Heineken Experience is a self-guided, multimedia delve into the workings of the world’s largest beer exporter. There is plenty of information on the company’s history and also the ‘Bottle Ride’, where visitors get to feel what it is like to be a beer bottle during the production process (make a right Pratt of yourself).
At the end of the tour, there is, of course, the chance to sample the hallowed brew. You get 2 free beers as well as a free Heineken glass. In the old days you actually got to see the beer being brewed now you just see a video of it. Brewing is a thing of the past I guess at Heineken.
Located at Stadhouderskade 78
Tel: (020) 523 9666.
Transport: Trams 16, 24 or 25.
Opening Hours: Tues–Sun 1000–1800.
Admission: €7.50 (concessions available).
Amsterdam is infamous for its Sex Museum but it also boasts the dubious charms of the Hash Museum and the Torture Museum. The extremely tacky Sex Museum, the only one in Europe, is full of erotica – objects d’art, photos, prints, paintings and videos – dating from the Roman era to about 1960, although somehow manages to be totally devoid of eroticism.
The Hash Museum is of interest to those visitors who come to Amsterdam in search of coffee shops and would like to learn a little more about the hallowed weed, while the Torture Museum caters for another sub-group of society altogether. Nevertheless, it is tongue-in-cheek enough to be of interest to all. The three museums are all within walking distance in the city centre.
The latest attraction to arrive in Amsterdam is the Amsterdam Dungeon
The Dungeon can best be described as an indoor theme park with a dash of historical horror.
The Dungeon is not recommended for those of a nervous disposition or very young children and will not admit unaccompanied children. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. In other words if you scare easy or have a bad ticker, best skip this attraction but if you like horror movies and love having the shit scared out of you this attraction is right up your street.
This is what they say about themselves. A unique attraction of fun with history's horrible bits. Live actors, a ride, shows and special effects transport you back to those black bleak times. Are you brave enough?
Located at Rokin 78, 1012 KW, Amsterdam. Just off Dam Square.
Since the opening in 1985 of the Hash Marihuana Hemp Museum in Amsterdam, almost a million interested people have visited this permanent exhibition. Each year, some 75,000 people from all parts of the world drop in for a visit. Couple of great plants growing in side and in the window.
Inside is everything you ever wanted to know about the wonderful weed.
Located at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 130
Tel: (020) 623 5961.
Transport: Trams 4, 9, 14, 16, 24 or 25.
Opening hours: Daily 1100–2200.
Basically a lot of rubbish. Everything from the naughty monk to a naked women (Blow up) on a bike.
Good way to pass 10 minutes when your totally bored and nothing else to do or if it's raining.
Located at Damrak 18
Tel: (020) 622 8376.
Transport: A short walk from Central Station.
Opening hours: Daily 1000–2300.
From the Inquisition chair to the Guillotine
Every European town had its pillory in the market place. The infamous marks of punishment were part of everyday life. Have not been here yet so I cannot really comment but judging by there web site it's not up to much. But the entrance looks amazing so maybe worth a visit just to see the entrance.
Located at Singel 449
Tel: (020) 639 2027.
Transport: A short walk from Centraal Station.
Opening hours: Daily 1100–2200.
Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace)
The Royal Palace, designed by Jacob van Campen, was built in 1648, as Amsterdam’s city hall. When King Louis Napoleon arrived in Amsterdam, in 1808, he had the city hall turned into a palace. The large collection of Empire-style furniture, chandeliers and clocks date from this period. Although the palace is still the official royal residence, the royal family lives in The Hague. However, Queen Beatrix does host official functions here.
Located at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147
Tel: (020) 620 4060.
Transport: Trams 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 13, 14, 16, 17, 24 or 25.
Opening hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat and Sun 1230–1700; guided tours need to be booked two weeks in advance.
Admission: €4.50 (concessions available).
The funky NEMO Museum is an unmistakable sight on the banks of the IJ. Just a short stroll away from Centraal Station is this museum, which attempts to defy the crusty image of some traditional museums by offering plenty of hands-on exhibits to stimulate young minds and keep them occupied, as well as provide more information on science and technology for older visitors.
This bright, relaxed venue is a good antidote to Amsterdam’s other, perhaps more stuffy museums, especially for younger visitors. Great to climb the steps up and back down.
Located at Oosterdok 2
Tel: (900) 919 1100. Fax: (020) 531 3535.
Transport: Bus 22.
Opening hours: Tues–Sun 1000–1700.
Admission: €10 (concessions available).
Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt’s House)
This is your chance to take a gander at Rembrandt’s artist etchings and self-portraits in the early 17th century house in which he lived and worked for twenty years. The house, now a museum, has been refurbished and displays objects from the artist’s time alongside the work of his teachers and students throughout the years.
Address: Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK
Opening Hours: 10AM-6PM
Entrance Fee: €13 or free with the I Amsterdam City Card
Body Worlds Amsterdam
More of an experience, Body Worlds “The Happiness Project” has real human specimen on display from whole bodies, organs and sliced up sections. The project has an educational intention to explore the effect of happiness on human health. Warning! This somewhat controversial exhibition is not for the squeamish or weak-hearted.
Address: Damrak 66, 1012 LM
Opening Hours: 9AM-10PM
The Heineken Experience
Beer lovers need to take note of this popular attraction. This is a self-guided interactive tour through Heineken beer’s history and brewing right down to its bottling and marketing. There are interactive games plus a Bottle Ride that walks you through the entire production of a bottle of Heineken. Once upon a time you could see the real brewing of the beer, now you have to make do with a video. Oh well, the best part of this experience is bottling your own Heineken and knocking back two complementary big ones. Lightweights, prepare to leave a little tipsy.
Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE
Opening Hours: 10:30AM-7PM
Formerly known as Amsterdams Historisch Museum, the Amsterdam Museum reveals everything you want to know about the city from the middle ages to the present day. Located in an orphanage which was built in 1580, the museum displays original furnishings from the site, paintings, archaeological artifacts and more. This is the place to discover how Amsterdam changed over the years and grew into the modern city it is today.
Address: Kalverstraat 92, 1012 PH
Opening Hours: 10AM-5PM
If you’ve got an hour to kill and €4 to blow, then the Sex Museum will do the trick. It’s the first and oldest museum of its kind in the world. There are erotic pictures, paintings and other forms of sex art on display. The whole experience is a barrel of laugh and cringe-worthy at times rather than educational. Mind you, who doesn’t like a good giggle?
Address: Damrak 18, 1012 LH
Opening Hours: 9:30AM-11:30PM
Hash. Marijuana & Hemp Museum
It’s only fitting that Amsterdam has a museum honoring one of its many vices. The museum is more like a history lesson in all things Cannabis. Here you can learn about the history of hemp and marijuana and its uses throughout time, plus its health benefits. Unlike the sex museum which is a bit of fun, this is more of an educational experience.
Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148, 1012 DV
Opening Hours: 10AM-10PM
An attraction of a gruesome nature, the Torture Museum showcases a collection of medieval instruments that were once used for punishment. Actors help set the scene to reveal the reality of punishment from the medieval times. You can find everything from the guillotine to the inquisition chair on show.
Address: Singel 449, 1012 WP
Opening Hours: 10AM-11PM
The Amsterdam Dungeon
Much like the dungeons in London and Berlin, the Amsterdam Dungeon is a live tour throughout dark and bleak times in history. The gruesome shows are completed with actors, rides and special effects to get your heart racing and palms sweating. This attraction is not suited for those with a nervous disposition or a dodgy ticker, as they are more than just a little scary.
Address: Rokin 78, 1012 KW
Opening Hours: 11AM-6PM
Entrance: €14.50 when purchased online or €22 at the door
Artis Royal Zoo
Animal lovers are in for a treat at Artis! There are around 750 different species on display, next to a diverse range of plant life. Bring your walking shoes to explore the trees, gardens, zebras, giraffes and elephants. In one moment you’re on dry land and the next you’re exploring sharks and the planetary world. The zoo is best explored on a sunny day, but those are somewhat rare in the Netherlands.
Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ
Opening Hours: 9AM-6PM
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