City A - Z
For many, Amsterdam is the ultimate location to explore the inner soul. Part of this is because of the reputation that this city has for allowing, or at least tolerating, specific liberating substances.
Another part, however, is the fact that this city is so accessible and offers many exploration opportunities. Built up using a series of canals, over 90 islands with over 1,200 bridges make up the the city, giving visitors the chance to explore by bicycle, by boat, or on a walking tour of their favorite neighborhood.
The More You Explore, the More You’ll Fall in Love
Ask anyone what the first thing is that they plan to do in Amsterdam and there’s a good chance that they’ll tell you they want to explore the canals. Amsterdam is a city that grew to great wealth as a central hub of commerce between Indonesia and New York in the 17thcentury and beyond. Wealthy businessmen and companies built up the islands within the city and the architectural components had no expenses spared. The old city center of Amsterdam is not only one of the largest in Europe, but in the entire world.
Amsterdam is also the home of several gardens and parks. Taking a stroll on a warm, sunny day to smell the flowers in these green spaces is enough for any lingering stress to just melt away. Autumn is one of the best times to visit these parks if you can manage a visit then as the area will be in full color, yet not too chilly to be overly bothersome. Don’t forget to visit the floating flower market and if you do happen to get a bit chilly, a visit to the Hortus Botanicus greenhouses will warm you right up!
As night begins to set on this city, the exploration opportunities change from seeing the structure of the city to finding the heart of it. Live music thrives within Amsterdam and there is always a show to catch somewhere. From a neighborhood venue to the Stadsschouwburg or Royal Concertgebouw, you can always find a ticket thanks to the Last Minute Ticket shop. Located on the Leidseplein, you can choose a show for up to half off sometimes.
The Museums of Amsterdam Offer Something For Everyone
One of the most overlooked features of a visit to Amsterdam are the museums that call this city home. There are four spectacular options from which you can choose:
- Anne Frank House: One of Amsterdam’s most famous residents hid in the city for two years during World War II. A bookcase hid the entryway into the annex where she lived during this time until the hiding spot was betrayed in August 1944. Today the museum is a sobering reminder of this era in world history with objects from the time period on display. You can also see Anne’s original diary.
- Rijksmuseum: Having just completed a decade-long restoration, this museum is one of the grandest in Amsterdam. It’s fitting because it also hosts some of the grandest works you’ll find within the city! It features artwork from some of the most famous Dutch artists in history, as well as sculptures and architectural artifacts that help to tell 800 years of this country’s history. For an Amsterdam twist, you can also see an extensive collection of Asian art as well.
- Stedelijk Museum: Originally founded in 1895, this museum also recently underwent an extensive renovation to upgrade its facilities. You’ll find a focus on contemporary art here in this museum, innovative artistic spaces, and group tours that can help you get to know the artists that are on display. Take some time out to catch the amazing views that present themselves at every level of this truly unique museum.
- Van Gogh Museum: Another famous resident of Amsterdam, Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most popular museums in the world today. It hosts the most extensive collection of artwork from this famed artist, with over 1,400 total works on display. That number includes about 700 letters that he wrote in his lifetime. Founded in 1973, workshops are available here every Friday as the museum stays open late and performers fill the open spaces.
Whether you decided to just visit one of these museums are you’re trying to fit in all 4 of them during a visit, make sure to wind down your day of museum exploration with a Dutch beer, perhaps at De Prael. It is the fitting end to a wonderful day in this city.
There Are Over 6,500 Monuments To See In Amsterdam
From the many churches to the spectacular views, there is almost always something new to see and do in Amsterdam. That’s because there are over 6,500 different monuments to explore within the city limits. You’ll have seen many of them when you visit the featured museums or take a canal tour. Now is your opportunity to visit the Magna Plaza, de Bijenkorf, as well as the Nieuwmarkt or the Jordaan neighborhoods. Each has something unique to offer in terms of really experiencing what life in Amsterdam is like.
When you’ve finished the exploration of these sights, don’t forget about the fact that this city is one of the worldwide meccas for shopping variety. Commercialism and trade have always been the foundation of this city and you’ll find that a love of the very process of retail is in every shop. Antiques, shabby chic, flea markets, and your typical shopping experiences you’d find in a modern city are all available here. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir for a loved one!
Whether you are visiting Amsterdam for just a few hours or you’re planning on being in the city for a few days, you can experience the welcoming culture of this city for yourself. With something new to do or learn every day, you’ll find that this city engages you in a truly unique way. Amsterdam has everything needed to please you, no matter the reason for your visit!
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The best sights in Amsterdam, Tourist information
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De Dam – Dam Square
The Dam Square is the veritable historic heart of the city, though the sights are relatively simple compared to the more lavish attractions that surround it. It is the very spot where Amsterdam was born. In the 13th century the River Amstel was dammed here, and the fishing village that grew around it became known as Amstelredam.
The beauty and the historical background of this Dam make it a part of every tourist’s visit, when touring Amsterdam. The various buildings and landmarks in the square have witnessed some of the Netherlands most historic moments, from the nearby Koninklijk Paleis serving as the bureaucratic centre, to the Dam itself serving as the reception site of Napoleon’s takeover, in 1808.
Koninklijk Paleis – Royal Palace
Inaugurated as Amsterdam’s Town Hall in 1655, during the Dutch Golden Age, it is now a Royal Palace, and the only one of three used by the Dutch royal family that is open to the public. After a renovation, completed in 2009, visitors can now visit the grand baroque halls of marble and bronze. Koninklijk Paleis lies on the city’s main square on the west side, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk. The ticket is inclusive a mobile guide available in following languages: English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. You can buy an E-ticket at the website here
Beurs van Berlage
This late 19th-century former stock exchange today houses exhibitions, a café and sundry cultural events. Red-brick and functionalist, the Beurs still evokes the old days with its echoing trading floors and high ceilings. The aim of the architect was to modify the styles of the past by emphasizing sweeping planes and open plan interiors. Note also the imposing clock tower over the entrance, all of 40 metres high.
1012 ZJ Amsterdam
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is located at Dam Square next to the Royal Palace. The recent venue for the ceremony of the royal succession, the New Church dates back to the late 17th century when it was rebuilt after a fire. After this fire, the church recieved grand additions to its late Gothic structure. Since 1814 all Dutch Kings and Queens are inaugurated in the Nieuwe Kerk. As well as grand state occasions, it hosts exhibitions and recitals on an organ also designed after the blaze of 1645.
1012 NP Amsterdam
The Oude Kerk is located in what many consider to be a strange place in Amsterdam. Right in the heart of the Red Light district stands the oldest building of Amsterdam: the Oude Kerk or Old Church, the Old Church was originally made of wood and allowed the waters of the Amstel to flow into it. The current building was revamped and added to from the 14th to the 16th centuries; its beautiful stained-glass windows date back to the 16th and 17th century. The Oude Kerk holds four pipe organs, among them one is regarded as one of the finest Baroque organs in Europe.
Oude Kerk is a centre for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions and dinner parties, for example, it hosts the annual World Press Photo Exhibition. Many come to see the 17th century organ or to climb the tower for an impressive view of the city.
Tram: 4, 9, 16, 24 or 25 – Dam Square
Once the largest Protestant church in the world was built in the Jordaan district in 1631 and the church still have the highest church tower in the city, Westertoren (“Western tower”), which stands at 85 meters (279 feet). The tower is a symbol of the city and many famous Dutch songs and poems have been written in celebration of the Westertoren. The initial designer of Westerkerk was Hendrick de Keyser, whose son Pieter took over after his father died in 1621. Several famous artists are buried here, some people even mention, Rembrandt, but no one is quite sure where. Although the exact location is unknown, guests can pay their respects at a plaque that’s located on one of the pillars, not far from where Rembrandt’s son was buried. Westerkerk is also the church where Queen Beatrix was married to Prince Claus on March 10, 1966.
Westerkerk is situated close to the Achterhuis (Anne Frank House) where. Westerkerk is mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary, mentioned is the clock tower, which could be seen from the attic of the Achterhuis, and the chiming of the clocks of Westerkerk A memorial statue of Anne Frank is located outside the church.
Originally there was no organ in Westerkerk since, according to Calvinism, playing instrumental music inside the church was not allowed. Later, in 1681, organ builder Roelof Barentszn Duyschot started the construction of a new organ. Jurriaan Bouff from Leiden played the organ for the first time in 1686.
Services are still held at the church and Westerkerk is famous for its Good Friday service that features the Choir of Westerkerk.
Tram 13, 14, 17 – Westermarkt
Hortus Botanicus – Botanical Garden
Located in the city centre of the Dutch capital, Just a stone’s throw from Waterlooplein, the garden is a beautiful and intimate place with an unique collection of plants. In the midst of busy city the Hortus offers an oasis of tranquillity, a flowery relief in the urban busyness. Hortus Botanicus are situated within walking distance of other major tourist attractions like Amsterdam zoo and the historical museum.
The Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world. It dates back from 1638, when medicinal herbs were grown here. The garden invites you to walk, observe and enjoy. Admire flowers, smell herbs, learn plant names, just relaxed in the sun – or in the shade or take a coffee at the most beautiful terrace of Amsterdam, surrounded by exotic container plants: it is all here. With more than 6000 plants, Hortus Botanicus is quite an old and unique botanical garden.
The garden contains a variety of beautiful greenhouses and other structures, such as bridges, a pavilion, a gate, and a laboratory. Many of these are listed landmarks. The hexagonal pavilion dates from the late 1600s. The entrance gate was built in the early 1700s. The Orangery dates from 1875, and the Palm House and Hugo de Vries Laboratory – two fine examples of the Amsterdam School expressionist architecture – date from 1912 and 1915.
Plantage Middenlaan 2a
1018 DD Amsterdam
Magere Brug (the Skinny bridge)
The most famous of Amsterdam’s bridges is for sure the Magere brug (the Skinny bridge) and Magere Brug is one the main attraction in Amsterdam. The Magere brug, a double drawbridge over the river Amstel, is situated between Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. The Magere Brug is a bascule bridge made of white-painted wood. It was built in 1934.
Amsterdam’s largest park is named after the poet-playwright Vondel whose famous statue was unveiled here shortly after it opened in 1865. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just take some time to relax then the Vondelpark is the perfect place. Not only is it conveniently located close to many of the city’s museums, You may also be able to catch a free concert or theatrical act if you’re lucky.
1071 AA Amsterdam
Amsterdam RAI Theater
Amsterdam RAI Theater is a theatre complex seating 1,750 people. It is a venue for music, dance, comedy, opera and ballet, conventions and exhibitions all of which are staged here regularly. You’ll also find the Theatre Restaurant and Grand Café.
1078 GZ Amsterdam
Concertgebouw was opened in 1888. Concertgebouw is known for its crystal-clear acoustics is the favourite of many world performers. Described by Netherland’s most renowned conductor, Bernard Haitlink, as “the best instrument of the orchestra it houses”.
The Dutch National Ballet and De Nederlandse Opera plays here in the waterfront building from 1986. The two companies plays in this 1.600 seater venue which has some of the finest interior in Europe. Prices, program and English language ticket booking through the website here.
1011 PG Amsterdam
Stadsschouwberg is today appreciated as being the stage for the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the largest theatre company in the Netherlands. They adapt classical masterpieces and present these as contemporary drama. You can buy tickets online and see their actual program and prices at the website here
Amsterdam Marionetten Theater
The Amsterdam Marionette Theatre is an intimate and festive theatre in the centre of Amsterdam. It presents traditional European marionette theatre set to classical music by composers like Mozart and Offenbach. Puppet Theatre productions tend to be aimed at older children, but younger children can be kept entertained by backstage visits and workshops. The people-sized puppets are manoeuvred by the puppeteers.
Nieuwe Jonkerstraat 8
Artis Royal Zoo Amsterdam
Opened in 1838, Amsterdam’s zoo is surprisingly central for somewhere so wild and green. It is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and one of the oldest zoos of mainland Europe Artis is short for Natura Artis Magistra (Latin for “Nature is the teacher of art and science”)
Artis includes 27 historic buildings. The Aquarium was built in 1882 on land leased from the city on condition that only a museum ever be built on it. The library dates back to 1867 and the building the ‘Ledenlokalen’ on the right side of the main entrance dates back to the 19th century as well
Among the 900 creature varieties, many occupy the Main Hall, a fine example of 19th-century architecture. As well as an aquarium, there is a coral reef, Amazonian rain forest, butterfly pavilion, planetarium, insectarium and an authentic section of Amsterdam Canal. You can buy online tickets for the Zoo. Check here for actual prices and special offers. See website here
Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
Tram 9, 10 and 14 – Stop: Artis