AMSTERDAM(AMSTERDAM)Traveller magnet due to its impressive architecture, lovely canals (grachten), museums and liberal attitudes. Traveller magnet due to its impressive architecture, lovely canals museums and liberal attitudes.
Hot Places to Visit
Blushing healthy food coffeeBLUSHING Coffee & Tea is a healthy coffee and tea concept like no other. BLUSHING stands for blooming and contemporary with a will to grow. BLUSHING will reveal itself as a true trend amongst gourmets of coffee and tea. For years, the image of coffee and tea shops is dominated by large chains like Starbucks, Bagels & Beans and The Coffee Company. All these chains are showing its customers a pale policy. And while they are doing this succesfully, BLUSHING will flourish this pale scenery like never before. Its look and feel is lifely and energetic and will be appealing to those who want to start their day with color. BLUSHING is hip, trendy and modern. A place to easily and quickly get your coffee but also to work (free WIFI), relax and meet. The interior is a mix of copper, metal, stone and natural colors. When entering our store you will find yourself surrounded with the look and feel of the famous New York Meatpacking District. The sophisticated staff who knows where the coffee and tea is originated from will complete the experience. BLUSHING is for everyone who wants to enjoy delicious products for a fair price. BLUSHING will distinguish itself by selling healthy products. We will handle a low carb policy that will fit in many diets. Furthermore, several juices and smoothies will be served, based on soy and almond milk to which a number of popular super foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds or gojiberries can be added on request. Every customer can order his own preference of ingredients. BLUSHING COFFEE The main attraction at BLUSHING is - of course - the coffee which finds its origin in the most exquisite beans from all over the world. This unique coffee will be prepared by our special trained staff and gives all customers an unprecedented BLUSHING experience. From the first sip onwards you will be enchanted by delicious aroma’s and tastes that will last a long time. Our barista’s will demonstrate their craft of latte art and turn every cup of coffee into a piece of art. BLUSHING TREATS BLUSHING will offer a large range of pastry that can be enjoyed in a responsible way. For example, our menu contains a low sugar apple pie and a lemon meringue pie based on stevia, next to a regular chocolatcake and low fat cheese cake. BLUSHING offers a small lunch menu with delicious sandwiches that can be taken away or enjoyed in the shop. LOCATION BLUSHING’s first shop is situated in the idyllic and cosy village of Blaricum. Of course we are open to everybody that appreciates a good cup of coffee or tea but especially for those that attach value to daily fresh products of decent quality! Without a doubt, BLUSHING will make you blush and bring you joy. Next to our flagship shop in Blaricum the concept will be rolled out nationwide. We’d love to welcome you at BLUSHING!
The National Maritime MuseumThe National Maritime Museum is a maritime museum in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The museum had 300,000 visitors in 2015.
Waterpalace Boutique Hotel & ApartmentThe Waterpalace Boutique Hotel & Apartment has been renovated in March 2016. This property is located within 2 minutes of public transport tram line 26 which takes you within 10 minutes to the city center of Amsterdam. With your (rental) car you have free parking at the property and the possibility to explore the highlights from the Netherlands. Both accommodations can be used in different formations. The bathrooms are luxurious. Waterpalace has several lounge areas, sundecks and a patio. This accommodation can be reached 24 hours per day by public transport. Business travellers can profit from the free shuttle to RAI Congress Centre. Schiphol is a 20 minute drive away.
Hotelboat FleurIn the centre of Amsterdam just 850 metres from Central Station, Hotelboat Fleur offers a sun terrace and private cabins fitted with a bathroom. The historic National Maritime Museum is 600 metres away. Each functional air-conditioned cabin has a city view and is equipped with a shower, toilet and hairdryer. Hotel boat Fleur provides a breakfast buffet and several restaurants and cafes can be found in the historic centre of Amsterdam, which is within 10 minutes by foot. Artis zoo is 1 km from the boat and Rembrandtplein, famous for its nightlife, is 1.4 km away. Nieuwmarkt square is a 13-minutes’ walk and other famous tourist attractions are within walking distance.
Ziggo DomeZiggo Dome is a 17,000-seat multi-use indoor arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is named after the Dutch cable TV provider Ziggo. In 2014, the Ziggo Dome Awards were announced, recognizing artists who performed at the arena.
HeiligewegThe Heiligeweg is the street in Amsterdam that used to lead from the Kapel ter Heilige Stede (Chapel of the Holy Site, a pilgrimage chapel on the site where the 1345 Miracle of Amsterdam occurred) to the Kalverstraat. Increasing numbers of pilgrims to this shrine made necessary a new street leading from Sloten to the shrine, and this new street became known as the Holy Way. Between the Kalverstraat and the Singel may be seen part of the Holy Way in its original medieval form, for constructions built during medieval city expansion may be found here, outside the Holy Way Gate). The way continued roughly along the line of the present Leidsestraat, and further, via the (now lost) Heiligewegse Vaart (later called the Overtoomse Vaart, and since 1902, just the Overtoom). From the Overtoom via the Schinkel the Heiligeweg went on via the Sloterkade and Sloterstraatweg (now the Rijnsburgstraat and Sloterweg) to Sloten. The sections between Sloten and Haarlem has been eaten up by the Haarlemmermeer. Much of the route between Sloten and the Overtoomse Sluis is still present (Sloterweg and Sloterkade). A large part has vanished due to the construction of a business park. Up to around 1500 this was one of the most important overland routes between Amsterdam and Kennemerland and, from there, with the rest of Holland. In 1904 electric tram number 1 replaced the horse-drawn tram from Leidscheplein – Amstelveenscheweg that had run since 1877. Today the Holy Street is a shopping street connecting the two popular shopping streets Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat to each other. Halfway along the Heiligeweg may be found the Voetboogstraat with its 1603 Rasphuispoortje.
YamazatoYamazato is a restaurant housed in the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It is a fine dining restaurant that is awarded one Michelin star in the period 2002–present. GaultMillau awarded the restaurant 16 out of 20 points. Head chef of Yamazato is Masanori Tomikawa. Tomikawa took over the kitchen in March 2010, replacing Akira Oshima, head chef since 1977. According to Misset Horeca, the American restaurant guide Zagat praised the restaurant in 2001, shortly before Yamazato earned its Michelin star. Yamazato is a member of Alliance Gastronomique Néerlandaise. They joined the Alliance in 2003.
Stedelijk Museum AmsterdamThe Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam colloquially known as the Stedelijk, is a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The 19th century building was designed by Adriaan Willem Weissman and the 21st century wing with the current entrance was designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. It is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, where it is close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw. The collection comprises modern and contemporary art and design from the early 20th century up to the 21st century. It features artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Karel Appel, Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Marlene Dumas, Lucio Fontana, and Gilbert & George. In 2015, the museum had an estimated 675,000 visitors.
de KeyserHendrick de Keyser was a Dutch sculptor and architect born in Utrecht, Netherlands, who was instrumental in establishing a late Renaissance form of Mannerism in Amsterdam.
SportsAmsterdam is home of the Eredivisie football club Ajax Amsterdam.
AmstelveenAmstelveen is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is a suburban part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.
ActivitiesThe locals spend their summer days in Amsterdam uncorking bottles of red wine in the Vondelpark—and so should you.
ShoppingThe main central shopping streets run in a line from Centraal Station to the Leidseplein.
SightseeingAmsterdam has one of the largest historic city centers in Europe, with about 7,000 registered historic buildings.
2-Hour Bike Tour of AmsterdamExplore Amsterdam like a local on a 2-hour bike tour of the city’s major highlights. See the Rijksmuseum, cycle through the Red Light District, explore the charming Jordaan Quarter and relax in Vondelpark.
Amsterdam Guided Tour of United East India Company and Maritime Museum with Art HistorianDuring this 3-hour tour, led by a professional art historian guide, step back in time to the salty years of Dutch sailors and merchants. Visit the inner courtyard of the United East Indian Company's headquarters, and hear hair-raising stories about the Dutch soldiers and sailors that traveled the globe for years at a time. Discover antique maps, sextants and globes at the Maritime museum, where you'll be able to board a full-size Indiaman ship, as you watch actors re-create the 17th century.
Amsterdam Dungeon, Madame Tussauds & Canal Cruise ComboSave money with a combined canal cruise of Amsterdam, with entrance tickets to the Amsterdam Dungeon and Madame Tussauds. Marvel at merchant houses, meet your favorite stars cast in wax, and explore the city’s dark history on an interactive tour.
Heineken, Madame Tussauds and Canal ComboSave money with a combined canal cruise of Amsterdam, with skip-the-line entrance tickets to the Heineken Experience and Madame Tussauds. Marvel at merchant houses, meet your favorite stars cast in wax, and discover how beer is brewed.
Délirium Café Beer TastingIf you’re looking for a fun beer tasting experience, head to the Delirium Café Amsterdam for 2 hours. This is a special opportunity for even the modest beer fan, with the possibility of tasting nearly any kind of beer imaginable.
Jewish Cultural Quarter Full-Day TicketsVisit 5 locations that constitute Amsterdam’s Jewish Cultural Quarter on this combined ticket. Explore the Jewish Historical Museum, the JHM Children's Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the National Holocaust Memorial & Museum. All at your own pace.
Amsterdamis the Netherlands' capital and financial, cultural and creative centre with more than 850,000 inhabitants. Amsterdam is known for the canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. The city has a heritage dating back to the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century as well as a diverse art scene and a bustling nightlife.
Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important trading centres in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. The city's small medieval centre rapidly expanded as the Jordaan and the Canal District were constructed; the latter's cultural significance was acknowledged when it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded in all directions, with many new neighbourhoods and suburbs designed in modernist styles.
Amsterdam is not the seat of the government, which is inThe Hague. Partly because of this, the city has an informal atmosphere unlike other capital cities its size. In fact, Amsterdam has a history of non-conformism, tolerance and progressivism. Attractions include the Rijksmuseum,Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Magere Brug, Albert Cuyp Marketand the Vondelpark.
The "Amsterdam" that most visitors experience is the city centre, the semi-circle withCentraal Stationat its apex. It corresponds to the city as it was around 1850. Five major concentric canals ring the Binnenstad: Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht and Singelgracht, together forming the Canal District. Other districts inside the city centre are the Jordaan, a former working class area now popular with yuppies, and Plantage, a leafy and spacious area with botanical gardens and the zoo. The Nassaukade, Stadhouderskade and Mauritskade surround the city centre and mark the location of the former city moat and fortifications. Almost everything outside this line was built after 1870.
The semi-circle is on the south side of the IJ, which is often called a river but more exactly is an estuary. Going east fromCentraal Station, the railway passes the artificial islands of the redevelopedEastern Docklands. North of the IJ is mainly housing, although a major dockland redevelopment has started there too.
The river Amstel flows into the city from the south. Originally, it flowed along the line Rokin-Damrak. The dam in the Amstel, which gives the city its name, was located under the present Bijenkorf department store nearDam Square. The original settlement was on the right bank of the Amstel, on the present Warmoesstraat: it is therefore the oldest street in the city. The city has expanded in all directions, except to the northeast of the A10 ring motorway. That area is a protected rural landscape of open fields and small villages considered a part of the Waterland region.
The radius of the semi-circle is about 2 km. All major tourist destinations, and most hotels, are located inside it or just outside it. As a result, a large swathe of Amsterdam is not visited by the average tourist: at least 90% of the population lives outside this area. Most economic activity in Amsterdam—the offices of the financial sector, the port—is near or outside the ring motorway, which is 4–5 km from the centre.
The expansion of Amsterdam outside the ring motorway and the expansion of activity outside the city centre is redefining what locals consider the 'central area' of Amsterdam. Zuid, especially with the construction of the Noord/Zuidlijn and the Zuidas, is becoming more and more important in the daily lives of the locals. Its significance for tourists has increased by the now completed reconstruction work on the Museumplein and the adjoining museums.
Amsterdam was first referred to asAemstelledamme("dam on the Amstel") in 1204, and known asAemsterdamby 1327. It was first part of Utrecht, and around 1300 Gwijde van Henegouwen, bishop of Utrecht, gave Amsterdam city rights. After his death, the city was inherited by Count William III and became a part of Holland. Two fires swept the city in 1421 and 1452, and few wooden buildings from this period remain. A notable exception is theHouten Huis(Wooden House) at the Begijnhof.
In 1558, the Dutch started to revolt against the Spanish as the local nobility demanded more political power and religious freedom. Amsterdam supported the Spanish, but as it became more and more isolated and trade suffered accordingly, it switched sides in 1578. A relative freedom of religion emerged in the newly established Dutch Republic, and many migrants sought refuge in Amsterdam, including Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, merchants from Antwerp andHuguenots(French Protestants). Catholicism could not be practiced openly.
Amsterdam prospered in the 17th century and became one of the world's great cities. A global trading network and overseas possessions made Amsterdam the centre of shipping in Europe and the world's leading financial centre. The arts flourished too, with great painters like Rembrandt producing works that are widely acclaimed as of this day. The city expanded outside of its original boundaries as the Canal Belt was constructed for wealthy merchants and the Jordaan for the working class. Immigrants formed the majority of the population and there was a strong immigration from Lutheran Protestant Germans.
The Dutch Republic was not a unitary state, but a confederation in which the independent provinces and the larger cities were politically autonomous. There was a strong animosity between the Orange faction with its power base inThe Hagueand the republican faction with Amsterdam as its most outspoken representative, up to the point that the city was beleaguered by the army. The Orange faction supported the idea of hereditary political leadership vested in the princes of Orange as Stadtholders, while the republican faction supported civic independence. This long-standing culture of republicanism and non-conformism against the political elites inThe Hagueexists to this day.
The 18th and 19th centuries were a turbulent period for Amsterdam. The economy suffered from decreased trade opportunities with the colonies and ongoing wars with the United Kingdom and France. Napoleon's brother Louis was crowned King of Holland in 1806 and took possession of the city hall onDam Square, from then on referred to as the Royal Palace. The Netherlands was fully annexed by France in 1810, and Napoleon crowned Amsterdam "third city" of the French Empire. Prussian and Russian troops liberated the Netherlands, but it remained a unitary state and a monarchy, that now included Belgium.
WhileThe Haguehad functioned asde factocapital of the Republic, Amsterdam (together with Brussels) became the new capital of the Kingdom. The appointment of Amsterdam as the new capital was a conciliatory gesture of the Orange faction towards the city and a recognition of the strong civic and republican basis of the new Kingdom.The Hagueremained the seat of government and the political centre of the country. When Belgium seceded in 1830, Amsterdam became the sole capital and got the rights to trade with the country's overseas possessions.
TheNorth Sea Canaland Noordhollandsch Kanaal connected Amsterdam's harbour directly with the Rhine and the North Sea. The Industrial Revolution arrived around 1860, which led to strong economic growth, but also to overpopulation as the city could not cope with the sudden demographic surge. The Jordaan was a notorious working class slum in this period, and neighbourhood likeDe Pijpwere built to provide housing as cheaply and quickly as possible for the lower middle class. Social issues that arose in this period made Amsterdam the centre of social democracy in the country.
In World War II, German troops occupied the city and more than 100,000 Jews were deported to death camps, most famouslyAnne Frank. The diamond trade, before the war one of Amsterdam's top industries, almost completely disappeared as these businesses were mostly in the hands of Jews. The cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s changed Amsterdam radically. Soft drugs were tolerated, squatting became commonplace and riots with the police occurred on a daily basis. The coronation of Queen Beatrix in 1980 turned violent as protesters demanded a stop to the housing demolition that took place for the construction of Amsterdam's first metro line.
In subsequent decades, Amsterdam has lost some of its revolutionary appeal, becoming a centre for wealthy yuppies. Once poor districts like the Jordaan became upper class districts, and poorer inhabitants moved out of the centre to the outer boroughs and other cities. The city's once progressive ideals have faded as squatting is cracked down on, coffeeshops are increasingly closed and prostitution is outlawed outside of the Red Light District. However, it is still a progressive and tolerant city by international standards. Its culture of republicanism and non-conformism are going through tough times as well, but the ubiquitous "Republic of Amsterdam" street signs show that it remains a defining characteristic of the city.
Amsterdam is a large city and a major tourist destination, so you can visit it all year round. However, in winter the days are short (8 hours daylight around Christmas), and the weather may be too cold to walk around the city comfortably, let alone cycle. January and February are the coldest months, with lows around 0°C (32°F) and highs around 5°C (41°F). July and August are the warmest months, with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F) at daytime.
Neither summer nor winter constantly have the mentioned values. In summer, heat waves (3 days above 30°C/86°F) are common, as is a temperature of 18°C (64°F) with rainfall. Snow does occur a few times each winter, but it's often light and rarely stays on the ground more than a couple of days. Always be prepared for rain. On average it's raining one in every two days, but it might as well be raining the full week of your trip. Gray clouds cover Amsterdam most of the time in winter and it rains a lot, but in spring and summer the sun shines six to eight hours a day on average.
King's Day (Koningsdag) is always celebrated on 27 April, unless this date occurs on a Sunday (then it's celebrated the Saturday before). The weather on King's Day is usually quite good with temperatures hovering around 17°C (63°F). If it's raining, there will be considerably fewer people on the streets.
- I amsterdam Visitor Centre, Stationsplein 10 (Koffiehuis Stationsplein, across from Central Station, +31 20 702-6000. M-Su 09:00-18:00. Amsterdam's tourist office is oppositeCentraal Stationin the same building as Smits Koffiehuis. Besides maps, brochures and bookings, you can also buy tram and metro tickets at the GVB office. There are some touch screens with general information about visiting Amsterdam.
- I amsterdamCity Card. This card allows admittance to a selection of the city's museums and attractions atno extra cost, plus unlimited travel across the city's on public transport, plus a list of discounts at some other attractions. 24h –, 48h –, 72h –, 96h –.
I amsterdam Visitor Centre, Stationsplein 10 (Koffiehuis Stationsplein, across from Central Station, +31 20 702-6000. M-Su 09:00-18:00. Amsterdam's tourist office is opposite Centraal Station in the same building as Smits Koffiehuis. Besides maps, brochures and bookings, you can also buy tram and metro tickets at the GVB office. There are some touch screens with general information about visiting Amsterdam.
I amsterdam City Card. This card allows admittance to a selection of the city's museums and attractions atno extra cost, plus unlimited travel across the city's on public transport, plus a list of discounts at some other attractions. 24h –, 48h –, 72h –, 96h –.
Amsterdam has one of the largesthistoric city centresin Europe, with about 7,000 registered historic buildings. The street pattern has been largely unchanged since the 19th century—there was no major bombing during World War II. The centre consists of 90 islands linked by 400 bridges, some of them beautifully lit at night.
The inner part of the city centre, the Binnenstad, dates from medieval times. The oldest streets are the Warmoesstraat and the Zeedijk in theOudezijdeof the Binnenstad. As buildings were made of wood in the Middle Ages, not many of this period's buildings have survived. Twomedieval wooden housesdid survive though, at Begijnhof 34 and Zeedijk 1. Other old houses are Warmoesstraat 83 (built around 1400), Warmoesstraat 5 (around 1500) and Begijnhof 2-3 (around 1425). TheBegijnhofis a late-medieval enclosed courtyard with the houses of beguines, Roman Catholic women living in a semi-religious community. Beguines are found in Northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and north-western Germany. House number 34 at the Begijnhof is the oldest home in Amsterdam. Entry to the courtyard and surrounding gardens is free, but be careful not to disturb the local community still living here.
One of the most prominent features is the Canal District, a concentric ring of canals built in the 17th century. The merchant-based oligarchy that ruled the trading city of Amsterdam built canal houses and mansions in the most prestigious locations here, especially along the main canals. Typical for the country are its traditional white draw bridges. The best example has to be theMagere Brug, which is over 300 years old and nearly in its original capacity. It is a beautiful place to overlook the river and take in some traditional Dutch architecture.
The Jordaan was built around 1650 along with the Canal District, but not for the wealthy merchants. For a long time it was considered a typical working-class area, and included some notorious slums. The name probably derives from the nickname 'Jordan' for the Prinsengracht. Apart from a few wider canals, the streets are narrow, in an incomplete grid pattern (as the grid followed the lines of the former polders located here in medieval times). This district is the best example of "gentrification" in the Netherlands, becoming a hip boutique district.
There are severallarge warehousesfor more specific uses. The biggest is the Admiralty Arsenal (1656-1657), nowHet Scheepvaartmuseumat Kattenburgerplein. Others include the former turf warehouses (1550) along the Nes, now the municipal pawn office; a similar warehouse at Waterlooplein 69-75 (Arsenaal, 1610), now an architectural academy, and the warehouse of the West India Company (1642) at the corner ofPrins Hendrikkadeand 's-Gravenhekje. Thecity office for architectural heritagehas an excellent online introduction to the architectural history and the types of historical buildings available. The website includes acycle routealong important examples.
Windmillswere not built in urban areas, since the buildings obstructed the wind. The windmills in Amsterdam were all originally outside its city walls. There are a total of eight windmills in the city, most of them in West. However, the best one to visit isDe Gooyer, which is not far from the city centre, and is being used as a brewery. The only windmill fully open to the public is theMolen van Slotenin Sloten, a former village now part of West.
Amsterdam has an amazing collection of museums. The most popular ones can getverycrowded in the summer peak season, so it's worth exploring advance tickets or getting there off-peak (e.g. very early in the morning). Avoid the museums in the Binnenstad as these are mostly tourist traps. The quality museums can be found in Zuid, the Canal District and Plantage. The museums in Zuid are located at theMuseumplein, a square surrounded by quality museums. The country's national museum is theRijksmuseum, a must-visit with a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Some artists that can't be overlooked are Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. The most widely regarded paintings are Rembrandt'sNight Watchand Vermeer'sMilkmaid. The museum also boasts a substantial collection of Asian art. Reopened after a reconstruction of about ten years, its renewed set-up is absolutely worthwhile, leading the visitor through the ages from the late Middle Ages to the early 20th century.
Even someone with little knowledge of art must have heard about Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colours and emotional impact. TheVan Gogh Museumhas the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world. TheStedelijk Museumis all about modern art, contemporary art and design. A newer addition to Amsterdam's already stellar set of art museums is theHermitagein Plantage, the largest satellite branch of the famous museum from Saint Petersburg, Russia.
A major museum is theAnne Frank House, dedicated toAnne Frank, a Jewish girl who kept a diary while hiding from Nazi persecution in hidden rooms at the rear of a building in the Canal District (known as theAchterhuis). It's an exhibition on the life ofAnne Frank, but also highlights other forms of persecution and discrimination. Amsterdam has hundreds of museums about pretty much every topic one could think of. They are described in the city's district articles.
TheMuseumkaartcosts (or for those under 18 years old). It covers the cost of admission to over 400 museums across the Netherlands and you can buy it at most major museums. It is valid for an entire year, and you will need to write your name, birthday, and gender on it. If you are going to the Rijksmuseum andVan Gogh Museum, those are each, so this card can quickly pay for itself. The tickets to the major museums, including the audio guide, can be bought early from the tourist information desk at no extra cost. Alternatively, for short stays, you can consider buying theI amsterdamCity Card, starting at per day, which includes "free" access to Amsterdam museums, public transport and discount on many tourist attractions.
Since the Middle Ages, the Netherlands has been a country with a relatively high degree of freedom and tolerance towards other religions and cultures, especially compared to other countries in Europe, with the major exception being the persecution of Catholics after winning the war with Spain and during and after the Eighty Years' War. Between 1590 and 1800, the estimated foreign-born population was never less than 5 percent, many of them settling in Amsterdam. This led to a large migration of Jews, Huguenots (French Protestants), Flemings, Poles and other people to the city. Jews in particular had a large presence in Amsterdam, notably in the Jodenbuurt, though this quarter has changed significantly after World War II. The most prominent synagogue isThe Esnoga(orThePortuguese Synagogue), built in 1675 in an austere Classicist style.
As the Netherlands was a Protestant nation, most of the churches are from this branch of Christianity. The oldest church in Amsterdam, the Netherlands-gothicOude Kerkon theOudezijds Voorburgwalat Oudekerksplein, is now surrounded by window prostitution. It was built in 1306, and became a Calvinist church after the Reformation in 1578. TheNieuwe Kerk, atDam Square, dates from the 15th century and is now used for royal coronations and exhibitions. From the 17th century onwards, four compass churches were built that would serve the areas outside the Binnenstad.
The late-medieval city also had smaller chapels such as theSint Olofskapel(circa 1440) on Zeedijk, and convent chapels such as the Agnietenkapel on theOudezijds Voorburgwal231 (originally 1470), now the University of Amsterdam museum. Later churches included the Oosterkerk (1669) in the eastern islands, and the heavily restored Lutheran Church on the Singel (1671), now used by a hotel as a conference centre. Catholic churches were long forbidden, and built again only in the 19th-century. The most prominent is the Neo-Baroque Church of St. Nicholas (1887) oppositeCentraal Station. Also, investigate some of the "hidden churches" found in Amsterdam, mainly Catholic churches that remained in activity following the Reformation. A prominent hidden church isOns' Lieve Heer op Solder. Well worth the visit. Two hidden churches still in use are the Begijnhofchapel near the Spui, and the Papegaaikerk in the Kalverstraat (both Catholic).
Since there was little large-scale demolition in the historic city centre, most modern architecture is outside of it. Immediately outside the Singelgracht (the former city moat) is a ring of 19th century housing. The most prominent buildings from this period are theAmsterdam Centraal railway station(1889) and the Rijksmuseum (1885), both by Pierre Cuypers. De Pijp is a textbook example of 19th century revolution-build, cheap construction housing. The most prominent in architectural history are the residential complexes by architects of theAmsterdam School, for instance at Zaanstraat and Oostzaanstraat in West. TheAmsterdam Schoolis a style of Expressionist architecture that arose from 1910 through about 1930. Examples can be found in De Baarsjes in West and the Rivierenbuurt in Zuid.
A completely different approach to architecture has been followed in the Bijlmer, a huge architectural project undertaken in the 1970s. A series of nearly identical high-rise buildings were laid out in a hexagonal grid with a strict separation of pedestrian and car traffic. It has been a revolutionary way of thinking in the architectural world, but within a decade the district started to make headlines with crime and robberies. As these high-rises are being torn down, the safety situation has improved, and now modern office buildings are taking their place.
The 1990s and 2000s also left its mark as a revolutionary time in architectural design. TheEastern Docklandsis the largest concentration of modern residential buildings. The zone includes three artificial islands: Borneo, Sporenburg, and KNSM/Java-eiland. The latter has been designed as a modern re-imagining of the old Canal District. Across from it is the brand newPiet Heinkadeand some adjoining projects. The largest concentration of box-like office buildings is in the Zuidas and in Zuidoost. Some spectacular buildings areAmsterdam ArenAstadium and the new Bijlmer-ArenA railway station.
The locals spend their summer days in Amsterdam uncorking bottles of red wine in theVondelpark—and so should you. Every district in Amsterdam has at least one park, but the Vondelpark stands out for its size and convivial atmosphere. The neighbourhood best known for its trees and gardens is the Plantage. Besides leafy boulevards and grand mansions it also features the botanical gardens of theHortus Botanicusand hasArtis Zoofor the kids.
Amsterdam also has so-calledcity beaches. Yes, it's now possible to lay in the sand far from any natural coastline! Amsterdam has three of these beaches, which are located in West, Oost and Zuid. The one in Oost,Blijburg, is the best of these, and you get the fine architecture and atmosphere of the IJburg neighbourhood included for free.
You can also watch a film at one of the more than 55cinemas. Rialto in Zuid and Kriterion in Plantage run a selection of art house and alternative films. The EYE Film Institute in Noord is dedicated to film conservation, but also has screenings and exhibitions.
Sport: watch footballie soccer at AFC Ajax. They play in (and often win) the Eredivisie, the top tier of Dutch football. Their home ground is Johan Cruijff ArenA (capacity 54,000) 5 km south of the centre, metro station Bijlmer ArenA, which will host matches at Euro 2020. Their second-string team Jong Ajax (or "Ajax 2") plays in Eerste Divisie, the second tier: their ground "Sportpark De Toekomst" is near the ArenA.
Acanal cruiseusually lasts from one to two hours. Commentary on the surroundings is given during the route. Departures fromPrins HendrikkadeoppositeCentraal Station, quayside Damrak, Rokin near Spui and Stadhouderskade 25 near Leidseplein. If it's a warm day, avoid the enclosed boats with glass ceilings—they get hot. You can also cruise the canals yourself with a pedal boat or rented boat.
- Amsterdam Boats B.V.. Personal rental of a wide variety of boats. You can rent agondola, hand made by a girl from Amsterdam. She traveled to Venice to learn the craft, then built her own Gondola which she brought back to Amsterdam.
- Amsterdam Jewel Cruises. An evening dinner cruise. It is the only classic boat offering a private table for a romantic candlelight dinner. A la carte dining, but not cheap! The cruise starts at 19:30 and lasts just under three hours.
- Boaty. Boaty offers rental boats so you can do your own private tour (or choose one of the provided canal routes). These rental boats are electrically driven which means they are silent and free of exhaust fumes.
- Boats4rent. Boats4rent has self operated rental boats at the Westerpark. With a three or four hour rental you can make a private trip on the Amsterdam canals and the Amstel river.
- Canal Company. The Canal Hopper runs three fixed routes, stopping near major attractions (Rijksmuseum,Anne Frank's House, etc. ). You can get on or off as often as you like, but it is relatively expensive with per 24 hours. The first boats start between 09:15 and 10:45, depending on which stop you get on. The last boats start dropping off at around 19:00. It also has four locations for renting your own boat; two-seater canal bikes cost per person per hour.
- Lovers Company. Starts opposite the Rijksmuseum, but you cannot get on or off. The cruise takes about 1 hr 30 min.
- Sloepdelen. Self operated electric rental boats. A boating license is not required and the open boats can seat up to twelve passengers. p/h (with a minimum of 2 hours) plus deposit).
- Amsterdam Boat Experience, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 70-1 (Office), +31 20 771 59 30. 09.00-22.00. Amsterdam Boat Experience was founded in 2015 and has been steadly expanding its fleet and now offers exclusive private charters while also operating a fixed route from theAnne Frankhouse. Tickets for the 1 hour cruise on the luxurious electric open boats with live narrating are,-. while you relax the hostess serves drinks on the boat.
- Adam's Boats. Rent a boat without the need for a licence. The Amstel river can be reached within 2 minutes from the hire place.
- Starboard Boats Amsterdam. This eco friendly boat company organises luxurious private boat rentals. Starting locations on requests. From €195 per hour.
Amsterdam Boats B.V.. Personal rental of a wide variety of boats. You can rent agondola, hand made by a girl from Amsterdam. She traveled to Venice to learn the craft, then built her own Gondola which she brought back to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Jewel Cruises. An evening dinner cruise. It is the only classic boat offering a private table for a romantic candlelight dinner. A la carte dining, but not cheap! The cruise starts at 19:30 and lasts just under three hours.
Boaty. Boaty offers rental boats so you can do your own private tour (or choose one of the provided canal routes). These rental boats are electrically driven which means they are silent and free of exhaust fumes.
Boats4rent. Boats4rent has self operated rental boats at the Westerpark. With a three or four hour rental you can make a private trip on the Amsterdam canals and the Amstel river.
Canal Company. The Canal Hopper runs three fixed routes, stopping near major attractions (Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank's House, etc.). You can get on or off as often as you like, but it is relatively expensive with per 24 hours. The first boats start between 09:15 and 10:45, depending on which stop you get on. The last boats start dropping off at around 19:00. It also has four locations for renting your own boat; two-seater canal bikes cost per person per hour.
Lovers Company. Starts opposite the Rijksmuseum, but you cannot get on or off. The cruise takes about 1 hr 30 min.
Sloepdelen. Self operated electric rental boats. A boating license is not required and the open boats can seat up to twelve passengers. p/h (with a minimum of 2 hours) plus deposit).
Amsterdam Boat Experience, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 70-1 (Office), +31 20 771 59 30. 09.00-22.00. Amsterdam Boat Experience was founded in 2015 and has been steadly expanding its fleet and now offers exclusive private charters while also operating a fixed route from the Anne Frank house. Tickets for the 1 hour cruise on the luxurious electric open boats with live narrating are,-. while you relax the hostess serves drinks on the boat.
Amsterdam is a cultural haven with year-round festivals for every pocket.
- Chinese New Year. Celebrated with festivities in Chinatown.April
- Imagine Film Festival. A two weeks celebration of drive-in, exploitation and cult films, generally of the lower budget variety. Takes up all the screening rooms of the EYE Film Institute in Noord.
- King's Day. Formerly Queen's Day, this national holiday, nominally in celebration of the King's birthday, is difficult to describe to anyone who's never been there. The city turns into one giant mass of orange-dressed people with flea markets, bands playing, and many on-street parties, ranging from small cafes placing a few kegs of beer outside to huge open-air stages hosting world-famous DJs. The Vondelpark is the place where children sell toys and perform. An experience you'll never forget. Normally held on April 27, but if that is a Sunday, it is celebrated one day earlier.
- KunstRAI. A modern art fair in the RAI exhibition and conference centre. If you want to know what the latest developments are in Dutch galleries, this is where to find them all in one place.
- Holland Festival. A performing arts festival that brings together events from all over the world in the fields of music, opera, theater and dance.
- Taste of Amsterdam. A culinary festival where you can explore the food of famous Amsterdam restaurants and their chefs.
- Open Garden Days. Normally you can see only the front of the canal houses, but during the Open Garden Days you get to go past the entrance and see the green world behind them, often bigger than you would have expected. You can buy one ticket that gives you entry to all participating gardens, and there is a special canal boat to take you from one location to another.
- Amsterdam Roots Festival. A free open-air festival with music from non-Western countries accompanied by paid film and theater performances in the surrounding theaters.
- Julidans. International contemporary dance festival, always showing the latest developments in modern dance.
- Vondelpark Openluchttheater. This free festival offers many different performances every day. Go to the open air theater just by the fountain and let the entertainment do the work. From cabaret to drama to concerts to dance, there is something for everyone here and for all ages.
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week. Twice a year, this event presents young and upcoming fashion in Europe with a focus on Dutch design.
- Robeco Summer Nights. Affordable classical music concerts taking place at the prestigious Concertgebouw.August
- De Parade, Martin Luther King Park. Circus turns vintage, on an old-fashioned fairground with many different tents, the performers are each trying to attract their public, featuring spectacles of dance, theater, magic, art, animation and music.
- Amsterdam Pride. Amsterdam's gay pride on the first weekend in August. One of the biggest festivals in Amsterdam with parties, performances, workshops and a boat parade on the Prinsengracht on Saturday afternoon which is always well worth seeing by gays and straights alike.
- Prinsengrachtconcert and Grachtenfestival. Third weekend of August each year. A free open-air classical music concert is held every year on a stage in the middle of the Prinsengracht. If you have a little boat, join the crowds and make sure to bring a bottle of rose wine or prosecco for full enjoyment. It takes place during the Grachtenfestival, a 10 days classical music festival with about 150 concerts throughout the city, but is organized independently from it.
- Sail Amsterdam. Tall-ships from all over the world come to visit the Amsterdam harbor every five years, the next one is in 2020.
- Uitmarkt. The opening of the cultural season in the last weekend of August, it offers a taste of the year to come with 30 min performances at different theaters, an extensive book market and many open-air concerts. All free.September
- Jordaan Festival. A big inner city street festival celebrating the diversity of this former working class district. Features can include drum bands, a children's festival, opera and cabaret, aboulescompetition, a flea market and an auction.
- Robodock. A unique festival presenting contemporary art shows in the huge, old NDSM shipyard depot in Noord. The atmosphere is rough, industrial, experimental. A lot of loud music, fire, smoke, noise and heavy machinery are usually elements of these performances.
- National Restaurant Week. Two times a year, participating restaurants offer a full 3 course dinner for a mere (excluding drinks), allowing you to try a different restaurant for a change or a chance to have an affordable meal at one of the famous five-star restaurants.
- Amsterdam Dance Event. Usually held during the second last weekend in October, this electronic music annual festival gathers cream of the crop faces from the house and techno scenes. Buy your tickets in advance to avoid paying more at the door and having to queue for hours. Besides partying for four nights in a row, the conference offers workshops, seminars, presentations etc.
- Museumnacht. Long before the film came out, this "night at the museum" attracts new crowds at the traditional Amsterdam museums with special performances at unusual locations. Do as the locals do and hire a bike to go from one place to the other.
- PAN Amsterdam. Third week of November. The biggest national art and antiques fair in the Netherlands.
- International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA). The largest festival in the world for documentary films with screenings of about 200 documentary films and videos.
- Museumplein. Amsterdam celebrates holy day of Sint Nicholaas on December 5th as Christmas in theDam Squarealso known as "Christmas Square". However, on the Day of Christmas, i.e. December 25th, the people of Amsterdam are also getting used to celebrating Christmas along with Anglo-Americans.
Chinese New Year. Celebrated with festivities in Chinatown.
Imagine Film Festival. A two weeks celebration of drive-in, exploitation and cult films, generally of the lower budget variety. Takes up all the screening rooms of the EYE Film Institute in Noord.
King's Day. Formerly Queen's Day, this national holiday, nominally in celebration of the King's birthday, is difficult to describe to anyone who's never been there. The city turns into one giant mass of orange-dressed people with flea markets, bands playing, and many on-street parties, ranging from small cafes placing a few kegs of beer outside to huge open-air stages hosting world-famous DJs. The Vondelpark is the place where children sell toys and perform. An experience you'll never forget. Normally held on April 27, but if that is a Sunday, it is celebrated one day earlier.
KunstRAI. A modern art fair in the RAI exhibition and conference centre. If you want to know what the latest developments are in Dutch galleries, this is where to find them all in one place.
Holland Festival. A performing arts festival that brings together events from all over the world in the fields of music, opera, theater and dance.
Taste of Amsterdam. A culinary festival where you can explore the food of famous Amsterdam restaurants and their chefs.
Open Garden Days. Normally you can see only the front of the canal houses, but during the Open Garden Days you get to go past the entrance and see the green world behind them, often bigger than you would have expected. You can buy one ticket that gives you entry to all participating gardens, and there is a special canal boat to take you from one location to another.
Amsterdam Roots Festival. A free open-air festival with music from non-Western countries accompanied by paid film and theater performances in the surrounding theaters.
Julidans. International contemporary dance festival, always showing the latest developments in modern dance.
Vondelpark Openluchttheater. This free festival offers many different performances every day. Go to the open air theater just by the fountain and let the entertainment do the work. From cabaret to drama to concerts to dance, there is something for everyone here and for all ages.
Amsterdam International Fashion Week. Twice a year, this event presents young and upcoming fashion in Europe with a focus on Dutch design.
Robeco Summer Nights. Affordable classical music concerts taking place at the prestigious Concertgebouw.
De Parade, Martin Luther King Park. Circus turns vintage, on an old-fashioned fairground with many different tents, the performers are each trying to attract their public, featuring spectacles of dance, theater, magic, art, animation and music.
Amsterdam Pride. Amsterdam's gay pride on the first weekend in August. One of the biggest festivals in Amsterdam with parties, performances, workshops and a boat parade on the Prinsengracht on Saturday afternoon which is always well worth seeing by gays and straights alike.
Prinsengrachtconcert and Grachtenfestival. Third weekend of August each year. A free open-air classical music concert is held every year on a stage in the middle of the Prinsengracht. If you have a little boat, join the crowds and make sure to bring a bottle of rose wine or prosecco for full enjoyment. It takes place during the Grachtenfestival, a 10 days classical music festival with about 150 concerts throughout the city, but is organized independently from it.
Sail Amsterdam. Tall-ships from all over the world come to visit the Amsterdam harbor every five years, the next one is in 2020.
Uitmarkt. The opening of the cultural season in the last weekend of August, it offers a taste of the year to come with 30 min performances at different theaters, an extensive book market and many open-air concerts. All free.
Jordaan Festival. A big inner city street festival celebrating the diversity of this former working class district. Features can include drum bands, a children's festival, opera and cabaret, aboulescompetition, a flea market and an auction.
Robodock. A unique festival presenting contemporary art shows in the huge, old NDSM shipyard depot in Noord. The atmosphere is rough, industrial, experimental. A lot of loud music, fire, smoke, noise and heavy machinery are usually elements of these performances.
National Restaurant Week. Two times a year, participating restaurants offer a full 3 course dinner for a mere (excluding drinks), allowing you to try a different restaurant for a change or a chance to have an affordable meal at one of the famous five-star restaurants.
Amsterdam Dance Event. Usually held during the second last weekend in October, this electronic music annual festival gathers cream of the crop faces from the house and techno scenes. Buy your tickets in advance to avoid paying more at the door and having to queue for hours. Besides partying for four nights in a row, the conference offers workshops, seminars, presentations etc.
Museumnacht. Long before the film came out, this "night at the museum" attracts new crowds at the traditional Amsterdam museums with special performances at unusual locations. Do as the locals do and hire a bike to go from one place to the other.
PAN Amsterdam. Third week of November. The biggest national art and antiques fair in the Netherlands.
International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA). The largest festival in the world for documentary films with screenings of about 200 documentary films and videos.
Museumplein. Amsterdam celebrates holy day of Sint Nicholaas on December 5th as Christmas in the Dam Square also known as "Christmas Square". However, on the Day of Christmas, i.e. December 25th, the people of Amsterdam are also getting used to celebrating Christmas along with Anglo-Americans.
The maincentral shopping streetsrun in a line fromCentraal Stationto the Leidseplein: Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, Heiligeweg, Leidsestraat. The emphasis is on clothing and fashion, but there are plenty of other shops. These are not upmarket shopping streets, and the north end of Nieuwendijk is a bit seedy. English-language books can be found in the shops aroundSpui, and a used book market is held there every Friday. There is a concentration of Chinese shops in Zeedijk and Nieuwmarkt, and flowers can be bought at theBloemenmarkt. Other concentrations of shops in the centre are Utrechtsestraat, Spiegelstraat (art and antiques) and Staalstraat (specialty shops).
Interesting independent shops and boutiques are located in the side streets of the main canals (Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht) and especially in the Jordaan. TheHaarlemmerstraatand Haarlemmerdijk are claimed as best shopping streets in the Netherlands. The area around Museumplein in Zuid has Amsterdam's upmarket shopping streets. TheP.C. Hooftstraatand theCornelis Schuytstraathave the finest designer shops in the city. You can find designer shoes, health and well-being specialists, massage parlors, fashion boutiques, designer interiors, designer florists and specialist shops. The partly gentrified neighbourhood ofDe Pijp—aroundFerdinand Bolstraatand Sarphatipark—is slowly becoming the 'second Jordaan'.
Street markets originally sold mainly food, and most still sell food and clothing, but they have become more specialized. TheAlbert Cuyp Marketis the largest in Amsterdam, and the best-known street market in the country. TheWaterloopleinmarktis partly a flea market, partly an alternative and second hand clothing and accessories market. It is more oriented towards tourists than to locals. If you're looking for authenticity, visit theDappermarktin Oost or theTen Katemarktin West. Both have food, households, flowers and clothing, and have a multicultural flavor.
In the areas surrounding the city centre, the main shopping streets are the Kinkerstraat,Ferdinand Bolstraat, Van Woustraat, and the Javastraat. The most ethnically diverse shopping street in Amsterdam is theJavastraat. There are some toy stores and clothing shops forkidsin the centre, but most are in the shopping streets further out, because that's where families with children live. Particularly IJburg has a good set of shops for families.
There is a large diversity of restaurants in Amsterdam, especially if you are looking for Asian cuisine, and although some of it is tailored to the fairly bland local tastes, it is possible to find quite fiery food if you look for it. The influence of the Dutch colonial past is apparent, as can be seen in the wide array of Indonesian and Surinamese restaurants. As in other cities with a large number of tourists, better value can often be found in streets that are not main tourist corridors.
Most Asian restaurants are clustered at theZeedijknear the Nieuwmarkt and it is often dubbed as Amsterdam's Chinatown. It's also home to manytokos, small Asian grocery stores that sell Eastern food and spices. Chinatown offers plenty of Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants, usually good value. Indonesian restaurants are usually of excellent quality, but Indian ones can be expensive. For a budget meal, check out the various Middle Eastern restaurants around theDamstraatandMuntplein. The numerous falafel bars have a good value, often sporting an "all you can pile" salad bar.
Surinamese food is widely available and worth a try. The highest concentration of Surinamese restaurants can be found in Zuid and Zuidoost, especially in theAlbert Cuypstraat. Locals recommend theroti met bonen, moksi meti, petjilandbojoas dessert. Try thedawetas well; this typical drink is made from milk, coconut milk and rose sirup and has sago balls in it. Most kids like it.Dawetcan also be found in many Indonesian restaurants.
The Lange Leidsedwarsstraat (just off Leidseplein) has about five Italian restaurants that sell pasta or pizza for among many tourist traps. Many restaurants of all kinds can be found in the Haarlemmerbuurt. Also worth trying is theVan Woustraatin De Pijp, or continue to the Rijnstraat in the Rivierenbuurt. Exquisite but expensive restaurants can be found in the Utrechtsestraat. While there are exceptions, in general avoid restaurants along Damrak and be cautious around Leidseplein—they are well known tourist traps.
Cheesecan be bought at theAlbert Cuyp Market, or at specialist cheese shops found around the city centre. Dutch cheese is traditionally firm, made in large wax-covered wheels, and falls into two main categories—young and old. There is a rich variety within these categories. Among the more unusual young cheeses is cumin cheese (komijnenkaas), which is particular to the Netherlands. Sheep cheese (schapenkaas) and goat cheese (geitenkaas) are also common. Old cheese can be made of any sort of milk, and is often reminiscent of Italian Parmesan in consistency and sharpness of flavour.
Check outbitterballen, fried breaded ragout balls, andkroketten(the same, but shaped like a cylinder), but take care not to burn your mouth. Also don't forget to try atraditional herringor abroodje haring(herring sandwich), available from fish stalls around the city. Herring in Amsterdam is usually served with onions and pickles. A good try is the fish stand on the Koningsplein near the Bloemenmarkt.Syrup waffles (stroopwafels) are made fresh at the Albert Cuyp. If you're visiting in late November or December, you can enjoyoliebollen, which are round blobs of sweet fried dough embedded with raisins (sultanas) and dusted with powdered sugar.
Amsterdam's famously wild nightlife caters to all tastes and budgets. The archetypical Amsterdam watering hole is thebruine café("brown bar"), a neighbourhood bar of sorts with gorgeous dark wood panelling—hence the name—and booths.Grand cafésare more grand and spacious, and also serve small food portions. These usually have at least one long table with newspapers and magazines. Lounge and designer bars pop-up across the city catering to the city's younger and more trend susceptible crowd. If you're a beer lover consider visiting a beer shop or tasting room in the Binnenstad or the brewery in Plantage. There are some excellent beers you can get from this part of the world such as wheat beer (witbeer).
The nightclubs in Amsterdam are not as rough as one might think. Many of them congregate aroundLeidsepleinandRembrandtpleinin the Canal District. You can't go wrong atMelkweg, Sugar FactoryandParadiso, three live music venues that usually have large queues in weekends. Paradiso has the best interior, as it used to be a church, while Melkweg feels more like a nightclub. Sugar Factory is a little more intimate and is a multidisciplinary platform for young talent.Jimmy Woois an impressive VIP-room, and a strict dress code applies. There are also some nightclubs in Oost, such asPanama, and near the Westerpark. Amsterdam'sgay nightlifeis not as vibrant it used to be, but there is still an active community in theReguliersdwarsstraatin the Canal District. The annualgay pridein August is a fun event that can be attended by gays and straights alike.
Amsterdam is renowned for its liberaldrug policy. Coffeeshops (in English, but written as one word; not to be confused with coffeehouses or cafes) are allowed to sellcannabisand hash for personal use (not more than 5 grams). Whiletechnicallystill illegal, mostly to comply with international treaties, personal use of (soft) drugs are regulated by the Ministry of Justice under an official policy ofgedogen; literally this meansto acceptortolerate, legally it is a doctrine of non-prosecution on the basis that action taken would be so highly irregular as to constitute selective prosecution. The city council of Amsterdam allows coffeeshops to operate only with the provision of set, non-transferable licenses as shown by an official green and white sticker on the window of a coffeeshop. Coffeeshops are to sell only soft drugs (such as cannabis), selling of other drugs is not allowed. Also selling of dried hallucinogenic mushrooms is not allowed.
There are about 250 coffeeshops in Amsterdam, most of them in the Binnenstad. Marijuana is mostly sold in one-gram increments with a maximum limit of 5 grams per transaction. Prices hover around for 1 gram, with the average joint holding around 0.33g. Most coffeeshops are happy to recommend varieties and prepare your joint for you. Some offer vaporizers/inhalators for people who don't want to smoke. Smoking paraphernalia (grinders, rolling papers, bongs, vaporizers, etc.) is usually available upon request. It is common practice not to smoke at a coffeeshop without purchasing something from the establishment first, be it coffee, a Coke, or marijuana. All coffeeshops do, indeed, sell coffee as well. ID is requested upon entrance to each establishment, and more often than not the only acceptable ID (except for Dutch citizens) is a passport.
Many coffeeshops offer a 'smoking lounge' where soft drugs may be used. Despite the confusion on the subject, the country-wide smoking ban applies only to tobacco. However, since the Dutch commonly smoke tobacco mixed with their marijuana or hash, many coffeeshops, especially those unaccustomed to tourists, may require all smoking to be done in a separated smoking section or outdoors. Most central coffeeshops with large tourist clientèles will allow marijuana or hash smoking in their entire space, requiring you to smoke in the separated section only if your joint contains tobacco. Many coffeeshops also provide a non-tobacco herbal filler for those who find pure joints too strong. You may usually smoke joints containing this herbal filler anywhere within the coffeeshop although individual house rules may vary. If in doubt, always ask the staff.
Amsterdam hosts the Cannabis Cup, the most important marijuana related event in the world every year during the week of Thanksgiving. The Cannabis Cup is organized by High Times magazine, and offers both tourists and natives the chance to enjoy 5 days of consuming and judging marijuana in different forms. Participants are eligible to pay $199 in advance or at the door to obtain a "judges pass", which allows entry to the event for all five days, admission to numerous concerts and seminars held during the event, the ability to vote on numerous awards that are handed out, and free bus tours to and from the event. Day passes are available for for each day, and certain concerts sell tickets at the door provided they are not already sold out.
The Red Light District consists of several canals, and the side streets between them, south ofCentraal Stationand east of Damrak. It is known asDe Wallen(the quays) in Dutch, because the canals were once part of the city defences (walls and moats). Prostitution itself is limited to certain streets, mainly side streets and alleys, but the district is considered to include the canals, and some adjoining streets.
The area has many sex shops and peep show bars. This section of town is a common attraction for bachelors celebrating a stag night; if you ever get hassled, a firm and loud "leave me alone" will work most of the time. The whole area has a heavy police presence, and many security cameras. Nevertheless it is still a residential district and has many bars and restaurants, and also includes historic buildings and museums.
It might surprise some visitors, but Amsterdam is one of Europe's safest cities. It has an overall easy-going, laid-back feel and crime is not common. Amsterdam is female friendly, women can easily travel alone here and feel comfortable and safe. Gay and lesbian travellers also have little to worry about. However, you should take normal precautions against scams, pickpockets and baggage theft, especially in the main shopping streets, in trams and trains, at stations, and anywhere where tourists congregate.
What looks like a footpath, especially along a canal bank, may be abike lane. Bike lanes are normally marked by red/purple tiles or asphalt, and a bike icon on the ground. However, the colour fades over time, so you might miss the difference. Don't expect cyclists to be kind to pedestrians: some consider the side-walk an extension of the road, to be used when it suits them. Never stay or walk on the bike path or street for extended periods of time, as you will be greeted only by angry bell ringing. Keep in mind that for many Amsterdammers, the bike is their main means of transportation.
Watch out fortramswhen crossing the street. Taxis are also allowed to use some tram lanes, and even if not allowed, they often use them anyway. If you're driving, always give way to trams unless you're driving on a priority road.
Amsterdam's canals are picturesque and full of fun - but are also (by far) the single biggest cause of death to tourists in Amsterdam. On average about 25 people drown every year in the canals, almost all of them tourists. Invariably the victims are male and fall in while attempting to urinate in the canal - often the bodies are found with open fly. Typically there is a lot of alcohol involved, sometimes mixed with other drugs. There is some speculation that fainting due to dropping blood pressure caused by the combination of relaxation from relieving oneself and sudden exposure to cold may be involved, but generally being blind drunk and completely unstable is a perfectly adequate explanation. So: peeing in a canal is not only unhygienic and antisocial, it's also potentially lethal if you're under the influence. Please pee in the place you are drinking or failing that at an outdoor urinal. If you really can't find one, do it against a tree (risking a fine) rather than in a canal (risking your life).
The city centre is generally safe, but there are differences between the neighbourhoods. Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are the tourist traps of Amsterdam, so prices are relatively high and there are lots of scams. Zeedijk and Warmoesstraat had a reputation for gang violence and riots in the 1970s and 1980s, but the security situation has improved strongly and now it is safe to visit.
Be cautious in theRed Light District. All kinds of people walk around there during the day, including families with children, but the area does attract seedier visitors and vagrants after sunset. As a tourist hotspot the area attracts a lot of pickpockets.Do not take photographs of the prostitutes, you will be yelled at or worse. Groups of women visiting the Red Light District at night might feel harassed in the aggressive environment, though this is said to be the safest area because of the police presence. Keep to main streets and groups. Although not really dangerous, women might want to avoid the narrow lane north of theOude Kerkafter dark as the atmosphere can be quite intimidating.
Other areas in the city centre are mostly safe, but can get pretty much deserted after midnight, so you might want to avoid walking alone there at night. This is also true for the Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk, even though shops are lit all night.
The outer boroughs have profound differences in safety levels. Nieuw-West and Zuidoost still have a bruised image regarding violence and harassment. Urban renewal projects have improved conditions, but you should still be aware of the situation. Noord also has some rougher neighbourhoods, but the rural parts are safe. Oost is largely safe, but there are some neighbourhoods east of Oosterpark where some travelers might not feel comfortable. Zuid is perfectly safe, even at night.
Neighbourhoods with a bad reputation might still be worth seeking out, but be cautious at day and avoid at night. As most tourists only visit the city centre and Zuid, they do not have much to worry about except for the usual precautions (e.g. scams and pickpockets).
It cannot be denied that many tourists come to Amsterdam for the coffeeshops. If you're not a smoker, and you really want to try it, start with something light, make sure you don't have an empty stomach, and don't combine it with any other drugs or intoxicants, including alcohol. Be forthright with the counter person about your inexperience, they see it all the time. Go with an experienced person if you can. Regardless of the strength, your first experience can be quite a sensation at first, but will quickly decrease in intensity. You may want to plan to return to your hotel and "hole up" for a couple hours until you become comfortable with the feeling. If you do find yourself too strongly under the influence—feeling nauseated, woozy or faint—drink orange juice or eat something sweet like cookies or candy, and get fresh air. Dutch-grownnederwiet(a.k.a. super skunk) is much stronger than you might expect, even if you are experienced. The THC level can be as high as 15%, twice the norm.
Quality varies. Coffeeshops aimed at tourists are more likely to have overpriced and poor quality products. A simple rule of thumb is: if the place looks good and well-kept chances are their wares will be good as well. Don't just enter a coffeeshop being overwhelmed that it's possible at all to buy and consume cannabis openly: be discerning as to the quality. Coffeeshops sell only soft drugs such as marijuana and hash—asking for other drugs is pointless because coffeeshops are watched closely by the authorities, and nothing will get them closed faster than having hard drugs for sale.
There's a small chance you will be approached by people offering to sell you hard drugs in the street, especially as you are walking through the Red Light District. Ignoring (or failing that, a firm refusal) is enough—they will not pester you. The selling of drugs in the street is illegal and often dangerous; moreover the drugs sold to strangers are usually fake. When they invite you to see the goods, they can lure you into a narrow street and rob you.
The usage ofmagic mushroomshas been forbidden since December 2008. So-calledsmartshopsdo not sell any illegal products, but a range of dietary supplements, including 'herbal ecstasy'—a legal attempt at an ecstasy pill alternative which is a complete waste of money with various more or less obscure psychedelic herbs and, despite the change in the law, one type of magic mushrooms. It is the latter which causes problems as people often underestimate their strength. Magic mushrooms have few physical risks attached to them, but can have a very strong short-acting psychological effect, which can either be great or very distressing, depending on your own mindset (e.g. if you are relaxed, have any serious worries, history of mental illness, etc.) and your surroundings (e.g. if you feel comfortable and safe in them).
The first time you try this should always be in a familiar and trusted environment, not on the streets of an unfamiliar city. If you do decide to try it please get informed first.Conscious Dreams, the company that invented the entire concept of a 'smartshop' back in 1994 does this clearly and responsibly (without downplaying the possible risks just to sell more like some other shops do). Also plan well ahead, make sure you have thought out where you will be. Most recommended is going to a large park like the Vondelpark, the Rembrandtpark or the Amsterdamse Bos where it is quiet, and there is no risk from traffic. Make sure that being intoxicated will not endanger your safety, or that of anybody else. Be sure to make your purchase in a smartshop rather than a coffeeshop. They are better regulated and information is available from the attendants that work there. They are also of better quality and stronger potency than at the coffeeshops.
If you're not sure of how much to take, take a small dose. Then you'll know what your "tolerance" level is. People who have bad trips are those who take a dosage over their own tolerance level. Never take more than one packet of mushrooms—usually half is good for your first time. A good smart shop can give you more information about this.
It might be surprisingly difficult to find a pharmacy in the centre, especially one open in the late afternoon. TheLeidsestraat Apotheekin the Leidsestraat is open daily until 11pm. Remember to take medications with you. Some basic OTC drugs can be bought e.g. inKruidvat(convenience drugstore) andAlbert Heijn(supermarket).
The first internet cafes of the country opened in Amsterdam, but they vanished as quickly as they appeared. Only a few smaller internet cafes remain in the Binnenstad. Outside of it, you might want to try your luck at one of the phone shops (belwinkel), which cater for immigrant communities in the Netherlands, but they usually have only one or two terminals.
If you bring a laptop, many hotels in the city offer Wi-Fi for guests, but inform in advance as some places still charge high fees, while cheaper hotels and hostels may have no internet service at all. Several fast food chain restaurants and an ever increasing number of small cafés and restaurants offer free wifi for guests, although you'll typically be required to order a drink. Speed and stability obviously differ per place.3Gis fully available and several providers (including KPN and Hi) have full4Gcoverage for Amsterdam. Other providers are expanding their coverage fast.
The country code for the Netherlands is31and Amsterdam's area code is020. You only need to dial the 0 if you're calling from within the Netherlands.
Pay phonesare increasingly rare as most people have a mobile phone. That's why pay phones mostly cater to tourists and can be found around tourist areas.Centraal Stationhas pay phones in groups of six near the main entrance. If making local calls from a pay phone, you may need a phone card ( minimum) as many green KPN telephone booths do not accept coins. Phone cards can be bought at post offices and some delis, although the cards are increasingly hard to find. The KPN booths are being replaced by newer models that will accept coins again. Blue/orange Telfort booths accept both coins and cards.
If you need to make a call and do not have access to a pay phone, local phone or hotel phone, it is best to go to aphone shop (belwinkel). Phone shops can be found all over the city. Outside the city centre, they mostly serve immigrants calling their home country at cheap rates. You can also use a calling service over the Internet like Skype.
If you have a simlock-free European GSM mobile phone (suitable for GSM 900/1800 networks), consider buying aprepaid simcard. You can buy these in any electronics store, and they are often the same price as buying a KPN phone booth card. Calling then is a lot cheaper than using pay phones, and you are mobile.
Many people choose to visit Amsterdam because of its reputation for tolerance and progressivism. Prostitution is legal and licensed in the Netherlands, so window prostitution is very visible in some areas of Amsterdam. The possession and consumption of small quantities of cannabis and hash, while technically illegal, is tolerated by authorities (the policy ofgedogen). Coffeeshops are allowed to sell cannabis and hash for personal use, and Amsterdam has hundreds of these scattered over the city.
This does not mean that you can get away with anything in Amsterdam. In any case, public attitudes and official policy have hardened compared to some tourist perceptions. The number of coffeeshops has decreased significantly and new laws forbid the selling of dried hallucinogenic mushrooms. Window prostitution outside theOudezijds Achterburgwalis slowly but surely being closed down by the local authorities.
Depending on your viewpoint some people will consider Amsterdam an unwholesome city whereas other people will find the relaxed attitudes refreshing. If you avoid the Red Light District, Amsterdam is an excellent family destination.
Even though Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, embassies are located inThe Hague, as the government is situated there.
- Amsterdam Spoke. An English magazine featuring Amsterdam's daily life, its ambiance and trends.
- Time OutAmsterdam. The monthly bible for what is going on in town. Can be purchased all over town.
- Uitkrant. A free monthly magazine, listing all concerts, classical, jazz, pop etc., exhibitions, museums and anything cultural to do in Amsterdam. It can be picked up at many spots in the city, e.g. at the Uitburo at the Leidseplein.
Amsterdam Spoke. An English magazine featuring Amsterdam's daily life, its ambiance and trends.
Time Out Amsterdam. The monthly bible for what is going on in town. Can be purchased all over town.
Uitkrant. A free monthly magazine, listing all concerts, classical, jazz, pop etc., exhibitions, museums and anything cultural to do in Amsterdam. It can be picked up at many spots in the city, e.g. at the Uitburo at the Leidseplein.
- Basiliek van de Heilige Nicolaas, Prins Hendrikkade73 (tram or metroCentraal Station, +31 20 624-8749. Eucharist Su 10:30 (Dutch), 13:00 (Spanish), Low Mass M W Th Sa 12:30 (Dutch), Tu 12:30 (English), F 12:30 (Spanish).
- Begijnhofkapel, Begijnhof 29 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Spui, +31 20 622-1918. Eucharist M-F 09:00 and 17:00, Sa 09:00, Su 10:00 (all Dutch) and 11:15 (French). Roman Catholic chapel at the Begijnhof, officially known as the HH. Johannes en Ursulakapel.
- De Krijtberg, Singel 448 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Koningsplein, +31 20 623-1923. Eucharist M-Sa 12:30, 17:45, Su 12:30, 17:15 (all Dutch), High Mass Su 09:30, 11:00 (Latin). Officially St. Franciscus Xaveriuskerk.
- De Papegaai, Kalverstraat 58 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Dam. Low Mass M-Sa 10:30 (Dutch), High Mass Su 10:30 (Latin), 12:15 (Latin). Officially the HH. Petrus en Pauluskerk.
- English Reformed Church, Begijnhof 48 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Spui, +31 20 624-9665. Sunday worship at 10:30 (English). A Reformed Church led by a (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland minister. An English speaking congregation at the Begijnhof.
- The Lady of All Nations, Diepenbrockstraat 3 (near the RAI Convention Centre, +31 20 662-0504. Holy Mass M W F Sa 12:15, Tu: 07:15, Th 18:30, Su 9:30, 11:15 (all Dutch). Mass times are subject to change. Call to be certain.
- Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, Keizersgracht 220 (tram 6, 13, 14, 17 or bus 21, 170, 172 to Westermarkt. Holy Mass Sa 19:00 (Dutch), Su 11:15 (Dutch), 18:00 (English).
- Oud-Katholieke Kerk Amsterdam, Ruysdaelstraat 39 (tram 16 or 24 to Ruysdaelstraat, +31 20 662-8313. Eucharist Su 10:00 (Dutch). A Dutch denomination in communion with the Church of England (Anglican).
- Parish of the Blessed Trinity, Zaaiersweg 180 (tram 9 to Brinkstraat, +31 20 465-2711. Mass Su 10:30 and 12:00 (both English).
Basiliek van de Heilige Nicolaas, Prins Hendrikkade 73 (tram or metro Centraal Station, +31 20 624-8749. Eucharist Su 10:30 (Dutch), 13:00 (Spanish), Low Mass M W Th Sa 12:30 (Dutch), Tu 12:30 (English), F 12:30 (Spanish).
Begijnhofkapel, Begijnhof 29 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Spui, +31 20 622-1918. Eucharist M-F 09:00 and 17:00, Sa 09:00, Su 10:00 (all Dutch) and 11:15 (French). Roman Catholic chapel at the Begijnhof, officially known as the HH. Johannes en Ursulakapel.
De Krijtberg, Singel 448 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Koningsplein, +31 20 623-1923. Eucharist M-Sa 12:30, 17:45, Su 12:30, 17:15 (all Dutch), High Mass Su 09:30, 11:00 (Latin). Officially St. Franciscus Xaveriuskerk.
De Papegaai, Kalverstraat 58 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Dam. Low Mass M-Sa 10:30 (Dutch), High Mass Su 10:30 (Latin), 12:15 (Latin). Officially the HH. Petrus en Pauluskerk.
English Reformed Church, Begijnhof 48 (tram 1, 2 or 5 to Spui, +31 20 624-9665. Sunday worship at 10:30 (English). A Reformed Church led by a (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland minister. An English speaking congregation at the Begijnhof.
The Lady of All Nations, Diepenbrockstraat 3 (near the RAI Convention Centre, +31 20 662-0504. Holy Mass M W F Sa 12:15, Tu: 07:15, Th 18:30, Su 9:30, 11:15 (all Dutch). Mass times are subject to change. Call to be certain.
Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, Keizersgracht 220 (tram 6, 13, 14, 17 or bus 21, 170, 172 to Westermarkt. Holy Mass Sa 19:00 (Dutch), Su 11:15 (Dutch), 18:00 (English).
Oud-Katholieke Kerk Amsterdam, Ruysdaelstraat 39 (tram 16 or 24 to Ruysdaelstraat, +31 20 662-8313. Eucharist Su 10:00 (Dutch). A Dutch denomination in communion with the Church of England (Anglican).
Parish of the Blessed Trinity, Zaaiersweg 180 (tram 9 to Brinkstraat, +31 20 465-2711. Mass Su 10:30 and 12:00 (both English).
Almost any place in the Netherlands can be reached within 3 hours of rail travel. To avoid a big list, day trips have been divided into those close to the city (about 30 minutes by public transport) and those further afield.
- Alkmaar— historic town with a cheese market
- Enkhuizen— interesting small town with theZuiderzee Museumthat shows how people used to live with the persistent danger of the sea
- Haarlem— the closest of the historic cities, just 15 minutes fromAmsterdam Centraalby train
- Muiden— formerly a small port at the mouth of the Vecht, it has theMuiderslot, the best-known castle of the country
- Naarden— surrounded by a complete ring of 17th-century fortifications
- Hilversum— affluent town known for its magnificent town hall, also offers cycling tours through forests and the heath
- Waterland — picturesque countryside villages that can be reached by bicycle
- Zaanse Schans— historic windmills, tradesmen workshops and an open-air museum
- Zandvoort— closest beach resort to Amsterdam
[[Enkhuizen]] — interesting small town with theZuiderzee Museumthat shows how people used to live with the persistent danger of the sea
[[Muiden]] — formerly a small port at the mouth of the Vecht, it has theMuiderslot, the best-known castle of the country
- Delft— well known for its traditional blue and white ceramics
- Gouda — historic town famous for its Gouda cheese and the cheese market
- 's-Hertogenbosch— traditional southern city that goes crazy during carnival
- Keukenhof— blooming flower gardens, a seasonal attraction in spring
- Kinderdijk— an authentic network of windmills that shows the Dutch countryside at its best
- Leiden— vibrant student town with the country's oldest university and several museums
- Rotterdam— has a history of rivalry with Amsterdam and a completely different atmosphere with modern architecture
- The Hague— political heart of the country with Madurodam, Binnenhof and beaches
- Utrecht— historic city with a somewhat less-ambitious canal system
Popular train routes departing from Amsterdam Centraal
Cologne | FRANKFURT | TARBES | BASEL | ROTTERDAM | ROTTERDAM | Steenwijk(Close to Giethoorn)(Steenwijk) | Zurich | BERLIN | AMSTERDAM | PARIS | Weesp | THE HAGUE | BERLIN | Horn-Bad Meinberg | AMSTERDAM | Solingen | Sint-Truiden | Geneva | ULM | ARNHEM | AMERSFOORT | MAASTRICHT | INTERLAKEN |
Popular train routes arriving in Amsterdam Centraal
Copenhagen | BRUGES | Zurich | Brussels | Hilversum | Dusseldorf | PARIS | Saint-Ghislain | PAU | BERLIN | BERLIN | BADEN-BADEN | Maidenhead | BOURG-SAINT-MAURICE | Solingen | Sint-Truiden | Zottegem | Cologne | ELMSHORN | Paris roissy charles de gaulle cdg airport | ARNHEM | BASEL | GDYNIA | HAMBURG |
VENICE(VENEZIA) to MILAN(MILANO) | ROME(ROMA) to NAPLES(NAPOLI) | LUCERNE(LUZERN) to INTERLAKEN(INTERLAKEN) | MILAN(MILANO) to FLORENCE(FIRENZE) | PRATO(PRATO) to FLORENCE(FIRENZE) | LUCERNE(LUZERN) to Arth | FRANKFURT(FRANKFURT) to Munich(MüCHEN) | ROME(ROMA) to FLORENCE(FIRENZE) | BERLIN(BERLIN) to Munich(MüCHEN) | MADRID(MADRID) to BARCELONA(BARCELONA) | BERLIN(BERLIN) to FRANKFURT(FRANKFURT) | ROME(ROMA) to FLORENCE(FIRENZE) | Helsinki(HELSINKI) to Rovaniemi(ROVANIEMI) | VENICE(VENEZIA) to FLORENCE(FIRENZE) | MILAN(MILANO) to TURIN(TORINO) | AVIGNON(AVIGNON) to PARIS(PARIS) | ROME(ROMA) to VENICE(VENEZIA) | Munich(MüCHEN) to BERLIN(BERLIN) | FLORENCE(FIRENZE) to PRATO(PRATO) | NICE(NICE) to PARIS(PARIS) | ROME(ROMA) to VENICE(VENEZIA) | BARCELONA(BARCELONA) to MADRID(MADRID) | FLORENCE(FIRENZE) to PISA(PISA) | FRANKFURT(FRANKFURT) to COLOGNE(KöLN) | FLORENCE(FIRENZE) to VENICE(VENEZIA) | PISA(PISA) to FLORENCE(FIRENZE) | FRANKFURT(FRANKFURT) to DUSSELDORF(DüSSELDORF) | MOSCOW(Москва) to St. Petersburg(Санкт-Петербург) | FRANKFURT(FRANKFURT) to BERLIN(BERLIN) | FRANKFURT AIRPORT(FRANKFURT AIRPORT) to COLOGNE(KöLN) |