I Traveled to Amsterdam and Here’s My List of Must-Sees
Written by Alexis Morales
With more canals than Venice and more bridges than Paris, Amsterdam became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010. This colorful city serves as the capital of the Netherlands and is well-known for its history, canals, museums, and architecture but with so much to see and do, it can definitely get a little overwhelming. Here are a few must-sees to get you started! Thinking of studying abroad? Here’s where to study based on your zodiac sign.
1. Travel Back in Time to See How Anne Frank Lived
A trip to Amsterdam would not be complete without making a stop at this house and biographical museum dedicated to wartime diarist Anne Frank. While Anne herself did not survive World War II, her diary was published years later and this house still stands as a protected monument paying homage to her and the countless lives lost. Tickets sell fast and the line gets quite long early in the day so booking ahead is best to secure your spot.
2. Immerse Yourself in Historic Art
Amsterdam has the highest concentration of museums per square meter of all cities in the world so why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this? Individual entrance fees to the museums can definitely add up so it may be worth it to look into the I Amsterdam City Card, which offers access to more than 70 museums, plus you get to skip lines! The Moco Museum, Rembrandt House Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Van Gogh Museum are a few of the most popular but whether you’re interested in learning about generating power from the elements at the NEMO Science Museum or eroticism throughout the ages at the Erotic Museum, there something for everyone!
3. Coffee Houses and the Red Light District
There are more than 300 coffee shops in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. But if that’s not exactly your scene, don’t fret – the area has more to offer! There are tons of cafes and street art set against a stunning backdrop of narrow houses with gabled façades.
4. Find the Best Fries in the City
Typically served in a paper cone Amsterdam French fries, sometimes referred to as frites, is just one of the foods locals are very passionate about. A “patat” shop can be found on nearly every corner and each one does them differently – skin on, skin-off, baked, fried, topped with unique sauces, or just simply dipped in their delicious mayonnaise; it may be hard for you to stop yourself from indulging.
5. Make Some Furry Friends at Kattenkabinet (Cat Cabinet)
The Kattenkabinet (Cat Cabinet) is located in a cutesy canal house dedicated entirely to the role cats have played in art and culture throughout history. Paintings, sculptures, posters, and other cat-related objects are on display, watched over by some friendly felines. If you enjoy your time here, you will probably want to head over to Kopjes Cat Café, Amsterdam’s first cat cafe.
6. Heineken Experience
As one of Europe’s most popular lagers, Heineken has introduced a historic brewery, located in the center of Amsterdam. Its offerings include four floors of multimedia exhibits, historical brewing artifacts, a tasting bar, and an interactive experience that will take you on an exciting, behind-the-scenes journey of how Heineken has evolved into what it is today.
7. Visit NDSM Wharf
Amsterdam’s street art scene is continuously growing. Sculptures, murals, and installations can be found in almost every neighborhood and one of the most prominent locations is the NDSM Wharf. This industrial shipyard has been converted into a cultural hotspot, home to live music performances, bars, restaurants, like the glass-domed Noorderlicht (“Northern lights”), a cafe-restaurant with a grass terrace. NDSM is also home to the monthly IJ-Hallen Flea Market. Transportation to and from the wharf is free via a ferry located behind Amsterdam Central Station.
8. Floating Flower Markets
With over 30 markets throughout the city, Monday to Saturday merchants on barges sell all sorts of goods from cheeses to antiques, to flowers and other beautiful one-of-a-kind souvenirs. The Bloemenmarkt is the flower market along a stretch of the Singel canal that is filled with the vibrant colors and fragrances of fresh flowers for purchasing.
9. Wander Around the Canals
The canals throughout the city are one of the main symbols of Amsterdam and can be enjoyed in so many ways. Walking tours and canal cruises are offered through various agencies and you can learn so much about the history of the city from the local tour guide. Other amazing options would be renting a bike or in the warmer months, a paddleboat, to explore the elaborate canal system at your own pace.