Canals, tulips, the notorious red light district, coffee shops and historic buildings: Amsterdam is a magnet for people from all over the world. Yet with over 800,000 inhabitants, Amsterdam is surprisingly quiet. Instead of cars, bicycles drive through the streets, and in some parts of the city there is a cozy village atmosphere.
Typical Dutch houses line the banks of the canals, and there are interesting museums to discover alongside medieval churches. The city also offers a lively nightlife, an informal atmosphere and a multicultural population.
It is not for nothing that Amsterdam is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Everything is possible here – whether a cultural city trip, an unforgettable bachelor party, an Amsterdam trip with dog or a family vacation with the kids is planned.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is one of the most important sights of the canal city and belongs to the list of the most visited museums in the world. It is the national museum of Holland and its collections show the art history of the Netherlands from the Middle Ages until today.
It is therefore not a pure painting museum, but combines the old paintings with sculptures, archaeological finds, weapons and also ship models. The Rijksmuseum pays special attention to the 17th century. Especially the masterpieces from the “Golden Age” attract countless visitors every year.
The Golden Age was a period of economic prosperity in the Netherlands that lasted for about the entire 17th century. Art, culture and, not least, painting were extremely popular among a broad section of the population, unlike in the rest of Europe.
Among the most famous paintings are: The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn, The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer, Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn or Self Portrait with Felt Hat by Vincent van Gogh.
Tip 2: Van Gogh Museum
With a total of 200 paintings, 500 drawings and over 700 letters, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has the world’s largest collection of works by the Dutch painter. And it attracts up to 1.6 million visitors a year.
The museum consists of two buildings: one designed by Gerrit Rietveld and therefore called the “Rietveld Building” and the other is the “Kurokawa Wing”, designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. The first building is the main building of the museum and its 4 floors house the permanent collection and also a store and café on the first floor.
Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh died in 1890 at the young age of 37, leaving behind a body of work that included an impressive 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings, which his younger brother Theo inherited and incorporated into his own art collection, which also included works by Gaugin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Lhermitte, and Millet.
The developments in Vincent Van Gogh’s work can be followed step by step over his entire short life due to the chronologically arranged pictures and compared with other artists of the time. A must for any Amsterdam novice!
Some of the best known paintings of the museum are: Café Terrace in the Evening, Starry night, Sunflowers or The Potato Eaters.
Tip 3: Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is a must-see for every visitor to Amsterdam and is the city’s most important attraction.
The museum shows the true story of the Jewish family Frank. In July 1942, the Frank family goes into hiding, stating that they are in Switzerland. Otto Frank has built a hiding place in the back of his company in Amsterdam, where they spend the next years of the war. Here Anne begins to write about her life in hiding and the “Diary of Anne Frank” begins.
The museum was built over the back house that was a hiding place for the people in hiding and Anne Frank for 2 years during World War II. After World War II, the house at Prinsengracht 263 was in poor condition and it was in danger of falling into disrepair. The story of preserving the back house as well as the story of Anne Frank began in 1953.
Today, the Anne Frank House is preserved in its original state and is surrounded by a Modern Museum.
Tip 4: Flower Market
On the Amsterdam canal called Singel is the famous Amsterdam flower market. Here the flowers are not sold at flower stalls on the street, but on pontoons. But don’t worry, you don’t have to move from one rocking pontoon to the next, you can walk down the street in a relaxed way to see the floating flower market.
The fact that the flower market is located on the water dates back to a time when the markets were supplied by boats. In addition, the many flower stalls thus did not take up space on the already narrow streets of Amsterdam.
The flower market was founded in 1862. Since then, it has steadily expanded and is now the most famous flower market in the Netherlands. In recent decades, the flower market has become more and more a tourist attraction. Accordingly, the assortment has adapted. Nowadays, many flower bulbs and souvenirs are also offered.
Tip 5: Boat Tour
The canals are a major part of the charm of Amsterdam’s city center and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Therefore Amsterdam should definitely be explored from the water as well! The canals here are something very special – perhaps only topped by the canals in Venice.
Amsterdam is a city on the water and it played and still plays a lot on the water! That’s why the view from the ship is as varied and diverse as the city itself. Sit back and relax, cruise at a leisurely pace past the famous houseboats and watch the hustle and bustle on the water.
You will pass locks, pass under bridges and get an overview of the city of Amsterdam! If you have a good guide, you will often get useful background information about the economic role of the waterways and ports. It explains the sophisticated system of locks, dams and canals and how they have changed over the centuries. You see the famous Amsterdam Renaissance houses that seem to bow to us? You’ll learn about the decorations on the facades and why the Westernkerk has a blue crown. And: you’ll get a little insight into the soul of the Amsterdam citizens and understand why tulips, then as now, hold a very special place in their hearts.