Things To Do In Amsterdam

Though the mere mention of the city’s name evokes images of Cheech and Chong, or the world famous Cannabis Cup, there are many things to do in Amsterdam that have nothing at all to do with that “stuff.” From having once been home to such names as Van Gogh and Rembrandt, to being the current location for one of Europe’s oldest dance music festivals, Amsterdam is a city rich in history and culture.

  1. Landmarks and Architecture: Right in the heart of Amsterdam stands the oldest building in the city. The Oude Kerk (Old Church) was built in the 1300s and has held a central role in the city’s history. The artist Rembrandt held his wedding there and many prominent citizens of Amsterdam are buried at the monument. To the west of the Old Church is the Royal Palace. Built in 1648, the palace was used as a city hall for 150 years. After passing through many families, including the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, the palace was returned to the city of Amsterdam in 1936. You can also visit the house in which Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis in 1942.

  2. Arts and Entertainment: One of the most prominent and influential artists in modern history, Vincent Van Gogh gained notoriety in the 19th century for pieces such as “The Potato Eaters” and “The Starry Night”. You can view these masterpieces, as well as others, at the Vincent Van Gogh museum. Another one of the great European painters was Rembrandt. He lived in a house in Amsterdam that is now a museum. The Rembrandt House is open daily, except on New Year’s Day, and costs fifteen American dollars to enter. Be sure to treat your ears to some of the best acoustics in the world at the Concertgebouw, one of Amsterdam’s finest concert halls. It is home to Amsterdam’s Royal Orchestra, and there are classical pieces performed weekly.

  3. Dining: Because Amsterdam attracts so many tourists from around the world, cafes and restaurants throughout the city offer a vast array of cuisines. Café Van Puffelen’s menu is an example of the variety of dishes you can enjoy. Goat cheese in filo pastry with pear, honey nut mousse and red wine, thyme vinaigrette, or Guinea fowl filled with olives will surely please. And the prices are very reasonable. The Pancake Bakery put a special spin on the breakfast favorite. You can order pancakes with traditional toppings, such as sugar, syrup, or sliced fruits. But a closer look at the menu reveals pancakes with salami and cheese or chicken and tomato. You can also choose a special “International” pancake, like the Egyptian (slices of lamb, paprika, garlic sauce and a salad atop a pancake) or the Norwegian (a pancake filled with salmon, sour cream, cream cheese and a salad) and adventurously go where few taste buds have gone before.

  4. Festivals and Events: Queen’s Day is a national holiday celebrating the birth of Queen Beatrix. Amsterdam’s museum courtyard holds concerts there during the celebration, and many streets are blocked off to allow people the freedom to roam the surrounding area. Outdoor markets and food are available on any of these streets. For lovers of dance music, the self-described “happiest day of the year” is held on the last Saturday in August in the form of Mystery Land, an electronic music festival.

  5. Recreation: Bicycles are a major mode of transportation in Amsterdam, and because of this, there are a number of bike rentals throughout the city. You can explore the city pedaling at your leisure. A number of canals criss-cross the city, making a tour by canal another relaxing option. If you are looking for a vibrant nightlife, the Leidseplein is a square filled with, and surrounded by, bars, cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs. Musicians and street performers entertain strollers, tourists and passersby. And a visit to Amsterdam is not complete without a tour of the Heineken Experience. The original Heineken brewery, built in 1867, is now a museum, offering tours in which you will learn the history of the company, check out interactive exhibits, and taste samples of the beverage.

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