About The 'Dam
Amsterdam is a top contender in Europe's beauty pageant, it's right up there with Venice and Paris. But Amsterdam will never win it. It's too busy in funky and mellow bars, and 'exploring' life. Amsterdam has always been like this, ever since the Golden Age, when it led European art and trade. Centuries later, in the 1960s, it again led the pack – this time in the principles of tolerance, with broad-minded views on drugs and same sex relationships taking centre stage. Wander the 17th-century streets, tour the iconic canals, stop off to enjoy a masterpiece, discover a funky shop and taste cuisines from all over the world.
Did you Know?
- There are about 700,000 people in Amsterdam, but reportedly the city is home to over a million bikes!
- You may have to stand on tiptoe in Amsterdam to fit in; the Dutch are the tallest people in the world, but nobody knows the exact reason why!
- Amsterdam has more canals than Venice, 185 to be precise, with a whopping 1281 bridges!
- Amsterdam is home to "De Poezenboot", the world's only floating cat shelter
1. Museum of Prostitution
If you want to see to a different kind of museum then the Museum of Prostitution is the one for you. It explains the history of prostitution set in a 17th century canal house in the Red Light District. You get to see the famous district from the other side of the glass and even get to experience it for yourself with a window where you can sit and watch passersby.
2. Heineken Experience
Got a taste for the local brew? Head to the original Heineken Brewery and see the beautifully restored interiors and original brass beer tanks that were used in the 19th century. The whole guided experience ends with a lesson on how to pour the perfect Heineken and two drinks are included as well!
3. Anne Frank Huis
Learn about the historical home where Anne, her family and several others lived in hiding for more than two years during WII and where she wrote her famous diary. Here you go behind the bookcase and climb the steps up to the Secret Annex where they spent their hidden life, see the rooms in which they lived, including the bedroom Anne slept, and the pictures she pasted on her walls.
4. Rijksmuseum, Museumplein
When travelling past the Rijksmuseum a lot of people tend to mistake it for a palace. This museum is for sure the most beautiful in the city. The entry ticket is a little on the pricey side but it contains pieces by masters such as Rembrant, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. It’s the largest museum of art & history in the Netherlands.
Bloemen-markt is the only floating flower market in the world. Year round there are floating barges on the Singel Canal selling a gorgeous array of flowers. It’s worth a stroll through the markets to see all the beautiful arrangements and the very popular tulips that the Netherlands is so well known for.
Amsterdam abounds in food choices. Happy streets for hunting include Utrechtsestraat, Spuistraat and any of the little streets lining and connecting the west canals such as Berenstraat.
1. The Pantry
This cosy restaurant has a touch of homemade flair and comfort that makes you just feel at home straight away. The menu has traditional dishes using fresh ingredients, with the meatballs being highly recommended.
2. FEBO Kiosks
Try something a little different and head to one of the many walk up kiosks around the city. FEBO is well known as the place to get a quick bite at a cheap price through vending machines. Simply walk on up, put your coins in, and you’ll get your hot fries, hamburgers or cold drinks. Try the croquettes, they are super tasty!
3. The 301
301 is an ex-squat house that has been converted into a not for profit business run by artists with exhibits, music and debates, plus the odd dance studio and rehearsal rooms. They also have an ‘organic cultural kitchen’ (vegan café) that is well worth checking out.
4. Pannenkoekhuis Upstairs
This quirky little Pancake House found near the centre of Amsterdam is in a typical Dutch style house from the 16th century. Inside you’ll find teapots hanging from the ceiling and other decorations that make it cosy. They only have 4 tables, making it pretty small, but it’s worth it for the scrumptious sweet and savory pancakes that line the menu.
5. Moeders, Rozengracht (Mothers).
A restaurant packed with things that will leave you feeling like you’re back at your mother’s house. Quirky décor with mismatched glassware and crockery is overlooked by photos of mothers plastered on the walls. This place has a great vibe, like you’re at a family gathering eating the local classics like stamppot with sauerkraut, sudderylees and hachee, or you can order a dinner sampler with a variety of dishes all on one plate.
Housed in a former church, this is truly Amsterdam’s temple of music. The old building still has a sense of grandeur with its large stained glass windows and two level balconies, making it perfect for looking down onto the stage when there is live music on. Not only do they have live bands playing, but also festivals and club nights are held and it’s not uncommon to find 5 different events being hosted on the same night!
2. Sound Garden
Sound Garden is a grungy, all ages dive bar. All walks of life congregate here, brought together by their diehard love of rock and roll. The Ramones and Black Sabbath are just some of the many artists who have played here. There are also a handful of pool tables and 80’s pinball machines that add to the venue’s magical atmosphere.
3. Coco’s Outback
Want a little slice of home? This Aussie pub is in the centre of town and a great place to catch up on some Aussie footy, with big screens for all the action. Coco’s also serves Aussie beers, homemade pies and tasty burgers. Late at night the venue usually turns up the music and puts on one of its regular club nights.
4. Brouwery 't IJ @ Funenkade 7
A small brewery housed in a former bathouse with a windmill next to it. The locals love this place so much that they use it as their local pub. It’s a great place to try some of the local produce with their organic blonde & dark beers or even go on a short guided tour.
5. The Jet Lounge.
A haven for music lovers that are keen to rock out, The Jet Lounge hosts live bands most nights and even the odd open mic nights as well. There’s a laid-back vibe to the place and cool décor with guitars hanging from the ceiling and walls plastered with memorabilia.
Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here
Our guide was great, and really knew the best places to hang out.