Things you must see in Amsterdam
Historic, cultural and modern metropolis combined is the perfect way to describe the Netherlands capital City.
Amsterdam is a city like no other with its 17th-century canals separating rows of canal houses, outstanding architecture dating back to the 1300’s and its baffling – for some – lenient drug and prostitution policies that complete the atmosphere on the intimate streets.
Many people instantly think of cannabis whenever Amsterdam is mentioned, but even if you’re not a smoker and have no intentions of puffing on Amsterdam’s finest hash, it is a City that is definitely worth a visit and it won’t disappoint. The list of things to do or see is endless, no matter what you’re in to.
Here at Amsterdam Coffeeshop Tours we have compiled a 10-piece list of things we highly reccomend you do (apart from smoking cannabis) on your time in the Dutch capital.
Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world, and no matter what your personal interests and likes consist of, we can guarantee there’s a museum or an exhibition to match them. The main museums out of the 50+ that help draw in over two million tourists per year are; The Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Van Gogh Museum and probably the most talked about, Anne Frank House. There’s modern art museums, museums on zoos, photography, sports technology and lifestyle museums, as well as everything in between. And of course, the more daring and quirky museums that boast exhibitions on torture, erotica, hash and sex. Compile these with the countless art galleries, you’ll have to chose which you visit wisely as you definitely wont have the time to see them all.
‘Bloemenmarkt’ – Floating Flower Market
Possibly the most fragrant place in the whole of Amsterdam, the worlds only floating flower market is a must-see for all. The market is open from Monday to Saturday from 9am right through until 5:30pm and 11am until 5:30pm on a Sunday so there’s plenty of time to squeeze it in. The stalls on the floating flower market stand on houseboats on the Singel canal between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein. ‘Bloemenmarkt’ is certainly a stunning sight to see as the vibrant colours of tulips, narcissus and many other flowers and bulbs take over the canal. For you foodies out there you can also taste some of Amsterdam’s flavoursome cheeses in the Reypenaer tasting room considering what traditional crafts or novelty clogs you can purchase as a keepsake of your time in Amsterdam.
Hitch a ride on Amsterdam’s canal belt
One of Amsterdam’s physical features that really enable you to feel like you’re miles away from home (maybe except if you’re from Venice) is Amsterdam’s canal belts. There’s an amazing connection of 165 canals that weave throughout Amsterdam, each criss-crossed by a number of bridges for you to pass over on foot or get more in to the spirit of things – travel the canal network via boat. Canal boat is the ideal form of transportation to venture Amsterdam both day and night where you can take full advantage of all the scenic views Amsterdam has to offer and you are able to hop on and off whenever you like to create your own sightseeing tour. The most picturesque canal in Amsterdam – Prinsengracht – is lined by quirky canal boats and lined with trees.
One of the most intriguing, unusual and crazy aspects of Amsterdam is their laws regarding prostitution and the infamous Red-light District. Nothing is left to the imagination down the red light district where you can find brothels, museums, sex shops and more fascinatingly, women very indiscreetly parading their semi-naked selves in windows for all to see and maybe buy their services. There may be many rumours you have heard about the Red-light District, and to be honest they are probably true, however it’s definitely something you need to see for yourself. It couldn’t be any far from the English laws regarding prostitution if it tried. The district is certainly a spectacle at night time as the glow off the red lights hung above their window parlours flood everything in sight and stain the streets red. Just don’t attempt to photograph the women.
Rent a bike in Amsterdam
The bike is the first and foremost means of travel for locals in Amsterdam, and they are not afraid of shoving you out of the way with them if you fail to move on the commands of the bikes bell. Amsterdam is the most bicycle friendly city in the World (amazing for the environment) but also convenient for the locals to carry on with their busy lives whilst having to manoeuvre through thousands of tourists on their daily commutes. Hiring a bike in Amsterdam is easy, with multiple collection points and bike paths, bike racks and bicycle parking stations situated all around the City. By bike you’ll be able to fit in more tourist attractions thanks to a speedier journey and on the way you can see plenty more sights than what you would on a tram. You can even book on to a guided bike tour from the Yellow Bike Company.
At 47 hectares Vondelpark is the largest green space across Amsterdam. Vondelpark is situated in the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid, situated west from the Leidsplein and Museumplein and is named after Amsterdam’s best known poet – Joost van den Vondel. In the summertime the crowds gather in their hundreds whether it be for a sunshine walk, a picnic with their friends or to chill, socialise and smoke. Culture can be found echoed throughout the park with a number of sculptures in place, even one by Picasso. Vondelpark is great no matter who you visit Amsterdam with, and if it happens to be with children during the months of June to September, you will find kid’s activities taking place at the Vondelpark Openluchttheater along side music and dance.
Visit one of Amsterdam’s many flea markets
As well as picking up some local Dutch souvenirs, if you visit an Amsterdam flea market you can really feel the multi-ethnic spirit of the City. The vibrant and lively market culture stretches back to the early 18th century, with the Jewish Quarter being the first to set up a stall in 1783. There are a vast range of markets you can visit where you can shop to your hearts content, with there being 12 daily outdoor markets, 15 markets that open a couple of days a week and a small handful that open only on a certain day of the season. Out of the abundant of markets you can pick up everything from antiques, vintage pieces, farmers produce, household good, domestic appliances… anything you can think of! The most famous is the Albert Cuypmarkt but we also reccommend the Noordmarkt, the bustling bazaar of Waterlooplein and Nieuwmarkt to name a few.
Have a tipple in Amsterdam’s best bars
If you want a break from marijuana in its many forms and feel like some alcohol, you won’t have to look far. Having a drink in one of Amsterdam’s bars is a great way to meet and mingle with the locals of the City. Don’t be English cafés or Dutch ‘coffeeshops,’ the cafés in Amsterdam double up as a home-from-home throughout the day and provide the alcohol fuelled entertainment and provide the night-life. The cafés open of a morning and tend to shut around 1am to 3am of a weekend. At Amsterdam Coffeeshop Tours we’re prepared to share with you our secret list of what we feel are a small selection of the coolest bars in Amsterdam: Vesper Bar, The Tara, Café Belgique, Hanneke’s Boom, Café ‘t Smalle, Café Thijssen and Twee Zwaantjes is an old-school favourite.
Hear live music at Amsterdam’s best venues and clubs
January 2015 seen the close of Trouw, which was deemed by many as Amsterdam’s best live music venue. It turned in to a notorious haven for techno lovers but fear not, there are still some pretty amazing live music venues you should try and pay a visit to in the duration of your time in Amsterdam. Paradiso and Melkweg are the perfect venues for any rock worshippers among you seeking to get your rock fix in Amsterdam. If seeing live DJs is more your thing, the underground electronic and techno vibe is very much alive in the capital with clubs like Studio 80, Da Belie and Club Underground bringing in some of the biggest names in techno and deep house from across the world, and the eager and enthusiastic crowd to match.
Try some authentic street food in Amsterdam
The Amsterdam streets are lined with waffles lathered in chocolate, crepes stuffed with cream, and more cakes than you can shake a stick out. However, this is not what we want from you. Here at Amsterdam Coffeeshop Tours we are daring you to embrace Amsterdam. We are daring you to go authentic. Two words – Raw Herring. YUM! New catch hits the stands in May and July so that’s your best chance for a nice portion. When the catch is fresh no onions or pickles or any other garnish is required because the flesh of the fish is at its sweetest at this point. The stalls are all over Amsterdam, but we reccommend Stubbe’s Haring on the Singel Haarlingerluis, conviniently near Centraal Station. This small family run business can provide the authentic Dutch experience.