There are many sides to Amsterdam’s unique charm, and the city is well-known for its diverse roster of attractions. Besides its photogenic canals, luscious parks and beautiful religious buildings, the city is also home to numerous, world-leading museums, several impressive examples of modern architecture and even a brewery that resides underneath a windmill.
The Stedelijk is among the most important modern and contemporary art museums in the world, and has been at the forefront of the international art scene for over 100 years. The museum constantly adds new or historically important work to its collection and currently owns over 90,000 pieces, including paintings by Van Gogh, Malevich and Mondriaan.
Vondelpark is undoubtedly the most famous park in Amsterdam, and is spread over a tract of land that divides the city’s Oud-West and Oud-Zuid neighbourhoods. Several cafés, playgrounds and an open-air theatre are dotted between the park’s large, green meadows, making it perfect for long weekend excursions.
During the 17th century, thousands of Jewish people immigrated to Amsterdam from Portugal in order to escape the ongoing religious conflicts plaguing the Iberian peninsula. In Amsterdam, they were allowed to practise their religion openly, and eventually built an enormous, architecturally impressive synagogue in the city’s Jewish district that is still standing today.
The Rijksmuseum, probably the most important museum in the Netherlands, houses over one million artworks. This vast collection contains many masterpieces created by pre-eminent historical figures and includes work by Dutch masters Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh.
The Homomonument was unveiled in 1987 after years of development and campaigning. This monumental pink triangle was the first memorial in the world dedicated to the LGBTQI victims of oppression, and today hosts a number of commemorative and celebratory events throughout the year.
As the oldest building in central Amsterdam, the Oude Kerk is brimming with history. The church was originally owned by Amsterdam’s Catholic authorities, but was confiscated by Calvinists during the Reformation and converted into a Protestant cathedral. Today it hosts numerous cultural activities and religious ceremonies.
De Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, and contains over 6,000 tropical plants. During the 17th century, the garden was the main source of medicinal herbs in Amsterdam, and was used by the city’s doctors and chemists. Today, its numerous greenhouses and conservatories are open to the public, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Due to its glorious design, Pathé Tusckinski is regularly cited as the most beautiful cinema in the world. The entire theatre is infused with Art Deco and Art Nouveau visual motifs, and it successfully merges these two movements’ principal artistic gestures into an unrivalled architectural pastiche.
Commonly known as the Artis Zoo, Natura Artis Magistra has been caring for a large menagerie of animals for almost 200 years. Apart from its furry, scaly and feathered residents, Artis also looks after millions of microbes and contains the first zoo in the world that is dedicated to microbiological life, aptly titled Micropia.
From a certain distance EYE Filmmuseum‘s sloping, multi-faceted form creates the illusion of movement and the building’s complex architecture represents the height of post-modern structural design. This impressive building houses several cultural projects associated with filmmaking, and also features several modern cinemas.
After the Reformation, Catholicism was officially banned by the Dutch government. Instead of converting to Calvinism or fleeing the Netherlands, many Catholics decided to practise their faith in secret, and built several hidden churches around Amsterdam. Ons’ Heer Lieve op Solder is one of these clandestine chapels, and is perfectly preserved inside the attic of a 17th-century townhouse in the centre of the Red Light District.
Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world, and regularly hosts exhibitions documenting certain aspects of the artist’s life. Besides its conservation and research projects, the museum also acts as a cultural centre and often organises nighttime events dedicated to its namesake.
Colloquially known as the ‘windmill brewery’, Brouwerij ‘t IJ is famously located underneath a mammoth, typically Dutch machine called the Gooier. While the brewery doesn’t actually own this towering structure, the stamps on the labels of its notoriously potent beers – which are all available from its onsite taproom – all feature the Gooier.
During the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, Anne Frank and her family hid in a secret apartment in de Jordaan. In spite of their efforts, they were eventually captured and sent to concentration camps. After the war, these concealed chambers were converted into a museum that is dedicated to Anne Frank, her family and other victims of the Holocaust.
For 19 years of his adult life, Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn lived in a small townhouse near Amsterdam’s Zuiderkerk. He worked and taught at this location until unfortunately bankruptcy forced him to stop. During the early part of the 20th century, this house was converted into a museum, which now features several exhibitions dedicated to Rembrandt and his students.
This picturesque courtyard and chapel is hidden behind Spui Square in central Amsterdam. Before the Reformation, this property was owned by a Catholic convent, but it eventually fell into the hands of Amsterdam’s municipality. In 1607, its chapel was ceded to an English-speaking Protestant congregation, and the church has remained active ever since.