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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Amsterdam

The Royal Palace Amsterdam on Dam Square | © C Messier/ WikiCommons
The Royal Palace Amsterdam on Dam Square | © C Messier/ WikiCommons
When you haven’t all the time in the world – which it can seem you will need to see the huge range of museums, galleries, canals, historic and contemporary architecture and many other attractions Amsterdam has to offer – it’s handy to have a guide detailing the city’s must-see choices.

The Canal Belt

Natural Feature
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The Brouwersgracht canal in Amsterdam. The area is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Amsterdam’s canal belt is a UNESCO World Heritage site | © Julian Elliott Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
The four 17th-century canals that weave around the city centre are a joy to wander around, tour by boat, and embody the spirit of Amsterdam. Recognised as an UNESCO Heritage Site, the area retains many photogenic fine buildings from Amsterdam’s Golden Age. You can watch the world go by at a choice of many canalside bars and cafes.
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Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Architectural Landmark, Instagrammable, Photo Opportunity, Scenic, Touristy

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Museum
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Stedelijk Museum contemporary shape in Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands.
The Stedelijk has 90,000 pieces in its permanent collection | © Endless Travel / Alamy Stock Photo
See stunning art examples from 1870 to the present at The Stedelijk. Everything from Picasso to Warhol, Monet to Matisse, and Rothko to De Kooning are likely to be on display. Temporary contemporary exhibitions run alongside the examples from the 90,000-strong permanent collection, and there are hands-on installations and activities in the Family Lab. At busy times it’s worth obtaining a Skip-the-Queue ticket.
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Sun:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Touristy, Quiet

Vondelpark

Park, Theater
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The Vondelchurch at the Amsterdam Vondelpark in the Netherlands.
The Vondelpark is an expansive urban park in Amsterdam | © Michael de Groot / Alamy Stock Photo
No doubt Amsterdam’s favourite green space, Vondelpark, spread over an expanse separating the city’s Oud-West and Oud-Zuid neighbourhoods, is ideal for a stroll, bike ride or picnic. As well as its restful lawns, ponds and winding paths, there are cafes, playgrounds and an open-air theatre. It’s also an open-air art gallery, with 69 sculptures, including one designed by Picasso, in its grounds.
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The Rijksmuseum

Art Museum
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The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
The Rijksmuseum showcases 8,000 pieces of art and artefacts across 80 galleries | © Daryl Mulvihill / Alamy Stock Photo
You could spend many days visiting the 1.5km of rooms at The Rijksmuseum, undoubtedly the most popular and prominent museum in the Netherlands. The huge collection contains many masterpieces including works by Dutch masters Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, but also everything from ship models to swords, Delftware to dollhouses. There’s also a free sculpture garden and Michelin-starred restaurant.
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Sun:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Peaceful

De Oude Kerk

Building, Church, Historical Landmark
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De Oude Kerk, Amsterdam.
The Oude Kerk dates to 1306 | © Wim Wiskerke / Alamy Stock Photo
The Old Church is Amsterdam’s oldest building, originating from 1306. Boasting the city’s oldest bell (1450), some cheeky carvings in the church stalls and not one but four organs, it’s a feast for the eyes. There’s magnificent features at every turn, including glorious stained-glass windows, brocaded pillars and gilded ceiling. There are regular art exhibitions, talks, concerts and services.
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Sun:
1:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

EYE Filmmuseum

Building, Art Museum, Architecture Museum
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EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Amsterdam.
For all things film, visit the EYE Filmmuseum | © Dutch Cities / Alamy Stock Photo
Located opposite Centraal Station over the IJ river, just a short free ferry ride away, this striking modernist architectural gem is awash with all things filmic: cinemas, vintage posters, exhibitions and artefacts, and a great bar-restaurant with a big sunny terrace. A great starting point for discovering Amsterdam Noord.
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Sun:
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 11:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Architectural Landmark, Photo Opportunity

Artis Zoo

Zoo
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19th century greenhouses with exotic animals  in Artis Zoo Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo dates to 1838 | © Ger Bosma / Alamy Stock Photo
Known locally as Natura Artis Magistra, this is mainland Europe’s oldest zoo and contains more than 900 animal species. There’s a microbe ‘museum’, Micropia, as well as a children’s petting zoo, aquarium, geology museum, planetarium and more. The attractive lanscaped grounds, formally The Plantage gardens, are a pleasure to stroll through.
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Sun:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Historical Landmark

Van Gogh Museum

Art Museum
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Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Van Gogh Museum opened in 1973 | © Federico Julien / Alamy Stock Photo
The Van Gogh Museum has more than 200 paintings and 500 drawings, the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world, spanning early gloomier works from the Netherlands to the latter, brighter French ones. In 2015 a new extension has enlarged the exhibition space, which is on four levels. There are also works by friends and contemporaries including Gauguin, Monet and Toulouse-Lautrec. The museum gets particularly busy in the middle of the day, and it’s a good idea to book tickets in advance.
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Sun:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Touristy

Anne Frank Huis

History Museum
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The Anne Frank House museum
Learn the story of Anne Frank | © Peter Horree / Alamy Stock Photo
Visiting the place Anne and her family hid from the Nazis before being sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, in a secret apartment in de Jordaan, is a powerful experience. At this poignant museum you see her bedroom, with photos of Hollywood stars and her diary, and documents and other possessions, as well as newsreels and interactive exhibits. Tickets are always very much in demand.
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Sun:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Historical Landmark, Touristy

Rembrandt House Museum

Art Museum
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The Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum displays not only artworks but also the artist’s personal effects | © Wiskerke / Alamy Stock Photo
Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn moved into this three-storey townhouse near the Zuiderkerk in 1639 and stayed for 19 years. He created some of his most famous works here, and the interiors of the building have been reconstructed faithfully. Locally known as the Museum Het Rembrandthuis, there’s his studio, living room and bedroom, a collection of his curiosities and some of his works.
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Sun:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Indoors

Begijnhof

Church, Architectural Landmark
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Row of houses in the Begijnhof in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The Begijnhof was once a community of religious women | © Picture Partners / Alamy Stock Photo
When you walk into this beautiful, quiet courtyard with its two churches and pretty little houses, leaving the bustle of Spui Square, it is hard to believe there’s such a tranquil space in central Amsterdam. The 14th-century Begijnhof was a kind of convent for Beguines, an order of Catholic unmarried or widowed women. As well as the Begijnhof chapel, there’s an English church, and a wooden house dating from around 1465, and the oldest preserved wooden house in the country.
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House of Bols

Museum
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The House of Bols gin museum in Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands.
The House of Bols is a Dutch gin museum | © Mo Peerbacus / Alamy Stock Photo
The House of Bols, a jenever (or Dutch gin) museum, allows you to feel, taste, smell and discover the secrets hiding behind these Dutch cocktails. The one-hour interactive tour explains how the jenever conquered the world during the Golden Age, the distillery process, and the different scents and flavours that make up these drinks. The tour ends with trying out a cocktail in the Mirror bar.
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Sun:
1:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Mon:
1:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Tue:
1:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Wed:
1:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Thu:
1:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Fri:
1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sat:
1:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Indoors

Het Schip

Building
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'Het Schip', Amsterdam, 1917 - 1921.
Michel de Klerk designed Het Schip in the early 20th century | © Arcaid Images / Alamy Stock Photo
In 1919, influential Dutch architect Michel de Klerk designed a new, low-income residential complex in the west of Amsterdam. Known as The Ship because of the finished look of the expressionist building, it is now an icon of the Amsterdamse School Architecture movement. Part of the complex is now the Amsterdamse School Museum, and there are daily guided tours of the building.
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Sun:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Architectural Landmark, Instagrammable

De Hortus Botanicus

Park
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De Hortus botanical garden building, Amsterdam.
De Hortus Botanicus has about 4,000 species of plants | © Shawn Hempel / Alamy Stock Photo
Opening in 1638, De Hortus Botanicus is one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens. The structures containing the 4000-plus species, greenhouses, conservatories, glass-domed palm house and colonial-era seed house, are an attraction themselves, and children will particularly like the butterfly house. There are plant-themed art shows here also.
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Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Instagrammable, Scenic

Homomonument

Memorial, Historical Landmark
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Homomonument memorial, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The Homomonument opened in 1987 | © Ger Bosma / Alamy Stock Photo
Installed in 1987 and the world’s first memorial dedicated to LGBTQI victims of oppression, The Homomonument consists of three 10m pink granite triangles, recalling Nazi persecution, when gay men were required to wear a pink triangle patch. Commemorative and celebratory events are held here throughout the year.
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The Portuguese Synagogue

Synagogue, Historical Landmark
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The Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The Portuguese Synagogue is among the oldest synagogues in the world | © Shawn Hempel / Alamy Stock Photo
When completed in 1675 this classically-styled building was Europe’s largest synagogue, its need created when thousands of Jewish people arrived to escape the religious conflicts on the Iberian peninsular at the time. Within the attractive Jewish Quarter and inspired by the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, to this day it has no electric light and its wooden barrel-vaulted ceilings and beautiful interior are instead illuminated by more than 1000 candles and the light from 72 windows.
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Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Historical Landmark

Dam Square

Historical Landmark
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Westerkerk on Prinsengracht Canal, Amsterdam.
Those on a budget will love this free walking tour of Amsterdam | © scenicireland.com / Christopher Hill Photographic / Alamy Stock Photo
This ever-busy central square contains Amsterdam’s Royal Palace, the National Monument and de Nieuwe Kerk. With origins going back to the 13th century, Dam Square historically held a thriving marketplace and today locals and tourists alike flock to its shops, cafes, bars and sights.
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Atmosphere:

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark, Instagrammable, Crowded

Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder

Church, Museum
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Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic), Amsterdam.
The Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic) dates to the mid-17th century | © Michael Harris / Alamy Stock Photo
Within the Red Light District nestles this splendid restored 17th century canal house. You can explore living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens preserved from the Dutch Golden Age before climbing the stairs to reveal a marvel, a whole church in the attic, known as Ons’ Heer Lieve op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic). After the Reformation, Catholicism was banned by the Dutch government and so many Catholics had to practise their faith secretly, such as at this hidden church.
More Info
Sun:
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Mon:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

A'DAM Toren

Building
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A'dam tower, Amsterdam.
A’DAM Toren has many attractions within its walls | © Dutch Cities / Alamy Stock Photo
The ex-Royal Dutch Shell oil company offices in Amsterdam’s up-and-coming Noord district were in 2016 transformed into this impressive tower with a multiple of attractions, including a nightclub in the basement (Shelter, open 24-hours) and another high up in the tower. A revolving restaurant can be found on the 19th floor, and there’s an interactive exhibition about Amsterdam’s history, and Europe’s highest suspended swing.
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The Heineken Experience

Brewery
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De Pijp Neighbourhood-Netherlands-Amsterdam
Discover everything about Heineken at the Heineken Experience | Amy Wren / © Culture Trip
Heineken’s historic brewery (which closed in 1988) now houses an interactive museum that takes visitors from the history of the Heineken family through to the brewing and bottling processes, visiting the horse stables, the copper beer tanks and a view of Heineken commercials from around the world.
More Info
Sun:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Mon:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Tue:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Wed:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Thu:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Fri:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Sat:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm

Atmosphere:

Touristy, Photo Opportunity

This article is an updated version of a story created by Tom Coggins.

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