Amsterdam’s easily ranks among the best cities in the world for young people and has plenty to offer anyone in their twenties. So whether you’re looking to party, eager to discover new experiences or just want to chill out with some friends, Amsterdam really has it all.
An obvious, yet fitting choice as a significant margin of 20-something-year-olds head to Amsterdam to enjoy the city’s cannabis culture. Due to the large number of licensed coffeeshops spread throughout the city finding a decent place to smoke pot is usually pretty easy.
Explore the canals onboard a pedal boat
Chart your on course through Amsterdam’s historic canal belt by renting out a pedal boat. It is possible to hire these four-seated vessels from tour companies based in the Amsterdam’s centre.
Watch an Ajax Game
While a considerable number of bars in Amsterdam screen Ajax matches whenever the team is playing, nothing beats watching the club duke it out on their home turf in Johan Cruijff Arena. The stadium is located in Amsterdam’s Zuidoost district and seats over 50,000 supporters.
Give someone a backie on your bike
Nothing says ‘I am a reckless, fun-loving person in my twenties’ in Amsterdam quite like sticking someone on the back of your bike and then riding preciously through the city’s busy cycle paths. Extra points if you’ve already had a couple of beers.
Visit a sex shop
Aside from the kitschy tourist-orientated sex shops scattered throughout Amsterdam, there are many other more tasteful establishments that cater to a wide range of preferences, orientations and kinks. There’s even a condom specialist store in the Red Light District, called Condomerie, which also acts as an information centre for safe, fun sex, and several businesses that focus specifically on female eroticism.
Become a coffee connoisseur
Coffee snobbery has reached peak levels in Amsterdam over the past few years and there’s now dozens of high-end espresso bars spread around the city (not to mention the ever increasing number of craft roasters). Seriously, though, the coffee’s great and becoming a true connoisseur is becoming much easier thanks to large variety of premium joe available in Amsterdam.
Drink a Kopstoot
Ever heard of jenever? It’s a delicious juniper based spirit that predates gin and has remained extremely popular in the Netherlands for around 400 years. Pairing this tasty, aromatic liquor with a beer makes a kopstoot (which translates into English as a headbutt), a potent concoction which produces a hangover that becomes, less and less bearable the closer you get to 30.
Take a picnic to Vondelpark
Picnicking in Vondelpark is a summertime staple in Amsterdam, especially when there’s a bottle of rosé present.
Check out the largest flea market in Europe
Amsterdam’s IJhallen flea market takes place on the first weekend of every month inside two industrial sized shipping containers on NDSM-Werf. There’s always a massive selection of secondhand treasures on offer at the market, including preloved shoes, furniture, vinyls and clothing.
Go vintage shopping
Looking for brand clothing on a budget? Then make sure to check out vintage stores like Episode, Zipper or Kiloshop which stock secondhand items created by many leading brands including Doc Martens, Ralph Lauren and Adidas.
Set sail on the Pancake Boat
That’s right! There’s a boat cruise in Amsterdam that revolves around endless supplies of mouthwatering Dutch style pancakes. There are several types of cruise available onboard the Pancake Boat, including a nighttime adventure that trails along the river IJ.
Spend four days partying during ADE
Literally thousands of EDM musicians perform at venues throughout Amsterdam during ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event). The festival’s program is spread over four days in mid-October and always includes some of the best parties, concerts and club nights of the year. Obviously it is impossible to attend all of these events, but trying to cram as many into four days as possible is something everyone in their twenties should attempt at least once.
Despite the fact that most people in Amsterdam speak fluent English, learning Dutch is incredibly rewarding and opens up many possibilities. Furthermore, picking up Dutch is surprisingly easy for English speakers as the two languages are closely related.
Geek out at TonTon Club
Both TonTon Clubs in Amsterdam feature around 20 classic coin-op video game machines that date back to the golden era of arcades. There are some real gems inside either location including Time Crisis II, Bishi Bashi Special and several 1990s fighting games like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. There’s also booze.
Sign-up for a workshop
There are some pretty awesome workshops on offer in Amsterdam including flamenco lessons at a tapas restaurant, cooking classes at the city’s biggest Asian supermarket, and hands-on biotech seminars at Mediamatic.
Play glow in the dark mini golf
Everything at this indoor miniature golf course on Prinshendrikade glows with a florescent gleam befitting a 1980s science fiction movie. There’s 15 neon holes to conquer inside which are surrounded by tripped out obstacles.
Decide on your favourite club
Figuring out the best club in Amsterdam means visiting them all (or at least venturing beyond Rembrantsplein or Leidseplein).
Ride the over the edge swing
Ever noticed the red, metal contraption jutting off the top of A’DAM Toren? That’s the Over the Edge Swing, a 80ft high suspended swingset which dangles above Amsterdam’s northern dockland. While the ride certainly isn’t for the faint hearted, it does offer one of the best panoramas over Amsterdam.
Read de Avonden by Gerrit Reve
This classic Dutch novel follows 23-year-old office clerk Fritz as he desperately tries to avoid boredom by discussing increasingly bizarre topics with friends and relatives over the course of nine nights in Amsterdam. The book was recently translated for the first time into English and is regularly cited as the most important Dutch novel from the second half the 20th century.
Attend a film festival
Many of Amsterdam’s annual film festivals are open to the public and allow laypeople to watch premieres or previously unscreened films. Pluk de Nacht, for example, takes place every year on a rocky peninsula near Amsterdam’s Centraal Station while events like IDFA or CineAsia screen their programs at popular cinemas around the city.