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The Royal Palace | © Diego Delso / WikiCommons
The Royal Palace | © Diego Delso / WikiCommons
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The 10 Most Striking Buildings in Amsterdam

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 24 March 2017
Amsterdam has always been an architectural hotbed and features many stunning buildings that often represent important moments from the city’s past. These striking feats of engineering include civic structures from the Dutch Golden Age, examples of red-brick expressionism and several post-modern masterpieces.

The Royal Palace

Despite its name, the palace on Dam Square wasn’t always owned by the Dutch royal family. The building was originally constructed by city’s municipality during the height of the Dutch Golden Age, at a time when Amsterdam was among the most powerful cities in the world. The palace was designed to symbolise Amsterdam’s international influence and purposely resembles classic roman civic architecture.

📍Royal Palace Amsterdam, Dam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, +31 20 522 6161

The Royal Palace | © Guilhem Vellut / Flickr
The Royal Palace | © Guilhem Vellut / Flickr

The Eye Film Institute

From a certain distance the Eye Film Institute’s sloping, yet jagged silhouette creates the illusion of movement – a phenomenon that was purposely designed into the building. This monolithic shell contains several culturally important facilities, including several modern cinemas and the largest film archives in the Netherlands.

📍 EYE Film Institute, IJpromenade 1, Amsterdam +31 20 589 1400

The Eye Film Institute | © Pleuntje / Flickr
The Eye Film Institute | © Pleuntje / Flickr

Het Scheepvaarthuis

Het Scheepvaarthuis is the first, complete example of Amsterdamse School architecture and bears many of the flourishes that are commonly associated with the group, such as ornate metalwork and imposing, yet elegant red-brick spires or turrets. Today, it contains a five-star hotel.

📍Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam, Prins Hendrikkade 108, Amsterdam +31 20 552 0000

Het Scheepvarthuis | © Janericloebe / WikiCommons
Het Scheepvaarthuis | © Janericloebe / WikiCommons

Science Center NEMO

Amsterdam’s sole science museum resides within a massive, peculiarly shaped building in the city’s eastern docklands. From its side, this turquoise structure resembles an enormous ocean liner, that is preparing to depart from Amsterdam’s harbour.

📍 Science Center NEMO, Oosterdok 2, Amsterdam +31 20 531 3233

Science Center NEMO | © Peter Corbett / Flickr
Science Center NEMO | © Peter Corbett / Flickr

Het Schip

Like Scheepvaarthuis, Het Schip was designed according to Amsterdamse School standards and features many beautiful, curved brick motifs. This residential building was constructed by a socialist housing firm in 1919 and accommodated lower income families for almost a century.

📍 Het Schip, Oostzaanstraat 45, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 686 8595

Het Schip's famous spire | © Janericloebe / Flickr
Het Schip’s famous spire | © Janericloebe / Flickr

The Rijksmuseum

In the late 19th century many architects in the Netherlands adapted their work around Neoclassicism, leading to the construction of several, historically important buildings that resemble much older examples of Dutch structural design. The Rijksmuseum’s geometrical facade and symmetrical entrance, for example, homages Dutch Golden Age architecture, imbuing the building with a sense of historical grandeur.

📍 The Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, Amsterdam, +31 900 0745

A cycle lane runs right through the Rijksmuseum | © martin_vmorris / Flickr
A cycle lane runs right through the Rijksmuseum | © martin_vmorris / Flickr

The Stedelijk Museum

Although the Stedelijk’s main base dates back to the late 19th century (and shares a striking resemblance to the Rijksmuseum) an additional wing was added to the museum in 2012. This newer, ultra-modern section has often been compared to a giant, white bathtub, due to its unique shape.

📍 Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museumplein 10, Amsterdam +31 20 573 2911

Pathé Tuschinski

Pathé Tuschinski is regularly credited as the most beautiful cinema in the world, due its astounding external and interior design. The entire theatre is adorned with ornamental fittings that recall Art Deco or Art Nouveau, which form a wonderfully effective pastiche.

📍 Pathé Tuschinski, Reguliersbreestraat 26-34, Amsterdam, +31 900 1458

Inside Pathé Tuschinski | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr
Inside Pathé Tuschinski | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr


Westerkerk is the largest protestant cathedral in the Netherlands and was constructed after the Reformation in order to accommodate Amsterdam’s newly converted Calvinist population. The church was completed in 1631 and is among the most famous examples of Dutch Renaissance architecture.

📍Westerkerk, Prinsengracht 281, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, +31 20 624 7766

Beurs van Berlage

Beurs van Berlage is possibly the most famous building ever designed by influential, city planner Hendrik Petrus Berlage. In fact, this former stock exchange features many of Berlage’s iconic touches, such as expressive, red-brick arrangements and sober, boxed turrets.

📍 Beurs van Berlage, Damrak 243, Amsterdam +31 20 530 4141

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Beurs van Berlage | © Shutterstock