City Guide


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Not only is Amsterdam the capital of the Netherlands, but it is also the largest and one of the most historic cities in the country, and in Europe. Flat, with a clear, crisp atmosphere, Amsterdam is perfectly navigable by foot or bicycle, and most of the city's attractions lie within easy walking distance.

A culture of art appreciation pervades Amsterdam. Two of the city's museums are dedicated to world-famous Dutch painters: the Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt House. The Rijksmuseum hosts a collection of 17th-century Dutch artists including Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals. These museums, along with the Diamond Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art are located around Museum Square (Museumplein). Museum Square is also home to the US Consulate, and the famous Concertgebouw symphonic hall, and is the site of the much-photographed I Amsterdam sign. Keeping with the rich history of the city, the very home in which Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during the 1942 occupation is open to visitors; the girl's famous diary is preserved and on display. Other popular sites include the Hermitage Amsterdam, The Jewish Historical Museum, The Resistance Museum, and the Museum of the Tropics.

Amsterdam's reputation as a liberal party city attracts many tourists as well. Popular among visitors is Amsterdam's Red Light District (De Wallen), where legalised prostitution and the sale of marijuana draw revellers from across the globe. The Amsterdam Sex Museum, located near the central train station, gives a Kinsey-esque picture of sex through the ages, but is not for the easily offended or squeamish!

Travellers wanting to make the most of their Amsterdam experience might want to invest in an I Amsterdam card, which allows for free use of public transport as well as discounts on restaurants, museums and attractions. The card is available at several Tourist Offices in Amsterdam, at some museums, or online.

Almond Blossom, Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is a definitive tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Situated in a modern building, the simple architecture subtly underscores the artists' colourful and extraordinary work. The museum houses the largest collection of Van Gogh's work in the world, comprised of more than...  see full details

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum was opened in 1885 and is best known for its collection of 17th-century Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. The most notable of these paintings is Rembrandt's masterpiece The Night Watch which has pride of place. The...  see full details

Stedelijk Museum

Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art

The Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art closely traces the developments in art of the second half of the 20th century, showcasing the most impressive collection of modern art in Amsterdam. The permanent exhibition focuses on De Stijl, Cobra, Nouveau Realisme, Pop Art, Colorfield Painting,...  see full details

Rembrandt House

Rembrandt House

This museum provides an insight into the life and times of the famous Dutch master. Rembrandt lived here between 1639 and 1658, the pinnacle of his career. The famous artist went bankrupt in 1656 and a list of his possessions was drawn up...  see full details

Abraham de Vries - Portrait of the regents of the Amsterdam city orphanage in 1633

Amsterdam Museum

Housed in a lovely 17th-century building that was formerly an orphanage, the Historical Museum explores Amsterdam's development from a small medieval settlement along the river into a thriving modern city. The museum's galleries showcase the progress of each century, with particular emphasis given to...  see full details

Red Light District

Red Light District (De Wallen)

A visit to Amsterdam would not be complete without a stroll around the notorious Red Light District. The atmosphere can be chaotic, with throngs of tourists jostling for space alongside city slickers, pimps and drug dealers. The prostitutes of De Wallen are part of...  see full details

Dutch Resistance Museum, Amsterdam

The Dutch Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum)

Between May 1940 and May 1945, during World War II, the Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany, and this museum documents the everyday effects of this foreign invasion on the Dutch population as well as the resistance movement. A trip to the Dutch Resistance...  see full details

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis)

Although the Royal Palace is the official royal residence, it is mainly used for functions and is one of three palaces that the royal family of the Netherlands reside in. Visitors should check the calendar on the official website listed below to ensure...  see full details

Keukenhof, Amsterdam


One of the top attractions in the Netherlands, and the best reason to visit in the spring, Keukenhof is one of those magical places that frequently earns itself a spot on lists like 'Places You Have to Go in Your Lifetime'. A huge...  see full details

Maritime Museum, Amsterdam

National Maritime Museum

Covering four centuries of Dutch naval history, the National Maritime Museum, or Het Scheepvaartmuseum, allows visitors a glimpse into the adventurous seafaring past of Dutch explorers and merchants through exhibits of antiquarian maps, navigation instruments, paintings and ship models, creating one of the most extensive...  see full details


Heineken Experience

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam, and indeed in the Netherlands, the Heineken Experience is not to be missed. After opening its doors in 2001, the Heineken Experience has been attracting international beer-lovers for almost a decade. Housed in the original...  see full details

Coffeeshop, Amsterdam

Amsterdam Coffeeshops

Amsterdam's coffeeshops are an iconic part of the city, and for many tourists they constitute a unique and essential element to any visit to the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, 'coffeeshop' means a place where cannabis is openly sold and smoked, while 'café' refers to somewhere...  see full details

Keizersgracht Canal, Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canal Tour

Amsterdam's famous canal tours are an essential experience for visitors to the city, and continue to delight and amaze tourists from all over the world. Amsterdam's UNESCO-listed canals were essential to the city's transport and defensive strategies in the 17th century, but these days...  see full details

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam


The Concertgebouw (literally, 'concert building') is one of Amsterdam's top-rated tourist attractions, and is widely regarded as one of the finest concert halls in the world, easily comparable to the Vienna Musikverein or the Moscow Conservatory. Not only is the Concertgebouw a building of...  see full details

Vondelpark, Amsterdam


Sometimes when you're on holiday in a foreign city, it's nice to take a break from sightseeing and experience the city as the locals do. Amsterdam's Vondelpark, dating back to 1850, offers visitors the chance to do just this, in a relaxed and...  see full details

Amsterdam Sex Museum

Sex Museum Amsterdam

Amsterdam's fame as the home of legalised prostitution is well-known to visitors, so it is only fitting that the world's oldest sex museum be situated here. The museum opened in 1985 with just a few displays of 19th-century erotic objects and there was some...  see full details