From visiting top-notch museums to exploring exciting neighbourhoods, here's our guide to all the things you should see and do in Amsterdam.
Ever since the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) was launched, travel has been on our minds. As we plan our bucket list of destinations for 2022, we’ve got a complete guide to Germany, Seoul and now Amsterdam! So, if you’re planning to visit the city of canals anytime soon, bookmark this guide as we cover all the bases, from arts and culture to food and drinks and must-visit attractions.
The ultimate guide to Amsterdam: Things to do
1. Marvel at Dutch art at the Rijksmuseum
This museum is a monumental treasure of Holland. Step inside the hallowed hallways and marvel at artworks from the Dutch Golden Age. Go on a guided tour as it will take you crisscrossing the museum, highlighting renowned masterpieces. That includes Rembrandt’s largest and most famous painting: The Night Watch.
2. Go on the Heineken Experience
If you love Heineken, then this attraction should be on the top of your list. What was once the first Heineken brewery is now an immersive, self-guided experience on the brand’s history and brewing processes across the four floors of exhibits. The highlight has to be the 4D experience where you get to feel what’s it like to be a bottle of Heineken. And at the end of it, you can enjoy a glass of icy cold beer — Heineken, of course!
3. Go back in time at the Anne Frank House
If you’ve read the book “The Diary of a Young Girl”, you would know about Anne Frank. She and her family used to live in Amsterdam, trying to hide from the Nazis in a secret section at the back of a house hidden behind a bookshelf (“het achterhuis”) during World War II. Fast-forward to today, the house is a museum. The Anne Frank House allows you to go back in time and experience what was it like for the family back in the day, from photos and memorabilia to stepping into the hiding spot where Anne Frank used to write said book.
4. Walk on the wild side at Amsterdam’s red light district
The city’s red-light district at Da Wallen is famous – or infamous, depending on how you look at it – for live sex shows, sex museums and the like. As prostitution is legal in the country, don’t be surprised when you see sex workers behind red-lit windows. Learn more about the history of prostitution and the women behind the windows at Red Light Secrets Museum. Alternatively, you can explore the meaning of eroticism at the Erotic Museum. Rest assured, the neighbourhood is anything but dull.
5. Learn about the painter behind the paintings at the Van Gogh Museum
Just a stone’s throw away from the Rijksmuseum, the namesake museum tells the story of renowned Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. On top of the impressive collection of his works, including paintings, letters and drawings, the museum also highlights his struggles and challenges faced along the way to create the masterpieces.
6. Cross the river and explore the borough of Amsterdam-Noord
The city is steeped in history but for a change of scenery, you can check out Amsterdam-Noord. Isolated from the rest of the city by the IJ river, this hidden gem is made up of hipster cafes, cool bars, quaint villages and open countryside. Movie buffs, check out the Eye Film Museum for special screenings of new and old arthouse films. Or head to the A’DAM Tower for spectacular views of the city at its observatory deck. Then swing by NDSM Wharf, a former shipyard turned into a thriving cultural hotspot, brimming with street art and flea markets, alongside rad cocktail bars, cosy coffee spots and sleek restaurants.
7. Chill out at Vondelpark
An oasis of lush flora and fauna, Vondelpark attracts throngs of locals and tourists alike. Find a cosy spot and watch the world go by. Alternatively, you can hit up one of the cafes and restaurants for sammies, coffee and waterfront views.
8. Snack on Dutch food
For an amazing selection of frikkandel (minced meat hot dog), kroket (dutch croquette) and burgers, hit up Febo. With 22 shops across the capital, you’re bound to find one. The cool part of this fast-food franchise is that it’s automated. Lined along the walls are vertical trays of fried goodness – bringing a whole new meaning to window shopping but for food.
9. Go on a canal tour
Amsterdam is known for its rich canal networks. So what better way to explore the city than going on a fun canal boat tour? As you’re on the waters, take in the sights of the 300-year-old canal houses that stood the test of time. Fun fact: the 17th Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht boasts Unesco World Heritage status.
10. Have a steak at Cafe Loetje
Started out as a billiards bar, Cafe Loetje is now famed for its steaks in Amsterdam and beyond. The beef tenderloin is served medium rare alongside a choice of gravy in flavours like sambal and garlic. But we say go for the OG option, and mop it all up with the accompanying white bread.
There you have it! All the best things to do in Amsterdam.