Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Welcome to Amsterdam

Welcome to Amsterdam - a city known for its stunning works of art, canals, and unusual architecture. The best way is to get to know the beauties of Amsterdam by cycling, and before you go on a direct visit, explore all the important tourist tips that we have selected for you. On our page, you will find a guide to the capital of the Netherlands, information on city tours, accommodation units, restaurants, the most important attractions, and beauties. Embark on a digital adventure with us through one of the most beautiful and unusual cities in Europe. Explore how to best prepare for the trip and enjoy an unforgettable experience.

The most important information about Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city that has more canals than Venice, and is very bike-friendly. Here you’ll learn the most essential information about this city.
  • History of Amsterdam - Amsterdam developed around a dam in the Amstel river at the end of the 12th century and was founded around the thirteenth century as a fishing village. The Golden Age of Amsterdam was from 1585 to 1672 when the town was the staple market of the world. And even after that period, Amsterdam managed to retain its position as the financial centre of Europe until the economic recession during the period 1795-1813. After that, the city began to develop and with the Industrial Revolution a large number of worker migrants came from the Dutch countryside into the city of Amsterdam. In the 1970s, the number of foreign immigrants grew enormously, and in the 21st century, the city attracted many tourists. Because of that, Amsterdam became an actual tourist city.
  • Geography and time zone - Amsterdam is located in the Western Netherlands, in the province of North Holland, and the river Amstel ends in the city centre and connects to a large number of canals. The city has more than 100 km of canals. Most of the canals are navigable by boat, and the main canals are the Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizersgracht. Even though Amsterdam is intensely urbanised, parks and nature reserves make up 12% of its land area. Amsterdam is in time zone: CET, GMT +1.
  • Climate - Amsterdam has an oceanic climate which means that winters are cool and summers are warm. Temperatures vary year by year, but summers are moderately warm with several hot days every month. The average daily high in August is 22.1 °C.
  • Demography - Amsterdam has an estimated population of 1,157,519 that includes adjacent suburban areas. Within the city limits, there was an estimated population of 813,562 in 2016. Most of the population is from the Netherlands, while the most prominent minorities are from Suriname, Indonesia, Germany, and Turkey. Amsterdam has 180 different nationalities. Christians form the largest religious group, while Islam is the next largest religion.
  • Tradition and culture - What is Amsterdam unique for? - Amsterdam has more culture per capita than anywhere else. Very few buildings are over six stories tall. The city is below sea level, but the wooden poles support it, so it doesn’t sink. Amsterdam actually has more canals than Venice and it has more bicycles than people. You can only buy/smoke cannabis in coffee shops because it’s illegal to smoke joints in public. The city has over 2,500 houseboats and a houseboat for abandoned cats.

City Travel Tips for Amsterdam

Here you’ll find some general information about Amsterdam and read some tips and advice.
  • Official Language and other languages spoken - The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, and the majority of Amsterdam’s residents speak English. Other widely spread languages are German and French.
  • Entering the city: Procedures and requirements - When entering the Netherlands, your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the planned date of departure from the Schengen area and it must have two blank pages. A visa is not required for stays under 90 days.
  • Money Tips - Currency - The currency that is used in the Netherlands is Euro. The Amsterdam City Card provides free and discounted admissions to many of Amsterdam’s top museums, a free canal ride, free use of public transport, excluding trains, various giveaways, and a 25% discount on attractions and restaurants. You can get it at the I Amsterdam Visitor Information Centres at the Central Station and Schiphol Airport. You can get around Amsterdam by bike for 8 euros a day.
Emergency Numbers
  • Emergency helpline for fire, police and ambulance: 112.
  • Country Dialing Code Prefix - The dialing code prefix for the Netherlands is +31.
Useful apps, free travel map - The apps you should download before traveling to Amsterdam are:
  • GVB - the official app from Amsterdam's primary public transport operator that has real-time departure and arrival information, as well as up-to-date information on detours and disruptions. It covers buses, tram, metro, train, and ferry.
  • 9292ov - an app that will help you find your way around Amsterdam. It provides public transport advice for the whole of the Netherlands for all major public transport operators and the national railway network.
  • Q! Amsterdam - an app that allows you to learn about Amsterdam history, find unique places, and engage with local experts. In this app you can also add new places to visit to your virtual queue. It also contains a full index of every bike shop, coffee shop and available building in Amsterdam.
  • Trifold.it - a custom guide book with which you can explore Amsterdam neighborhoods. It contains custom travel information, local neighborhoods maps, and tips from your host.
  • The Map - a comprehensive tourist map and guide. It contains information on saving time and money by purchasing tickets via your phone, attractions, museums, day trips, excursions, shopping areas and categories, markets, squares and parks, historic buildings, nightlife areas, and more.

When to visit Amsterdam?

The best time to visit Amsterdam is between April and May or September and November because that way you would avoid the peak of the season and the crowds of tourists. In April and May, the temperatures are on the rise and tulips are in bloom. September and November have relatively mild weather, and the prices of accommodation might be a bit lower.

How to get to Amsterdam?

Getting to Amsterdam by:
  • Plane - Amsterdam has one international airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. It is located 14.5 km south-west of Amsterdam. It is the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic.
  • Train - the main central station in Amsterdam is Centraal Station. This station has fast train connections with other European cities such as Brussels, Paris and Cologne.
  • Bus - there is also a bus station in Centraal Station. Buses from cites such as Berlin, Paris, Copenhagen, Prague, and more have a stop here.
  • Car - the highways that lead into the city are A1, A2, and A4. You can get into the Netherlands from Germany and Belgium.

Activities for tourists in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has become a popular destination for tourists because of its canals and culture. Here you’ll read about what you should do in this beautiful city.
Best tours - Amsterdam is a city best toured with a local. So here are some of the best tours you should definitely go on and the best way to discover this beautiful city:
  • Stromma - Hop-On Hop-Off Boat - this service gives you an opportunity to create your own sightseeing tour at your own pace. You can hop on and hop off as much as you like, and there is also a guide via headphones in 19 languages, including English, French, German, and Spanish. The price of the ticket is 32.50 euros, and you can book it on the Stromma website.
  • Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam - Countryside Bike Tour and Cheese Tasting - this tour is a great way to escape the city and explore the Dutch landscape riding along the Amstel river. You’ll be able to see Windmills and visit a Cheese and Clogs farm, all while being accompanied by a local private guide. Dutch bicycles are included in this tour. The price is 42 euros for adults, and 37 for kids. You can book it on the Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam website.
  • With Locals - Amsterdam’s Favorite Food Tour - this is a private tour, with just you and a local guide who will take you exploring in the Pijp. You’ll try Surinamese snacks, a Kroket, you’ll visit the biggest daily outdoor market of Europe and taste cheese. After that you’ll try a fish from a local vendor, and top it all off with something sweet and a beer. You can choose from nine different locals. The price of this tour is 47 euros per person, and you can book it on the With Locals website.
  • Free Walking Tours Amsterdam - Classic Tour - explore Amsterdam on foot with a local who will tell you the best stories that the city can offer. The guide will tell you all about Dutch culture and typical Dutch food. You can book this tour on the Free Walking Tours Amsterdam Website.
Best Shopping - Amsterdam is a great shopping destination with shops that offer something for everyone’s style. Some of the best shopping areas are:
  • De Negen Straatjes - a shopping area in the heart of Amsterdam. It has a lot of boutiques and it comprises nine little streets, as its name suggests - Nine Little Streets. In this area you can find everything from jewelry stores to art galleries and shops to fashion boutiques. You can also enjoy a hot or cold beverage in one of the cute cafes or pubs.
  • Albert Cuyp Market - one of the largest open-air markets in Europe. It has a lot of shopping and food-tasting opportunities. You can find clothes, accessories, flowers and other fresh produce, such as seafood, cheese and vegetables. The market is located in De Pijp.
  • PC Hooftstraat - a shopping street in the Museum Quarter. It has shops from the top brands, such as Lacoste, Gucci, Chanel, Hugo Boss, and Louis Vuitton. There are also delicious restaurants and cafes in the area. It is the most expensive shopping street in the Netherlands.
  • Haarlemmerstraat & Haarlemmerdijk - two shopping streets in Jordaan that have a lot of different independent boutiques and specialty shops. Here you can find shops that offer everything from environment-minded fashion to kitchen gadgets, along with restaurants and cafes.
Events and festivals - In Amsterdam there is a lot going on throughout the entire year. Some of the most popular events and festivals are:
  • Light Festival - it takes place in early December until late January in the Amsterdam City Center. It’s a festival where artists, architects and designers from all around the world bring their light artworks and installations.
  • Christmas Markets - they take place from late November until early January throughout Amsterdam. You can do some Christmas shopping there, and enjoy a hot chocolate or even go ice-skating. There is also an ice sculpture festival, and everything is decorated with Christmas ornaments and lights.
  • Tulip Day - it takes place on the third Saturday of January in the Picking Garden on Dam Square. You can pick a free bouquet of flowers from around 200,000 tulips. There are also countless surprises and promotions for the visitors.
  • King’s Day - it takes place on April 27th throughout Amsterdam. It is one of the main festivals in this city where people dress in orange and go out into the streets and canals. There is live music, street vendors, and outdoor bars.
  • The Open Garden Days - every third weekend of June around 30 private gardens in Amsterdam are opened to the public. There is a ticket that allows you access to all participating parks.

Tourist attractions in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is home to many museums and great architecture. You shouldn’t miss visiting:
  • Rijksmuseum - an art museum that houses European masterpieces. It is located at the Museum Square and it was founded in the Hague in 1798. In 1808 it was moved to Amsterdam. The museum has a total collection of 1 million objects, but only 8,000 of them are on display. It is the largest art museum in the Netherlands. The Museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and it’s free for ages 18 and under. The ticket for adults is 20 euros. You can book a visit on the official website of the Rijksmuseum.
  • Van Gogh Museum - a museum that houses the world’s largest Van Gogh collection. It is located at the Museum Square and it was opened in 1973. The museum contains Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings and it also conducts research on his life and work. The museum is open from Tuesday until Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. The entry is free for ages 18 and under, and the ticket price for adults is 19 euros. You can book your ticket on the Van Gogh Museum website.
  • Anne Frank House - a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. It is located in central Amsterdam and it was opened in 1960. The museum consists of the main house and the annex. There is Anne Frank’s room, Diary room, A Room Full of Dreams, and Reflections on Anne Frank. The museum is open from Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 8 pm, and from Friday to Sunday from 9 am to 10 pm. The ticket price for adults is 14 euros, and for children aged from 10 to 17 it’s 7 euros. You can book your ticket on the official website of Anne Frank House.
  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam - a museum of modern and contemporary art and design. The museum is located at the Museum Square and it features artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Marc Chagal, Henri Matisse, and more. It is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, and on Fridays it’s open from 10 am to 8 pm. The ticket price for adults is 20 euros and for students it’s 10 euros. The entry is free for children and young people up to the age of 18. You can book your ticket on the Stedelijk Museum website.
  • Vondelpark - a public urban park with an open-air theater. It is located in the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid and it was opened in 1865. It is the largest city park in Amsterdam. There are free concerts at the open-air theatre or at the park’s bandstand. There is also the statue of the poet Vondel, the cast iron music dome, the Groot Melkhuis with a playground for children, and the historical Pavillon with its restaurant Vertigo.
  • Heineken Experience - a historic brewery and corporate visitor center for the Heineken beer. This building was the first Heineken brewery that was built in 1867. There are different tours: Heineken Tour where you can access the first built Heineken brewery, have a peek inside the original brew room and have one Heineken beer for 21 euros; Rock the City Tour where you can have access to the brewery in a self-guided tour, canal cruise through Amsterdam with a guide, go to the A’DAM Lookout, and have one Heineken beer for 39,50 euros; VIP Tour that lets you have a unique tour of the historical brewery, a local Heineken Connoisseur as your guide, exclusive access to a hidden bar, and your personalized Heineken gift for 55 euros; and The Perfect Match tour that grants you access to both Heineken Experience and the Johan Cruijff ArenA, self-guided tours, and one Heineken beer for 27,50 euros. You can book your tickets on the Heineken website.
  • ARTIS - a zoo with an aquarium that is located in the centre of Amsterdam. It is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. The zoo also has a planetarium, a greenhouse, and an art and sculpture collection. The zoo is open daily from 9 am to 5/6 pm. The ticket price is 25 euros, while for children aged 3 to 9 years it’s 20 euros. You can book the ticket on the website of ARTIS Zoo.
  • Rembrandt House Museum - a historic house and art museum of the painter Rembrandt. It is located in the Jodenbuurt area. The museum contains Rembrandt’s etchings and paintings of his contemporaries. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.  The entrance fee for adults is 15 euros, for children ages 6 to 17 it’s 6 euros, and for students it’s 10 euros. You can make a reservation online and book your timeslot on the museum’s website.
  • Royal Palace Amsterdam - an ornate Golden Age palace and royal venue. It is one of the three palaces in the Netherlands which are at disposal of the monarch. The palace is located on the west side of Dam Square. It was built in the 17th century. The palace is open as much as possible from 10 am to 5 pm, and you can check that on its website, along with booking your ticket. The ticket price for adults is 10 euros, for students 9 euros, and for children under 18 the entrance is free.
  • The National Maritime Museum - a maritime museum that has one of the largest and most notable maritime collections in the world with approximately 400,000 objects. The collection includes paintings, models of ships, navigation instruments and maps of the world. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. The admission for adults 18 years and up is 17,50 euros, for students its 8,50 euros, for children 4-17 years 8,50 euros and it’s free for children 3 years and under. You can book your ticket on the National Maritime Museum website.

Accommodation in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a lot of accommodation types from which you can choose depending on your kind of the trip. There are hotels, short stay apartments, bed and breakfasts, campsites, accommodation for groups, hostels, and houseboats.
  • Hotels - There are over 350 hotels in Amsterdam, some of which are renowned for their state-of -the-art architecture, historical significance, exclusive design or original interiors. You can choose a luxury, modern, historic or spa hotel. Prices go from around 40 euros to over a thousand euros. You should try the Bilderberg Garden Hotel, a small-scale five star hotel, or Hotel Mercure Amsterdam West, a modern 4-star hotel that is close to the airport.
  • Apartments - Amsterdam offers different apartments that offer all the comforts of home. There are student hotels that are only meant for short stays. You should try The Student Hotel Amsterdam City or Amsterdam West. The prices for apartments go from 135 euros to over 600 euros per night.
  • Hostels - In hostels in Amsterdam you can opt for dormitories or private rooms or even check in at a boutique version. You should try WOW Amsterdam or The Bulldog Hotel that both ofer affordable accommodation.
  • Houseboats - Houseboats offer an original stay. You can rent out a houseboat and spend a couple of nights on the water. You can do that with Rent a Houseboat that is in the Amsterdam Area, Blue Wave Houseboat that is also a bed & breakfast, and Bookahouseboat.com.

Best restaurants in Amsterdam

While in Amsterdam, you should definitely try some traditional Dutch foods like bitterballen, deep-fried crispy meatballs traditionally served with mustard for dipping, stroopwafel, two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup, thick Dutch fries, Dutch pancakes, or jenever, the precursor to gin.
  • Where to eat - Here are some restaurants that offer traditional Dutch food: Restaurant Moeders - located in the city centre, this restaurant serves only the most traditional Dutch dishes like stamppot, mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables, served with meat and gravy, and rudderless, a slowly braised beef stew; RIJKS - a restaurant of the Rijksmuseum that has a locally-sourced menu. It uses local ingredients to make regional food. You can try regional fish or meat, and artisanal cheeses. Cafe Loetje - this brand has cafes at various locations in Amsterdam. They serve homemade fries and juicy stakes.
  • Where to go out - Amsterdam has a lively nightlife. During the week dance clubs can stay open until 3 in the morning, and on the weekend until 4 in the morning. There is also a special classification of bars called nachtcafes, or night cafes. The nightlife in central Amsterdam is mostly located in two major areas: the Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein, where you can find dance clubs, bars and casual clubs popular with local students.

Public transport in Amsterdam

The company that is in charge of public transport in Amsterdam is GVB. The transport consists of metro, tram, bus and ferry. There are 1 hour tickets, bike ticket that allows you to take your bike with you outside rush hours in the metro and the IJtram, Bus Tram Metro 1.5 hour ticket, and P+R ticket that gives you the right to two trips, leaving and returning, and a maximum of 1 hour per trip, using GVB trams, busses, or metro.
  • Buses - There are 15 bus lines in Amsterdam, which include night lines. The bus network connects all neighbourhoods with other city areas. You can’t pay by cash on any GVB buses, including night buses. You can see all of the routes and maps on the official GVB website.
  • Tram - Trams are one of the quickest ways to get into and around the city centre. Many of the lines end at Amsterdam Central Station. You can see all of the routes and maps on the GVB website.
  • Metro - Lines of the Metro go from Central Station to the city’s outlying districts. There are four lines that are often the fastest way to reach districts like Bijlmer, Amsterveen and Diemen. You can see all of the routes and maps on the GVB website.
  • Ferry - Ferries provide free connections across the River IJ for pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds. Many of them can be found directly behind Amsterdam Central Station and they provide service across the water to and from Amsterdam Noord. You can see all of the routes and maps on the GVB website.
  • Cycling - As previously mentioned, Amsterdam has more bikes than habitants. It is a really bike-friendly city with lots of bike tracks. You can rent a bike all around the city in rentals like Ajaxbike, Rent a Bike or A-Bike Rental Kerkstraat.
  • Taxi - Taxi is a good choice if you’re coming to and from the airport or traveling at night. But the public transport is probably quicker during the day. Official taxis in Amsterdam have a roof light with the official taxxi logo and blue number plates. Some of the official taxi operators in Amsterdam are Taxicentrale Amsterdam, Staxi, Taxistad and Taxi Direct Amsterdam.

Frequently asked questions about Amsterdam

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The most important information before going to Amsterdam?