Friends and guests often ask what we like to visit and do ourselves in Amsterdam. Or if we know a great place to stay.
Therefore we added a small summary of our favourites. It is not our intention to be complete. Consider this list of recommendations strictly personal. Enjoy!
MUSEUMS and BOAT RIDES
Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, Anne Frank house. they are for good reason our most visited museums. They are world class.
But if you want to understand Amsterdam a little better, we have a few other options for you. And Amsterdam as a whole is a kind of living and breathing artwork, and a canal cruise offers you a great view. In random order:
All about Amsterdam: Then, Now and in the Future
Museum Het Grachtenhuis (Canalhouse Museum)
Visit this beautiful Canalhouse in the heart of the city. Experience and learn how the famous canals were created, designed and built.
Museum Het Schip is dedicated to The Amsterdam School: an art and architecture movement of romance, the imagination and social ideals. It is sometimes referred to as the Dutch version of Jugendstil or Art Deco. You will find examples of the building style everywhere in the city. The most elaborate and famous example is Het Scheepvaarthuis, (The Shiping House), now used as a hotel.
Ons lieve heer op Solder (Our lord in the Attic)
A 17th-century canal house with a hidden Catholic church in the attic. While it was prohibited to celebrate mass, the authorities turned a blind eye. The church symbolises the characteristic (religious) tolerance of the Netherlands, established by the Dutch in the sixteenth century under Willem of Orange.
Established in De Bazel, a famous and beautiful building on Vijzelgracht 32. Exhibitions are on the ground floor and change all the time. You will also find the Stadsboekwinkel (City Bookstore) with a comprehensive selection of books, maps, prints, etc. all about Amsterdam. Unfortunately the website is in Dutch only, but use Translate, or just go visit. A visit will probably not take longer than an hour and is always rewarding.
In the 17th century, Amsterdam grew into the most important city in Europe. Trading on the high seas made the city incredibly rich and, in half a century, the city population grew to five times its size. A new, grand town hall was needed to underline the power of this metropolis
In the heart of Amsterdam on the Keizersgracht the house of the Amsterdam regent family Van Loon can still be seen. In 1602 Willem van Loon co-founded the Dutch East-India Company. Get a glimpse of the life of the Amsterdam Van Loon family in one of the finest canal houses of the city.
During WWII Amsterdam was occupied by the Nazi's for five years. This museum gives you a revealing insight in how things went. How some people risked their lives to fight back in secret. And some not. How people struggled to survive. How life went on, despite the situation. It is a touching experience. Really important to not forget.
The only museum of microbes, in the centre of Amsterdam, adjacent to Artis (the Zoo). You can’t see them, but they’re here. They are on you. In you. And you’ve got more than a hundred thousand billion of them. They’re with you when you eat, when you breathe, when you kiss. You will will love this museum. Also fun with children>
Not a real museum, but an amazing outdoors art experience. From Nov. 28, 2019 until Jan. 19, 2020. They will issue maps with self guided tours, or you can take a boat ride / canal cruise to see all art works. Google a bit and you will find many options to visit.
Boat Rides and Canal Tours
For us a canal tour with the half open traditional white boats, operated by one of the companies with a long history is the best option.
Their jetty at Spui in the middle of the is our favorite as starting point.
No, their name has nothing to do with love. It is a family name, an old dutch word meaning the foliage or leafage (see!) of trees. Nevertheless, fall in love with Lover's.
A young company, smaller boats, different approach. Nevertheless, a great choice.
You will find thousands of restaurants in Amsterdam.
Many of them are good, just check TripAdvisor and you will be fine. Nothing wrong with that.
We just add a few of our own favorites that will give that little extra to your Amsterdam experience.
Tempo Doeloe - Indonesian
Indonesia once was a colony of the Netherlands. Therefore you will find many good Indonesian restaurants in our country. Take your chance and try Rijsttafel (rice table) in one of the best: Tempo Doeloe (meaning 'The Good Old Days'). An outstanding traditional Indonesian family restaurant, awarded with a BiB Gourmand 2018.
Kantjil en de Tijger - Indonesian
Indonesian restaurant Kantjil & de Tijger shines for more than 25 years on a vibrant location near the Spui in the heart of Amsterdam. More accessible, spacious and contemporary, but their ricetable is really very good and traditional. And if you do not want to have the whole rice table, try Nasi Rames. That's a "Plate service mini rice table" for 1. Outstanding!
Eetcafé Van Beeren - Pubfood
Van Beeren has a renowned past as a brown pub in the Nieuwmarkt area, where locals, squatters, students and neighbours met each other while enjoying a drink and talkings about politics, life and the price of beer. Nowadays Van Beeren is a real Amsterdam eatery, focusing on good food.
Loetje - Dutch
Nearly 40 years ago, Café Loetje was a neighbourhood pub and billiards bar in Amsterdam South, where you could enjoy a fry-up, a meatball or a serving of cheese. Olav lived around the corner in those days. The sirloin steak was introduced when it appeared that patrons had an increasing desire for a ‘real’ dinner. Loetje’s butcher background came in handy. The steak was an instant and amazing success. The billiard tables were replaced by regular tables and the ‘new’ café filled up every day with fans of that wonderful slice of meat – ‘the Loetje steak’. You will find several Loetje's in the city.
De Blauwe Hollander - Dutch
De Blauwe Hollander (The Blue Dutchman) opened her doors at the first of April 1979, the name “Blauwe” (Blue) is a reference to the blue uniforms of the marines who used to be sent to Indonesia and Suriname to stay as a permanent representative of Holland. Good and honest Dutch food for a fair price.
De Plantage - French / European
A truly 'modern classic' restaurant. Contemporary cuisine. Beautifully located, adjacent to the Artis (the Zoo) in one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of Amsterdam. Just outside the city center, but easy to reach by public transportation (or go walking, amazing city views!).
Spaghetteria - Italian
In Italy a spaghetteria is a stand-alone phenomenon. A place where local chefs do nothing other than cooking fresh pasta dishes. Full of flavor and without any ado. The son of a friend of ours introduced this simple and honest straightforward Italian concept a decade or so ago. With enthusiasm, hospitality and a tad of Italian swagger, young people serve the dishes in a vibrant environment. It blends perfectly well in the loose atmosphere of Amsterdam.
You will find thousands of cafe's and bars in Amsterdam.
Find a few options with local flavour.
“In de Wildeman” is situated in a former Amsterdam distillery. A beer tasting bar without music and visited by a wide variety of people from all over the world and locals. 18 beers on draft. In addition, you'll find a selection of 250 different types of beers on bottle from all over the world.
Café De Kletskop is a delightful, cosy and busy local café, where as the name suggests, much is rumored. Or is it just a name of a typical Dutch biscuit?
Typical dutch beer café with many crafted beers from the Netherlands.
Old café established in one of the two remaining wooden houses in Amsterdam.
Local microbrewery and beer tasting bar.
Tasting tavern and liquor store in the Pijlsteeg, an alley behind the National Monument on the Dam square in Amsterdam. In around 1679 Wynand Fockink started a liqueur distillery. Soon a tasting tavern was added, where customers could taste and buy the products. To this day, this practice has continued; here liqueurs and genevers are still being made using the same 17th century traditional craft methods.
Enjoy the best artisanal jenevers and liquors locally produced in Amsterdam, in a beautiful location. Nice variety of bites and dinner plates too. The website is currently in Dutch only, but the menu's are not and the staff is friendly! You shouldn't miss this one. The address is Herengracht 319, 1016 AV Amsterdam.
STAY ON A HOUSEBOAT
You will find hundreds of hotels, pensions and BnB's in Amsterdam. But who doesn't want to stay on a houseboat on a great location, owned by really nice people. That would be a treat, wouldn't it. Well, find two amazing opportunities, both owned by friends of ours. Reliable people, nice locations and a fair price. Maybe you already booked accomodation this time, but keep it in mind for your next visit, or tell your friends!
We now Franck for decades, he is great guy. His boat is located in the city center in one of the most beautiful and tranquil canals, with stunning views across the water on the canal houses for which Amsterdam is so famous. Feed the swans and ducks from the windows, and see the boats come by. If you walk just around the corner you'll find the top attractions in Amsterdam!
Check it out and book on HomeAway.com
Beautiful and spacious apartment for 4 on a houseboat, build and owned by our dear friends Ed and Karuna. Great location in Amsterdam North, with a few unexpected extra's, like the opportunity to swim or BBQ when the weather is good. Amsterdam North is a great choice when you are interested in nightlife, Old Town and City walks. It is easily reached from Central Station by ferry (free of charge).
Check it out and book via Booking.com.
Most people prepare well. But maybe you missed some important information.
For your convenience we included a few websites to make your stay in Amsterdam easier.
Your guide to visit, enjoy, live, work & invest in Amsterdam. Amsterdam.
The official I amsterdam City Card since - 1966. Get your trip off to a smooth start. Order your City Card online now and make the most of your time in Amsterdam, with free entry to the city's top attractions and free public transport for the duration of your stay.
Plan your trip in Amsterdam by tram or bus
GVB day or multi-day tickets provides you with unlimited travel throughout Amsterdam, day and night, on the bus, tram, and metro. And for the number of hours that best suit your plans. The day ticket is valid for 24 hours after you first check in.