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Top 10 Free Things to Do in Amsterdam

After a second extended city break in Amsterdam, Liz and her husband are keen to share tips they picked up along the way to help others.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

When you hear the words 'Amsterdam, Netherlands', what words spring to mind?

A picturesque low-lying capital city built around a network of canals, sometimes referred to as 'The Venice of the North', maybe. Or an easily accessible city with good transport connections; Schiphol Amsterdam Airport is a major European air travel hub and Amsterdam Centraal station is a big international railway hub.

Perhaps you see it as a great location for a city break with a wide variety of museums and interesting sites to visit. You might associate Amsterdam with bikes, flowers, cheese, beer (Amstel and Heineken are local brews), and coffee shops supplying soft drugs.

But the words 'free' and 'Amsterdam' do not immediately go together.

Read on to discover how you can enjoy this unique and scenic city without breaking the bank.

Iconic sign previously outside the Rijksmuseum now located at Schiphol Airport.

Iconic sign previously outside the Rijksmuseum now located at Schiphol Airport.

Try These Amsterdam Activities for Free

This list breaks into two sections. The first five options are for good weather and the last five are indoor alternatives for wet days.

  1. Take a Walk. (This section is long, as there is much to see!)
  2. Slow Down. Pause to Take in the Views.
  3. NEMO Rooftop View.
  4. Doubletree by Hilton Skylounge.
  5. Begijnhof.
  6. Free Concert at the Concertgebouw.
  7. Westerkerk.
  8. Coster Diamonds.
  9. Amsterdam Central Library.
  10. Local Produce.
Centraal Station, Amsterdam.

Centraal Station, Amsterdam.

1. Take a Walk

Amsterdam is a reasonably compact city and it is flat, making walking an ideal free option for seeing it at its best. The advantages are that you can go at your own pace and cover as much ground as you want. Here are a few places that we noticed on our walks around the city.

Centraal Station

For many visitors, this is their arrival point in Amsterdam. But before you head off to explore the city, look back at the building behind you. Amsterdammers have long since forgotten the outcry, when the station was built in the 1880s on three specially constructed artificial islands, blocking the view of the sea. The resemblance of the Neo-Renaissance structure to the Rijksmuseum is no coincidence, as both were designed by P.J.H. Cuypers. The designer of the Concertgebouw, A.L. van Gendt was also responsible for the station building.

Dam Square

"The Dam", to give it its local name is the site of the original 13th Century dam on the River Amstel from which the city takes its name and is the center of Amsterdam. Here you will find the 17th Century Kononklijk Paleis, originally built as the town hall and still used for state occasions.

There has been a church on the site of Nieuwe Kerk since the 14th Century. It is now a cultural center, hosting exhibitions. Royal events including coronations have taken place here since 1814.

The Nationaal Monument is a 70ft obelisk, constructed in 1956 to commemorate Dutch people, who lost their lives in World War II.

De Bijenkorf is the best-known department store in Amsterdam. Often compared to Harrods of London, this flagship store has a large perfumery, designer fashion boutiques as well as toys, soft furnishings, and household goods.

Magna Plaza

Just across the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, which runs behind Nieuwe Kerk and Koninklijk Paleis, take a look at Amsterdam's rather grand former head post office building. Dating back to the late 1890s, the building was described as 'post-office gothic', due to its elaborate style and towers. It is now a shopping mall, worth a quick look inside for its unusual design by Cornelis Hendrik Peters.

Abercrombie & Fitch (Formerly Metz & Co)

You might be forgiven for thinking we're on a shopping trip. But, as you wander the streets and canals of Amsterdam, it's worth noticing the architecture around you. No, we didn't intend shopping in Abercrombie & Fitch. Their late 19th Century building on the corner of Leidsestraat and Keizersgracht was formerly occupied by Metz & Co, selling luxury goods.

The glass cupola was added in 1933 and in 1973, new owners Liberty commissioned a sixth-floor cafe, which had great reviews for its views. Sadly, the cafe is no longer there, which we established after trying to access it.

Rijksmuseum

The Amsterdam sign might have moved to the airport, but it's worth taking the time to head to the Museum District, crossing several canals as you do so. Here you will be able to admire the national museum of the Netherlands, home of many famous works of art. Designed by P. J. H. Cuypers in a neo-Renaissance style, the Rijksmuseum opened in 1885.

The area between the museum and the Concertgebouw is a large open space with an attractive water feature. It's an opportunity to take a break from the canals and busy streets of central Amsterdam along with other visitors to the city. The absence of the iconic sign might even make it easier to get a good photo. Note the similarities with Centraal Station.

Munttoren, Amsterdam.

Munttoren, Amsterdam.

Munttoren

After the open space of Museumplein, head back into Amsterdam over the canals, to Muntplein, at the end of the Singel. The base of the Munttoren was once part of a gate in Amsterdam's medieval city wall. The base survived a fire in 1618, which destroyed the gate. Hendrick de Keyser (designer of the Westerkerk) added the clock tower, steeple, and orb in 1619.

In 1673 Amsterdam's mint was temporarily stored here, hence the name 'Mint Tower'. The carillon, which rings every 15 minutes, was designed in 1699 by Francois Hemony (designer of a 47 bell carillon in the Oude Kerk).

Tuschinski Theatre, Amsterdam.

Tuschinski Theatre, Amsterdam.

Tuschinski Theatre

As you walk down Reguliersbreestraat, don't miss this restored example of a blend of Art Deco and Amsterdam School architecture. Abraham Tuschinski's theatre opened in 1921 and at its peak hosted the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland on stage. Restored back to its former state, the Tuschinski Theatre is now a cinema.

The outside is impressive and there's nothing to stop you wandering into the entrance to take a look inside. But to get any further you will need to buy a ticket for a film. Sadly Abraham Tuschinski, a Jewish tailor from Poland, died in Auschwitz.

Rembrandtplein

Follow the road into the square, which has taken its name from the statue of the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt (1606-1669) since it was erected here in 1876. Prior to this, it was called Botermarkt, due to the butter market that took place here.

The arrival of the statue and the change of name encouraged the opening of hotels and cafes around the square. It is now a popular location for a drink and a center for nightlife.

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt's birth, a bronze cast of his most famous painting, The Night Watch was placed in the square. After a break, while it was displayed in cities abroad, the cast now seems to be a more permanent fixture and is a great tourist magnet.

Magere Brug

If you keep walking along Amstelstraat, you will come to the River Amstel. Look right to see Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), Amsterdam's most well-known bridge, which is thought to take its name from its narrow design.

There has been a drawbridge here since around 1670. Widened in 1871 and renovated in 2010, the bridge was closed in 2003 to all but cyclists and pedestrians. It's interesting to get a close-up view by crossing the River Amstel here.

The traditional double-leaf style bridge, made from African azobe wood, is opened several times a day by the bridge master to let boats through. At night it is lit up.

Hollandsche Schouwburg

Continuing along Nieuwe Kerkstraat, you will enter the Plantage area of Amsterdam. Formerly a 'plantation' of green parkland outside the city walls, and a leisure area for 17th-century Amsterdammers, it was developed from the mid 19th century as a tree-lined suburb of the city.

Many Jews, working in the diamond industry, settled here and there are memorials to the Jewish community in the area. It's worth taking the time to learn something about the Jewish community's tragic experience through the German occupation and Holocaust of World War II.

Cross the Nieuwe Keizersgracht and continue to the main road, Plantage Middenlaan. Turn left and you will find Hollandsche Schouwburg on your left. To see this building now on a leafy street in Amsterdam, you would not necessarily be aware of its grim history, until you step a little closer and read.

It was in this former theatre that thousands of Jews were detained, before deportation to concentration camps. It is now a memorial to the 104,000 Dutch Jews, who were killed during World War II.

Bicycles in Amsterdam.

Bicycles in Amsterdam.

Take a Walk

2. Slow Down. Pause to Take in the Views.

It's easy, especially on a short break, to rush, map in hand, from one site to another, barely stopping to draw breath as you work your way through a list of 'must-see' sights. You can certainly pack in a lot in this way.

But it's important to build in a little time to slow down in your hectic schedule. Take time out to pause by a pretty canal scene, or an expanse of water like Oosterdok, to admire the views of this unique city.

You don't need an expensive camera to record these views. Most of us now have mobile phones that will capture the moment in a free and easy way.

It's an opportunity also to have a drink and a snack.

3. NEMO Rooftop View

Located on the edge of Oosterdok, NEMO is the largest science center in the Netherlands. Its vast green copper structure, resembling a ship is certainly eye-catching. Although admission is charged for anyone wanting to explore the interactive scientific displays inside, it's free to take the stairs or lift to the largest roof terrace in Amsterdam.

Renzo Piano, the architect wanted to design a real piazza. The open-air Energetica exhibition, with its interactive sculptures, teaches about the sun, wind, and sustainable energy. 4000 liters of water flow through 30 pools and receptacles to create a relaxing environment.

Visitors are torn between admiring the rooftop sculptures or taking in the stunning vista of Oosterdok and the city of Amsterdam beyond.

4. Doubletree by Hilton Skylounge

Whilst we're on the subject of great views, you can walk a little further around Oosterdok, towards Centraal Station, to the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Centraal, with its panoramic Skylounge on the 11th floor.

Take the lift up to the roof terrace, which is open to anyone. It's worth exploring the area up here. We wandered into a bar with an open balcony. It turned out not to be in use, but we only found this out after we had admired the view and taken a few photos.

Walk around the outdoor terrace for views towards the city and also over the water of Het Ij, on the other side of Centraal Station. We intended to buy a drink here, but much of the seating was set back to the view and below a protective screen, drinks were expensive and it was busy. We took some photos and slipped out without being noticed.

Choices

5. Begijnhof

An oasis of tranquility, away from the bustling city, Begijnhof, is centrally located off Spui around 450 meters to the south of Dam Square. Its entrance is off Gedempte Begijnensloot. This cluster of houses around a pleasant green dates back to 1346. It was built for the Begintjes (Beguines), a lay Catholic sisterhood, who taught the poor and looked after the sick.

None of the original houses remain, but Het Houten Huis (No.34), dating from the 15th Century is one of the oldest houses in Amsterdam. It is one of only two timber-fronted houses remaining in the city, as, following a series of fires, timber houses were banned in 1521.

Most of the other houses in Begijnhof date from the 17th and 18th Centuries. The Beguines lived here until the last member of the order died in 1971. The Begijnhof is now home to around 100 single women.

The Engelse Kerk dates from around 1419. The Beguines worshipped here until it was confiscated in 1578, at the time of the Alteration, a peaceful revolution, when the Calvinists revolted against the Catholics and Amsterdam joined William of Orange. In 1607 the church was let to a group of English and Scottish Presbyterians, hence its name. Catholics were allowed to worship in private, so two houses were converted into the clandestine Begijnhof Chapel in 1665.

6. Free Concert at the Concertgebouw

Located at the opposite end of Museumplein to the Rijksmuseum, the imposing Neo-Renaissance building of the Concertgebouw is the site of weekly free lunchtime concerts on a Wednesday.

The first concert took place in 1888, in this building designed by A L van Gendt (co-designer of Centraal Station). Since then the Concertgebouw has taken its place amongst the world's best, with the acoustics in its main concert hall being especially renowned.

Renovated several times, the Concertgebouw was found to be suffering from subsidence in 1983 and in danger of collapse. Amazingly, the building was preserved and the original supporting piles were replaced with concrete ones, sunk to a greater depth in the ground.

7. Westerkerk

Entry to Westerkerk, the biggest church in Amsterdam, is free. It was designed by Hendrick de Keyser, who died before its completion in 1631 as part of the development of the Canal Ring. The largest nave on any Dutch Protestant church is fairly austere, but it's worth noting the big organ and its ornately painted shutters. Rembrandt was buried here, although the exact site of his grave is unknown.

The tower, which was completed in 1638, is topped by the Imperial Crown of Maximilian. At 85 meters high, it offers panoramic views over Amsterdam for those who book and pay to take the grueling climb to the top.

8. Coster Diamonds

Amsterdam has been a center for the diamond-cutting industry since the end of the 16th Century when it was introduced here by the Sephardic Jews. Coster Diamonds was founded in 1840.

The words 'diamond' and 'free' do not usually feature in the same sentence. But Coster Diamonds opens its doors to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year offering free guided tours in over 25 languages. The diamond grading, cutting, and polishing processes are explained in detail. At the end of the tour, visitors browse the showrooms.

In 1852, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, got Coster Diamonds to repolish the 108.8-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond. A copy of the blue-white stone with a replica of the coronation crown is displayed in the entrance hall.

9. Amsterdam Central Library

Libraries are interesting places but don't often feature on a top list of sightseeing places. OBA stands for Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam. Located on Oosterdok, between NEMO and Centraal Station, this modern building offers opportunities for computer access, but much more than that, on the 7th floor it has a big self-service cafe with a covered balcony. The views over Amsterdam are good and you are protected from the weather by the large overhang. There are also free toilet facilities here.

10. Local Produce

As you would expect there's no shortage of souvenir outlets in Amsterdam. But it's worth taking the time to check out some of the local produce. You don't necessarily have to buy it. 'Window shopping' is free and you might even get offered a free sample.

Bloemenmarkt

The flower market on the Singel, west of Muntplein, is the last of Amsterdam's floating markets. Nurserymen used to sail up the Amstel and moor their boats here to sell plants and cut flowers. The stalls are now permanent and you barely realize that they are still floating, so securely are they fixed. It's still a colorful sight and worth a visit, although these days sellers cater a lot for tourists.

Cheese

Trailing around supermarkets is not everyone's idea of a great holiday experience. But it's well worth venturing in to take a look at a cheese counter, another famous Dutch product. The range is amazing and, if you pay enough attention and look suitably interested, you might be offered a sample to try.

Although the Marqt that we visited on Utrechtestraat has since been taken over by Albert Heijn, the Marqt store at Wolvenstraat 32 is a reasonably central alternative.

Free Things to Do in Amsterdam

Final Thoughts

I would highly recommend Amsterdam as a great short break destination. If you transit through Schiphol airport and have a few days to spare, it's well worth adding this city to your itinerary. We have thoroughly enjoyed visiting Amsterdam. It's a very picturesque city in a unique setting and sightseeing doesn't have to cost a fortune. There's plenty you can see for free.

Sunset at Oosterdok, Amsterdam.

Sunset at Oosterdok, Amsterdam.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Liz Westwood

Comments

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on August 18, 2020:

Thank you very much for your comment, Donetta. I enjoyed revisiting Amsterdam as I wrote this article. The city has a lot to offer visitors and I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much could be accessed for free.

Donetta Sifford on August 17, 2020:

I enjoyed your informative article and loved the photos. I would love to visit Amsterdam! It seems like a wonderful vacation destination filled with many fun activities! Thank you for your lovely review and list of free adventures.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on July 25, 2020:

Your home town sounds interesting, Miebakagh. Maybe you could write an article about it sometime.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 25, 2020:

Liz, yes, waterways are vital factors. Take my home town, Okrika, as an example. It is an Island sorround on all sides by network or river creek. Because of the water factor Okrika now hosts the first ever crude oil refinery and off-loading jetty, the first but second largest sea port, and railway terminus to transport internal fosest products and other resources to overseas.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on July 25, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Miebakagh. You have certainly picked out some of Amsterdam's key elements. I often think that waterways add an extra dimension to a city.

Miebakagh57 on July 25, 2020:

Aftei reading the article, Amstadam seems to bewitch every reader. I dare say its beauty, glamor, architecture, layout, rivers and canals make it an enchanted city!

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on July 24, 2020:

Thank you very much for your comment, Samuel. Amsterdam has a lot to offer visitors. Once you go, you will probably want to return, as there is so much to see and do there.

Samuel Henry from Mumbai on July 24, 2020:

A very detailed article. Will surely visit Amsterdam after reading this beautiful article.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on July 03, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Devika. At the moment we are all virtual travellers, visiting places through the writing and photos of others. I hope that one day you will be able to visit Amsterdam.

Devika Primic on July 03, 2020:

Amsterdam is a beautiful place and is worth a travel. Unfortunately, not what I would be doing for a long time.I like the great mention of all the activities and of how one can get around it is for my later travels. I like your ideas of places of travel.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 30, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Rochelle. I enjoyed revisiting Amsterdam, as I wrote this article. It's a great place to visit either in person or virtually.

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on June 29, 2020:

Wow! Breath taking views and information :) I enjoyed reading your journey :)

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 29, 2020:

Thank you very much for your encouraging comment, Babu. Amsterdam is a lovely place to visit for a short break. I am pleased that you enjoyed reading this article.

Mohan Babu from Chennai, India on June 27, 2020:

It is a beautiful article in words and pictures. The lovely canals look awesome. I hope the invisible enemy disappears soon and people can start travelling to explore new places.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 19, 2020:

Well noted and thanks.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 19, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Peggy. The good thing about Amsterdam is that it is flat for walking, so there are no hills to climb. It's such an attractive city that you don't realise how far you are walking, because you are distracted by the sights. I remember once doing a walking tour of Lisbon and thinking what an interesting job the guides had.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 19, 2020:

If I ever travel to Amsterdam, I will surely take your advice and have some good walking shoes as a part of my wardrobe. I'll also use this post as a guide. You would make a good tour guide!

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 19, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Swaty. I am pleased that you enjoyed the virtual tour of Amsterdam.

Swaty from Bangalore on June 19, 2020:

Liz, it's such a good article while reading i just went to Amsterdam and came back! You inspire me to write more. :)

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 17, 2020:

Eurofile, it is very much appreciatet. Stay safe, please.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 17, 2020:

I agree Miebakagh. I would rather wait to travel until it is safe to do so and until COVID-19 is under control. I think it will be a while before life returns to normal, whatever the new normal looks like. Stay well.

Farrah Young from Lagos, Nigeria on June 17, 2020:

Good move on the virtual tour; I hope we defeat this COVID-19 thing so life can return to normal.

Yes, I am well, thanks for asking. I hope you are too.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 17, 2020:

Better to flatten the curve of corvid-19 every where.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 17, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Farrah. At the moment virtual tours are all we have in the UK. The flight company that we used to Amsterdam has just started flying this week, but only within the UK. All international travel plans are on hold for us for a while yet.

I hope you are keeping well.

Farrah Young from Lagos, Nigeria on June 17, 2020:

I love walks so this would be my activity of choice if I visited Amsterdam.

You give such great description and views of these places you visit, making your readers almost feel like we are there ourselves.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 13, 2020:

In the wake of COVID-19 I fear that governments will have to increase taxation to claw back a little of their pandemic spending.

Robert Sacchi on June 13, 2020:

Thank you. I can understand a difficult tax code. The U.S. tax code is voluminous.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 12, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, goldenrulecomics. Our first visit was around 14 years ago. I'm not usually keen to return to places, but there was so much to see that our second visit was just as good as the first.

First time round the boat commentary drew our attention to the Amstel hotel and its famous guest list. When an opportunity came up to stay there for free years later, I was keen to take it. I wrote about the experience in my first Amsterdam article "InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam, a Thorough Hotel Appraisal".

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 12, 2020:

Not usually for the visitor, Robert, as they often take the form of a big container for visitors to throw money into anonimously.

However, if visitors fill in a gift aid form and the institution is registered as a charity, tax can be reclaimed by the charity.

Visitors paying to enter museums etc. are often asked if they want to gift aid their admission. But this only applies to taxpayers.

I'm not sure how the donations work in terms of taxation for the museums etc. The taxation system in the UK is a vast subject, much of it a mystery to me.

goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on June 12, 2020:

Love the photos. We only visited Amsterdam once -- about 12 years ago. Would love to visit again.

Robert Sacchi on June 12, 2020:

Would the donations be tax deductible in the UK?

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 12, 2020:

Good to know and note.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 12, 2020:

The labour government of many years back introduced free admission to some museums. Some now charge. Others are free and request a donation. We benefited greatly with our family from the policy of free museum admissions.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

That's the great thing about sightseeing; it is mostly free. I wish more museums were free these days. I loved visiting museums when I was a child. For the price of an afternoon, you could see all sorts of educational science or natural museum exhibits.

Blessings,

Denise

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 10, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Priya. I hope that this article is helpful for visitors to Amsterdam and I hope that you will go there one day. You are right. The ability of the Dutch to speak English makes it a very welcoming place for English-speaking visitors.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 10, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Patricia. I'm pleased you enjoyed the tour. At the moment all of my travels are done by virtual tours through the writing of others. Amsterdam was such a lovely city, that I hope to write more about our visit.

Priya Barua on June 10, 2020:

Amsterdam is on the top of my list. Would love to visit the country. Your article is v comprehensive and serves almost like a handbook. I understand the language wasn't an issue as the Dutch speak excellent English.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 09, 2020:

Good mirning, Liz...I feel as though I have ben on a mini-tour. The arcitecture is definitely of interesrt to me. You have shared such insight into this spot that one would know just how to approach a visit there. Thank you for sharing. Angels are headed your way this morning. ps

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 05, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Farrah. We went to the Versetzmuseum in Amsterdam. It was about the resistance movement in World War 2, but it also gave some information about the treatment of the Jews. The Holocaust was a tragic event. I hope you can visit Amsterdam sometime.

Farrah Young on June 05, 2020:

I've never been to Amsterdam, but I would love to someday, to see some of these places, especially Hollandsche Schouwburg where the Jews were imprisoned.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 05, 2020:

Liz, sure, in future. Thanks.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 05, 2020:

I hope that you can make a trip to Europe sometime, Miebakagh. At the moment we are all having to wait until travel restrictions are lifted. I hope that you stay well.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 05, 2020:

It is a thing of joy to learnt that Amsterdam offer a free scenic holiday resorts. It would be a life fulfilment to visit the city, if I happen to be in Europe in the nearest future. Every one stay safe.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 04, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Prantika. Amsterdam is a city that has a lot to offer. The canal system itself makes the city very scenic. I was encouraged to find that there was a good selection of sightseeing options that were free.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 04, 2020:

Thank you for your comment Aurelio. The Rijksmuseum is very popular. Did you prebook your ticket online? I think its the Dutch equivalent of the Louvre in Paris.

Prantika Samanta from Kolkata, India on June 04, 2020:

Incredible place. I love the pictures and descriptions. Thank you for highlighting the lovely places and sharing so much information.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 04, 2020:

A nice selection of sights for a wonderful city. My favorite is the Rijksmuseum. I spent several hours there on my last trip.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 04, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Denise. We often skip lunch if we have had a big hotel breakfast. Holiday Inn Express hotels are a popular choice because the room rate includes their buffet breakfast. Well, at least it did pre-pandemic. I think meal provision and buffets are going to work differently once hotels open up again.

I was pleasantly surprised when I worked out how much we had done for free in Amsterdam. It's a very scenic city.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on June 04, 2020:

Incredible sights. This is my kind of vacation... the free things to do. Although buying lunch and eating aren't free, people-watching is.

Blessings,

Denise

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 04, 2020:

Thank you very much for your encouraging comment, Brenda. It's great to be able to put the photos and knowledge I have gathered to good use. I hope that it will help others to make the most of their time in Amsterdam.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 04, 2020:

Liz,

You have really done a splendid job on detailing Amsterdam.

The pictures are quite beautiful. It makes me wish I were there taking a stroll.

The mint tower that rings every 15 minutes would be great to see as would just about everything you have mentioned.

The history you have detailed with each one is quite remarkable...like the church.

I would have to stop by to see the flowers and maybe taste the cheese.

The way you put directions and info available for each one is a traveler's dream.

Thanks for sharing.

Robert Sacchi on June 02, 2020:

Total Recall :-)

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 02, 2020:

I am taking note with understanding.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 02, 2020:

Thank you very much for your comment, Dora. Amsterdam is a very picturesque city. It's very easy to take a big collection of photos there. I hope to be able to use more in future articles.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 02, 2020:

There's a lot to be said for armchair travelling, Robert. No queues at airport check-ins or concerns about social distancing.

Robert Sacchi on June 01, 2020:

I can't complain, by that standard I had a tour out in space on Saturday and Sunday.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 01, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Robert. I'm pleased you enjoyed the virtual tour. At the moment this is what travel is like for us all. Unable to board planes, at least we can read about faraway places and look at photos.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 01, 2020:

I remember reading the Diary of Anne Frank as a teenager, Peggy. I also remember a feature on a children's magazine programme on tv. So when we first visited Amsterdam over 13 years ago, it was top of our list to visit the museum. We got there early in the day and didn't have to queue long. What struck me was the subdued atmosphere, as visitors took it all in. There was a hushed respect for those who had hidden in the house all those years ago with such a sad outcome.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 01, 2020:

Thank you for your encouraging comment, Lora. I hope you can visit Amsterdam one day. I have more material from our time in the city, so I plan on writing more articles.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 01, 2020:

I see from the comments on how you were emotionally touched when you visited the Anne Frank house. I still remember reading the Diary of Anne Frank. It would move most people to tears to fully understand how she and her family lived for a time in that house.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 01, 2020:

Thank you for your very encouraging comment, Kedan. I really appreciate it and am pleased that you agree with the article. Coming from someone who has spent extended time in Amsterdam, this is very positive feedback.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 01, 2020:

Thanks for the encouragement about Pinterest, Liza. I hope to get round to it soon.

There are a lot of hotels around Schiphol. It's good that the airline put you up there.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on June 01, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Nithya. I was very pleased to find a use for the photos. Amsterdam is a very photogenic city. I was surprised that access to NEMO rooftop was free.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 01, 2020:

Thanks for sharing these interesting facts plus beautiful views of Amsterdam. I'm sure I would enjoy the walk and a boat ride or two. The architecture is also appealing.

Robert Sacchi on May 31, 2020:

Amsterdam seems a wonderful city to walk around. Thank you for the tour and pictures.

Lora Hollings on May 31, 2020:

What a remarkable job you've done, Liz, in writing this article and telling us in words and photos just what a beautiful and interesting city Amsterdam is! I will have to find time to go to this incredible place especially after reading your article which expresses so aptly the architecture, the canals, the food, and culture of this Dutch city. I would love to go there for a free concert at the Concertgebouw. They are an amazing orchestra! And I'm a big fan of diamonds. I could easily spend an entire day at Coster diamonds. And another day at NEMO the science center and at the fresh produce stands. A lot of free things to do in this amazing city. Thanks for your extraordinary tour!

Kedan Pentia from London on May 31, 2020:

I absolutely loved this article! Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities and I lived there for 6 months in 2018. You captured the essence along with some great advice perfectly.

Liza from USA on May 31, 2020:

@Eurofile I stayed near Schipol Airport. Alas, I forgot the hotel's name. It was a nice hotel. They also provided us food and a shuttle to go back to the airport. Pinterest is fun! You would enjoy it. You can start to create and share (boards) your favorite things such as traveling, food, art, et all. I hope to see one from you soon, Liz.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 31, 2020:

Amsterdam is beautiful and so many things to do. I love Bloemgracht, NEMO the rooftop view, and the setting of the Rijksmuseum is beautiful. Thank you for highlighting all these wonderful places in Amsterdam, I enjoyed reading and seeing the photos.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 31, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Lisha. I hope you can visit Amsterdam in the future. It's a great city for sightseeing.

Lisha C on May 31, 2020:

Thank you for the detailed article, Liz. Great pictures, too. Will surely come back to this article if I ever plan a trip to Amsterdam.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 30, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Linda. Locals, who are familiar with the layout of the city, cycle confidently. In contrast to the slower walking pace of tourists, they appear to travel quite fast. Although probably even more of a risk are tourists who hire bicycles and don't quite know where they are going. I think what shocked me the most was how many bicycles are dredged out of the canals each year. Amsterdam is a lovely city, I hope you can visit sometime.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 30, 2020:

I agree, Sonia. We visited the Anne Frank house the first time we went to Amsterdam. We arrived early in the day and got in quite easily. I understand now that it's best to pre-book tickets online, especially in peak season, to be sure of getting in. It is a very moving experience.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 30, 2020:

I would love to visit Amsterdam. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos and the very useful information, Liz. I appreciate your advice, too. I knew there were a lot of bicycles in Amsterdam, but I didn't realized they travelled at speed!

SDB from Australia on May 30, 2020:

Hi Liz, I loved visiting the Anne Frank House, it was a very moving experience.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 30, 2020:

Thank you for your encouraging comment, Eric. There are a lot of museums in Amsterdam. I have more material so there might be more articles yet about the Dutch capital.

I'm impressed to hear that you took to two wheels while you were there.

You did well to find a free brewery tour. The first time we visited, it was raining a little and we came across The Heineken Experience (well that was our excuse anyway). It cost us, but it was very good.

I hope you get to Amsterdam again one day.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 30, 2020:

Wonderful tour. Your pictures are always so cool. We visited museum after museum but agreed that the best museum was simply walking the city with an eye toward architecture. While walking we studied the biking. And kind of figured out how it was done. We did it once and it was not good. Public transport is as easy as 1,2,3.

I was a young man there so I would add; fantastic hostels, wonderful University scene, free brewery tours, the Canal District and a double down on the cheese. The stores alone are worth hours to explore.

Thanks for another fantastic travel article. I want to go again.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 30, 2020:

No doubt, I agreed. Thanks for the insightful comments.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, MG Singh. The pandemic has made many world cities much quieter. In Europe some countries are slowly starting to open up. I would imagine that a stroll around Amsterdam at the height of the pandemic would have been an interesting experience with fewer people around. It will be a while before tourism gets going again to the extent it did before.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you very much for your comment, Chitrangada. As a sightseeing destination, Amsterdam has a lot to offer. In this age of digital photography it's easy to gather a big collection of photos. I hope that you can visit too one day.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Sonia. Amsterdam is a lovely city. What was your favourite part when you went there?

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Peggy. That's interesting to hear, as I realised that Schiphol is a big air hub. I would highly recommend stopping off for a few days. Trains run from the airport terminal into Centraal Station regularly. I hope that you can visit there one day.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Uriel. We have visited Amsterdam twice because it's easy to get to from the UK. There are a lot of flight options, which keeps the cost down and the flight time is short.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 29, 2020:

I have been to Amsterdam once while driving through Europe. Nice place with a old world charm. It must be a terrible place now with all night spots shut. Nice article.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 29, 2020:

A wonderful article about Amsterdam. I loved all your pictures and descriptions. It's my dream destination, and I wish to visit this beautiful place. My husband had been here few years back, for an official tour. So, I am quite familiar with the place, through his narration.

Thank you for sharing another wonderful article with the teavel enthusiasts.

SDB from Australia on May 29, 2020:

Great article Liz, brought back a lot of memories of my visit there. It's a fantastic city!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2020:

I have only been to the airport in Amsterdam on my way to other locations. After reading your article, I would love to spend a few days there following your suggested walking tour. The architectural photos and others you took are stunning! Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips with us.

Uriel Eliane from Toronto on May 29, 2020:

I always enjoy learning from your rich travel experiences, Liz. Thanks for this!

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thanks for your comment, Miebakagh.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 29, 2020:

eurofile, thanks for sharing, amsterdam is real wortg visiting.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Liza. Were you in a hotel near Schiphol or closer to the city? We stayed a night near the airport before moving into the city. Thanks for pinning this article. I am about to have a go at Pinterest. If you have any tips I would be very grateful.

I hope you can spend more time in Amsterdam next time you go there.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you very much for your comment, Peg. I enjoyed 'revisiting Amsterdam as I wrote this hub. At this time of lockdown, a little vicarious travelling does us all good. I appreciate doing similar through the work of other writers on HP.

I hope you make it to Amsterdam one day. It is well worth it.

Liza from USA on May 29, 2020:

Amsterdam always one of the cities that I wanted to revisit. I was there overnight as my flight to Kuala Lumpur was delayed. So I stuck in Amsterdam for 15-hour. I had a chance to see the city from my hotel room. I hope I will get an opportunity to visit this city after the traveling is getting back as usual. Thank you for sharing your well-thorough article, Liz. Everything looks wonderful. I will pin this for my future reference.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you very much for your encouraging comment, Pamela. Amsterdam is one of those cities where it seems that each time you turn a corner, you come across another interesting feature.

I still feel a bit bad about the Doubletree. We went up there, realising that drinks might be pricey, but fully intending to buy something and take in the view. I was put off by the fact that it was hard to find a seat free with a good view. The best photos were taken standing up.

I hope you get to visit Amsterdam one day.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you very much for your comment, Mary. Amsterdam is a city that I could keep going back to. I hope that next time you will have more of a chance to explore. You must have passed through Schiphol a few times in the past.

It's good to hear from you. I hope you are keeping well.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Jeric. Amsterdam is a lovely city. I hope you can visit soon. You won't be disappointed.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Linda. The canal ring in Amsterdam is amazing. We visited a museum that showed the work that went into building Amsterdam. It was very interesting. Cycling is environmentally friendly, but in such big numbers, it can be a worry for pedestrians.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on May 29, 2020:

Your photos make this an awesome vicarious journey. Maybe one day I'll make it to Amsterdam. For now, it's a pleasure to enjoy it through your eyes. I also enjoyed your tips on saving money while traveling.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 29, 2020:

Thank you for your comment, Bill. Amsterdam is a photographer's paradise. The only problem I find is that with digital the number of photos I shoot has gone up a lot. I thought I used to get through a lot of rolls of film way back, but that was nothing compared to now.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 29, 2020:

I would love to visit Amsterdam, Liz. Your pictures and descriptions are wonderful. I love the architecture and the statues. The view from the Hilton certainly let you take great pictures. The view of the canals and the various buildings is also fantastic. This is an excellent article, Liz.