Alternative Things To Do In Amsterdam, The Netherlands

alternative things to do in amsterdam

From its stunning canals running over 100 kilometers (62 miles), forming the gorgeous cityscape, to its grand museum architecture and friendly locals, Amsterdam is definitely on many avid traveler’s bucket list. The buzzing metropolis has an endless list of must-visit places including the mainstream attractions such as the Anne Frank Museum, the Albert Cuyp market, and Rijksmuseum. But if you have already been to these wonderful places then you should be looking for some alternative attractions which are yet to be explored. Below, take a look at the alternative things to do in Amsterdam.

1. Been to Anne Frank Museum? Discover the psychedelic artwork at the Electric Ladyland

How my world looks
Source: Photo by user Michael Delaney used under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most visited museums in the Netherlands, Anne Frank Museum has attracted over 1.2 million visitors in the past years. It is known as being the hiding place, or commonly called the ‘Secret Annex’ of the most influential writer (diarist) Anne Frank of the 21st century.

If you’re visiting the Anne Frank museum which might take you a couple of minutes for a quick tour, then you should also consider visiting the more vibrant and captivating Electric Ladyland museum showcasing spectacular ‘psychedelic-like’ artworks. It is known for being the first and only museum of displaying fluorescent art in the world. One of its main highlights is the experiential room, including a large space dedicated to a large collection of elements like rocks, and minerals which naturally react to the UV light. The ‘Fluorescent Environment’ section allows visitors to create their own piece of sculptural illuminated art.

Electric Ladyland

Address: Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, 1015 TB Amsterdam, Holland

Website: Electric Ladyland

2. Been on the canal cruise? Cuddle a cat onboard De Poezenboot

Poezenboot Amsterdam 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oxyman used under CC BY 2.5

You cannot miss cruising the sublime canals while visiting Amsterdam. The city has over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of canals which have become part of its stunning city view in the historical center. Floating down Amsterdam’s canals has become a tradition, but have you ever considered visiting a cat sanctuary in a houseboat?

This unique catboat (De Poezenboot) will definitely take your breath away. If you’re a cat lover then you must visit this whimsical catboat which is an animal shelter founded by Henriette van Weelde, also known as ‘the cat lady’ who started providing shelter to homeless cats back in 1968 in a houseboat. Take a visit, cuddle a cat and help these beautiful creatures by making a little donation.

De Poezenboot

Address: Singel 38G, 1015 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands

Website: De Poezenboot

3. Been to Albert Cuyp market? Immerse yourself in the Cuypers Library

alternative things to do in amsterdam | been to albert cuyp market? immerse yourself in the cuypers library
Source: petch.sprn on Instagram

The busiest market of all time, the Albert Cuyp market, is renowned for being the largest daytime market in Europe. This vibrant market is named after a 17th-century painter named Albert Cuyp. Ranging from fresh vegetables, fruits, pungent spices to clothing and cameras, this crowded and clamorous market also features ethnic restaurants and bars.

If this sounds too much for you, then you might like a rather tranquil and less crowded place. Visit the 19th-century Cuypers Research Library which has been collecting historical documents, and books since 1885. Art history lovers should take a look at the aesthetically gorgeous reading rooms which are the oldest and largest art history library in the country. Visitors are encouraged to delve into the extensive collection of historical books, journals, and periodicals.

Cuypers Library

Address: Museumpromenade 1, 1071 CN Amsterdam, Netherlands

4. Been to Vondelpark? Visit the much sought-after Vondelbunker

Tranquil, serene, and an ideal meditation space, the Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares (116 acres) located at the west of Leidseplein and Museumplein. Opened in 1865, the park has welcomed millions of visitors over the years. You can hire a bicycle to ride down the enchanting tree-lined paths or simply relax in the secluded areas near the lakes.

But if this sounds too laid-back for you and if you’re craving something youthful and energetic, then get ready to find the right place at the right door and at the right side of the one bridge that passes the Vondelpark, notably the much sought-after Vonderlbunker. The mecca of the counterculture activities and events, Vonderlbunker is a popular venue located in an old atom hideout tucked away underneath a bridge in Vondelpark. Here, you will be pampered by a diverse and multidisciplinary international program free of charge. Hosted by a group of volunteers, expect to find alternative music, art, and performances.


Address: Vondelpark 8A, 1071 AA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Website: Vonderlbunker

5. Been to Rjiksmuseum? Explore Micropia, the only zoo in the world dedicated to microorganisms

The most popular must-visit attractions in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum reputed for holding an expansive collection of art masterpieces from the Golden Age, prestige artifacts, and items from the Dutch maritime history-all of which hold 800 years of the Dutch legacy around the world. It also displays items such as the Mondrian-inspired dress by Yves Saint Laurent, thus equally paying tribute of the modern time.

However, if these artifacts haven’t grabbed enough of your attention you might be interested in visiting the world’s unique and first museum of microbes. It is located on Artisplein, a public square. On the ground floor, you can purchase your entrance ticket and take the elevator to the first floor. As you enter, you will be astounded to learn fun facts such as mites living on our eyelashes. The displays are generally arranged from the smallest to the largest, so expect to find living organisms such as algae, and plankton as well. The museum aims to create a positive ‘relationship’ between the microbes and the general public by providing lots of interesting information about these tiny organisms.


Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Website: Micropia

Amsterdam - Venice of the North

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ciotu Cosmin used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Whether you are looking for a laid-back atmosphere at the pavement cafés, cycle the ever-green gorgeous parks or cruise along the stunning canals, this remarkable city will never cease to allure visitors. Consider our list of alternative things to do in Amsterdam and you will not regret it. And to make your experience even more worthwhile, consider staying in a long-term rental in Amsterdam — that way, you can explore everything this city has to offer.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Heyleena is a passionate travel writer who enjoys writing travel articles for people who seek to explore new places in a more conscious way. From travel guides to recommended vacation rentals, get...Read more

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