One of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe, Amsterdam is a hub of finance, culture, history, art and decadence. Notoriously known throughout the world for its liberal views on prostitution, drugs and general debauchery, Amsterdam is also teeming with centuries of history, galleries of unique art, creative people at the forefront of their fields and museums that are envied throughout the world. Don’t let the stereotypes of Amsterdam fool you, it’s one of the most eccentric cities you will come across on your travels. Amsterdam will captivate your heart and make you want to stay for an extended period of time.
Get lost in the beauty of the city’s architecture
Attracting over 7 million international travellers annually, Amsterdam is known to cater to every traveller’s taste. The canals that criss-cross the city and impressive architecture are just some of its many enticing facets. Amsterdam has over 1,500 bridges with some of them lighting up at night. With street maps on almost every corner, Amsterdam is one of the best cities to just get lost in - pick a starting point and walk around.
Immerse yourself in the culture, the locals, and the fashion here. Find yourself being astonished by the old, archaic exteriors of buildings; architecture reminiscent of the Netherlands’ rich history. But, take a second and peer into the houses and gasp in surprise at how modern and sleek the interiors are - it truly is a city for architects to fawn over.
A diverse range of museums to satisfy all art lovers
This city has one of the best collection of museums in Europe, ranging from masterpieces of art to vodka to porn to one of the most depressing yet resonating museums. For 54.95 EUR (60 USD), the Museum Card allows you access to all 400 museums across the Netherlands. You can buy it at most major museums and as it’s valid for an entire year, most students get one if they’re visiting the Netherlands on a regular basis.
With the highly recommended Van Gogh Museum, known for its engrossing beauty, you may want to visit it twice - which the card allows you to do at no additional charge. The Rijksmuseum is another must-see for any traveller. Featuring a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), some of the artists represented range from Rembrandt to Vermeer to Jan Steen. The museum also boasts a substantial collection of Asian art, which can be a welcome break from the European painters.
If you’re running short on time and can only visit one museum, the Anne Frank museum is the one. Be prepared for long lines unless you’re in line early before 10.00am. But, an entire museum dedicated to Anne Frank in the house she hid in during World War II is at once heartbreaking and will resonate with you for a lengthy period of time.
Red Light District has more than what its name suggests
Next on the Amsterdam itinerary should be a walk-through of the Red Light District. If prostitution makes you uneasy, go during the day. Consisting of several canals and side streets, prostitution is limited to certain streets but the entire district is named as such to avoid confusion. The architecture and shops here are second to none as you’ll find yourself immersed by a building’s facade more so than the person writhing in the glass panel behind you.
If you ever feel unsafe, which is very rare, the entire area has a heavy police presence and several security cameras. It is also monitored 24/7 by security cameras and police. The most potentially harmful people are drunk men on stag parties who, when ignored, are just “flies on the wall” in another buzzing part of a glorious city.
Amsterdam has something for every traveller
The Red Light District is the oldest part of the city and has many historic buildings and museums. It encapsulates Amsterdam very well. Just like when you’re in the district, take caution in Amsterdam when night falls. Though the crime rate is low, the narrow alleyways and busy downtown areas make it a pickpockets’ delight.
Ensure that you’re dressed for all weather conditions as no matter the season, the weather has a tendency to turn on you in a second. But, all in all, enjoy a city where everyone can find a niche that suits them well. It’s unlikely to disappoint you.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.