The 10 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam - other than Drugs, Sex and Wild Parties

February 07, 2018

Amsterdam – the Dutch capital, is often seen as the city of drugs, sex and wild parties. Many think that it’s only for the young adults; several families don’t even consider Amsterdam in their bucket list with kids. That’s a big misconception!.

With its gorgeous canals, rich architectural heritage, intense arts, and museums, Amsterdam has so much more to offer than what you can find in the coffee shops (drug cannabis) or in the Red-Light District. Here are a few things you should do in Amsterdam:

1. TAKE A CANAL BOAT TOUR:
Amsterdam is world famous for its spectacular 17th-century canals and often is renowned as the “Venice of North”. There are 165 canals in total, combining a length over 100 kilometers (about 60 miles) providing a beautiful backdrop to the city center. 

Whether you’re in Amsterdam for the first-time or a frequent visitor, you can always enjoy the boat tour. Perhaps, this the best and most memorable way to explore Amsterdam - every building, street, and corner look a bit more magical when observed while you’re floating on the waters.

There are many boat operators to choose from. The tour plans and tariff are mostly comparable to each other, and almost all of them have a boarding-point at the Amsterdam Central station. 👉A few well-known boat operators are Blue Boat, Stromma, and Lovers cruises; If prefer to combine the cruise with your sightseeing/attractions, then the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ boats may be a good choice.

 2. EXPLORE THE CITY ON A BIKE:
 With nearly a million cycles running around (yes, on a typical day, these bikes account for more than 50% of traffic in Amsterdam), it may be quite challenging to bike on the roads of Amsterdam; but this is by far the next best way to experience the city.

Biking is a fun, efficient (saves time & money) and the easiest way of getting around Amsterdam - just like the locals do!. There are so many places from where you can rent a bike; hire them for a few hours or for the whole day, you’ll enjoy the experience.

👉Note: You must pay attention to the traffic rules and exercise extreme caution on the road (for other bikers, walkers, tram, and buses). Please don’t try to copy the cycling style/speed of locals, they’ve been biking there since they were 3 years old, you can’t match their skills 😊Here are Top 10 Tips for Bike Safety in Amsterdam, compiled by www.tripsavvy.com

3. LEARN ABOUT DUTCH HISTORY & ARTS :
Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands and one of the grandest in the world. This museum itself is more than 200 years old (founded in 1800) and it displays a wide variety of artifacts (8,000+ objects) which reflects over the last 800 years of Dutch history and arts.

Historic arts of Vermeer, Frans Hals, Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ are a few world-famous art pieces to highlight. The museum’s expansive, evocative collection also includes Delftware, sculptures, archaeological artifacts, clothing, Asian art, prints, items from Dutch maritime history and many other culturally significant objects, all combining to vividly explore 800 years of Dutch history within a global context. 👉Here are the Top-10 highlights of the Rijksmuseum as listed by Iamsterdam.

You may choose to visit the famous Vincent van Gogh’s museum too, which is exhibits over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 written documents. , located just next to the Rijksmuseum.

 4. GET INTO THE SCENES OF WORLD WAR -II & ANNE FRANK HOUSE:
After the demolition of Rotterdam- the biggest port city (of Europe), Netherlands had no option than surrendering to the Nazis. The next 5 years is something that really had a great impact on the lives of every Dutch. How did Dutch people absorb and react to the increasing domination of Germany? The Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum) tells every detail you want to know. Make a visit and you’ll be amazed.

The story of Anne Frank requires no introduction, right? The old house at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam is where she lived in hiding with her family for more than two years, during the World War II. Now the house is converted into a museum, displays a sobering exhibition about the persecution of the Jews during the war, as well as “discrimination” in general.

5. WALK AROUND THE DAM SQUARE:
Just a five-minute walk down the Damrak from Centraal Station takes you into this jam-packed square, jostling with locals and tourists day and night. Whatever the weather, there is always something going on.

There are food stalls, restaurants, and shops galore, including the trendy BijenkorfMagna PlazaBonneterie and the Amsterdam Diamond Centre. Such is the popularity of Dam Square that you might even have to wait for a seat at one of the many cafés and bars.

But without doubt, of all the attractions in Dam Square, Royal Palace (Koninklijk Palace) is quite literally the jewel in the crown. Although no longer home to the Dutch Royal family, this grand 17th century Royal Palace is still used to hold official receptions.

OTHER INTERESTING THINGS TO DO:

6. Get hands-on brewing some of the best beers in the world: at Heineken Experience and Brouwerij ‘t IJ next to the biggest wooden windmill of the Netherlands.

7. Experience the world’s first and best floating flower market at Bloemenmarkt. You can find some of the unique bulbs.

8. Take the free boat across Amsterdam’s IJ  river - to see the EYE Film Museum. The eye-shaped building itself is an interesting architecture to watch; it is dedicated to the preservation and development of the film/ motion picture heritage of the Netherlands.

9. Comprehend Amsterdam’s Parklife: There’s no shortage of picnic area in Amsterdam, it has more than 30 well-maintained beautiful parks. The Vondelpark is the biggest (about 47 acres);  Rembrandtpark, Westerpark, and Sarphatipark are other prominent ones to mention.

10. Take a day-trip to the outskirts: The city center itself can easily keep you occupied 2 days. But you must also plan for a day trip outside the city; there are many wonderful villages like Harlem (very old & beautiful), Zaanse Schans (an open-air museum of Windmills & Clogs), Muiden (spectacular port),  Zandvoort and Bloemendaal beaches all within 30mins to an hour distance.

In general, Amsterdam is never short of attractions or things to do; and I hope, I covered all the interesting places that you should not miss. Did I? Please feel free to add/update the list by just adding in the comments section.

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