Don't know what to do in Amsterdam? Check out 18 must-see tourist attractions and discover the main sights of the Dutch capital

Amsterdam has been gaining more notoriety among the European destinations sought by Brazilians. Both for backpackers and for those looking to discover more than the traditional cities on the continent, such as Paris, Lisbon and Madrid, the capital of the Netherlands is a great option. In addition, there are direct flights to the destination from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza. If you are planning a visit to this city, check out 18 Amsterdam tourist attractions that are a must to complete your itinerary. 

The Dutch capital is mainly known for its tolerance and freedom when it comes to gender issues, recreational drugs and the party atmosphere that encompasses the whole city, attracting especially young travelers. But a trip to Amsterdam is not just about freedom. The city is full of museums that exude history and art, as well as architecture that ranges from European Gothic to more modern traits. 

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To enjoy the city even more, its flat streets encourage bike rides. The means of transport is so famous in Amsterdam that the number of skinny women circulating around the city exceeds the number of residents. Another way to get to know the most charming corners of the Dutch capital is to hop on a boat and glide along the canals.  

Check out 18 must-see places to visit during your stay in Amsterdam. Remembering that the Netherlands is part of the Schengen Area and visitors need to buy travel insurance before boarding. 

18 attractions to see in Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions. Photo: www.hollandfoto.net / shutterstock

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most acclaimed artists in the history of Western art. He created over 2,000 works in just over a decade, including around 860 oil paintings. The Van Gogh Museum has the largest collection of works by the Dutch painter, including the famous paintings The Sunflowers, The Room in Arles, Almond Blossom, as well as his characteristic self-portraits.  

Not only can you observe his work, the museum visitor will also learn about Van Gogh's life story through letters, drawings and photographs. 

Anne Frank House

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions

Amsterdam must-see attractions. Photo: Valeri Potapova / Shutterstock.com

Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the house where Anne Frank and her family hid during the Nazi invasion of the city in 1942 today tells the story of this girl who became a hallmark of the Nazi regime's cruelty to the Jewish people. Anne, her father, mother and older sister were in hiding along with another Jewish family and a dentist friend for two years and a month until they were discovered and sent to a concentration camp. 

The story of the girl, who died in the Bergen-Belsen camp of typhus at the age of 15, was told with the publication of her diary by her father, who survived the Second World War. 

The visit to the Anne Frank House is very well planned and guided. The space was kept as it was at the time, with the recreation of environments so that they are almost identical to the ones the families knew in those two years. 

  • Address: Westermarkt 20
  • Opening hours: From November to April: Sunday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm / Saturday until 10 pm. From April to November: every day from 9 am to 10 pm
  • Site: https://www.annefrank.org/en/museum/

Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions. photo: shutterstock

The National Museum of Holland is, after the Van Gogh Museum, the most visited attraction in Amsterdam, welcoming more than two million tourists a year. With the largest collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Century, the museum is considered one of the best in the Netherlands and has eight thousand works in its permanent collection. Among them, pieces by artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. In addition, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, such as the exhibition Caravaggio-Bernini: the beginning of the Baroque in Rome, which will be on display until June 2020. 

Not only the incredible works that tell the Dutch history, the visit to the National Museum of Holland is completed by the architecture. Officially opened in 1885, the building that houses the Rijksmuseum combined Gothic and Renaissance styles and still welcomes the visitor with a square and gardens that exude Dutch charm and form an oasis for tourists to relax outdoors. 

Walk through the canals

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions. photo: shutterstock

With over 1500 bridges and 100 kilometers of canals, some call Amsterdam a Venice of the North. But the statement would be a little wrong since the river system of the Dutch capital is historically larger than that of the Italian city.

Without a doubt, the canals are one of the most characteristic things about Amsterdam and also what make the city stand out the most. In rented boat tours, tourists can see examples of more than 2500 floating houses that house thousands of families, pass by the main tourist attractions and also pass by the Grachtengordel. This name, difficult to pronounce for Brazilians, is the denomination of the ring of the three most important canals in Amsterdam. They were designed in the 17th century to support the increase in population, and today, they have some of the most beautiful mansions in the city on their shores. 

It is easy to find companies that carry out tours along the main canals and also offer floating dinners and parties. Many of them leave from Amsterdam Central Station.

Vondelpark

Amsterdam must-see attractions

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions. Photo: Hung Tran / Unsplash

Vondelpark is one of the most famous parks in Amsterdam and also in the whole of Holland, receiving around 10 million visitors a year. With about 470 thousand square meters of green area, the park is the best place in the city for walking, biking, playing sports, picnics, and enjoying the sunny days in one of the cafes.

In addition to a peaceful and relaxing stroll for tourists, Vondelpark is also part of the city's way of life. It serves as a ticket, weekend and cultural program for local citizens, being sought after for concerts or outdoor plays, barbecues and spending the afternoon at the tea house 't Blauwe Theehuis (The Blue Tea House).

  • Address: Vondelpark, 3
  • Hours: open 24 hours
  • Website: https://vondelpark.com

royal palace

Amsterdam must-see attractions

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions. Photo: TTstudio / shutterstock

The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is one of the main tourist attractions in the Dutch capital. Located on Dam Square in Amsterdam, right in the historic center that tells the memories of the city at every turn. The building, which still receives official visits from the Dutch State as guests and also royal events, was built between 1648 and 1665, and receives guided tours that go back to the times when the structure housed the City Hall or when it was the residence of the royal family in the years of 1800s.

  • Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147, 1012 R
  • Opening hours: open for visitation from 10 am to 5 pm on days when the building is not reserved for events.
  • Website: https://www.paleisamsterdam.nl/en/

Heineken Experience

Amsterdam must-see attractions

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions. Photo: Nicole Kwiatkowski / shutterstock

If you are the type who appreciate a good beer and are interested in the production process and history of this drink, the Heineken Experience can be a very interesting tour. Heineken beer is known and appreciated all over the world, but its history begins in a small brewery in the center of Amsterdam in 1864. The experience offers three types of tours in which the visitor gets to know the first Heineken factory and beer tasting, and can also include an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, giveaways, or a canal cruise in Amsterdam. Tickets are available from 18 euros. 

Dam square

Amsterdam tourist attractions

Amsterdam must-see attractions. Photo: Aero Travel / flickr

The incredible architecture alone is worth visiting Dam Square. As one of Amsterdam's main sights, the Square is also one of the best meeting places in the city. Built in 1270, right in the center of the city, the attraction houses several entertainment options, historical tours and gastronomic options. Among them, the Royal Palace, an imposing construction from 1648, is what most attracts attention in the Square. 

Just over a kilometer from the central train station, the square has several bars, restaurants, cafes and shops around it, in addition to De Bijenkorf, one of the biggest department stores in Holland, and Magna Plaza, one of the only malls in town.

  • Address: Dam 1012 JL

NEMO 

What to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions. Photo: Erik_Lyngsoe / Pixabay

The NEMO Science Center is the most important science and technology museum in the country. Its boat-shaped building has five floors, where visitors can participate in scientific experiments and enjoy interactive exhibits about the force of gravity, magnetism and many other everyday phenomena. The top floor also has a terrace that offers a beautiful view of the city, as well as a café.

The place is a perfect outing for families with children who will have the opportunity to touch and interact with the shows while discovering how the world works. 

Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt)

Amsterdam tourist attractions

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions. Photo: Carlotta Segna / Unsplash

A trip to Holland would not be complete without involving flowers in the tour, especially the famous Dutch tulips. The Bloemenmarkt, “flower market” in Dutch, has been operating since 1860 with the particularity of being the only floating flower market in the world, on the banks of the Singel canal. There are about 15 florists that offer everything from seeds to plants already developed. Among the species available are the famous tulips, which are sold in all possible forms, in vases, cans, on wood, in bulbs and more. These flowers are often sold as souvenirs of the destination for their local relevance. Other plant options are beautiful bonsai and even cannabis. 

Stedelijk Museum

Amsterdam tourist attractions

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions. Photo: Christian Fregnan / Unsplash

Located on Museum Square, right next to the Royal Palace, Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh House, the Stedelijk Museum is one of the most innovative unique museums of modern art in the world. Officially opened in 1895, the museum was closed for eight years for renovation, reopening in 2012 with a huge bathtub at the entrance welcoming visitors. 

In its permanent collection, the museum has works by the most important representatives of the Enlightenment, Cubism and Expressionism, such as Picasso, Neuman and the great Dutch names of these movements. It's also worth checking out which traveling exhibition the museum is hosting during its stay in Amsterdam. 

  • Address:Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ
  • Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 10 am to 6 pm / Friday: 10 am to 10 pm
  • Website: https://www.stedelijk.nl/en

Basilica of Saint Nicholas

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions. photo: soundness / flickr

The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is one of the most impressive temples in the city. If you arrive in Amsterdam by train, the monument will be one of the first views you will have of the beauty of the Dutch capital as it is opposite Amsterdam Central Station. 

Inaugurated in 1887, the church, elevated to a basilica only in 2012, exudes both Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque styles. Between its two front towers, the circular stained glass window allows for a spectacular view when sunlight reflects in its patterns. Inside the church, religious murals frame Maximilian I's crown. Masses are frequent, some even held in English. 

  • Address: Prins Hendrikade 73
  • Opening hours: Monday and Saturday from 12:00 to 15:00 / Tuesday and Friday from 11:00 to 16:00 / Daily Masses at 12:30
  • Website: https://www.nicolaas-parochie.nl/nicolaas/

red light district

Amsterdam tourist attractions

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions. Photo: Olena Z / shutterstock

Amsterdam is a city well known for granting more freedom when it comes to recreational drugs and sex. The Red Light District is an example of this. In the neighborhood, visitors will find more than 290 windows from which prostitutes offer their services 22 hours a day. This type of prostitution (in windows, brothels, private houses and agencies) has been legal since the year 2000, and it is a type of service that brings with it labor rights and duties for both the owners of establishments and the workers. 

Prostitution began to settle in the neighborhood because of the port that operated there and generated great circulation of people, mainly men. Today, the neighborhood also offers sex venues, coffee shops that sell drugs such as hashish and marijuana (also legal there) and sex shops, as well as museums, bars, restaurants and the oldest church in town, the Oude Kerk.

Museum of Sex

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions

Amsterdam's main tourist attractions. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Within the Red Light District, the tourist finds the Venustempel (Temple of Venus) Museum of Sex, the first and oldest museum dedicated to the topic. Also paying homage to the history of the neighborhood itself, Venustempel features characters, drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos and images that analyze how cultures have dealt with sex over the years. It is a different tour that can end up being very fun and liberating. 

jordaan district 

Amsterdam tourist attractions

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions. Photo: Boudewijn “Bo” Boer / Unsplash

Next to the most libertarian neighborhood in Amsterdam, the Jordaan neighborhood is the one that earns the definition of “cool” in the city. Its narrow streets and canals are lined with independent boutiques, cozy bars and trendy restaurants. In addition, among the local attractions are the Noordermarkt market, which offers jewelry, clothing, antiques and organic foods. Antiekcentrum Amsterdam antique shop sells vintage ceramics and paintings, while smaller galleries in the area focus on innovative contemporary art. Other points of interest are the Houseboat Museum and the Amsterdam Cheese Museum.

Madame Tussauds of Amsterdam

Amsterdam tourist attractions

Amsterdam must-see attractions. Photo: PxFuel

The famous Madame Tussauds wax museum is an attraction that enchants thousands of tourists around the world with its statues of celebrities and great names in human history. Originally English, the museum has units in several countries in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania, including Amsterdam, which, in addition to famous people from pop culture, sports and great world leaders, also displays statues of the Dutch monarchy. 

Tropenmuseum

Amsterdam tourist attractions

Amsterdam Tourist Attractions. Photo: Jakob van Vliet

The Tropenmuseum is a museum of world cultures, housed in one of the most impressive buildings in the Netherlands. From the monumental Great Hall, there is an expansive view of what the museum has to offer. Its current permanent exhibition is Important Things, which opened in 2018, putting the museum's focus on universal themes that connect people across the world. Current social issues such as migration and identity play an important role in this. Engaged exhibitions such as Afterlives of Slavery and Longing for Mecca are an example. 






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