Top 15 points of interest

by Tanja
EYE Film Museum and A'DAM

Amsterdam points of interest you must see include, of course, the Red Light District and Anne Frank House, probably the most famous points of interest of Amsterdam. Most tourists only stay in the centre of the city, hopping in and out of the famous 17th-century canal ring.

But there is so much more to see. Amsterdam is a small city, compared to cities like Paris, London and Berlin and it does not have the same amount of points of interest. But it sure has some wonderful monuments, parks and neighbourhood you must see when in Amsterdam. Here are:

Amsterdam’s Top 15 points of interest

1. Skinny Bridge

Magere Brug
The Skinny Bridge across the Amstel river in Amsterdam.

The Skinny Bridge, or in Dutch ‘Magere Brug’ is a Dutch bascule bridge across the Amstel river. Only bikes and people on foot can cross it. It’s is a narrow bridge, hence its name. The Amstel river is still a busy waterway and so the bridge opens very often. In the evening the bridge is lit with small dotted lights and it is a beautiful sight.

Read more about bridges in Amsterdam.

2. Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum at Museum Square (Museumplein).

The Rijksmuseum is Amsterdam most important museum. and the largest museum in The Netherlands. It’s the Louvre of Holland. The Rijksmuseum shows a collection of mostly 17th-century art and other objects. The building was made by Pierre Cuypers, the same architect who created Central Station. The buildings are quite similar.

The Rijksmuseum is located at the large Museum Square. Here you will find also the famous Concerts Building (Concert Gebouw), the Stedelijk Museum with its bathtub shaped wing, the Van Gogh Museum and the Moco Museum with work of Banksy.

3. Vondelpark

Blue tea house Vondelpark Amsterdam
The Blue Tea House at Amsterdam’ Vondelpark was built in the 1930s

The Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s own version of Central Park. In summer, it is swamped with people sitting on the grass enjoying the cool of the trees. All year long people go to the park to do sports.

The Vondelpark was created in 1867 and like many parks in Amsterdam, it was made in the romantic English landscape style. This means it has many ponds, small bridges and rounded paths. It also has different places to have a drink, 2 playgrounds for children and a public children’s pool.

4. Dam Square

Royal Palace Amsterdam
The Royal Palace on Dam Square was built in the 17th century to be a City Hall.

Dam Square is one of Amsterdam’s most famous points of interest. It is located in the heart of the city, running straight from Amsterdam Central Station. It is a huge square.

On one side you will see the imposing Amsterdam Royal Palace on Dam Square (Paleis op de Dam), only rarely used by the present King and built as the Town Hall, back in the day when Holland was part of a republic.

On the other side of Amsterdam Dam square stands the National Monument, a concrete conical pillar of 22 metres (72 ft) in height. The monument is there to remember the Dutch casualties of the Second World War. Deep under the ground are the remains of the old dam, put in the Amstel river that flowed here. This dam gave Amsterdam its name.

5. Eye Film Museum

Eye Film Museum Amsterdam
Eye Film Museum is one of Amsterdam’s main points of interest.

The Eye Film Museum sits across the IJ waters, easy to spot from the area behind Central Station. The building is quite a spectacular view. It was opened in 2012 by former Queen Beatrix. It was created by Delugan Meissl architects.

Housed in it is the EYE Film Institute Netherlands, which preserves Dutch (and foreign) films. The museum collection includes 37,000 film titles, 60,000 posters, 700,000 photographs and 20,000 books. It’s also a cinema, focussing on screening classic films and new arthouse films. It also has a restaurant and bar with beautiful views overlooking the water. It can easily be reached by free ferry.

Read more about Art film houses in Amsterdam

6. Amsterdam points of interest: the Canal Ring

Cromhout canal house museum
The rich merchant family built the 4 canal houses on Herengracht, now a museum.

The Amsterdam Canal Ring is the city’s most treasured asset. The area is shaped like a half a moon around the historical city centre. It comprised of 4 canals. These waterways are lined with some of Amsterdam most characteristic houses from the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century. The houses are narrow, no more than 4 floors and have typical facades.

Read more about Amsterdam Canal Houses.

7. De Waag

Market on Nieuwmarkt Square Amsterdam
Nieuwmarkt in the centre of Amsterdam has an organic food market with beautiful fresh organic produce such as bread, vegetables, cake, juices and herbs.

Every medieval Dutch city has its own Waag: a weighing house where the goods were weighed. Amsterdam, being the most important trade city of the world in the 17th century had many, but only one remains: De Waag on Nieuwmarkt Square.

The charming castle-like building lies at the border of the Red Light District and China Town, in the old historical centre on Nieuwmarkt Square. De Waag is now a restaurant, the square holds regular markets and the cafés and bars have nice terraces.

8. Red Light District

The Red Light District has been synonymous with Amsterdam all over the world. The prostitutes have been sitting behind their red-lit windows luring customers almost forever. In recent years, the area has been attracting more and more tourists. Especially in the late evening, it is very busy.

Read more about Amsterdam Red Light District.

9. Jordaan

Jordaan Egelantiersgracht Amsterdam
The small streets of Jordaan with lots of boutiques and cafes.

The Jordaan is a charming Amsterdam neighbourhood with lots of small boutiques, restaurants and terraces. It lies along the outermost canal of the Canal Ring, the Prinsengracht. You can find the Anne Frank House nearby and get lost among its narrow streets.

The Jordaan Quarter has had a long history, starting as an area for the many immigrant workers who flocked to the booming city in the 17th century, to a socialist workers neighbourhood in the 19th century and impoverished area in the first half of the 20th century.

After the big renovations of the 1990s, the area has turned into a rather gentrified area, housing a mixed community of artists, working-class elderly, yuppies and well off families.

10. Albert Cuyp Market

Albert Cuyp Amsterdam
Albert Cuyp is the most famous market in Amsterdam.

The Albert Cuyp Markt lies at the heart of popular Amsterdam area: De Pijp. It’s very nearby the Rijksmuseum, but tourists often disregard this section. For Dutch people, it is well known because of its renowned market: The Albert Cuyp Market.

It’s a daily market (except Sunday), selling everything a household needs: from fruit and veggies to clothes and furniture. Around this bustling market the bars, terraces and cafés are packed with people, day and night!

11. Anne Frank House

Of course, the Anne Frank House is not to be missed on this list of Amsterdam points of interest. Anne Frank has captured hearts all over the world with her diary that she kept while hiding from the Nazi’s. The hidden house on Prinsengracht Canal is to be visited, though it is empty so it is merely the feeling of having been in the same room where she wrote her famous words.

The Anne Frank House is extremely busy and you must buy a ticket in advance or you will stand in line hours waiting.

Read: Ten tips for visiting the Anne Frank House Museum.

12. The Jewish Quarter

Hollandse Schouwburg Plantage Amsterdam
The Hollandse Schouwburg is a former theatre in Amsterdam, used in the war by the Nazi’s as a deportation centre.

Before the war, Amsterdam was a real Jewish city. About 10% of the Amsterdam population was Jewish. The Jewish people had fled from Spain and Portugal, eventually settling in the religion-tolerant Amsterdam in the 17th century.

After the Second World War, most of the Jewish people in Amsterdam were killed in the Nazi concentration camps. Some remains of the Jewish origin of Amsterdam are the Portuguese Synagogue and the Jewish History Museum, also a former synagogue. Above, a photo of the Hollandse Schouwburg, now a museum about the war and Jewish history of Amsterdam.

Read more about Amsterdam Jewish Quarter.

13. NDSM

ndsm market Amsterdam
Flea market at the NDSM former ship wharf.

The old Shipyard of NDSM is THE place to be for Amsterdam young people. The area is large, lies along the beautiful IJ waters and in summer, there are tons of parties. Most famous are Pllek and Noorderlicht.

At the IJ-Hallen there are regular huge flea markets. Going there is an adventure by itself: you can take the free 15-minute ferry and enjoy the beautiful view of the city.

Read more about Amsterdam NDSM.

14. Westergasfabriek

Gashouder Westergasfabriek
The Gashouder where the gas was kept is now part of the cultural hotspot Westergasfabriek.

Like NDSM, Westergasfabriek is a converted industrial site. While NDSM was home to shipbuilding, the Westergasfabriek was a large gas factory. Many of the old buildings were taken down, but some were restored and converted into restaurants, bakeries, coffee bars and space for markets, fairs and events.

15. Rembrandt House

Amsterdam Rembrandt House Museum
Kitchen at Amsterdam Rembrandt museum

Rembrandt, the most famous painter from The Netherlands, lived and worked almost his entire life in Amsterdam. As a young and successful painter, he bought a huge house in 1639. Those were the booming days. Though Rembrandt eventually died as an indebted man and the house had to be sold when he went bankrupt, the Rembrand House is still to be visited.

The Rembrandt House Museum is not just interesting for art lovers, it gives you a real feel of what it felt to live in a 17th-century house.  The Amsterdam Rembrandt Museum is one of Amsterdam points of interest you must see.

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