From the Van Gogh Museum to Anne Frank House, discover the best things to see and do in Amsterdam with our guide to the Dutch capital’s top attractions.
Uncover an array of world-famous sights during your trip to the city of canals. Art, heritage and culture can all be found in abundance throughout the Dutch capital, with both contemporary and historic wonders competing for your attention.
Amsterdam has mastered a perfect balance of village charm and big city buzz, which creates a truly memorable European metropolis. Here, sleek museums rub shoulders with 17th-century Golden Age architecture and leafy oases melt into romantic waterways.
Here are the top 10 things to see and do on your Amsterdam adventure.
1. Van Gogh Museum
Celebrating the Netherlands’ most famous painter, the Van Gogh Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of his works. Hundreds of paintings, drawings and letters from the artist fill four floors of the Rietveld building.
Explore the exhibition and be dazzled by the bright yellow shades of Sunflowers, marvel at the azure hues of Almond Blossoms and examine the painter’s Self-Portrait with Straw Hat. Hanging alongside Van Gogh’s pieces are those of artists who were influenced by his work, including Kees van Dongen and Maurice de Vlaminck.
You can also trace the 19th century painter’s past, with family photos and an interactive display that reveals his fascinating, yet troubled life.
Experience works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer all under one roof at the grand Rijksmuseum. More than 8,000 pieces can be found inside the imposing 19th-century building, providing an historical narrative of the Netherlands that starts in the Middle Ages.
From the fairytale Cuypers Library to the exquisite Gallery of Honour, you’ll uncover iconic art at every turn. Make sure you enjoy every detail of Rembrandt’s legendary piece The Night Watch in a beautiful dedicated space.
3. Anne Frank House Museum
Prepare for a powerful and moving experience with a visit to the Anne Frank House Museum, where the heartbreaking story of the tragic schoolgirl and her family is retold in the place where it unfolded.
Venture behind the secret bookcase and climb into the annex that successfully concealed the Franks from the Nazis for two whole years. Movie star posters still hang on the walls and you can see the marks where the family recorded the children’s heights as they grew.
Downstairs, Anne’s famous diary is on display in the museum, where you can read first-hand her thoughts, hopes and fears as war raged all around her.
Escape the crowds with a stroll around a magical green wonderland in the heart of the city. Romantic bridges, Victorian bandstands and quaint cafes make Vondelpark a serene haven where you can enjoy urban life in Amsterdam at a more leisurely pace.
Spread a picnic blanket on the manicured lawn and watch as cyclists cruise around the paths and swans glide across the waters. If you’re visiting during the summer, be sure to reserve tickets for the park’s open-air theater with free performances ranging from comedy to cabaret.
5. Heineken Experience
Amsterdam’s flagship brewery has been transformed into the Heineken Experience. The pilsner is the city’s most famous export and here you get the chance to journey through its brewing process.
Learn how to bottle a Heineken yourself, master the art of pouring the perfect pint and watch screenings of the brand’s best-known adverts. Finish off at the tasting bar with a fresh glass of the world’s favorite beer and listen to a sommelier spill the beans on how to taste it like an expert.
6. Dam Square
Stand on the spot in Dam Square where Amsterdam was founded back in 1270. Wander into the bustling central space and you’ll be met by jolly buskers, hardy pigeons and plenty of people taking time to soak it all in.
Fringing the square is a collection of beautiful buildings, the Royal Palace is the most eye-catching with its exceptional Neo-Classical architecture. Follow in the footsteps of Dutch monarchs and roam the vast halls, with plenty of paintings and sculptures to see. Don’t miss the jewel in its crown, the spectacular marble-clad Citizens’ Hall.
7. EYE Film Institute
You wouldn’t be alone in thinking a space ship had landed on Amsterdam’s waterfront, but this striking white building is actually home to a world-class film collection. Make your way inside and explore the treasure trove of movie history exhibited inside the EYE Film Institute.
Snuggle inside a two-seater pod and watch an entire film, attempt to shoot images with a green screen or view rare snippets of silent movies on the basement screen. Costume exhibitions provide a behind-the-scenes view, displaying items from the movies playing out in front of you.
8. Efteling Theme Park
Step back in time at Efteling Theme Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Make your way through the magical forest and explore a fantasy land for children and adults alike.
Swing through the skies aboard the 180-degree rocking boat ride or, if you’re a real daredevil, brave the dizzy heights of the wooden racer rollercoaster. The whole family can enjoy a voyage along the river rapids or enjoy the spectacular live show in the Raveleijn theater, telling the legend of five children who use their magical powers to defeat an evil tyrant.
9. Madame Tussauds Amsterdam
Snap a selfie with the Dutch King, strike a pose with Barack Obama and join Marvel’s superhero gang – it’s all possible at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam. The famous wax works museum is packed with native stars and global A-listers for an afternoon of fun.
Experience masterpieces like never before inside the interactive art exhibition. Pose for a portrait in Van Gogh’s studio and acquaint yourself with the master of surrealism, Salvador Dali.
Once an industrial outpost, this quaint neighborhood has transformed itself into one of city’s most romantic spots. Stroll the cobbled streets with their secret courtyards and traditional pubs, and you’ll soon know what we mean.
Markets flood the district and the best is Lindengracht. Browse stalls piled high with local cheese, fresh fish and colorful bunches of flowers. There’s no shortage of upscale galleries and chic restaurants either in this central part of Amsterdam.
Foodies will be in brunch heaven at G’s – savor banana-topped French toast and enjoy a thirst-quenching Bloody Mary, the eatery’s signature drink.
What’s your favorite attraction in Amsterdam? Comment on Facebook and let us know your must-see sights in the Dutch capital.