Amsterdam is one of the few cities in the world where the streets, the atmosphere and the people are an attraction in themselves. It is famous all over the world for its liberal attitude towards sex and drugs but, of course, there is far much more to Amsterdam than drugs and prostitutes.
Built on a cobweb of canals, a trip around the city on a canal boat is one of the best ways to see the city that is so widely known as the ‘Venice of the North’. On them you don’t only get to see most of the city but you also get to appreciate its unique architecture.
Amsterdam is heaving with culture also. The Netherlands has the most museums per square foot than any other country in the world, and the best of these are in Amsterdam. In particular, the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank Museum should not be missed.
Warmoestr, Gelderskade & Oude Doelenstr, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Probably not one of the most culturally appealing attractions in the city, this is certainly the one everyone wants to visit during their stay. Known locally as De Walletjes, this world famous red light district is located in the oldest part of the city and it truly epitomises the old adage which tells us something really has to be seen to be believed.
Traditional Dutch buildings lining narrow streets modernised by huge glass windows and neon lights present a unique blend of the old and the new. Scantily clad girls flaunt their wares behind these windows and the throngs of tourists who trawl through the streets are bombarded with shops selling a selection of erotica, more extensive and imaginative than anywhere else in the world. You can also visit live sex shows and peep shows if that’s what you’re into. It’s not for everyone yet it’s the place that all visitors to Amsterdam are guaranteed to see.
Dam Square, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Built in 1648 when Amsterdam was the one of the wealthiest cities in the world, its original purpose was as City Hall. By 1808 it was turned into a palace when King Louis Napoleon arrived in town. It is from this period that the impressive decor dates from.
Open Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat & Sun from 12.30pm-5pm; admission €4.50.
Prinsengracht 263 (Westerkerk), Amsterdam, Netherlands
A visit to the house where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis for over two years is an extremely emotional experience, yet also a very enjoyable one. The museum tells the history of the eight people in who hid there between 1942 and 1944 and those who helped them during their hiding.
Open daily from 9am-7pm; admission €7.50.
Paulus Potterstraat 7, Amsterdam, Netherlands
With over 1.3 million visitors in 2004, the Van Gogh Museum is the Dutch capital's most popular museum. It houses a permanent collection of over 200 paintings and 500 drawings by Van Gogh and tells the story of the eccentric Dutch artist.
Open 10am-6pm (10pm Fridays); admission €10.
Oosterdokskade 5, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Stedelijk Museum has the best collection of modern art in Amsterdam and presents over 1,000 modern art exhibits, from 1850 to the present day. Its features include paintings by Cézanne, Chagall, Picasso, and Monet among others. The museum also has a prized collection of paintings and drawings by the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich.
Open daily from 11am-5pm; admission €9.
Stadthouderskade 78, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Divided into 19 different rooms, this self-guided tour is surprisingly enjoyable and the combination of nostalgia and modern technology work particularly well.
Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm; admission €10.
Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Close to the Leidseplein and Amsterdam’s premier museums this is the city’s largest park of the city, and by far the most popular with visitors and locals alike. The park is especially busy in the summer and on sunny winter days. As you would expect, the park is always alive with skaters, joggers and all sorts of street performers.
Damrak 26, Amsterdam, Netherlands
To fully appreciate Amsterdam's architecture you need to get a canal cruise around the city. Lasting an hour, they tell the stories behind some of the city's most famous buildings.
Tours depart every 15 mins from 10am-4.30pm/6pm (April to September); tickets €6.
Damrak 18, Amsterdam, Netherlands
This museum totally dedicated to sex details this sometimes taboo subject with a collection of historical erotic and pornographic art, literature and artifacts. For those of you easily offended stay away from the room in back displaying a skull and crossbones on the door (10am-11.30pm).