Amsterdam is a city 750 years in the making. It’s a city where the past and present live side-by-side, a tapestry of awe-inspiring architecture, majestic canals and world-class museums. The best way to see it is on foot, but here’s a small taster of things to come.
Cultural mavens should head straight for Museumplein. This expansive square is where you’ll find the Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, Concertgebouw and Stedelijk Museum all within walking distance. The fastest way to get there is to take trams 2, 3, 5, 12 or 16 from Amsterdam Central Station. The Rijksmusuem is home to Vermeer’s ‘Milkmaid’ and Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’, while the Van Gogh has a huge selection from the artist’s oeuvre.
Pro-tip – book your tickets online. You’ll have to book for a particular time-slot, but it can save you hours standing in a queue.
Anne Frank House
You’ll never forget your visit to the Anne Frank House. It was the home of Amsterdam’s most famous girl, where she lived with her family during WWII – and wrote her famous diary. The exhibits invoke the disbelief, anger and hope experienced by many during Europe’s darkest days. To save time, buy tickets online, or visit either very early or very late in the day.
If you fancy a good rummage through the ages, this is the place to be. Waterlooplein (Waterloo Square) is a lively flea market, located close to the bar-filled Rembrandtplein. Dig around through boxes of old records, find retro jackets from the 80s, or whatsits and thingamebobs from decades gone by. Don’t forget to haggle for a few euros off – it's all part of the experience.
The 9 Straatjes shopping district
Lose yourself in the 9 Straatjes (‘nine streets’). These streets form a complex web of eclectic vintage shops, bookstores, restaurants and galleries. It’s a hot-spot for both visitors and locals, and it’s great place to amble for a few hours.
The Zeedijk is one of the oldest and most colourful neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. It maintains its air of fun and frivolity, harkening back to a time when intoxicated sailors would roam about looking for mischief and merriment. The area is a museum in itself, where many buildings have impressive historic façades. The street signs are written in both Dutch and Chinese, since the Zeedijk is also part of Chinatown.