Many people come to Amsterdam in search of entertainment. The number of pubs and bars is huge. This does not mean, however, that we cannot combine business with pleasure – and look for places related to the history of the city.
We’ll find a few historic pubs at the beginning of Zeedijk street (starting from Prins Hendrikkade). Examples are In ‘t Aepjen and In de Olofspoort, where we meet middle-aged residents rather than tourists. Inside, we will be delighted with authentic decorations and a selection of local drinks – including the local gin variety called Jenever.
If we visit Dam Square, we can go to the historic De Drie Fleschjes bar specializing in Amsterdam Bols products. It is worth taking a look and see the original decoration, including barrels standing on one of the walls.
One of the most interesting attractions of Amsterdam is the Heineken Experience, a modern museum in the building of the historic Heineken brewery. Inside, we will learn the history of the brand and the building itself, find out how beer is brewed and go through modern rooms with multimedia entertainment. At the end of the tour, we can go to the observation deck and drink a beer looking at the roof of Amsterdam buildings – Amsterdam Tours & Tickets
Another historic place is the De Gooyer windmill, the tallest wooden windmill in the Netherlands. The structure stands on one of the bastions, which was part of the seventeenth-century fortifications surrounding Amsterdam.
Next to the windmill, the Brouwerij ‘t IJ brewery is located, where we will drink beers among the locals. As a rule, there are crowds, but mainly locals. Prices compared to the center are more friendly, and the selection of beers and snacks is large. The brewery offers short trips, however the number of places is very limited.
Some go to Amsterdam with the intention of trying another drug – marijuana. In Amsterdam, we meet the so-called coffee shops, or places where you can consume or buy this soft drug. The sale of alcohol is not allowed in coffee shops. As a rule, we can buy the same dried or so-called previously joined joints with tobacco, also take-out.
Maritime Museum and NEMO Science Museum
A little further from the center, at the end of Prins Hendrikkade street, there are two interesting establishments – the Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) and the NEMO Science Museum.
The Maritime Museum is one of the most interesting museums of this type in all of Europe. It’s in historical warehouses. Inside, we will see exhibits related to the exploration of the seas and oceans, as well as historical maps and atlases. The museum includes a replica of the ship from 1749 moored next to it. We will spend 2-3 hours here.
The NEMO Science Museum is one of the most modern museums in the city. The building itself stands out from a distance. Its shape resembles a boat. There is a viewing point on the roof of the museum.
In front of the NEMO Museum along the waterfront are 20 historic ships within the Museumhaven. We will see there primarily the units used to work in the previous century.
Channels and canal cruises
You can’t describe Amsterdam without mentioning its amazing channels. Their construction began in the 17th century and was to make life easier for rich residents. The canals surround the historic part of the city with rings. Initially, their shape may cause slight dizziness and lack of orientation during walks. After getting to know each other better, we should begin to feel like a fish in water in Amsterdam.
One of the most pleasant places to walk along the canals is the Jordaan district. Peace and pleasant atmosphere await us here.
The canals of Amsterdam have been fully inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
An interesting way to visit the city is a canal trip lasting about an hour. Several companies operate cruises. They all have similar prices, differ e.g. in the availability of Polish in the audio guide.
If we want to go on such a cruise, we can go to the marina opposite the main station (along Prins Hendrikkade) or to the marina on Damrak (next to the channel with the same name).
The historic center of Amsterdam is densely built-up. It should not surprise us that looking for greenery we must move a little bit away from the oldest part of the city.
If we are looking for a place to relax from the city buildings, we can go to the Vondelpark, which is located a bit behind the museum district. Let’s remember, however, that crowds will probably be there on a warm day.
Vondelpark is a great example of developing a park for residents. We find here walking routes, ponds, benches and cafes as well as an open theater. The park has an installation created by the famous Pablo Picasso called Figure Découpée (L’Oiseau), which simply means fish.
Another popular park is the Rembrandt park (Rembrandtpark). It is not as popular as Vondelpark. On the spot waiting for us paths and ponds, and many places to rest.
Amsterdam’s pride is certainly the royal ARTIS zoo. It is located almost in the very center of the city and occupies a relatively large area. If we like this type of place, we shouldn’t regret the visit.
In the building next to the entrance to the garden, the Micropia museum has recently been created, which focuses on the functioning of microorganisms. The facility is modern. There are research workers on site who are ready to help. Unfortunately, the museum itself occupies only one floor.
Quite close to the zoo, we also find the Hortus botanical garden founded in 1682. The facility boasts of possessing over 4,000 plant species.
Amsterdam Noord, or simply North Amsterdam, is a district located on the other side of Lake IJ. There is primarily modern residential buildings as well as office buildings and restaurants.
From a tourist point of view, the key attraction of the area is the A’DAM Lookout viewpoint on the roof of a tall skyscraper. At the top there is also an additional attraction, a swing that when lifted goes beyond the edge of the building.
Ascent to the top and swing are paid separately. In high season, the queues for the swings can be up to an hour or longer. The swing itself lasts tens of seconds. Above you will also find restaurants (more bars) with a view of the city.
Another popular attraction is the EYE Film Museum located next door. Inside, we will primarily see posters and advertising materials for films screened in the Netherlands over the years.
We can get to Amsterdam Noord by a special city boat for free. The ship leaves from the marina behind the main station (on its west side). The ship leaves every few minutes, usually there are crowds during the day.
For every football fan, Amsterdam is associated primarily with the famous Ajax. Every day, Ajax plays their home games at the modern Amsterdam ArenA facility. The stadium can be visited during guided tours in English. During the trip we will visit the cloakroom, enter the stands and see how the famous arena looks from the inside.
There is probably no other such city in the world where we will meet such a large percentage of residents traveling to work, school or shopping on bicycles or scooters that are becoming more and more recently.
We can get almost anywhere on two wheels. The city boasts of nearly 400 kilometers of bicycle routes. As a rule, they separate the sidewalk from the street. Remember to always look around the path. The path is not always visible at first glance. Every day there are bicycle crashes or, worse, scooters with pedestrians (primarily tourists).
If we decide to explore Amsterdam on a bike we should follow a few rules:
- let’s use only bicycle paths, do not enter the sidewalk or street
- watch out for pedestrians crossing the lanes
- let’s follow traffic lights
- after dark we must use the front and rear lights
- if we turn, let us know by raising our hand in the direction of the turn.
In Amsterdam, we won’t have the slightest problem with renting a bike. At least a dozen stores in the broadly understood city center do this.
Rentals differ in bike types, prices per day and some rules. Some bikes do not have front brakes. He brakes with pedals. Bicycles of this type are usually cheaper.
Almost every rental will require an ID card and often a credit card from us. We should not be surprised that a deposit may be required.
Prices vary depending on the bike and time. It is often possible to rent a bike for an hour – it may cost eg 5 €. Renting a day, depending on the type of bike, should cost us around 8-12 €. If we borrow a bike for several days, the price for a single day should be lower.
Some rental companies require or suggest an insurance surcharge. If you plan to leave the bike somewhere for a long time (e.g. going to the museum) you should consider it.
Tours out of Amsterdam
Amsterdam itself is a very interesting and absorbing city. However, if we feel the need for change, we can go on a short trip to one of the surrounding cities or to one of the surrounding attractions.
At a distance of 30-45 minutes from Amsterdam, we find a whole range of different interesting places, each of which will be able to choose something for everyone. Some of these:
The Zaanse Schans open-air museum, where we will see buildings (including windmills) from the 18th and 19th centuries brought from the first European industrial region of Zaan.
Muiderslot Castle, a 14th-century fortress that was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List along with the Amsterdam fortification line.
Haarlem, with over 700 last city – is famous for its cathedral and cultural facilities.
Edam, Marken and Volendam – three cities next to each other. There is a cheese market in Edam, Volendam is a typical tourist coastal town, and Marken is a former fishing village that was on the island in the past.
Keukenhof, the world-famous tulip garden. Unfortunately, the garden is open to visitors only about two months a year. In 2018, the garden will be open from March 22 to May 13.