Amsterdam: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Published: November 27, 2021

Amsterdam is a city that attracts many visitors, yet it is difficult to make a long list of must-see sites. Much of the city’s appeal lies in its friendly and relaxed atmosphere. However, in order not to simply spend time walking along the canals, a few points of interest can be highlighted.

01. Van Gogh Museum

The museum has the largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh, mostly belonging to his brother Theo. The museum was built for this collection in 1973 and has since been expanded. The paintings are presented by period, showing the developments of the painter. Other painters are also present, those he worked with or those who influenced him.

02. Rijksmuseum

The national museum presents several art collections illustrating the artistic richness of the country, it has 200 rooms and more than one million objects. The main focus is on the great Flemish painters, especially Rembrandt with his Night Watch. The 10-year renovation at the beginning of the century transformed the large 19th century building into a modern museum.

03. Royal Palace

In the 17th century this was the City Hall, it was intended to reflect the commercial power of the city. This mass of stone rests on wooden piles that stabilise the damp ground. It was Louis Bonaparte, the first king of Holland, who decided to make it his royal palace. It remained so even though the kings resided in The Hague, and therefore the palace is only used for large receptions.

04. Canals

The canals were created in the 17th century, making Amsterdam an archipelago of 90 islands separated by 100 kilometres, 60 miles, of canals. Four main canals form successive rings around the old town, most with quays on either side, sometimes with the frontage falling directly into the water. Walking or boating along the canals is at the heart of local life (more).

05. Herengracht

The Lords’ Canal has a section near the city centre called the Golden Curve, Gouden Bocht, which is home to some of the city’s finest residences. The wide facades are preceded by majestic stoops, the pediments are different from the usual narrow swan necks. The residences have now been converted into museums or upmarket offices.

06. Anne Frank House

The rooms where Anne Frank and her family hid during the Second World War have been protected. The house forms the heart of a larger museum dedicated to the struggle against racism, which is mainly housed in a modern building. It is now one of the most visited places, with a canal boarding point on the quay.

07. Amsterdam Museum

The museum is housed in a former orphanage, some rooms of which can still be visited in their austere appearance. The rest of the buildings show different aspects of the city’s history in a modern and dynamic presentation. In one courtyard is the newly restored coronation carriage from 1898 with its controversial slave paintings.

08. NEMO

Behind this acronym lies the science museum, which was moved in 1997 to this building that vaguely resembles the hull of a ship. In reality, it is built over the entrance to the road tunnel over the Ij, which is where its sloping shape comes from. Its roof also takes the form of a huge terrace offering a view of the city and a place to sunbathe in summer.

09. Red Light District

The coffee shops and the Red Light District are the source of a certain form of tourism. It is also a typical image of the city that attracts curiosity. The rule is not to photograph an occupied booth, out of respect for people and for your own safety. It is located in the oldest part of the city and generates quite a lot of night activity.

10. Heineken

Built in 1867, the Heineken brewery has become one of the leading beer brands, marketed in 190 countries, the group produces 250 brands. Its historic brewery can be visited to follow the brewing process. The brewery is no longer operational but still has its spectacular old brewing vats. Of course, a tasting is included in the tour.

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  1. The reason why I’ve always wanted to visit Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general) is because of its historical connection with Indonesia. I notice you took the photos in this post on sunny days, but from what I heard the weather in this country is often depressing (with the skies mostly gray throughout the year). I suppose you went in summer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • True I went in the summer this time and the weather was quite good, the following week there was flooding. Amsterdam is near the sea and the weather changes quickly with a lot of humidity, so you have to be patient to wait for the sun. But apart from the pictures, a little drizzle goes well with the scenery.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Amsterdam. I’ve been here a few times over the years as I have family in the northern part of the Netherlands. I haven’t been to all the places you’ve mentioned yet, but someday. I’d love to visit in the spring to see all the tulips in bloom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In my opinion there may be more tulips in Ottawa than in Amsterdam, but in the past I had the chance to visit Keukenhof at the time of the tulips and it was enchanting. I’m glad I’ll be able to come back to Amsterdam more regularly as, like any big city, things change.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Seeing so many paintings by Van Gogh is a bit overwhelming, but the museum is well designed. Amsterdam is a city that you visit in a different way, walking along the canals, looking at the houses, the passers-by, the boats. There are many dimensions.


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