PORTICO6

Amsterdam: Must-See Places

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Amsterdam has all the charm of an old European canal city while being equipped with every modern amenity you could want. Perfect for a long weekend or week-long trip, make the Dutch capital a stop on your next European adventure and get your fill of history, art, and good times.

Van Gogh Museum. Photo by Frans Ruiter from Unsplash

1. Van Gogh Museum

6 Museumplein, Amsterdam, NH 1071 DJ

The Van Gogh Museum houses the world's largest collection of Van Gogh paintings, as well as his drawings and letters. This beautiful, circular museum is located in the aptly named Museumplein—also home to the Rijksmuseum —making it easy to find via public transport. Head here to see works like The Potato Eaters, Self-Portrait as a Painter, Sunflowers, The Bedroom, Almond Blossom, and more. We suggest you plan your visit and book tickets ahead of time, as purchasing the day-of can mean long lines. After your visit, check out the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam or the Moco Museum next door for your fill of modern art, or the Rijksmuseum for European art and Dutch Golden Age paintings like Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid.

Anne Frank House. Photo by archer10 licensed under CC BY 2.0.

2. Anne Frank House

20 Westermarkt, Amsterdam, NH 1016 GV

As with the Van Gogh Museum, you’ll want to plan ahead for this visit—and not only logistically (like buying tickets), but also emotionally. Due to the history of the house, and more specifically the family that lived here, this museum packs quite the emotional punch. Be taken through the secret passages and doorways that allowed the Frank family to stay hidden from Nazis for so long, see Anne’s magazine cuttings still pasted to the walls, and learn about her family’s history. Looking for a way to process your visit? Rent a bike and explore the city’s beautiful canals and parks the way the Dutch do afterwards.

Concertgebouw. Photo by Ernest McGray, Jr. licensed under CC BY 2.0.

3. The Concertgebouw

10 Concertgebouwplein, Amsterdam, NH 1071 LN

Also located on the Museumplein, the Concertgebouw is a 19th-century concert hall with renowned acoustics for orchestral, chamber, and pop music. Head here to see the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra play a variety of classical music by famous composers. The venue is incredible and the performances are quite special. The Amsterdam Culture Club often hosts outings to Concertgebouw events, so check their schedule before deciding which performance to attend if you want to go with a cool crowd. Hungry before or after the show? Head to De Hallen for various food options in Foodhallen and to do some shopping!

Volkshotel. Photo by Konrad Lischka licensed under CC BY 3.0.

4. Volkshotel

150 Wibautstraat, Amsterdam, NH 1091 GR

Hotels usually don’t make a Portico6 list, but Volkshotel is special. That’s because it’s more than just a hotel—it’s a restaurant (Canvas), coworking space/cafe (Werkplaats), night club (Doka), and rooftop spa (Badplaats) all rolled into one. They also host special events like movie nights, pop-up shops, and art exhibitions, and even offer hairdressing services! Volkshotel is literally a one-stop-shop. Whether you decide to stay here or not during your trip, make sure a visit to Volks is on your itinerary.

De Wallen. Photo by Zairon licensed under CC BY 4.0.

5. De Wallen

Amsterdam, NH

The De Wallen district is Amsterdam’s medieval city center, and also home to its infamous red light district—but maybe not for long. The political party Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) is trying to shut down a significant number of the famous windows following a proposal from the city’s mayor in an effort to “reset” tourism. If it’s successful, sex workers in the iconic De Wallen red light district would be invited to move to a purpose-built “erotic centre” elsewhere in the city, despite 90% of 170 female sex workers surveyed being against it. So if you plan on heading to Amsterdam, make sure to visit this district before it’s gone!

A'DAM Lookout. Photo by Shane Taremi licensed under CC BY 2.0.

6. A'DAM Lookout

5 Overhoeksplein, Amsterdam, NH 1031 KS

Admittedly touristy, the A’DAM lookout offers beautiful views of the city and a bit of adventure—if you’re up for swinging over the edge of a 20-story building. Stop here to start or cap off your visit and take in the lovely panorama. After taking the elevator (equipped with a light show) up to the observation deck, decide if you’re game for Europe’s highest swing or you prefer to have a drink at the Rooftop Bar or a bite at Restaurant Moon or Il Panorama . Buy tickets in advance and try to plan your visit for sunset to get the best pictures and overall ambience.

The Netherlands is a fairly small country, making it easy to see a lot of things that are just a short car ride away. If you have an extra day or two, rent a car and head to the breathtaking Keukenhof tulip garden (30 minutes by car) or the mostly car-free village of Giethoorn (1 hour and 30 minutes by car) where you can rent a row boat and explore the canals!