Travel Guide Europe Netherlands North Holland Amsterdam



Bike racks, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bike racks, Amsterdam, Netherlands

© GregW

With about 800,000 people, Amsterdam is one of the smaller capitals in the world, but it is a very popular city for tourists visiting the Netherlands or just the city itself. And, if you just have several days in the Netherlands, make a visit to Amsterdam your main thing.

Of course, Amsterdam is well known for its Red Light District, but it has much more to offer. Amsterdam is teeming with museums, like the famous Van Gogh Museum and of course the National Rijksmuseum. Also the Anne Frank House is one of the hotspots to visit, if you want to know more about the time during the war. It has some more strange museums as well, like a Torture Museum, a Sex Museum and a Hash(!) Museum. As Amsterdam is a major trading centre for diamonds, you will also find a museum about this precious jewel as well.

Walk along the canals and over the many squares Amsterdam offers, and enjoy a city that has something to offer for both the culture and art lovers, and the more kinky type of person. All put in a beautiful setting with water and typical Dutch historical building styles.




This section gives some introductory information on the neighbourhoods that are most interesting for tourists. Note that the names used here do not always correspond to the administrative divisions used by the city.

  • Historical Center is the area confined by IJ lake to the north, Singel and Inner Amstel to the west and south, and Oudeschans to the east, is the oldest part of Amsterdam. It comprises Dam Square, the Red Light District and Nieuwmarkt as its major sights. Lots and lots of good bars are found in this area, especially on and around Nieuwmarkt.
  • Gouden Reael is the neighbourhood just north of the railroad to Haarlem. It is the historical docklands, with lots of water and beautiful warehouses. It is a bit difficult to enter; the easiest way in is via Haarlemmerstraat.
  • Canal ring - This is the part of town best known to tourists. The five major canals of Amsterdam (Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Singelgracht) form rings around the medieval center, each from a slightly different period of architecture. The best way to see them all is to just wander around, or take a canal tour.
  • Jordaan is a mid-19th century blue-collar neighbourhood stretching north-south between Prinsengracht and Singelgracht, and Leidsegracht to the south. It is now an upscale area, with lots of boutiques, galleries, and fancy restaurants. Also, the area houses some of Amsterdam's better cafés.
  • De Pijp is a late-19th century neighbourhood to the south of the Canal Ring. It is known for its Bohemian athmosphere, steep staircases, and it boasts the largest food market in Amsterdam (Albert Cuyp market).
  • Oud-West is from the same period as De Pijp (above), with has much the same feel. The neighbourhood is built roughly parallel to Jordaan, only further to the west.
  • Oud-Zuid is a large district to the south of Leidseplein. It is mostly famous for Museumplein (where Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are located) and Vondelpark. Architecture buffs will enjoy Oud-Zuid because of Plan Zuid, one of Europe's earliest examples of large-scale city planning. The result is simply stunning, which is why Oud-Zuid nowadays is a very popular and upscale neighbourhood.
  • De Baarsjes is one of Amsterdam's last pre-WWII districts. It is a pleasant residential area, ideally suited for a stroll across the many squares that make the neighbourhood famous.
  • Eilanden (literally: Islands) is a group of artificial islands found in the eastern parts of IJ Lake. Although there isn't much going on in this neighbourhood, it is world-renowned for its late 1990s architecture. Some of the islands can be reached on foot (going east from Central Station); the others are further afield, and are best reached by streetcar.



Sights and Activities

Magere Brug

The skinny bridge Amsterdam

The skinny bridge Amsterdam

© classique

The Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) is one of the best known features of Amsterdam. The bridge (about 90 metres long in total) spans the Amstel River in the centre of the city and connects the banks of the river at the Kerkstraat (Church Street), between Keizersgracht (Emperors' Canal) and Prinsengracht (Princes' Canal). The central part of the bridge is the most spectactular one and is a so-called bascule bridge and maid out of wooden which was painted white later on. Although there had been bridges across the river here since the late 17th century, the current one is build in 1934 and since then has been opening automatically instead of by hand. Since 2003, the bridge can only be passed by pedestrians and cyclists, and tour boats can pass underneath the bridge without closing the bridge for other traffic. At night, the 1,200 light bulbs or so are usually turned on for a spectactular view as well. The bridge has been featured in my (Dutch) movies, including the 1971 James Bond productions Diamonds Are Forever.


The museum part of the Amsterdam tourist track typically leads through the Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandt's Night Watch and the Van Gogh Museum for his famous sunflower painting. However, you should also consider seeing some of Amsterdam's less visited museums, which harbour art just as breath-takingly beautiful. For an overview of Amsterdam's principal museums, have a look at the Museums in Amsterdam article.


Amsterdam gets frequently visited by interesting bands from all over the world. The centre has two good places: De Melkweg and Paradiso (situated in a nice old church, this is sometimes called the Temple of Pop). Both are a 1-minute walk from Het Leidseplein.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Albert Cuypmarkt - The most popular and largest street market in the Netherlands. Address: Albert Cuypstraat, De Pijp
  • Centraal Station - Address: Stationsplein, Centrum
  • Westergasfabriek - A gorgeous city park which has historic factory buildings, green spaces, venues for events and free WiFi. Address: Haarlemmerweg 8-10
  • Van Gogh Museum - A must see for anyone who enjoys Vincent Van Gogh's paintings. A great collection displayed in a really beautiful building. Address: Paulus Potterstraat 7, Phone: +31 (0)20 570 52 00
  • Artis - Amsterdam's zoo. The city's best keep secret, it was the first zoo in the Netherlands, founded in 1838. Natura Artis Magistra, its full name, means "nature is the teacher of art and science". Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, Amsterdam, Phone: +31 (0)900 27 84 796, Price: 3-9 year olds: €15.50, 10-64 year olds: €18.95, Ages 65 +: €17.50
  • Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam - Address: Oosterdokskade 143, Centrum
  • Rijksmuseum - This museum has been recently reopened after 10 years of remodelling. Address: Stadhouderskade 42, Old South
  • Rembrandt House - Address: Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam
  • Anne Frank House - Address: Prinsengracht 267, Western Canal Belt
  • MacBike - 020 620 0985 Stationsplein 5
  • Museumplein - Address: Old South
  • Amsterdam RAI - Address: Europaplein 22, Greater Amsterdam
  • Nationaal Monument - Address: The Dam (east side), Centrum
  • Muziekgebouw Aan 'T Ij - Address: Piet Heinkade 1, Plantage
  • NEMO Science Center - Address: Oosterdok 2, Centrum



Events and Festivals




© ddougherty

In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity. The centre of the action is in Amsterdam, but, if you prefer things a little less crowded, Utrecht is also a popular destination. Both cities have canals and it's just perfect to watch a boat parade with music while you are drinking a beer along the canal side terrace. There are also large outdoor concerts throughout the country, though the one in Amsterdam is the most popular. Several cities have night-markets which actually start the night prior to Koningsdag and last for about 24 hours.

Other Events and Festivals

  • Museumnacht - Museumnacht (Museum Night) is held on the first Saturday in November. Museums stay open late and offer shows to attract new, young visitors.
  • Amsterdam Pride - This GLBT event is one of the largest in Europe. It's put on every summer and lasts about a week. The highlight of the event is the Channel Parade, which features a collection of fantastically decorated floats, dancers, and music.
  • Amsterdam Marathon - Amsterdam Marathon is held in the fall. You can run 42 kilometres and 195 metres through Amsterdam, or you can watch the runners along the route. The marathon starts and finishes at the Olympic Stadium.
  • Imagine Film Festival - The Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival turns the spotlight on sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films; it has been running since 1984. Address: Amsterdam Filmtheater Kriterion
  • PinkPop - One of the largest and longest-running music festivals in Europe, this event draws thousands to Amsterdam every year. Popular music artists from Europe and other locations internationally fill this event's program. This event always takes place during the weekend of Pentacost.
  • Awakenings Festival - Held in the famous nature reserve, ‘Spaarnwoude’, this techno festival attracts some of the greatest artists in the genre to Amsterdam for this fun music event.
  • 5 Days Off - Take a week off and dance your vacation away at this lively electronic music event in Amsterdam. Every year in July, young musicians gather to host this dynamic music event. Held every year in March.
  • De Parade - A highly anticipated theater festival, that offers traditional performances with modern twists that give each performance a unique and artsy flavor. Inspired by the circus, this festival includes brightly colored tents and some carnival games available for visitors between shows.
  • Uitmarkt Amsterdam - A popular festival held annually in August for the past 35 years, visitors will be able to see great music, dance, and theater performances, literature, cabaret, and classical music. This eclectic festival is sure to have something that suits your individual tastes.
  • Kiteboard Open - A fun contest featuring the best kiteboarders in Europe, both professional and rookies. The main competition event is accompanied by live music concerts and beach parties.
  • Sensation, "Source of Light" - An event celebrating life, dance, and music. This event originated in Amsterdam, but it has grown to become popular with international audiences, now touring worldwide. Split into two main events - one where all attendees must wear white, and the other where everyone must wear black to gain admission to the event. Once inside the area, party-goers dance the night away to some of the best house and trans music the city has to offer.
  • North Sea Jazz Festival - This very popular music festival is held in Amsterdam each year, attracting up to 75,000 concert-goers. This event hosts hundreds of musicians, spread out over 150 performances on thirteen different stages.
  • Lowlands Festival - This fun festival offers a huge selection of music acts as well as a diverse range of art, film, comedy and counter culture activities.




Amsterdam weather is typical of what you get in the Netherlands. This means mild winters with rare snow and some frost at night, and reasonably warm summers with temperatures slightly above 20 °C during the day on average. Still, differences througout the summer can be huge, with sometimes temperatures hitting well over 30 °C when the wind blows from the southern and eastern directions. Often, these warmer periods are ended by heavy thunderstorms. On the other hand, days of less than 20 °C can go on and on with sometimes autumn-ish conditions although rarely cold. Spring is a good time for a visit to Amsterdam, as you avoid most of the crowds in summer and the weather is generally dry and sunny. September is equally good, although days are shorter. Temperatures are great though and on warmer days the heat is less oppressive.



Getting There

By Plane

Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, (external link: Schiphol), is a major European hub with flights arriving from hundreds of destinations worldwide. It is located 17.5 kilometres southwest of Amsterdam and can easily be reached by train, a journey that will take roughly 20 minutes to the centre of Amsterdam. Also cities like Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague can be reached within 30 minutes to one hour. Dozens of airlines serve the airport, including the national airline KLM, which serves many destinations throughout Europe and destinations as far away as Los Angeles, Singapore, Tokyo, Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

By Train

Amsterdam Central Station offers direct service to and from a number of destinations in Belgium, France and Germany. The station is located smack in the middle of town. Check the Dutch Railways website for more information about schedules and prices. Schiphol is just a short ride away and cities like Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam are all within an hour.

By Car

National Highway A10 is built around Amsterdam and offers the easiest approach to town. Many other roads connect to this ringroad, including the A4 to Schiphol and The Hague, the A2 towards Utrecht, the A1 towards Apeldoorn and Germany and the A7 towards the north of the country, via de Afsluitdijk. Bear in mind that parking within the city limits is extremely expensive. The city promotes the use of four Park & Travel facilities, strategically located around town where you can park at strongly reduced prices and take public transport or a bike into town. You'll find more information on

By Bus

Long-distance buses operated by Eurolines arrive near Amstel Station in the southeast of town. To get from there to the city centre, take a train or metro.

By Boat

The Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) receives cruise ships from a large number of companies. PTA is located very close to Central Station.



Getting Around

By Bike

Cycling is the preferred mode of transport for locals, thanks to the abundance of cycling lanes and bicycle-friendly infrastructure. It's also a great option for travellers. A bike is definitely the most expedient way to get around. The city is very old, and the streets are not particularly car friendly owing to the non-grid pattern. A bike makes it easier to navigate the crooked, diagonal streets!

There are some larger and numerous smaller rental stores, conveniently located near tourist hotspots such as Central Station, Leidseplein and Dam Square. A helmet is not legally required, but definitely is still a good idea.

Using two locks is an absolute necessity as well; never leave your bike unlocked, not even for a second.

When it comes to your cycling, bear in mind that most other people on the road are not on holiday, and have no sympathy at all for the fact that you're a less experienced cyclist than they are. In other words, stick to the traffic rules closely!

By Cab

Taking a cab in Amsterdam should be left to those with very deep pockets who don't mind losing a couple of tens to a scam. The only time when they come in handy is at night when public transport is not available, or when you have loads of luggage.

By Car

Driving a car in Amsterdam takes a lot of patience while driving, perseverance in finding a parking spot, and a bottomless wallet to pay for parking money. Unless you are disabled, other means of transport are preferable in every respect.

On Foot

The best-known sights are all within walking distance of the Central Station. Also, the city centre is small and the streets are narrow, which makes going on foot an excellent choice. It pays off buying a real map and most bookstores have them on sale. As a pedestrian, pay close attention to other traffic, especially cyclists. You won't make any friends among the Amsterdam citizens by inadvertently wandering off the sidewalk onto the road.

By Public Transport

OV Chipcard
From mid-2011, almost all public transport (bus, metro, tram, train) in the Netherlands has to be paid by the OV-Chipcard (OV = Open Vervoer, meaning Public Transport). Only train tickets can be bought as paper tickets at least until the end of 2012. There are 3 types: the personal card, anonymous card and disposable card. The latter one is the one which are only used for certain travel legs and for tourists and are thrown away afterwards. This is the one visitors to the Netherlands should buy, unless they regularly visit the country. In that case, the anonymous card is the best. The personal card is especially interesting for people who can travel with a discount (children, elderly, disabled etc.) or people with a monthly or annual season ticket. For more information, visit the official website mentioned above or for a quicker and better overview visit the wikipedia website about the OV-Chipcard.

In the tourist centre you're better off just walking, since public transport sticks to the bigger streets only. To get further afield, though, public transport is your means of choice. The Amsterdam system comprises buses, trams and metro, as well as a number of free ferries crossing IJ Lake behind Central Station. The system has been designed such that you can get everywhere from everywhere with a most one change; you can view an interactive map here. Note that most, but not all lines join at Central Station.

By Boat

One unmistakable feature of Amsterdam are its canals. Some 160 of these waterways crisscross the city and its surroundings. The city of Amsterdam is actually divided into approximately 90 mini islands. This network of islands is joined together by a vast number of bridges, totaling over 1,000. Most of its canals are suitable only for barges and pleasure craft. One can explore the city of Amsterdam by boat, which will give you a completely different insight into what this historical centre has to offer. There are nine different types of boat tours to explore the Amsterdam canals. The Amsterdam Canal Tour Selector helps you find your favorite canal cruise. Water taxi or water bikes are for rent through Alternatively you can rent your own boat with or without skipper through different agencies.

By Foot

The centre of Amsterdam is easily walkable as distances are small between popular areas like the Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein, Vondel Park and the Dam Square. Many of the streets contain little to no car traffic, so other than the occasional tram, pedestrians own the streets.




There is a large diversity of restaurants in Amsterdam, especially if you are looking for Asian cuisine, and although some of it is tailored to the fairly bland local tastes, it is possible to find quite fiery food if you look for it. The influence of the Dutch colonial past is apparent, as can be seen in the wide array of Indonesian and Surinamese restaurants. As in other cities with a large number of tourists, better value can often be found in streets that are not main tourist corridors.

Most Asian restaurants are clustered at the Zeedijk near the Nieuwmarkt and it is often dubbed as Amsterdam's Chinatown. It's also home to many tokos, small Asian grocery stores that sell Eastern food and spices. Chinatown offers plenty of Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants, usually good value. Indonesian restaurants are usually of excellent quality, but Indian ones can be expensive. For a budget meal, check out the various Middle Eastern restaurants around the Damstraat and Muntplein. The numerous falafel bars have a good value, often sporting an "all you can pile" salad bar.

Surinamese food is widely available and worth a try. The highest concentration of Surinamese restaurants can be found in Zuid and Zuidoost, especially in the Albert Cuypstraat. Locals recommend the roti met bonen, moksi meti, petjil and bojo as dessert. Try the dawet as well; this typical drink is made from milk, coconut milk and rose sirup and has sago balls in it. Most kids like it. Dawet can also be found in many Indonesian restaurants.

The Lange Leidsedwarsstraat (just off Leidseplein) has about five Italian restaurants that sell pasta or pizza for €5 among many tourist traps. Many restaurants of all kinds can be found in the Haarlemmerbuurt. Also worth trying is the Van Woustraat in De Pijp, or continue to the Rijnstraat in the Rivierenbuurt. Exquisite but expensive restaurants can be found in the Utrechtsestraat. While there are exceptions, in general avoid restaurants along Damrak and be cautious around Leidseplein - they are well known tourist traps.

Cheese can be bought at the Albert Cuyp Market, or at specialist cheese shops found around the city center. Dutch cheese is traditionally firm, made in large wax-covered wheels, and falls into two main categories—young and old. There is a rich variety within these categories. Among the more unusual young cheeses is cumin cheese (komijnenkaas), which is particular to the Netherlands. Sheep cheese (schapenkaas) and goat cheese (geitenkaas) are also common. Old cheese can be made of any sort of milk, and is often reminiscent of Italian Parmesan in consistency and sharpness of flavour.

Check out bitterballen, fried breaded ragout balls, and kroketten (the same, but shaped like a cylinder), but take care not to burn your mouth. Also don't forget to try a traditional herring or a broodje haring (herring sandwich), available from fish stalls around the city. Herring in Amsterdam is usually served with onions and pickles. A good try is the fish stand on the Koningsplein near the Bloemenmarkt. Syrup waffles (stroopwafels) are made fresh at the Albert Cuyp. If you're visiting in late November or December, you can enjoy oliebollen, which are round blobs of sweet fried dough embedded with raisins (sultanas) and dusted with powdered sugar.

A particularly useful website is Iens Independent Index, a directory of restaurants compiled and reviewed by customers. It gives you a clear overview as to what is hot, and what is better avoided.

Top 12 Rated Eateries in Amsterdam

  • Harkema Brasserie - Address: Nes 67, Phone: 020-4282222
  • Bird Thaise Snackbar - Address: Zeedijk 77
  • Café Latei - Address: Zeedijk 143, Phone: 020-6257485
  • Pont 13 - Address: Stavangerweg 891, Westerpark, Phone: +31 20 770 2722
  • Balti House - Address: Albert Cuypstraat 41, Phone: +31 20 4708917
  • De Jaren - Address: Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22
  • Van Vlaanderen - Address: Weteringschans 175 - Leidseplein (up to Amstel), Phone: +31 20 622 8292
  • Herengracht - Address: Herengracht 435, Leidseplein (up to Amstel), Phone: +31 20 616 2482
  • De Kas - Address: Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, Oost, Phone: +31 20 462 4562
  • Cafe de Reiger - Address: Nieuwe Leiiestraat 34, Phone: +31 020 624 7426
  • Tempo Doeloe - Address: Utrechtsestraat 75, Rembrandtplein, Phone: +31 20 625 6718
  • Yamazato - Address: Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, Pijp, Phone: +31 20 678 8351




Amsterdam's famously wild nightlife caters to all tastes and budgets. The archetypical Amsterdam watering hole is the bruine café ("brown bar"), a neighborhood bar of sorts with gorgeous dark wood panelling—hence the name—and booths. Grand cafés are more grand and spacious, and also serve small food portions. These usually have at least one long table with newspapers and magazines. Lounge and designer bars pop-up across the city catering to the city's younger and more trend susceptible crowd. If you're a beer lover consider visiting a beer shop or tasting room in the Binnenstad or the brewery in Plantage. There are some excellent beers you can get from this part of the world such as wheat beer (witbeer).

The nightclubs in Amsterdam are not as rough as one might think. Many of them congregate around Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein in the Canal District. You can't go wrong at Melkweg, Sugar Factory and Paradiso, three live music venues that usually have large queues in weekends. Paradiso has the best interior, as it used to be a church, while Melkweg feels more like a nightclub. Sugar Factory is a little more intimate and is a multidisciplinary platform for young talent. Jimmy Woo is an impressive VIP-room, and a strict dress code applies. There are also some nightclubs in Oost, such as Panama, and near the Westerpark. Amsterdam's gay nightlife is not as vibrant it used to be, but there is still an active community in the Reguliersdwarsstraat in the Canal District. The annual gay pride in August is a fun event that can be attended by gays and straights alike.




Amsterdam is a very popular destination for tourists of all kinds and age groups, which means that accommodation, especially in top periods like Easter, Christmas/Newyears and around Queensday (30 April), fills up quickly. It is therefore always a good idea to book well in advance.

Amsterdam has over 400 registered hotels of varying standards from budget facilities to some of the most expensive hotels in Europe. Advance booking is recommended, especially for weekends and holidays. Don't expect you'll find an affordable bed once you're here. Most hotels and hostels can be found in the Binnenstad, notably south of Centraal Station, and in Zuid around the Museum Quarter. Charming boutique accommodation can be found in the wealthy residential Canal District, home to the rich and famous and its squares are the prime nightlife spots of the city. The Jordaan is another area for hip boutique accommodations, slightly upmarket, but still for mid-range prices. Some cheaper hostels can also be found in the Red Light District.

A simple bed in a hostel starts around €15 on weekdays in the winter and up to €90 on a weekend in the summer. Hostels often expect you to book at least 2 nights in a weekend. A twin room in a budget hotel, 1-2 stars, might cost around €40 on weekdays in the winter and up to €100 on summer weekends. In a three and four star hotel, the prices would range from €100 to €200, depending on season, and five stars hotels can cost between €150 and €400 a night.

Do not expect a wide amount of services from cheaper end hostels and hotels. Most of these do not have elevators and have the usual steep staircases; if you suffer from vertigo, do get an assurance that you will be getting a first or second floor room or book a hotel that has an elevator.


For those of you who are not afraid of braving the elements, there is always camping to consider. With prices ever rising it is becoming more and more difficult to spend an extended period of time in this fantastic city. You can rock up at any time, whether its 6:00pm or 6:00am and just pitch your tent at Camp Zeeburg and pay as little as €6.50 a night. You are literally 20 minutes from the centre of Amsterdam and with bike hire available on-site you can see the city the way the locals do. The amenities on-site are fantastic and if you like to be woken by the smell of fresh bread, this is definitely the place to stay.


There are nice mid-range options, but compared to many other cities, the price level at mid-range accommodation options is somewhat higher. You can find some 2-4 star hotels in this category as well as some appartments, guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts.


Besides world-renowned Amstel Hotel, there are a number of other high-end hotels in town that are worth staying if you can afford it. These are Hotel the Grand, located in the former City Hall,
Hotel de l'Europe
located near Muntplein (this one has an excellent restaurant), the Dylan Hotel on Keizersgracht and Krasnapolsky on Dam Square. If you have an upscale budget and you are looking for a more homely feeling, one might consider a private guesthouse like 717 Hotel on the Prinsengracht.

Self Catering

Self catering accommodation has become increasingly popular in many European capitals and Amsterdam is no exception. A studio or apartment that offers the luxury of a living room and your own kitchen means that you don't have to eat all the time. Especially amongst families travelling with kids or in groups, there is a lot of benefit to staying in self catering accommodation which can contain up to 4 bedrooms typically.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




  • For Mainstream clothing and shoes your best bets are Kalverstraat, Leidestraat and Magna Plaza shopping mall. Upscale consumers could also head for P.C. Hooftstraat, that features the more expensive brands and a lot of prêt-a-porter couture.
  • For Second-hand clothing head for the flee-market on Waterlooplein, or for 9 Streets, the area between Prinsengracht, Raadhuisstraat, Singel and Leidsestraat.
  • Books can be bought at the weekly friday book market on Spui. Major bookstores are located on and around the same square.
  • Furniture, there are Loads of furniture shops on Overtoom, Utrechtsestraat and Westerstraat. Lots of second-hand junk on Waterlooplein, but the quality is unimpressive to say the least.
  • Fame - Music, the largest music store in Amsterdam is Fame, located on Kalverstraat. If you want to buy vinyl, go to a specialised store. Fame employees will gladly give you advice.
  • Art and antiquities are mostly galleries located in Nieuwe Spiegelstraat and on Rokin.
  • Souvenirs can be found mostly on Damrak, Rokin and Oude Hoogstraat.
  • For Cheese head for Albert Cuyp Market, or try one of the cheese shops in 9 Streets.
  • For Department stores try De Bijenkorf, the oldest department store in the Netherlands. Also nice is typically Dutch HEMA, which has several branches in Amsterdam, the largest being at Nieuwendijk.




Unless you have a working permit (and at least a basic knowledge of Dutch), forget about finding a job in Amsterdam or anywhere else in the Netherlands. No-one will be interested in hiring you.

If you have a working permit, a Dutch bank account, and you are looking for temporary employment, consider paying a visit to one of the employment agencies. Most of them have branches on Rokin and Vijzelstraat (both very close to Mint Square). Depending on your assets, they should be able to fix you up with an employer.




Depending on your situation, your tuition fee can be anything between €1,150 and €9,000 per annum. Furthermore, aspiring Amsterdam students should take the cost of living into account, which is likely to be your other main expense. Student quarters don't come cheap; for less than €500, you will have big trouble finding something acceptable.

For more information, contact the institution of your choice. More information about Dutch higher education can be found here and on the Netherlands page.



Keep Connected


Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.


The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 52.373812
  • Longitude: 4.890951

Accommodation in Amsterdam

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Amsterdam searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


as well as bentivogli (13%), Peter (9%), Sam I Am (5%), Lavafalls (5%), chandie702 (4%), pauletterouliez (3%), dr.pepper (2%), Ali Baba (1%), Dopplr (1%), Twisted84 (1%), flywiz (<1%), John Paul (<1%)

Amsterdam Travel Helpers

  • Sam I Am

    I studied in Amsterdam for 4 years, and lived about half an hour away from the city for many a year. Feel free to inquire about anything.

    Ask Sam I Am a question about Amsterdam
  • Melly82

    I've lived in Amsterdam for over a year now, and although that may not sound a long time, Amsterdam is quite a small city! My best friend also lived here for almost three years and armed me with some invaluable tips on where to go to experience the 'Real Amsterdam' on my arrival. Many of my favourite haunts are places I have stumbled across, which is a great way of discovering a secret gem in the city. However, if you are short on time whilst you're here, its handy to have some advice and visit the places that the travel guides haven't discovered yet!

    Ask Melly82 a question about Amsterdam

This is version 202. Last edited at 18:50 on Mar 24, 24 by JPGroeneveld. 355 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License