To truly immerse yourself in Amsterdam life, it is best to appreciate both the pleasures of the day and the playfulness of the night in order to understand just what makes the Dutch tick.
By day, the city beckons with its gabled buildings, elegant museums and canals, atmospheric neighborhoods, delicious markets, and a laid-back lifestyle.
Amsterdam used to be known as one of the stodge capitals of Europe, famous for standard meat. However, the transformation of its harbor into a sleek and vibrant neighborhood combined with an explosion of restaurant developments has sparked new life into what was once a very staid scene.
Intriguing (and regional) options can be found at Greetje restaurant, where traditional Dutch delicacies are always on the menu including flavourful terrines and fresh fish options.
Top tip: The Dutch tend to eat early with many restaurants closing at 10 pm so be sure not to leave it too late when you go out on the town.
The Anne Frank House is a must-visit to learn about the poignant story of a young Jewish girl who wrote her famous diary while hiding in an attic from the Nazis. Book online and you will be allocated a time slot and thus avoid the long queues: €9.50 per adult.
Head to Museum Square for more culture. The Rijksmuseum building is as sensational as the masterpieces it houses such as Vermeer and Rembrandt. Entry costs €17.50 but book online to avoid queues – and stay a while to get full value from the entry fee.
Amsterdam’s lesser-known but must-see cultural offering is a branch of the famed Russian museum, the Hermitage, it is now a jewel of a space situated on the banks of the River Amstel in a restored 17 the-century building. Exhibits include Dutch Masters from the Hermitage, Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age, and New Masters with incredible Impressionist collections including works by Renoir, Monet, Gauguin, and many more. Book online and avoid queues: from €10.00 per adult.
Amsterdam is a cultural melting pot best represented by the mélange of people that call the neighborhood known as “De Pijp” home. The main market of this community is the Albert Cuyp Market located on Albert Cuypstraat between Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat south of the Heineken Brewery. Here you will find some of the finest examples of Dutch cheeses, fresh “stroopwafels” (waffles with hot caramel) and other native delicacies tucked beside Indonesian treats and specialties from Surinam and the Dutch Antilles. Go early in the day for the biggest selection.
Delftware, produced in the town of Delft located to the south of Amsterdam, is the most prized souvenir to bring back home. Delft pottery is notable for its blue and white glaze. Only a few potteries can claim to produce actual Delftware although you will find numerous cheap knock-off versions around town.