A guide to Amsterdam: the top 10 things you shouldn’t miss in the capital of Holland!

21 jan 2020

Amsterdam: the city of canals, the melting pot and Anne Frank. But that’s not all there is to the capital of the Netherlands. If you’re an international planning to live in this beautiful and dynamic city, you absolutely don’t want to miss these top 10 things to do in Amsterdam!

1. Amsterdam street food

Oh yeah. And is it ever the time to mention Amsterdam as THE place to be when it comes to Dutch streetfood. Döner, kapsalon (get the best at Sinbad in oost), Manneken Pis for legendary Dutch fries, the new Osdorp Foodcourt, Halal Fried Chicken – the list is endless.

Suriname, Indonesian, Algerian foods. Pancakes. Chinese boat restaurants, floating near the central train station of Amsterdam. All of this and everything in between. You will find a hotspot with streetfood and regular dishes in each part of this amazing city. Don’t blame us if you get fat.

Do try a kapsalon if you like good streetfood! - Top 10 things to do in Amsterdam!
Do try a kapsalon if you like good streetfood! – Top 10 things to do in Amsterdam!

2. Street soccer (straatvoetbal)

Amsterdam, home of Ajax. But where do all those legendary soccer player come from, actually? Nothing less than from the raw streets of Amsterdam, my friend. True story.

Go to Olympiaplein, any soccer field (street and club) in Bos en Lommer, Balboaplein in de Baarsjes and the Johan Cruyff courts if you think you can play ball. Panna KO masters were born here long before it became a national Dutch thing. If you don’t know what a panna is, one of the kids that will give you one is probably very happy to explain it to you.

3. Museumplein

Chilling at Museumplein, especially when the weather is good, is an absolute must. Even when alone, sitting or lying in the grass is amazing. You can grab a basketball and shoot some hoops on the court there, grab a coffee at one of the many spots there or hop in the big Albert Heijn for some snacks and drinks. Whole days are blissfully spent by the capitals’ youth (and anyone young at heart of course) like this. Obviously, do visit ALL of the museums around this square – otherwise don’t even say you went to Amsterdam.

This image says it all, visit the Museumplein now, if you haven't already! - the LearnDutchOnline.nl Blog
This image says it all.

4. De Dam

De Dam (the Dam square) is a meeting and action point in the center of Amsterdam – especially for people living in the capital. When you visit this spot, you soon see why: it’s central to most important areas and hubs in the city. You can walk to almost all the monuments in the city from there, through the whole of the Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat (the two most important shopping streets of Amsterdam) and to the central train station. Trams, taxi’s and even buses are all around.

Food, drinks, the good and the bad – all the reasons why you could come to Amsterdam are within walking distance from de Dam. Also important: you can find at least two big monuments at this square – the Palace at the Dam (het Paleis op de Dam) and the Big Church (de Grote Kerk). The last one is home to an amazing exhibition on Surinam, one of the most if not most important old colonies of the Netherlands.

Hanging in Vondelpark on a sunny day is a must if you're staying in Amsterdam! - the LearnDutchOnline.nl Blog
Hanging in Vondelpark on a sunny day is a must if you’re staying in Amsterdam!

5. Vondelpark

One of the best places for a run. Even better in the summer. Organise your birthday BB here. Or better yet – get invited to one by Dutchies. Stories are being written here.

6. Albert Cuyp Markt

Go to this famous typical Dutch market for giant stroopwafels, nice food spots all around and a shot of true Damsko (slang/popular name of Amsterdam) multi-culturalism. Think you’re tough? Walk the whole market in one stroll!

7. Leidseplein

One of the first things you’ll notice when entering the famous Leidseplein is the beautiful Stadsschouwburg theater. Leidseplein is great for going out or just grabbing some food to enjoy with friends in the nearby Vondelpark. Don’t forget there’s a somewhat hidden gem nearby: het Max Euweplein, where you can play chess with giant pieces (and play soccer on the mini-square, just don’t break anything from the stores there, it happens ;).

Other great things you can find around Leidsplein are De Balie (events and debates on relevant topics in Dutch society), the exquisite Barlaeus Gymnasium and Paradiso.

Happy people at the amazing yearly Kwaku Festival in the Bijlmer! - the LDO Blog

8. De Bijlmer

Go to the Bijlmer for your shot of Dutch diversity. Since alot of big companies openened their offices here not too long ago, the Bijlmer is more vibrant than ever. High schools, Suriname foods, festivals and otherwise amazing cultural activities are ever present here.

Need to buy anything sports or gadget related? You can find the biggest stores for sport and tech in Amsterdam here: both superstores Decathlon and Mediamarkt are fun to wander in about and are open till late. Looking for some furniture? Walk a couple of minutes more and enjoy Villa Arena!

Just hop on your metro and enjoy the area with its amazing, big cinema – Pathé Arena – foods, vibes, Nelson Mandelapark. You can also find one of the biggest mosques, the Taibah Moskee and Ikea nearby.

9. Rembrandtplein

This is one of those places that’s charming 24/7. During the day it’s a quiet, romantic place to meet, while at night it’s the energetic spot with popular (crazy) clubs all around.

As it’s VERY close to Muntplein (literally a 3 minute walk), you can always hop in Pathé de Munt if the unique cinema at Tuschinski is fully booked. The famous Kalverstraat, Flower Market (de Bloemenmarkt), Rokin, the Dam square, the river Amstel and the UvA university are all within minutes by foot, too, which makes this square an absolute hotspot for everyone in Amsterdam.

10. Royal Carré Theater

Gabriel Iglesias (‘Fluffy’) performed here, and allegedly went out after his show with his crew at Rembrandtplein for drinks and smokes (you didn’t get it from us). If that isn’t enough of a reason for you to visit this landmark of a theatre at the Amstel, maybe the many hotspots in the area are. Drinks, food and the beautiful next-level Amstel Hotel are all at walking distance. As with most places in Amsterdam, this one is best in summer, too: grab one of the best performances in Carré, go for drinks afterwards and hang till the sun goes down at the Amstel river. Legendary.

Royal Carré Theater Amsterdam - the LDO Blog!
Interior Carré Amsterdam.

Enjoyed this top 10 things to do in Amsterdam? Feel free to leave a comment or question, and don’t forget to share this article!

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Amsterdam: the city of canals, the melting pot and Anne Frank. But that’s not all there is to the capital of the Netherlands. If you’re an international planning to live in this beautiful and dynamic city, you absolutely don’t want to miss these top 10 things to do in Amsterdam! 1. Amsterdam street food Oh […]

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