Explore the 10 top reasons why visit Amsterdam and keep on coming back. Discover the culture, entertainment, gastronomy, fun and much more that the city has to offer. See for yourself what makes Amsterdam one of the world’s most exciting cities!
1. Rich Culture
The international image of Amsterdam is often related to its liberalism shown in legal use of marijuana and Red Light District. Although, it is very unfair to the city with centuries-old cultural heritage.
The Dutch built their fortunes mostly on commerce, but they invested a lot in commissioning art pieces. Thererefore, there is a great art heritage in this small country, and the best of it is gathered in the capital. Millions of tourists come every year to admire in particular the world-famous paintings of so-called Dutch old masters – the painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. You will find the famous collections of Dutch paintings in Rijksmuseum. The second most visited museum in Amsterdam is Van Gogh Museum. Van Gogh’s art keeps on influencing and inspiring the artists and capturing the imagination of the public until nowadays.
Amsterdam is one of the cities with the highest amount of museums in the world – and the first one when compare their number to the size of this not-so-big city (850,000 inhabitants). It is definitely one of the great cultural capitals of the world.
2. World’s Weirdest Museums
Even if you are not a fan of museums, the ones in Amsterdam may fascinate you, and they can surely surprise you. For instance, there is Sex Museum, Cat Cabinet, Cheese Museum, Hemp & Marijuana Museum, Micropia – museum of microbes, and… Dutch Funeral Museum. And we can go on: Tulip Museum, Houseboat Museum, Pipe Museum… Convinced?
3. Impressive Events & Festivals
As a city of culture, Amsterdam offers also a variety of concerts in a beautiful canal setting. But most of all, Amsterdam organizes incredible large-scale outdoor festivals. There are as much as 300 festivals in the city every year! There are culture, music, dance, culinary, film, children and sports festivals, and much more, and they alone are a great reason why visit Amsterdam and keep on coming back for different occasions!
- Some of the events are celebrated throughout the city. The greatest one is the birthday of the king called King’s Day– the biggest street party in Europe!
- Another huge and crazy party is Pride Amsterdam – a week-long gay festival with numerous parties.
- Tulip Festival colours the city with tulips everywhere.
- Holland Festival is a international performance arts festival held in June.
- Vondelpark Open Air Theatre presents street artists, performers, dancers etc. between June and September.
- Amsterdam Light Festival illuminates the canals with splendid artworks.
- And let’s don’t forget the New Year’s Eve with so many street fireworks that it looks like a battlefield. There is something for everybody’s taste.
4. Gingerbread Houses
That is a view to see at least once in a lifetime. The residences of Amsterdam look like a row of gingerbread houses from “Hansel and Gretel”. They are so pretty and charming they seem almost unreal. Many are ridiculously narrow, and they have fancy facades. However, the most fascinating thing about them is that often they have no straight lines: they are crooked, tilted, leaning on one another. Seeing them for yourself is definitely one of the reasons why visit Amsterdam.
5. Is It a Boat or a House?
Houseboats or boathouses are a classic part of the Amsterdam cityscape, or rather canalscape. There are over 2,500 of houseboats in the city (and incredible 100,000 in the Netherlands!) That means quite a lot of people live permanently on the water! You will see them now and then strolling along the canals.
In the old times, it was the solution for the poor people who couldn’t afford a “real” house. Nowadays, it’s quite the contrary – it’s an expensive pleasure of people who can afford it. There are two types of them: the ones which are charming old ships turned into a house, and the houses on floating or concrete pontoons moored in one fixed spot.
An extra lovely element: They are often decorated with lots of flower pots – very Dutch style ;)
6. Canal Web
The shape of the canal network of Amsterdam is fascinating: it looks like a spider web or a fan. Altogether the canals have a length of 100 km, and they create 90 islands in between them. They are extremely characteristic and there is some magic in all these canal crossroads (or crosscanals?) and the boats passing along whenever you go.
Indeed, one of the reasons why visit Amsterdam is taking a boat trip along its canals, admiring rows of charming historical buildings in very different neighbourhoods. It’s definitely a unique city.
Read interesting facts about the canals here.
7. Bike Lifestyle
The Dutch are the absolute world leader in everything connected to bikes. First of all, there are more bikes than people in the Netherlands! There are 1.3 bikes per inhabitant. Secondly, there are 35,000 kilometres of bike lanes. Thirdly, approx. 25% of the population cycles every single day: to commute to school, work etc. Even in the group of senior citizens, over 65 year old, 17% cycles daily! An average Dutch cycles 1,000 km a year in approx. 250 – 300 bike trips.
This is really something worth seeing: the bike traffic on the streets, the number of bike lanes everywhere, the enormous bike parking lots, the special bike structures to transport babies / dogs / flowers / shopping / just everything.
8. Progressive, Ultra-Modern, Eco-Friendly, Open-Minded Society
Bikes are one of the very visible signs of progressive and eco-oriented lifestyle in the Netherlands. It’s a truly modern model of society. Their open-mindedness and liberalism is famous. The Netherlands were the world’s first country that legalized same-sex marriage. They are famous for legal use of marijuana and prostitution, taking both these “businesses” from the streets to controlled facilities – which pay taxes like everybody else. The Dutch tolerance and openness is visible in their practical approach to many controversial issues.
It is also a country of ultra-modern design and great architecture, alternative fashion design and avant-garde concepts. It’s interesting to observe the lifestyle of the people of this tiny nation with a lot of character.
Amsterdam, together with The Hague and Rotterdam, is one of the most multicultural cities of Europe. It is reflected in its different neighbourhoods, exotic restaurants and bars, festivals featuring different cultures (Chinese New Year, Japanese Cherry Blossom festival etc.). And it’s visible simply in the impressive ethnic diversity of the Amsterdam population.
One of the non-obvious tourist attractions is Chinatown with its multi-Asian cuisines and shops, and even a Buddhist Temple looking just like in China (Fo Guang Shan Holland Tempel).
The impressive international culinary offer is on its own another reason why visit Amsterdam and a big part of the pleasure of being there.
The nightlife of Amsterdam is world-famous. The city has everything: stylish, cozy, typical Dutch pubs with brown wooden interiors, coffeeshops for tourists who want to taste a legal joint, huge impressive discos with great DJs, lovely small jazz clubs… You’ll love the atmosphere of Amsterdam by night. Read about the best places to go out in the evening here.
The Dutch beers on their own are a great reason to enjoy your stay in this fun city. Read about the best Dutch beers here.
More Reasons Why Visit Amsterdam
There are many more reasons why visit Amsterdam – one of the world’s most famous cities. It’s exciting, it’s cultural, it’s surprising, it’s entertaining. Nobody gets bored here.
What reasons would you add? If you like the article – share it!