The funny thing about Amsterdam – a city synonymous with its red light district and deregulated use of cannabis – it is absolutely beautiful. Much of it looks like it’s taken from the pages of a fairytale, and the canals in particular make it one of the most picturesque capitals in Europe. Plus, while the Dutch approach of “looking through your fingers” (minding your own business) to some of life’s vices may certainly be an aspect of the city, in reality it is a family friendly place that bursts with arts and culture.
Here are our top 5 things you don’t want to miss in Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ gorgeous capital.
1. Anne Frank House
A book that so many of us read at school truly comes to life the moment that you walk through the home where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during much of the Second World War. Europe is full of amazing museums, but none are so humbling and heart wrenching as this one. For decades, Anne’s father was at the helm of the museum, helping to promote racial and religious tolerance by welcoming visitors and holding youth conferences. While Otto passed away in 1980, the museum remains true to these ideals today.
2. Tulip Museum
Amsterdam’s obsession with tulips has been unrelenting for more than centuries, despite the damage that “tulip mania” did to their economy back in the 1630s. All year round, you can learn about the pretty flower and its significance in the Netherlands at the Tulip Museum. If you prefer to see your flowers live, there are endless flower markets, or if it is the right season, you can venture out to see the tulip fields.
3. Red Light District
Admit it – you’re curious to see it, right? By day, the Red Light District is relatively unassuming, and you can easily go for a stroll amongst the narrow streets. In fact, the Dutch Government has worked hard to try to make this area “family friendly”. By night, however, you can expect to see some more eyebrow raising sights.
4. NEMO Science Museum
For a totally different change of pace, head for the NEMO Science Museum, one of Amsterdam’s most enjoyable (of many) museums. Not so much a museum as an interactive science experiment, both the young and the young at heart can try their hand at various interactive exhibits that focus on learning through fun. You may also end up in some scientific research yourself, as university students are often doing research at the centre. It’s hard to leave without a smile on your face.
Probably the most famous art gallery in Amsterdam, the outside of the Rijksmuseum is incredibly grand and impressive. Inside, it is perhaps even more so – with a selection of amazing painting by Dutch artists and others. The most famous piece here is “The Night Watch” by famed Dutch painter Rembrandt. Even if you are not an art junkie, it is well worth visiting to admire over 800 years of Dutch art and culture.