13 Off the Beaten Track Attractions to See in Amsterdam (Updated 2020)

When people think about Amsterdam, they usually think about three things: coffee shops, red lights, and canals.

And for some travelers, that’s all they’ll ever see.

Young travelers have a tendency to frequent the coffee shops or wander the Red Light District, while older travelers take bike tours, canal trips, and frequent the museums. Then, after 3 or 4 days, they move to their next destination.

I fell deeply in love with Amsterdam in 2006 and also have been back to the town a lot more than five times since that time. Each time I reach explore more of the town and realize the amount of it provides.

It always saddens me when I hear other travelers discuss what they did because it’s always the same, and yesterday in Berlin, a traveler said he hated the town since it was all coffee shops and red lights. I told him he hadn’t seen the town and gave him a listing of things to do the next time.

After visiting the town so often, I find myself always doing something off the beaten track. I keep ticking off the set of things you can do and finding ones I never knew existed.

Amsterdam has much to provide travelers. When you’ve grown fed up with coffeeshops, stoned backpackers, creepy old guys in debt Light district, and crowds at the Van Gogh museum, visit many of these quieter and more local places:

1. The Tulip Museum

Situated in a room in the tulip shop, this little place does a fascinating job of telling the annals of tulips in Holland and the infamous tulip craze. The story goes that tulips were taken to holland in the 17th-century from the Ottoman Empire, plus they became hugely popular all over the country (but especially with the upper class).

Even today, the tulip holds a particular place in Dutch culture. You can find out about the flower’s history in this cozy museum. And on top of that: you’ll never look for a crowd here!

Prinsengracht 116, +31 20-421-0095, amsterdamtulipmuseum.com. Open daily from 10am-6pm. Admission is 5 EUR for adults, 3 EUR for students, and 10 EUR for families.

2. The Jordaan

I’m always amazed at how few tourists visit Jordaan since it’s right next to the town center. This former working-class district is currently a maze of cafes, little shops, and restaurants. Through the summertime, it’s a favorite spot for people to visit eat.

I absolutely love wandering around here as the narrow streets have a variety of neat shops and pubs. It’s an excellent spot to window shop or grab some souvenirs to collect.

3. FOAM

FOAM (Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam) is a photography museum that opened in 2001. The museum houses wonderful pictures and sees hardly any crowds despite being in the primary the main city. It’s essential for just about any photography or art lover.

Not merely is there exhibitions by world-famous photographers but additionally, there are smaller, temporary exhibits for becoming more popular artists as well. I must say i enjoyed all of the black-and-white photographs and the outdoor garden.

Keizersgracht 609, +31 20-551-6500, foam.org. Open daily from 10am-6pm (9pm on Thursdays and Fridays). Admission is 15 EUR for adults and 12 EUR for students.

4. The Houseboat Museum

Very little of a museum, but this decorated houseboat offers you a fascinating glimpse into what living on the canals is similar to. Built-in 1914, the boat was originally used for hauling sand, coal, and gravel. In the 1960s it had been changed into a houseboat and was lived set for around twenty years.

Although it was fun to acquire a sense of life in a houseboat, I walked away with a solid impression of life on the canals: cramped.

Prinsengracht 296K, +31 20-427-0750, houseboatmuseum.nl. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is 4.50 EUR for adults and 3.50 EUR for kids 15 and under.

5. Oost

The region east of the town (“Oost” means east) comes with an amazing park, a zoo, and a lot of delicious Middle Eastern eateries. Wandering around here, you’d be hard-pressed to find greater than a handful of tourists, the majority of whom are most likely lost.

Make sure to visit Dappermark, a street market that is around for over a century! You can find just about everything here, rendering it a good spot to browse or people watch.

6. Rembrandt Park

Never to be confused with Rembrandtplein in the town center, this park west of the town is a good spot to wander. Dating back again to the 1940s, the region around it really is pretty working class and a little more modern-a good contrast to the historic center.

The park is known as following the famous 17th-century painter Rembrandt van Rijn. You’ll know you’re there when signs suddenly stop being printed in English!

7. KattenKabinet (The Cat Cabinet)

Situated in a townhouse that was built-in the 17th century, this quirky museum was the passion project of Bob Meijer, who started the museum in 1990. After losing his pet cat, he started collecting a variety of cat art and paraphernalia, which expanded through the years to fill his entire house. Not merely is there a variety of weird and wonderful cat art, but there are actual cats that live there too.

Although it is a weird museum, it’s presented in an exceedingly typical, stuffy museum way – that makes it a lot more fun and tongue-in-cheek.

497 Herengracht, +31 020-626-9040, www.kattenkabinet.nl. Open Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm and from 12pm-5pm on the weekends. Admission is 7 EUR for adults, 4 EUR for students, and free for kids under 12.

8. Electric Ladyland

The may be the world’s first (and probably only) museum focused on fluorescent light. There are displays that react and light when the black light is fired up, in addition to a more experiential space where one can just wander and connect to the colors and objects that you see. It’s not at all your typical art gallery/museum!

Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, +31 020-420-3776, electricladyland.appointy.com. All visits should be booked beforehand. Possible visiting hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 2pm-6pm. Admission is 5 EUR for adults and free for anybody under 12.

9. Micropia

This “zoo” houses a variety of microbes and bacteria. You can wander the displays, look over microscopes, and find out about all of the invisible microbes that people interact with daily, and you will even scan you to ultimately see what bacteria and microbes are you t that very minute!

In terms of zoos, this is one of the very most unique ones you’ll ever visit!

Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, +31 20-523-3671, micropia.nl/en. Open daily from 9am-6pm (8pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays). Admission is 14 EUR for adults and 12 EUR for kids under 9.

10. The Torture Museum

The name says everything! This museum is focused on showcasing the punishments prisoners faced through the entire city’s history. There are a variety of brutal tools in addition to a hanging cage (where in fact the guilty party will be suspended in the air for all to see, for example) together with an Inquisition chair victims who needed more…involved punishment. While it’s nearly a great spot to bring the youngsters, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re curious how justice was meted out before.

449 Singel, +31 020-320-6642, torturemuseum.com. Open daily from 10am-11pm. Admission is 7.50 EUR for adults and 4 EUR for kids under 12 (if you should leave the youngsters at home because of this one).

11. De Poezenboot (The Cat Boat)

The Cat Boat is in fact an animal sanctuary situated on a boat in the canal. It had been founded in 1966, and over time has collected – and found homes for – a lot of the city’s stray cats. There are up to 50 cats included, 14 which live there permanently as the rest are for sale to adoption.

The Cat Boat depends on donations to remain afloat, so make sure to leave a little donation when you drop by to play with a number of the feline residents.

Singel 38G, +31, 020-625-8794, depoezenboot.nl/en. Open daily between 1pm-3pm. Admission is free but donations are appreciated!

12. The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum

Opened in 1985, this museum highlights the many uses of hemp. From rope and clothing to its more illicit uses, the museum does an excellent job at showing the need for hemp, hash, and marihuana throughout history. There’s even an inside garden with cannabis plants you can examine out.

Unlike everything you might expect, this isn’t a stoner museum but instead an informative consider the past, present, and future of among the world’s most significant plants.

Oudezijdsachterburgwal 148, +31 020-624-8926, hashmuseum.com. Open daily from 10am-10pm. Admission is 9 EUR for adults in the event that you book online and it includes a free audio tour.

13. Museum Vrolik

This museum isn’t for everybody as it houses among the largest collections of human (and animal) deformities. The collection was originally privately owned by is currently owned by the Univerisity of Amsterdam. It’s houses over 150 different items, including creepy jars holding fetuses, human and animal skeletons, and even the remains of a set of conjoined twins. It’s definitely interesting and informative, but it’s also super weird. Not at all your standard tourist trap!

Meibergdreef 15, +31 020-566-4927, amc.nl/web/museum-vrolik.htm. Open Monday-Friday from 11am-5pm. Admission is 7.50 EUR for adults and 3 EUR for kids under 12.

***

Amsterdam has so much to provide that pigeonholing it as a location of hookers, marijuana, and a canal tour is a crime against humanity. There’s so much to accomplish, it’s an architectural wonder, and the locals are super friendly. When you visit, escape the tourist city center, start to see the hidden gems and local neighborhoods, and discover that Amsterdam is all you didn’t think it will be.

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Book Your Visit to Amsterdam: Logistical Guidelines

Get Your Guide Have a look at my detailed guide to planning for a visit to Amsterdam, with suggested itineraries and information on places to remain, things to do, where you can eat, and ways to get around. Simply click here to obtain the guide and continue planning today!

Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s, because they search websites and airlines around the world, and that means you always know no stone has been left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You should book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the biggest inventory. If you would like to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. A few of my favorite places in which to stay Amsterdam are:

  • St. Christopher’s at the Winston
  • Flying Pig Downtown
  • ClinkNOORD

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