We don’t need to tell you that Amsterdam is an amazing city that has to be on everyone’s travelbucketlist. You already know that! You know you need to check out the Dam, visit the Anne Frank House or see what the city looks like from below while sailing through the canals. So this Amsterdamguide won’t talk about all those obvious highlights. Instead, it will tell you about a shop entirely dedicated to condoms, an original Picasso just out in public and where to get the best viewpoint over the city. This is not your average Amsterdam guide.
This is something we have only recently discovered but, wow, are we glad we did! The Oude Kerk right alongside the Red Light District is the oldest remaining building of Amsterdam, but that’s not even the best part. For a small fee you get a really interesting (and slightly adventurous) tour through the old belltower which ends with an AMAZING view over the city! We have visited many viewpoints like this before, but this is definitely one of our favorites.
If we’d ask you where you could see a Picasso in Amsterdam you’d probably think: the Rijksmuseum. But what if we told you there is actually a huge statue by him standing at the South end of the Vondelpark! The seven meter tall statue in his typical style had been given by Picasso to the city of Amsterdam to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Vondelpark.
We don’t need to tell you Amsterdam is a very international city and has been so for centuries. This next hidden gem perfectly fits into this aspect of the city. Right alongside the Vondelpark you will find the Zevenlandenhuizen. These are seven 19th century houses in some typical architectural styles of their countries of origin all standing neatly side by side. You’ll see a house in English cottagestyle, an Italian pallazo and a Russian house with its famous onionshaped dome.
De Drie Fleschjes
What better way to end a day of strolling through a city than with a refreshing drink? De Drie Fleschjes is conveniently located right alongside the Dam and is quite the experience. It was founded in 1650 during the Dutch Golden Age and the place still really has this vibe going on. Have yourself a jenever (gin) or one of the many, many other different and special drinks!
Amsterdam is a very busy city. There are people, bikes, trams and cars everywhere! However, if you’re able to find one of the hidden entrances to the Begijnhof, you’ll enter a place of peace and quiet. This atmosphere is still very much maintained as there are still people living here. The Begijnhof also has visiting hours (9h-17h) to respect the privacy of its inhabitants. It’s such a nice change of pace to the hustle and bustle of the big city life that’s taking place right alongside it.
Your visit to Amsterdam isn’t complete without a stroll through the Albert Cuypmarkt. The market has been here for over 100 years and is still extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. With over 260 different stalls, this is the biggest market of Europe and you’ll definitely come across something interesting! The Albert Cuypmarkt is open every day except for Sunday so this should for sure get a spot on your to do list! 😀
An ancient prison under a bridge
You might stroll over the Torensluis, one of the many bridges over the picturesque Amsterdam canals, and not realise where you are actually walking. You’ll quickly notice that this is quite a wide bridge and this is because there’s actually an ancient prison hidden underneath it! There used to be a prison tower standing here as well but this was removed in 1829. However if you have a look at the bridge from the side, you’ll still see the barred windows and an arched entrance. The prisons were recently restored and opened up to the public!
Talking about submerging yourself into the heritage of Amsterdam also means to discover its cuisine! Obviously you should give a Dutch cheese a try as they are simply delicious! Perhaps in the form of an ‘uitsmijter’ which is a ham and cheese sandwhich with a fried egg. We also very much like to buy ourselves some ‘maatjes’ (herring) with onion from one of the many streetvendors. For breakfast we highly recommend to get some ‘poffertjes’ which are basically tiny pancakes. And last but not least, a freshly made, hot ‘stroopwafel’… Yes please!
Amsterdam is a one of a kind sort of city, which is reflected in its unique and sometimes even slightly weird shops. Ever visited a store which was completely dedicated to condoms in all sorts, shapes, sizes and flavours? Go to the Condomerie. Like the colour red? Visit the shop ‘Rood’ which sells a bit of everything ranging from kitchen utensils to jewellery as long as it’s red. Go back in time and visit an original 18th century herbalists’ shop which still has much of its original decor such as wooden drawers and barrels. Or just have a look for hidden treasures in one of the many vintage or second-hand stores spread all over the city. A great neighborhood to start off your hunt for these gems is the “9 straatjes” (nine little streets) where you can find loads of small and diverse shops.
Which tip did you like the most? Do you have any more to add as well? Let us know in the comments! And make sure to use the hashtag #aboutsomethingaround on your next Amsterdamtrip!