Exteriors - A’DAM Toren in Amsterdam, Netherlands

A’DAM Toren

A'DAM Toren opened in 2016 and boasts the highest swing in Europe, a members’ only club. the Sir Adam hotel and two restaurants. Read Indagare's review.
Gallery at Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam Museum

This excellent, informative, high-tech museum, occupying a massive 17th-century former orphanage, is a must-visit for those wanting an overview of Amsterdam’s (and, by extension, Holland’s) history. Its expansive collection is organized both chronologically—from the Middle Ages to the present—and by subject; for instance, an entire gallery is dedicated to the city’s social initiatives, like the orphanages and alms houses founded in the 17th century, that laid the foundation for the comprehensive programs available to Dutch citizens today. There are many hands-on exhibits and several fascinating videos, and a terrific audio tour is included in the admission fee. Don’t miss the rooms dedicated to the Dutch Golden Age, the thrilling era when this small fishing village became the world’s wealthiest city. Set aside enough time to explore all the displays—I had slotted in an hour and had to rush through the last few rooms. The museum has several entrances, the easiest being the main one, on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, but if you approach via Kalverstraat, which connects to Begijnhof, you will come through Schuttersgalerij, a passageway where oversized Dutch Master paintings showing the city’s civic guards are hung. Nearby restaurants for lunch include Gartine, Singel 404 and Buffet van Odette.

Anne Frank Huis at Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank Huis

The Franks, prominent German Jews who relocated to Amsterdam in 1933, spent almost two years, beginning in 1942, hiding in the attic rooms of this nondescript canal house to escape Nazi persecution. Anne’s diary, found after they were betrayed and deported to a German death camp, has been published in sixty languages and remains one of the most powerful personal testaments to the madness of the era.

The rooms of the attic, reached via a secret passageway behind a bookcase, are bare, save for some stickers and postcards decorating the walls, yet visiting them is a chilling and deeply moving experience, especially if you have read the journal. Eight people spent years here, in constant fear of being found: in her diary, Anne wrote, “Not being able to go outside upsets me more than I can say, and I’m terrified our hiding place will be discovered and that we’ll be shot.” The close quarters also led to daily quarrels, vividly captured by the young writer.

Anne Frank died in Bergen-Belsen a few weeks before it was liberated, in 1945. After the war, her father, Otto, the family’s sole survivor, was given her diary by his former employee Miep Gies, one of the courageous helpers who hid the family. Otto Frank later said: “When I returned and after I had the news that my children would not be coming back, Miep gave me the diary, which had been saved by, I should say, a miracle. It took me a very long time before I could read it. And I must say, I was very much surprised about the deep thoughts that Anne had, her seriousness, especially her self-criticism. It was quite a different Anne than I had known as my daughter. She never really showed this kind of inner feeling. She talked about many things, criticized many things, but what her real feelings were, that I could only see from the diary.”

The Anne Frank Huis is one of the most-visited attractions in Amsterdam, so get there early in the morning or right before it closes. Timed tickets that allow you to pass the line can also be purchased on the excellent Web site. The diary is worth rereading before you go, especially if you plan to take children. The original, a slender booklet with a plaid cover and filled with a child’s tiny neat handwriting, is on view in one of the rooms.

Editors' Picks
Exterior View-Begijnhof (Beguines’ Court) ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Photo by Bert K.

Begijnhof (Beguines’ Court)

There are countless interior courtyards, many with beautifully planted gardens, hiding behind Amsterdam’s 17th-century façades. One of the oldest and most famous is the Begijnhof, believed to have been built in the Middle Ages. Don’t go out of your way to come here, but if you’re exploring the canal belt and Rokin areas, where sights include the Amsterdam Museum, you will walk by this serene spot many times. There is a pact of silence on the grounds (some of the buildings are private residences), and group visits are not permitted. Most locals seem to use the pretty walk through the Begijnhof as a shortcut from Rokin to the Spui.

Exterior View-Bike Rentals ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam

Bike Rentals

Admittedly, the image of the Amsterdammer on a bicycle is as clichéd as that of the Gouda girl in a tulip field, but the capital’s citizen are serious about their two-wheel drives. Walking down an Amsterdam street at times, all you hear is the squeaking of pedals being pushed vigorously. Dutch even has numerous cycling-related idioms: Op een oude fiets moet je het leren (“You must learn it on an old bike”), for instance, means that someone older is the best instructor, while Oh, op die fiets! (“Ah, on that bike!”) indicates comprehension, and the simple Ga toch fietsen (“Go biking!”) conveys in rather strong language that the speaker wants to be left alone.

The city’s roads truly belong to two-wheelers, and if you’re game for a bit of an adventure, it’s the best and easiest way to navigate the city. If your sole purpose is to peddle through picturesque Vondelpark, MacBike (Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 114; 31-20-620-0985) is the closest to the park and will require the least riding with traffic. I preferred Mike’s Bike Shop (Kerkstraat 134 H; 31-20-622-7970), a slightly farther walk but offering “undercover bikes,” or bikes not branded with big signs for the shop, so you’ll blend in a bit and feel less like a tourist. One caveat: Mike’s does not offer any specialty bikes such as tandems or those equipped with child seats. During the summer months, a bike tour, offered by most shops, is a great way to get your bearings or explore the countryside beyond Amsterdam.

Editors' Picks
Interior View-Concertgebouw ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam


Completed in 1888, this hall famously has among the world’s best acoustics, rivaled only by those of the Musikverein, in Vienna, and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Holland’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which plays numerous concerts here throughout the year, is particularly known for its interpretations of Mahler’s works, so look for that master’s pieces on the program published on the hall’s Web site.

amsterdam eye film

EYE Film Institute

Amsterdam Noord's EYE Film Institute is a striking structure with a massive film archive and theater, where it screens classic films and indie new releases.

Foam Fotografiemuseum

Housed in a centuries-old canal house, right on the Keizersgracht, that was remodeled with modern features like chrome detailing and large floor-to-ceiling windows, the Foam showcases photography and multimedia exhibitions, often by up-and-coming artists. It’s within walking distance of the Tassen Museum and the Van Loon Museum.

Interior View-Heineken Experience ,Amsterdam, Netherlands

Heineken Experience

Yes, this is the city’s most over-the-top, Disneyland-esque tourist attraction, and some young visitors come because the price of admission gets you two pints of beer, but if you approach the brewery (which stopped production in 1988) with a sense of humor, it can be a fun experience. Pass quickly through the exhibits that focus on Heineken marketing and advertising through the years, and make your way upstairs, paying special attention to the historic brew room, which dates to 1867 and where gleaming copper fermentation tanks are on display. Much of the Experience was designed as an amusement park; in one room visitors stand on a moving platform while watching a video that allows them to “experience” what being a beer bottle in the brewery would be like. You can also order a personalized bottle of Heineken. Technically, the museum is for those aged eighteen and older (unless accompanied by a parent), but when I visited, I saw at least one group of starry-eyed American teenagers elated that they were being served alcohol in the midst of a museum.

Aerial View-Hermitage Amsterdam ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam

Hermitage Amsterdam

This collaboration between St. Petersburg’s renowned Hermitage and the city of Amsterdam has a worthy exhibition space, in the 17th-century Amstelhof, one of the city’s most revered buildings. After your visit, stroll back up the Amstel and have lunch or coffee at Café de Jaren.

Aerial VIew-Hortus Botanicus , Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam

Hortus Botanicus

This gorgeous, serene enclave is located east of central Amsterdam, near the Rembrandthuis and Hermitage. It is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world, with more than four thousand species of tropical and indigenous trees and plants. During the summer months, locals come to this green wonderland armed with books and papers to sunbathe or spend the day tucked away in a tree-shaded corner. There’s a palm house, a small butterfly house, an herb garden and a greenhouse featuring three distinct climates. The café is in the former orangery, which also hosts traveling exhibitions. For visitors who have been to Amsterdam before or who simply want to escape the crowds, the garden offers a lovely respite.

Painting at Indagare Tours: Art Highlights ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy of Vincent Van Gogh Foundation

Indagare Tours: Art Highlights

Indagare members can access Indagare's network of excellent guides who specialize in art. For those who would like to explore the city through Rembrandt’s life and work, plan a tour with a specialist that looks at the city through the lens of Rembrandt’s life. Travelers more interested in the great works of the Dutch maters should plan a visit to the Rijksmuseum with an art historian who will steer guests towards the masterpieces as well as the museum's lesser known gems. Contact the Bookings Team to customize your itinerary.

Aerial View-Indagare Tours: Canal Cruises ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam

Indagare Tours: Canal Cruises

For first-time visitors, a canal cruise is a must, since it’s easiest to understand the city’s fascinating layout from the deck of a boat. Some 200 vessels cruise the city’s intricate canal systems, and most of the large-boat tour operators begin near Central Station. A typical itinerary includes the Haarlemmersluis floodgates; the Golden Bend of the Herengracht, framed by glorious 17th-century canal houses; and numerous bridges, like the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) over the Amstel. For more personalized tours, several operators own classic saloon boats (smaller wooden vessels) that can be rented by the hour. Indagare members can the bookings team for suggestions on private boats ranging from beautifully refurbished ships that can hold between twelve and twenty-eight people and saloon boats available for private dinners.

Editors' Picks
Diary of Anne Frank in Anne Frank Huis at Amsterdam, Netherlands

Indagare Tours: Jewish History

Indgare members interested in Amsterdam's rich Jewish history can arrange a tour with one of Indagare's excellent guides. The exploration of Jewish life  in Amsterdam from the 1600s to the 21st century will include stops at the Anne Frank Huis, the Verzetsmuseum and a walking tour of the historic Jewish ghetto, among others. Contact the Bookings Team to plan your itinerary.

amsterdam jordaan

Jordaan Neighborhood

One of the prettiest, most authentic neighborhoods in Amsterdam is the Jordaan, located west of the city center near the canal belt. In the ’70s and ’80s, the Jordaan, up to then primarily a district where workers and immigrants lived, began drawing a large number of artists and designers. Today it is one of the most coveted—and expensive—residential areas, although pockets have resisted gentrification. There are tons of cute boutiques, especially along Haarlemmerstraat, and such restaurants as Toscanini and Winkel43 (for their famous apple cake). Sights include the Anne Frank Huis and the Westerkerk. Gardeners should also stop by the Tulip Museum, which has a lovely gift shop.

Exterior View-Museum Van Loon ,Amsterdam, Netherlands

Museum Van Loon

Those interested in seeing what life was like in 19th-century Amsterdam should head to this double-sized canal house, formerly a private home, dating to 1672. An opulent marble staircase with a copper balustrade connects the handsomely restored period rooms, which contain a trove of antiques and display elegant craftsmanship in such details as ceiling paintings, stucco and marble and wood paneling. The Van Loons, a prominent Dutch family whose patriarch, Willem van Loon, was one of the founders of the Dutch East India Company, lived here from the late 1800s until 1945. Don’t miss the beautiful cellar kitchen or the perfectly kept gardens, which come complete with a Greek-inspired carriage house and are lovely during the warmer months.

Editors' Picks
Eye Film museum adam toren amsterdam

Neighborhood: Amsterdam Noord

Formerly a derelict industrial area on the north side of the IJ river, Amsterdam Noord is one of the city's most up-and-coming areas and a major hot spot.

Red Light District

First-timers in Amsterdam will likely not be able to avoid the city’s (in)famous red-light district, the largest in Europe. The mostly red-lit storefront windows of De Wallen, the area near Oude Kerk, are occupied by sad, barely dressed young women, making the alleys resemble a human zoo. Recent initiatives like the Redlight Fashion project, in which young designers rented the prostitutes’ windows for installations, are supposed to slowly change the face of De Wallen, but it’s a long way from being a standout destination. While it may be unsavory, however, it’s not unsafe. If you’re visiting and curious, walk through in the early evening (a new law requires the windows to close early).

Interior View-Rembrandt House Museum ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam

Rembrandt House Museum

For fans of Holland’s most famous artist, a visit to the Rembrandt House is a must. The master lived in this three-story structure from 1639 until 1658, when his failure to pay his mortgage forced him to move to less lavish digs. The interiors, carefully restored to look as they did when Rembrandt lived here, illuminate his life and work; some 250 of his etchings and drawings decorate the walls, and visitors can view his large studio, his oak printing press and the cabinet of curiosities where the artist kept his collection of such objects and rarities as seashells, corals, exotic weapons and Venetian glassware. The museum also hosts traveling exhibitions; check the comprehensive Web site for details. During the peak tourist months, it’s worth buying tickets online to cut the queue.

Editors' Picks
Interior View-Rijksmuseum ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam


Amsterdam’s most celebrated museum was under renovation for nearly a decade, reopening in Spring 2013 to much applause. Its greatest hits, including works by Franz Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt, are on view in the Philips wing. The museum, which covers 800 years of Dutch art, is most well-known for its Gallery of Honour, where Rembrandt's The Night Watch hangs. The design of the church-like gallery was structured so that the piece, hanging at the end of the hall, is framed like an altar. Additional noteworthy pieces include Vermeer's The Milkmaid, and the museum's library, the largest art history library in the Netherlands, is not-to-be-missed.

Editors' Picks
Exterior View-Stedelijk Museum ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Photo by John Lewis Marshall

Stedelijk Museum

Like the Rijksmusem, the Stedelijk, the city’s modern art museum, was under renovation until late 2012. The expanded space now faces Amsterdam’s Museumplein and has reinstalled Richard Serra’s sculpture Sight Point, which once decorated the entrance. Stedelijk’s impressive holdings include Cubist, Fauvist and Expressionist works, as well as twenty-nine paintings by the important Russian artist Kasimir Malevich and an exceptional Dutch photography collection.

Editors' Picks
Interior View-Van Gogh Museum ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Photo by Martijn van den Dobbelsteen

Van Gogh Museum

Visitors to this museum should understand that Van Gogh’s best-known works are not in Amsterdam but in museums around the world: the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, for instance holds one of his Starry Night paintings (the other is in New York) and Self-Portrait; the Metropolitan, in New York, Sunflowers and Wheat Field; and the Art Institute of Chicago La Berceuse. But fans of the Dutch Post-impressionist, who sold only one painting in his lifetime, will still get a lot out of this museum, which has a the world’s largest collection of works by Van Gogh, including 500 drawings, 700 letters, as well as some two hundred paintings.

Editors' Picks
Interior View-Verzetsmuseum , Amsterdam, Netherlands-Photo by Ned Bezet


One of the most moving museums in Amsterdam is the small Verzetsmuseum, or Dutch Resistance Museum, which sits in the old Jewish quarter. Its exhibits trace the history of Amsterdam from 1940-1945, using newscasts, photos and personal stories to illustrate the Nazi occupation and the Resistance Movement throughout World War II. The line for Anne Frank Huis can be hours, but the Verzets is often almost empty. Since the later sets the stage for the former, plan to see the Verzets prior to the more famous home of Anne Frank. Tip: Remember to bring the tissues.

Aerial View-Vondelpark ,Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam


Amsterdam’s version of Central Park, a 120-acre leafy retreat west of the Museumsplein, is fabulous for biking, walking and enjoying the summer months. Don’t miss lunch or coffee at the ‘T Blauwe Teehuis or at Vertigo, the café at the film museum, which is not a museum but a film library and theater showing old movies. (During the summer, there are screenings in the park.) Modern-art fans should search the grounds for the Picasso sculpture The Fish.

Editors' Picks
Interior View-Westerkerk , Amsterdam, Netherlands-Courtesy I Amsterdam


Located on the edge of the Jordaan neighborhood within walking distance of the Anne Frank Huis, the Protestant Westerkerk was finished in 1631. Those without fear of heights—and in good shape—can climb the 279-foot-tall bell tower for expansive city views from the highest tower in Amsterdam. If you’re in the neighborhood on Tuesday at around noon, you will hear the carillon, a set of fifty tuned bells, chime.

All Results


Indagare employees walking up stiars

Enjoy 30 Days On Us!

Start your Self Planner
membership trial today.

Unlock access to 2,000+ first-hand hotel reviews, 300+ Destination Guides and the most up-to-date travel news and inspiration.

Already a member?

Welcome back,
log in to Indagare

Not a member?

Forgot Password

Enter your email and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Type the first 3 letters to begin