11 Interesting Things to do in and Around Amsterdam
1) Visit the Red Light District
Um, yes. We kinda had to start here! The most famous part of Amsterdam, but also the most taboo.
Its main purpose may not interest you, but the Red Light District has a lot of history, and is in one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city. It is alot quieter during the day, and comes to life in a burst of neon colour at night.
Visit the Museum to get a history of ‘the oldest profession in the world’.
2) Try the Heineken Experience
This might sound like another gimmick, but alot of effort has been put in to make the Heineken Experience a memorable one. Take a tour of the brewery brimming with history, catch the light/video show, play some foosball, gulp down some beers at the bar, there is also an option to go on a canal cruise ride. Most people describe they would ‘do it again in a heartbeat’.
3) Go Dutch Cheese Shopping at Gouda and Alkmaar
With beer already covered off, the next most famous product of the Netherlands is cheese.
Cheese is a significant part of their diet and they are so entangled with it that each province has their own variety of cheese.
So, where should you go to taste the best Dutch cheese? The cheese markets of Alkmaar and Gouda are a great place to start. More than just a marketplace, they offer a cultural experience and the shows on display are amazing. Post the show go all out for some cheeeeesy shopping.
4) Stop by for Some Souvenirs at Albert Cuypmarkt
Albert Cuypmarkt is Netherland’s favourite market. Operating for more than 100 years with around 260 stalls, it is one of the largest in Europe. From fruit and vegetables to jewellery and fabrics, Albert Cuypmarkt has a lot to offer and it is essential that you bargain to get the best deal. Interact with the local vendors, fill your bags with souvenirs, and sample the street food delicacies.
5) Pack a Picnic for the Vondelpark
Receiving over 10 million visitors every year, Vondelpark is a popular public park in Amsterdam. What makes Vondelpark a must-visit is its wonderful location coupled with the extensive features. The grounds of the park are home to open-air theatre, cafes, restaurants, skate rental shops, and a playground. See the fountains, go biking/rollerblading or just walk, soak in the beauty of the rose gardens, and enjoy the free Sunday concerts.
6) Taste the Popular Delicacy of Herring
The Dutch have a special relationship with raw herring. The traditional way is to hold the herring by the tail and lower it into your mouth. They are just as good with some bread though, served at lunchtime, but also known as a great hangover cure if eaten early in the day.
Though it is available throughout the Netherlands, stop by Frens Haringhandel by the canal in Amsterdam for the best place to try this Dutch delicacy.
7) Learn Everything About Clogs at De Zaanse Schans
If you are looking to buy an authentic souvenir of your time in the Netherlands, then clogs might be a good option.
Made out of wood, clogs were traditionally used as a footwear in agriculture, factories, and mines. Over the years, clogs have become a fashion accessory and the range of clogs in the Netherlands now is huge.
While there are so many different places to shop from, the best is De Zaanse Schans Clog Workshop about 20km from Amsterdam. Run by a family, a visit to De Zaanse Schans includes live demonstrations, museum, and a store to pick up the perfect gift.
8) See Iconic Dutch Landmarks at Madurodam
Set between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is the unique attraction of Madurodam.
The miniature park in the district of The Hague is adorned with models of popular Dutch landmarks and cities. Take an audio tour of the park to learn everything about the history of the Netherlands.
The best time to visit is on the run up to Christmas when all the landmarks getting given a festive makeover.
9) Be Blown Away by the Colour at Blomenmarkt
Blomenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the world. Take a stroll between Koningsplein and Muntplein and you will see a dozen stalls lined along the Singel Canal.
It is a bit of a tourist trap, and sells as many bulbs and seeds as flowers, but it’s still an interesting way to kill an hour or so when in Amsterdam.
10) Cat Boat (What More Needs Saying!?)
Most cats hate water, but in Amsterdam you can find a converted houseboat full of them! Originally set up as a sanctuary for strays, it has now become a popular tourist attraction, and is certainly a unique experience to have whilst you are in Amsterdam!
11) Oldest Stock Exchange in the World
For many centuries the Dutch were the most powerful and richest nation in the world. The Dutch East India Company was formed to deal with trade in the Indian Ocean region as the market for exotic spices, fabrics and gems increased.
This old building, opened in 1602, was the first to house a stock exchange, and the first to issue stocks and bonds. The East India Company started an insurance business where the investors in a ship would each be given a stock and in case a ship sunk, they would have some of their cost recouped. These stocks in the ships were soon being sold when people were tight for money, and thus the first stock exchange was born.
This article was written by Dinesh from the Marketing team of a travel-tech startup Pickyourtrail.com.
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