Of all of the European cities that I have visited over the past few years, Amsterdam holds a special place in my heart. It was the destination for my very first solo trip abroad. I’ve explored the city on my own, with complete strangers and with one of my best friends. I just love the whole atmosphere of the city, everyone is so relaxed and friendly. There’s none of the hustle and bustle that you get in other cities (I’m looking at you London and Paris) and the canals just make it feel so special.
I haven’t been to Amsterdam since February of 2016 and I’m itching to go back. I feel like I have seen everything that I want to see, but there is so much more that I can explore. If you are thinking of going to Amsterdam yourself, then I have compiled a list of my favourite things to do in the city. A couple of them are things you might not have heard about before.
Things to do in Amsterdam
Take a tour of Anne Frank’s House
If you have any interest in European history, particularly World War II then this will probably already be on your list. It isn’t a fun thing to do, it’s not enjoyable but I feel that it is something everyone must do. To understand the true suffering of the Jews during World War II, you must visit these places. When you see how small the secret annex is and realise that there were eight people hiding in there, you realise just how tough it must have been.
Whether you have read Anne Frank’s diary or not, this is definitely somewhere you must visit on a trip to Amsterdam. There’s plenty of information around the house, so you can understand what happened. Tickets are released two months in advance online, or you can queue up on the day. I queued for around 90 minutes when I visited in June. Tickets cost 10€ per adult.
Spend an hour at Electric Ladyland
Amsterdam is packed with museums. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, from the Sex Museum, to the art galleries. One that I don’t hear much about is Electric Ladyland. I actually found out about this place from another blog before I took my trip in February 2016. Electric Ladyland is the first museum of fluorescent art. It is the only museum of its kind in the world and it houses a room-sized fluorescent environment. Upon entering, you are made to take your shoes off and put on plastic slippers. You are also not allowed to enter if you are wearing any kind of sunscreen. Anything that blocks UV rays will ruin the experience.
I don’t really know what to say about this place. It’s something that you just have to experience for yourself. The American guy who owns and runs the place, is just so enthusiastic about fluorescent things. It only cost 5€ to enter the museum, but you need to pre-book by emailing. All of the information is on the website. It’s just around the corner from Anne Frank’s House as well, so you can fit them both into one afternoon.
Take a boat trip
Amsterdam is famous for its canals. While you are in the city, you have to take a boat trip. I like to buy the 24 hour tickets so that I can hop on and off as I please. This is a great way to learn more about the city and you get to see things from a different perspective. It’s also a great way to rest. On my first visit, I was exhausted after an early flight and hours of walking around, so I bought my boat ticket and accidentally had a little nap on there. There are several different companies that offer the hop on hop off boat tours, but the one I have used on each trip costs 22€ per adult for 24 hours. They offer both 24 hour and 48 hour tickets.
Visit the Van Gogh Museum
I’m not really an art lover, however I am a massive fan of Vincent Van Gogh. One of the main reasons for my first trip to Amsterdam was to visit the Van Gogh Museum. This is located in the Museum Square and is really easy to get to by foot or by tram. As you’d expect, the museum is dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and gives a great insight into his life. There are also different exhibitions on throughout the year.
If you are a Van Gogh fan and want to see famous paintings such as Sunflowers, The Bedroom and Irises then you definitely need to visit. Tickets cost 19€ per adult or entry is free if you have an iAmsterdam card.
Visit the Body Worlds museum
This won’t be for everyone, I know that. If you’re squeamish then it is probably best if you ignore one. If you’re not and you can handle looking at plastinated human bodies, then get yourself to the Body Worlds museum! Body Worlds: The Happiness Project focuses on our health and happiness and how the choices we make can effect the body. This is shown with real human bodies which have been donated. You may have heard of Gunther Von Hagen, the man behind Body Worlds. He has been on a lot of television programmes and there is also a touring exhibition. Tickets for this cost 19,50€ for adults if you purchase them online.
If you have been to Amsterdam, have you tried any of these things? Is there anything that you would recommend on a trip to Amsterdam? I am hoping to get back there in 2019, so would love your suggestions!