Most travelers who have toured Amsterdam will speak of how, unlike most other European capitals, it is. Much like The Netherlands as a whole, the city oozes a unique vibe, which mixes modern sophistication with a laid-back and welcoming approach usually reserved for smaller countryside towns. It is partially this that attracts so many tourists here each year – many of them young people traversing Europe, drawn to the city’s unique ambiance and mystique.
Below are just a few of the many must-see attractions tourists, both young and old, will be able to access from any of the excellent Amsterdam hostels in the town center via a quick walk.
The Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest building and most fashionable art institute (since 2012). The construction was founded in 1213 CE and sanctified in 1306 CE by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its saint. After the Reformation in 1578, it was turned into a Calvinist church, which it remains to this day. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam’s central red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein. The architecture represents the Gothic-Renaissance style octagonal bell tower.
It is the center o the city and had a range of history attached to it. Here you will discover the Royal Palace, which looks strikingly beautiful in the square. Dam Square lies in Amsterdam’s historical center, approximately 2,500 ft (750 meters) south of the central transportation hub, Centraal Station, at the Dam’s original location in Amstel. It is unevenly rectangular, stretching about 650 ft (200 meters) from east to west and about 350 ft (100 meters) from north to south. It links Rokin and Damrak, which run along the original Amstel River course from Centraal Station to Mint Square (Muntplein) and the Mint Tower (Munttoren). The Dam also marks the endpoint of the other well-traveled streets Kalverstraat, Nieuwendijk, and Damstraat. A short walk beyond the northeast corner lies the central Red-light district.
Launched as a town hall in the mid-16th Century, this magnificent building became a castle in the 19th Century. The interiors sparkle, particularly the marble work – at its best in a floor inlaid with maps of the world in the citizens’ hall (great burgerzaal) at the building’s heart. Pick up a free audio guide at the desk when you enter; it describes everything you’ll see in clear detail.
The Rijksmuseum is amongst the world’s most elegant art museums, packing in works by local legends Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh and other masterpieces in the 9000 works on exhibition over 1.5km of galleries. To dodge the biggest crowds, come before 10:30 am or after 4 pm. Begin your exploration on the 2nd floor in the Gallery of Honour with the beautiful Golden Age works. Prebooking tickets online gives fast-track entry.
A private park for the rich until the mid-1950s, Vondelpark now holds a special place in Amsterdam’s center. It’s a magical getaway and provides a lively social scene, including cycle ways, ponds with swans, pristine lawns, beautiful lawns, quaint cafes, winding footpaths, and footbridges. On a bright day, an open-air party environment ensues when couples, tourists, in-line skaters, cyclists, cartwheeling children, football-kicking teenagers, pram-pushing parents, champagne-swilling picnickers, and spliff-sharing friends all come out to enjoy.