AmsterdamTips.com brings you up-to-date insider guides from local experts to help you get more from your
stay in Amsterdam. You'll find the best English-language resource on travel and public transport
in the Netherlands. Plus top tips on Amsterdam hotels, museums, what's on, things to see and do and Living in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Tips Guide: Introduction
Start here for an overview of AmsterdamTips site sections plus links to useful pages:
There are a number of international
Amsterdam rail services running
including Eurostar (London-Brussels-Amsterdam), Thalys (Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam),
ICE International (Amsterdam-Dusseldorf-Cologne-Frankfurt) and Intercity (Amsterdam-Berlin).
Amsterdam has a wide range of accommodation with 17
5-star hotels in the city plus a number of affordable 4-star and 3-star hotels. You should try to
make your Amsterdam hotel reservation in advance of arrival. See our
Amsterdam hotel recommendations
For cost-conscious budget travellers looking for alternatives to hotels, Amsterdam has a reasonable range
of hostels. The local Hostelling International (YHA) outfit in the Netherlands is branded as
Stayokay and it has 3 hostels in Amsterdam. Generator hostels has a large property at Oosterpark in Amsterdam.
There are many appartments in Amsterdam listed on AirBnB, although this continues to be a controversial issue locally.
Amsterdam has a number of excellent museums. We highly recommend purchasing the annual
Museum Card (€59.90) which gives free access for 12 months to over 400 museums in the
country. Note that non-residents can only buy a 31 day temporary card - which has a 5 museum-visit limit - although EU residents can upgrade
to the full card online.
Alternatively there is the Iamsterdam City Card which is valid from 1/2/3/4 days (€59/€74/€87/€98) giving free entry to
a number of museums, a transport pass and other discounts.
The top 5 museums in Amsterdam are
Rijksmuseum - an amazing collection of Dutch history in a stunning building.
Van Gogh Museum - the world's largest collection of Van Gogh paintings.
Anne Frank House - the canal house where Anne Frank hid during WW2 and where she wrote her teenage diary.
Stedelijk - modern and contemporary art on show. Maritime Museum - a multimedia journey about Dutch seafaring exploits.
Other museum of note:
Micropia, the world's first museum about micro-organisms;
MOCO Museum features well-known contemporary artists.
There are lots of things to see and do in the city. Have a look at our guide to
Dam Square. On a sunny day head out to
Vondelpark, the green heart of the city. Kids will love
Royal Artis Zoo located near the city centre.
Perhaps jump on a free ferry to the quirky NDSM wharf or how about taking a tour of the Amsterdam ArenA stadium, home of local football club Ajax.
Popular Dutch delicacies include pickled herring with onions, pancakes and poffertjes, Flemish-style chips with mayonnaise. Try an
Indonesian rijsttafel (rice table) or a meal in a traditional eetcafè.
Amsterdam has some excellent independent stores and trendy boutiques - particularly around the Jordaan,
Negen straatjes, Haarlemmerdijk and Utrechtsestraat areas.
For premium shopping head to either PC Hooftstraat (in the Museum quarter) or the department store Bijenkorf on Dam Square.
There are a number of Dutch chain stores on the main shopping streets
including Kalverstraat, Nieuwendijk and Leidsestraat.
For a more lively experience have a wander around one of Amsterdam's markets including the Albert Cuyp Markt or Dappermarkt. The world famous Flower market is
located on the Singel canal between Muntplein and Koningsplein.
Amsterdam is the historic capital city of the Netherlands. With origins as a 12th century fishing
village, it rose to become one of the world's great ports. Its renowned canal ring was built in the 17th
century during the Golden Age when Dutch art, science, military and trade flourished.
Today Amsterdam remains an important international economic and transport hub attracting millions of visitors annually.
The Netherlands is a flat northern European country bounded by Belgium (south), Germany (east) and the North
Sea. Schiphol airport is located 4m below sea level. The lowest point in the country is Zuidplaspolder
near Rotterdam at 7m below sea level. The highest point is Vaalserberg in Limburg at 323m.
Is it Netherlands or Holland? This question brings up much confusion to some visitors. The
Netherlands comprises of 12 provinces: Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg,
North-Brabant, North-Holland, Overijssel, South-Holland, Utrecht and Zeeland.
Amsterdam (population 850,000) is located in North-Holland and makes up part of the
Randstad ring of cities (Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Utrecht) which has 7 million inhabitants.
Netherlands uses Central European Time (CET) which is 1 hour ahead of UK time. Standard business
hours in Amsterdam are 0900-1800 during the week although on Mondays some shops open at 1100 and a few
smaller museums are closed. Weekend shopping hours are generally 0900-1700 (Saturday) and 1200-1800 (Sunday).
Late night shopping is on Thursday until 2100.
Note that Dutch people traditionally eat at around 1800 in the evening and some restaurant/cafè kitchens
can close relatively early (say 2100) by international standards.
Dutch is the language spoken in the Netherlands - however many people can speak English
reasonably well. Local cable TV will have CNN, BBC World, BBC1 and BBC2 available.
Public holidays for 2018 in the Netherlands are 1 January (New Year's Day), 1/2 April
(Easter Sunday/Easter Monday), 27 April (King's Day), 10 May (Ascension Day), 21 May (Whit Monday), 25/26 December (Christmas Day/Boxing Day).
Public holidays for 2019 are 1 January (New Year's Day), 21/22 April (Easter Sunday/Easter Monday), 27 April (King's Day), 30
May (Ascension Day), 10 Jun (Whit Monday), 25/26 December (Christmas Day/Boxing Day).
Climate / Weather: Netherlands has a temperate, oceanic climate with cool winters and mild
summers. Average daily high/low temperatures are 6°C/1°C (Jan), 14°C/5°C (Apr), 22°C/13°C (Jul), 15°C/8°C (Oct).
With 133 days of precipitation per year always be prepared for rainy weather at any time.
Money: Netherlands is part of the Eurozone which uses the Euro € currency. The most commonly
used note denominations are €5, €10, €20 and €50, with the €100 note sometimes seen. The €250 and €500
notes are rarely used and are not accepted in many shops. The Dutch central bank issues euro notes
signified by a letter "P" on the serial number.
Coins in use are the 5, 10, 20 and 50 euro cents plus the 1 and 2 euros. The country does not
commonly use the 1 and 2 cents coins - prices are rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents - for example,
you would pay 2 euros if the total price ranged between 1.98 and 2.02; you pay 2.05 for price totals between 2.03 and 2.07.
ATM machines for international cards are found all over the city - the main Dutch banks are ABN Amro,
ING and Rabobank. Credit card payments are not that common but are becoming more accepted. Tipping in
the Netherlands is not expected though rounding up a standard restaurant bill to the nearest 5 euros would be appreciated.
In terms of electric power, the Netherlands uses the standard 230V 2 pin plugs. Many business hotels will
also have international adapter sockets.
Telephone: The Netherlands country dialling code is +31. The Amsterdam city code is (0)20. Call 112 for emergency services.
Pre-paid SIM cards can be easily bought from telecom shops, supermarkets or HEMA.
Mandatory ID law: It is obligatory for all individuals over the age of 14 to carry a valid form of
identification. Acceptable forms of ID are Dutch ID cards, Dutch residence permit, Dutch or European passports, Dutch or European photo driving license.
Those from outside Europe need to show a passport with a valid entry permit. Copies of ID are apparently not valid, the original must be produced.
Failure to do so carries a €60 fine.
In reality many visitors do not carry a valid ID, for example preferring to leave their passports in the hotel safe. Just be aware that police
and public transport ticket inspectors could ask you to produce ID in some cases.
Strict no smoking laws are in effect at all work places and public buildings in the Netherlands - this includes cafès, bars and restaurants.
Coffeeshops in Amsterdam are permitted to sell up to 5 grams of cannabis to customers over the age of 18. Smoking tobacco
is not permitted in coffeeshops.
Amsterdam is well known for its red-light district located in De Wallen area of the city centre.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and regulated by the local authorities. The minimum legal
age for a prostitute in Amsterdam is 21. Be aware that you should not take photos of the prostitutes working in the windows.