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
Living in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Tips Guide: Introduction
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There are a number of international rail services running
to/from Amsterdam including Eurostar (London-Brussels-Amsterdam), Thalys (Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam),
ICE International (Amsterdam-Düsseldorf-Cologne-Frankfurt) and Intercity (Amsterdam-Berlin).
International coach (bus) services to/from Amsterdam include Eurolines, OUIBUS
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
There are many appartments in Amsterdam listed on
AirBnB, although this continues to be a controversial
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 get a 31 day temporary card - however this can still work out good
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
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
Other museum of note:
Micropia, the world's first museum about
MOCO Museum features well-known contemporary
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
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
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 eetcafé.
Amsterdam has some excellent independent stores and
trendy boutiques - particularly around the Jordaan,
Negen straatjes, Haarlemmerdijk and
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
For a more lively experience have a wander around one
Amsterdam's markets including the Albert Cuyp Markt
or Dappermarkt. The world famous Flower market is
located on the Singel canal between Muntplein and
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/café kitchens
can close relatively early (say 2100) by international
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),
(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 weatherat 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
In terms of electric power, 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.
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 cafés, 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.