Amsterdam can be an expensive city, however there are plenty of things which can be done on a budget. In this article we list 30 ideas for cheap things to do in Amsterdam for either under 5 euros or 5-10 euros.
We’ll consider museums, transport options, city views and various other activities.
Please also see our list 101 Free Things To Do in Amsterdam for a whole host of freebies.
Cheap Things To Do in Amsterdam: €5 or less
Houseboat Museum – Explore an authentic Amsterdam houseboat at Prinsengracht 296K – walk westwards from Spui. €5, for more info see our Houseboat Museum review
Van Eesteren Museum – Small museum pavilion on the banks of the Sloterplas lake with a focus on Amsterdam’s architectural development. €4 entrance, open Thu-Sun 1200-1700.
Electric Ladyland – A unique museum showing fluorescent lighting art. At Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5 in the Jordaan. €5, open Wed-Sat 1400-1800 by appointment only.
Amsterdam Tulip Museum – This is a shop in the Jordaan district (at Prinsengracht 116) which has a small museum in the basement. It has displays on the history of the tulip. At €5 entry, perhaps a little steep for some unless you have a real interest in tulips. Open daily 1000-1800.
ARCAM Architecture Centre – This is the city’s institute for architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. The visitor’s centre is open to the public and costs €4. It includes temporary exhibitions, a chronological display of Amsterdam’s architectural history and a variety of models, books and maps to browse. This strikingly compact building is located at Prins Hendrikkade 600 and is open 1300–1700 (Tue–Sun).
Have a picnic in the park – On a sunny day take a picnic with you to one of Amsterdam’s parks or open spaces. For example, there is a large underground Albert Heijn supermarket on Van Baerlestraat at Museumplein where you can pick up supplies – bread, cheese and a small bottle of wine can be had for around €5 – and take it to nearby Vondelpark or sit down on the grass at Museumplein. A wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon…
Drink with a view – There are a few café/bars/restaurants where you can get a drink whilst admiring a panorama of Amsterdam. You could check out the terrace at Amsterdam Central Library, Café Blue° at the top of the Kalvatoren shopping centre, the restaurant on the roof of Nemo Science Museum, Canvas in the Volkshotel in east Amsterdam or the (more expensive) Skylounge bar of the Doubletree Hotel near Central Station.
Eat a raw herring – Forget the junk food chains. For a couple of euros you can get yourself an authentic Dutch delicacy – a raw (cured) herring covered with chopped onions. The taste is surprisingly good and it is packed with healthy oils. Available for sale at street fish stalls all over the city including at the Albert Cuyp street market.
Transport ride – A 1 hour single ticket for a GVB Amsterdam metro, bus or tram ride costs €3.40. Head to the GVB ticket office outside Central Station, grab a free transport map (lijnennetkaart) and see where you would like to go.
Filmhuis Cavia – An underground non-profit arthouse cinema founded in 1983 showing alternative, cult films. With only 40 seats it is the smallest cinema in Amsterdam. A film screening costs €5 and the cinema even accepts Bitcoin as payment. Located at Van Hallstraat 52-I in the north-west of Amsterdam.
Cineville Pass (residents only) – Cinneville is an alliance of 44 art-house cinemas in 20 cities/towns around the Netherlands. It offers an unlimited monthly ticket (minimum subscription 4 months, Dutch bank account required) called the Cinevillepas for just €21 per month. Watch a couple of films a week and you are paying less than €3 per film.
Museums in Amsterdam with entrance €5 to €10
The following museums in Amsterdam have an entry fee between €5 and €10:
Cat Cabinet (€10) – A quirky museum with a unique collection of cat-related art. Herengracht 497. Book tickets here
Fashion For Good Museum (€10) – The world’s first interactive museum for sustainable fashion innovation, found in the centre at Rokin 102. Book tickets here
Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum (€9) – A museum dedicated to the cannabis plant at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148. Book tickets here
Museumyard ‘t Kromhout (€10) – This working shipyard museum (of interest to enthusiasts) is involved in renovating old boats and engines. Only open Tuesdays, at Hoogtekadijk 147.
Luther Museum (€7) – The former Evangelical-Lutheran Diaconal house, now a museum with period rooms. Located at Nieuwe Keizersgracht 570.
Multatuli Museum (€7) – This is a museum dedicated to the life and works of Dutch author Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887) who wrote the famous book Max Havelaar under the pseudonym Multatuli. The house at Korsjespoortsteeg 20 was where Dekker was born. Guided tours are available Fri-Sun.
NEMO The Studio (€7.50) – Part of the NEMO Science Museum, this presents temporary science and technology exhibitions for more adult audiences. It is located in building 027A at the Marineterrein area of Amsterdam.
Torture Museum (€9.50) – Museum in the centre of Amsterdam at Singel 449 which exhibits past instruments of torture.
Museum Vrolik (€10) – Museum of the human body with a unique collection of anatomical and embryological specimens. Located at Amsterdam UMC hospital (AMC location).
Cheap Things To Do in Amsterdam: €5 – €10
24 Hour GVB Transport Ticket – For €9 you can buy a GVB day ticket and ride Amsterdam’s trams, metro and buses for 24 hours. For example, explore modern architecture at the island of IJburg (tram 26); visit the Flevopark (trams 7/14); have a look at the Johan Cruijff ArenA Stadium (metro 54) or the old Olympic Stadium (tram 16). Book a ticket online here, pick-up in Amsterdam.
Sloten Windmill – Take a 45 minute guided tour (€8) of this historic windmill located in the western part of Amsterdam. Open daily, tours run every hour from 1000-1600. Address is Akersluis 10, reachable by tram 2 or 1.
Art-deco swim – Go for a swim at the art-deco Zuiderbad building (Hobbemastraat 26, close to Rijksmuseum in the heart of the city). The pool is open daily and entrance is €5.95.
Zaanse Schans – You can go and see the windmills and village at Zaanse Schans, some 15km north of Amsterdam. A day return train ticket from Amsterdam Central to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans will set you back €8.40 including €1 disposable ticket surcharge.
Bike Rental – Go local and get on your bike, it’s a great way to explore the city. A day’s bike rental should come in at about €10.
Church Panorama – If you are fit enough then you can climb to the top of the Zuiderkerk church tower. Giving great views of Amsterdam, tours cost €9 and are available April-October.
Historical tram rides – Every Sunday (Easter to end of October) you can take a ride on one of the city’s historic old trams. The Line 30 starts at the Tram Museum Haarlemmermeerstation depot in south-west Amsterdam roughly between the Olympic stadium and Vondelpark. The line is some 7km long and travels south through the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest), Amstelveen and on to the village of Bovenkerk. Due to works the line currently terminates at Parklaan in Amstelveen. The trams run between 1100 and 1800 and the journey takes around 25 minutes. A return costs €7.50.
Line 20 makes a loop around Amsterdam city centre and runs every Sunday – plus every first and third Saturday of the month. A ride costs €9.
Ice Skating – The Dutch are crazy about ice skating. The Jaap Eden IJsbaan is an outdoor 400m ice rink open October-March, entrance costs €9. At Watergraafsmeer in east Amsterdam, the address is Radioweg 64.
Pedal Boats – If you want to discover Amsterdam’s canals under your own steam then rent a pedalo. A 1 hour rental costs €27.50 for up to 4 people (€6.88 per person) from Stromma (location: Stadhouderskade 520). Book tickets here
Iamsterdam City Card – This is a tourist pass which offers free entry into many Amsterdam attractions. It also offers a free transport ticket, free canal cruise and 24 hour bike rental. Although the card costs €60 for 24 hours up to €135 for 120 hours (5 days), if used extensively with careful planning it can get your entry fees down to below €10. For more info check out our detailed Iamsterdam City Card review here. [The Iamsterdam City Card is available online here]
There you go, that’s 30 ideas for cheap things to do in Amsterdam. If you are on a budget it’s good to mix and match a range of activities. Yes, you can always do a few of the more expensive-but-essential ‘must-see’ things in Amsterdam. But by adding in some of the free or cheaper activities you can keep your total costs down.
This article was originally published in 2010. Last updated 9 May 2023.