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Erasmus Amsterdam

Amsterdam travel guide

If you are thinking of visiting the city of Amsterdam for a few days or going to live for a while, in this website you will find information that will be very useful for your trip. Amsterdam is a very hospitable city and always welcomes with open arms the more than 4 million international visitors it receives every year.

Browse the website and find out everything you need to know before you go. If you do not find what you are looking for, leave us a comment and we will try to help you.

tings to do in amsterdam

Things to do


8 Reasons why you should travel to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is very famous for its permissive laws regarding drug use, trade and legal prostitution, but the city has many interesting things to offer. We’ve made a short list of things you should see in Amsterdam.

1 – Very varied architecture with a mixture of styles

The first thing that surprises you when you arrive in Amsterdam is the architecture of its buildings. Just crossing the first canal you will see the small houses with atypical facades that look like they are about to collapse. You will surely have seen them on postcards, because the city is full of these houses, on every corner and on all sides of the canal in the centre. But together with these buildings you will find other constructions with an ultramodern architecture that makes it so special.

One of the outstanding buildings is the Amsterdam station with an architecture that dates back to the 19th century. An infinitely long building built on 9,000 piles that separates the port from the city centre.

Without a doubt it is a city of architectural contrasts, between the old and the new, the classic and the modern. A pleasure to see.

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2 – The port and the canals

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most water-rich cities. It is crossed by many canals. The 4 main canals form 4 concentric semi-circles around the city centre and their ends flow into the IJ Bay. These canals have been used for a long time for military defence, transport and water management. Now it is possible to explore them on foot or by boat. From a simple boat trip to a dinner cruise, there are many possibilities to discover the “Venice of the North” from the water.

The companies to hire these boat trips are mainly located in the area near the central station.

The canals of Amsterdam have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2010.

3 – The museums of Amsterdam

Besides the extraordinary architectural heritage, Amsterdam also has a good number of museums to see, such as the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Anne Frank House, etc. The Museumplein is a very famous square in the city of Amsterdam, as it is surrounded by some of the most visited museums in the city. There you can find a very important cultural heritage with works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Karel Appel. With a slightly different style to conventional museums, there is also “The Heineken Experience”, a museum located in a 135 year old building that was once the largest brewery in the city and that today pays tribute to one of the most famous and most consumed beers in the world: Heineken beer.

4 – The different means of transport

Forget about the car, you’re in Amsterdam! In fact, we do not recommend the use of the car to move around the city centre. If you go by car, it’s best to find a sheltered car park on the outskirts of the city and use alternative means of transport. Bicycles are the most popular means of transport in the city, so please pay attention to pedestrians, bikes have priority! Therefore, you should be careful because they come from everywhere and at any speed. The bravest will be able to walk the streets of the city while the others will prefer to use public transport (bus, tram, ferries). Most of the tourist places (coffee shops, red light district, churches, train station, canals, etc.) are in the city centre and therefore very fast to get from the central station. Amsterdam is a city on a human scale far from the size of Paris or Rome, so it is easier to move around and get to a place quickly using one of the many means of transport available in the city.

5 – Coffee Shops

Funny People, Grasshopper, Bulldog, BABA, Barney’s, Green House are some of the names of the most popular coffee shops in Amsterdam. These coffee shops are one of the main reasons why Amsterdam attracts so many tourists every year: because the trade and consumption of cannabis and soft drugs is allowed inside. The Coffee Shops are therefore the places with the right to sell these drugs to consumers. Smokers can sit there like in a bar: you order à la carte and then go to the cash register where the goods are weighed and packed in a plastic bag. Each café has its own aroma, its own taste. Their menu reflects the tastes of the owner and employees. Many varieties are offered, each with more exotic names than the last: Mango Haze, Dr Grinspoon, Orange bud, Red Cherry Berry, Amnesia Lemon,… All are names of herb varieties available at different prices in Amsterdam coffee shops. For those who wish to learn more about these products, there is a hash museum open in the centre of Amsterdam. It offers exhibitions on the history of the use and benefits of hemp, all kinds of objects used for smoking, and will almost try to persuade you that cannabis is a very valuable and beneficial resource. It’s up to you to let them convince you or not…

6 – Amsterdam: fast food capital

No matter when you’re hungry, at midday, after a walk around the city or locked up in the coffee shops, you’ll always find a place to eat quickly in Amsterdam. In addition to the many Fast Food outlets near the train station (some of which you may know: Burger King, McDonalds’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, etc. ), there are also many shops in the alleys where you will find large slices of pizza, huge muffins, chocolate covered waffles, fruit and whipped cream to fill your stomach as you walk around discovering the corners of the city.

7 – Nightlife

Amsterdam is a very festive city all year round but the biggest festival is the King’s Day (April 27th, date of the anniversary of the current King William Alexander of the Netherlands). Throughout the year, many concerts and parties are held in the city’s trendy nightclubs and bars. Some of the areas of the bars and pubs for drinking in Amsterdam are Spuistraat, Nieuwmarkt and the Kadijksplein.

As for the nightclubs, the most famous is the Paradiso, with an exceptional setting that can only be found in big club cities like Amsterdam or Berlin. The Paradiso is located in an old church and has hosted the biggest stars such as Lady Gaga, U2, Nirvana or the Rolling Stones.

One of the most popular clubs in Amsterdam is Escape, it is one of the biggest and has different rooms with different styles of music (house, electro, techno, pop, etc.). And don’t forget the Melkweg, located in an old factory, with 2 rooms, a theatre and a bar where you can have a drink.

8 – The Red Light District

The Red Light District is the district of Amsterdam famous for prostitutes. Day and night, these women wait for clients behind the windows illuminated by red neon lights. The atmosphere there is somewhat hallucinatory. People of all ages and backgrounds come here every night to stroll among the pubs, sex shops and shop windows. Practically empty in the morning, the Red Light District fills up in the evening with a crowd of foreign tourists who walk the streets to see the almost naked girls working on both sides of the alleys. Moreover, the Red Light District is one of the oldest in Amsterdam, built in the middle of charming little canals and crossed by a multitude of alleyways with a timeless charm. Oude Kerk, the old church is also worth a visit, is the oldest building in Amsterdam and hosts exhibitions and concerts all year round. This magnificent church dates back to the city’s Protestant era and was used as a Catholic worship centre and later became a Calvinist temple. It is now open to visitors and the attic also houses a collection of paintings, sculptures and objects from the city’s Catholic period.

If this text has convinced you to travel to Amsterdam do not hesitate to visit the other articles of the blog and discover some tips and advice to travel to Amsterdam.