Amsterdam is a great European capital, full of life, colour and history; it boasts several characteristic neighbourhoods, world-famous for their beauty and tourist attractions. In this article we will talk about Amsterdam’s main tourist districts, from the Medieval Centre to De Pijp, from the famous Jordaan to the most neglected (by tourists) Plantage: for each one we will present the peculiarities and attractions that you absolutely must not miss!
Easily reached by heading south on Damrak from Central Station, the city’s main transport hub with excellent connections to Amsterdam Sciphol Airport, Amsterdam’s historic centre is the ideal place to stroll aimlessly, admiring the shop windows of the charming alleyways.
Bruin Cafés, small shops and restaurants enliven this historic district that will catapult you back to the 17th century, Amsterdam’s Golden Age.
The fascinating landscape of the Dutch capital, a veritable open-air museum, is full of attractions often housed in old aristocratic houses with beautiful bell-shaped façades.
Kalverstraat, Amsterdam’s main shopping street, is also located in the historic centre.
Located west of Amsterdam’s Medieval Centre, the Jordaan is a charming neighbourhood known for its picturesque streets and bohemian atmosphere. Built in the 17th century as a working-class neighbourhood, it is now considered one of Amsterdam’s most fashionable districts.
It is a perfect place for strolling, with its narrow streets, canals and bridges running through it. Here you will find many art galleries, craft shops, cafés and restaurants, offering a wide selection of local and international dishes. The district also hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as the flea market on the Noordermarkt, held every Saturday and Monday morning, and the Jordaan Festival, which celebrates the district’s culture and history.
Among the district’s main attractions are the Westerkerk, the church that offers a panoramic view of the city from its tower, and the Anne Frank House, a must-see if you visit Amsterdam.
The museum district, Museumplein in Dutch, is the heart of culture and art in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
Bounded to the north by Stadhouderskade and Leidseplein, to the east by Hobbemakade and to the west by Overtoom, the district is one of the most prestigious in the Dutch capital.
The district is also home to the marvellous 19th-century Concertgebouw concert hall and some of Amsterdam’s most elegant houses along the streets P.C. Hooftstraat, Pieter Cornelisz and Van Baerlestraat.
Other attractions in the district include the Vondelpark, the Nederlands Filmmuseum, the Diamond Museum, the House of Bols and the newer Moco Museum.
The Nieuwmarkt is one of Amsterdam’s historical districts and boasts fascinating architecture including the city’s narrowest house.
The heart of the district is Nieuwmarkt Square, a short distance from the Red Light District and Chinatown, surrounded by cafés, shops and restaurants. The square was created in 1614 after part of the canals in the area were drained.
Noteworthy buildings are numerous including the turreted Waag, the Synagogue, the Scheepvaarthuis the Rembrandt House Museum where the artist worked for about 20 years.
Outstanding architectural examples in the area are the Zuiderkerk, built in 1611 and now a venue for private events, the Trippenhuis, a large grey stone mansion adorned with Corinthian columns, the Oostindisch Huis, the headquarters of the powerful Dutch East India Company, the Montelbaanstoren Tower and the frescoed Pintohuis.
The Nieuwmarkt market is held daily but it is at weekends that it comes alive with the farmer’s market and the sale of fruit and vegetables, antiques, clothes and trinkets of all kinds.
Today, the location of the Nieuwmarkt just inside the old city gate has made it a popular place for traders, while today it is best known for its lively nightlife.
The De Pijp district is located on a small island south of the centre of Amsterdam, to which it is connected by 16 bridges, circumscribed by the Amstel, Singelgracht and Boerenwetering canals, near the Jordaan.
Once the working-class district of Amsterdam in the 19th century, the Pijp is now a lively and trendy area with trendy boutiques, excellent international cuisine restaurants and numerous nightclubs.
There are few tourist sites except for theHeineken Experience and the Albert Cuyp market, but thebohemian and multicultural atmosphere makes it one of the best places in Amsterdam to wander around in peace.
The fusion of working-class neighbourhood and trendy international district make De Pijp a unique and multicultural place. Don’t miss Albert Cuypstraat and Ferdinand Bolstraat, the main streets of De Pijp where you can admire the melting pot of cultures.
The trendiest spots, meeting places for students, artists and fashionistas, can be found on the Marie Heinekenplein and along the streets Ferdinand Bolstraat, Albert Cuypstraat, Frans Halsstraat and Eerste van der Helststraat.
If you have time, take a look at the Arbeiderspaleizen, the apartment complex designed in the 20th century for diamond and brewery workers, and the Sarphatipark, an English-style green oasis in the heart of the district ideal for a picnic built in the 19th century.
The 19th century district of Plantage is located on the eastern side of the Amstel and is a wonderful place for relaxing walks.
Although too often forgotten by tourists, the district is famous for being home to the Artis Zoo, the Botanical Garden and the Verzetsmuseum.
Beer lovers, on the other hand, will especially appreciate the Brouwerij ‘t IJ Brewery located next to the De Gooyer windmill.
The Plantage area is home to a series of gardens and parks, including the Wertheimpark, and is a short distance from the islands and the eastern harbour basins of Amsterdam where some of the most significant examples of contemporary Dutch architecture can be admired.
Amsterdam is administratively divided into seven districts that, through a series of historical facts and social policies, ensure a not inconsiderable mix of diversity.
The Centrum, i.e. the central area of Amsterdam, enclosed by the Singel canal, is the oldest part of the city. In the district is the central Dam Square, where the Royal Palace is located. In Centrum Amsterdam there is also the Red Light District, De Wallen, known locally as Rossebuurt.
Not to be missed here are the Jewish Quarter and the Jordaan, a very popular area among artists and students. The Spui area, on the other hand, is the heart of the old city and a great starting point for discovering the rest of the centre. Here you can find chic restaurants next to authentic cafés as well as trendy clothes shops next to second-hand shops.
Formed by the union of the two neighbourhoods Zuideramstel and Oud-Zuid, the Amsterdam Zuid district is one of the wealthiest areas of the city. The Oud Zuid was populated by many expatriates during the 20th century.
Home to some of the best art museums in the world, the Oud-Zuid (Old South) is one of Amsterdam’s most elegant and affluent districts. From the splendour of the Museumplein to the lively Vondelpark and the boulevards of the Willemspark, the beautiful Oud-Zuid is definitely worth a visit. Don’t miss De Pijp, Amsterdam’s Latin Quarter.
In the suburban area of Oost you can feel the colonial past of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The Museum of the Tropics hosts exhibitions and shows from all parts of the world. At the Dappermarket, all of Amsterdam’s cultures are represented. The variety of ethnic restaurants will please all tourists. Here in the Oost district there is also the beautiful Oosterpark.
The main attraction of this district is undoubtedly the lively Westerpark, which also gives its name to the park of the same name. It is an area of Amsterdam that has recently undergone a revival. Events, trendy cafés and shops swarm the streets of Westerpark. Don’t miss the vibrant districts of Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes.
On the other side of the water from the central station is Amsterdam-Noord, a district that was little more than an isolated suburb until recently. Today, however, there is an air of change, which has seen it populated with restaurants and entertainment venues.
A free ferry from the station will take you to the district in a few minutes. This unique area of Amsterdam still alternates between green expanses and picturesque villages with avant-garde architecture and modern styles.
The Zuidoost encompasses the residential area of De Bijlmer as well as large entertainment venues such as the Amsterdam Arena, the Heineken Music Hall and the Ziggo Dome. It is as far as you can get from your typical Amsterdam image of canals, tulips and clogs, but with its approximately 100,000 inhabitants from over 150 countries of origin, it is definitely a part of Amsterdam that should not be overlooked.
In the aftermath of World War II Amsterdam was in desperate need of new housing. In 1951, work began on the Tuinstad Slotermeer housing estate, the first of five new neighbourhoods to be added in the westernmost part of the city.
Today, Slotermeer, Geuzenveld, Slotervaart, Overtoomse Veld and Osdorp comprise the urban district of Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Spacious design with an emphasis on greenery is the hallmark of these new neighbourhoods, which spring up around the tranquil waters of Lake Sloterplas.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.