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Things to do in Amsterdam

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Park
“The Vondelpark ( 1865 ) The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares (120 acres) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is part of the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid and situated west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named Nieuwe Park (English: New Park), but later renamed to Vondelpark, after the 17th-century playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel. Yearly, the park has around 10 million visitors. In the park is an open-air theatre, a playground and several food service facilities. In 1864 a group of citizens led by Christiaan Pieter van Eeghenestablished the Vereeniging tot Aanleg van een Rij- en Wandelpark(English: Association for the Construction of a Park for Riding and Strolling). They bought several hectares of grass-land and marshes at the rim of the city of Amsterdam, in order to create the new park. They assigned the architect Jan David Zocher to design it, and in 1865 "Het Nieuwe Park" (English: "The New Park") was opened for members of the association and in exchange for a fee also for other citizens.[2] Two years after the park opened, in 1867, a statue of writer and playwright Joost van den Vondel was placed in the park. Sculptor Louis Royer created the sculpture and the architect Pierre Cuypers designed the stand.[2] As a result, people started to call the park "Vondelspark" (English: "Vondel's Park").[3] In 1873 a bandstand was built. In the same year, brewer Gerard Adriaan Heineken was denied to open a bar in the park, so he built the Bierhuis Vondel (English: "Beer House Vondel") in the street next to the park, what is now Vondelstraat 41.[2] The last part of the park was designed by Louis Paul Zocher, Jan David Zocher's son, and was realized from 1875 to 1877.[4] The park now became its current size of 47 hectares. Also the English garden style design of the Zochers has been roughly maintained up to now, although in the late 19th century the elongated park had a stream of water from the beginning to the end and contained many small paths and small bushes.[3] In 1878 the Pavillon (English: "Pavilion") was built as a replacement of a wooden chalet built by Louis Paul Zocher. The Pavillon is currently known as the Vondelparkpaviljoen (English: "Vondelpark Pavilion"). The park's name was officially changed into "Vondelpark" (English: "Vondel Park") in 1880.[2] Already in the 1880s and 1890s the cycling in the park caused hindrance. First the park management tried to resolve this with restrictive measurements against cyclists, such as special bike paths, limited opening hours, and fines for cyclists that were going faster than a horse's trot. It was only after mediation of the Algemene Nederlandsche Wielrijders-Bond (English: "General Dutch Cyclists Union"), that helped fund the park, that a park guard was installed and cyclists were again permitted to cycle normally.[2] 20th century[edit] The Blauwe Theehuis in 2010 In 1936, a rose garden was created in the center of the park.[3] One year later in 1937, the Blauwe Theehuis (English: "Blue Tearoom") was opened. This tearoom is a round modernist building, designed by the architectural office Baanders.[5] In the following years the overall maintenance of the park became too expensive for the Vereniging tot aanleg van een rij- en wandelpark (English: "Association for the creation of a park for riding and strolling"), due to an intensified use, and in 1953 the association donated the park to the city of Amsterdam. The landscape architect Egbert Mosrenovated the Vondelpark for the city in the 1950s. The purpose was improve the park for both usage and maintenance. Small bushes were grouped into larger bushes, superfluous paths were removed, and the rose garden was renovated. Also the stream of water in the "trunk" near the northern entrance of the park was removed.[3] In the 1960s children's playgrounds were created. During the flower power era in the 1960s/1970s the Vondelpark became a symbol of a place where "everything is possible and (almost) everything is allowed".[6] In the 1980s an open-air theatre was built.[3] The Vondelpark received the status of rijksmonument (English: "state monument") in 1996.[3] 21st century[edit] People in the park on a Sunday in September 2008 In the 1990s the number of visitors grew to approximately 10 million visitors annually. The grass is used as sports field and the paths as bike paths. This caused the city to start a new renovation that took place from 1999 to 2010. The purpose is to intensify the monumental value of the park and furthermore to improve the park's durability. The renovation took more than ten years in order to decrease the hindrance for visitors and for brooding animals.[7] Starting in September 2008, adults were planned to be legally allowed to have sex in the park,[8] as long as they "take their garbage with them afterwards and never have intercourse near the playground. The sex must be limited to the evening hours and night.", in the words of current Amsterdam Alderman Paul Van Grieken.[9 The Vondelpark Openluchttheater is an open-air theatre with shows from June until August. There are performances of classical music, pop music, world music, dance, musical theatre, and cabaret. The theatre receives a subsidy from the city government. And although all performances have free entrance, visitors are asked for a donation of one euro.[10] Food service[edit] In the park are several food service (horeca) facilities (listed in alphabetical order): 't Blauwe Theehuis, a bar and restaurant[11] Groot Melkhuis, a bar and restaurant[12] Vondeling, the bar and restaurant of the open-air theatre[10] Vondeltuin, a bar and restaurant[13] There are some statues in the park: Joost van den Vondel (1867) by Louis Royer[2] The Fish (1965) by Pablo Picasso[5] Mama Baranka (1985) by Nelson Carrilho[14] Every Friday there is the Fridaynightskate that starts in front of the Filmmuseum. Yearly events include the golf tournament Vondelpark Open and the running contest Vondelparkloop. The King's Day celebrations on 27 April in the Vondelpark focus specifically on children. There is a "freemarket" (Dutch: vrijmarkt) and there are games and other activities for children. From June until August there are music and dance performances in the open-air theatre. Since 2011 on the evening of All Soul's Day people gather and float many small "remembrance" boats with a lighted candle in the big pond to remember those who have died in the last year(s).[citation needed] Popular culture The park is referenced in Acda en De Munnik's song "Vondelpark vannacht" from the album Acda en De Munnik(1997), in Omar Rodríguez-López's song "Vondelpark bij nacht" from the album Omar Rodriguez (2005) and in John Craigie's song "Vondelpark" from the album Working On My Farewell (2015). 1990s' 2009 album 'Kicks' opens with a track entitled "Vondelpark", which is a tour diary from one of the band's trips to the Netherlands. The English dream pop band Vondelpark took their name from the park. ”
  • 1375 locals recommend
Art Museum
“Only 1,5 kilometers away to see some of the best paintings from the middle ages. Make sure you see the famous 'Nachtwacht' by Rembrandt van Rijn ”
  • 1333 locals recommend
Historic Site
“For the Ann Frank House please book your tickets in advance via their website. ”
  • 882 locals recommend
Souvenir Shop
“Impressionist lovers can eat their heart out in this museum. Buy your tickets in advance online. ”
  • 798 locals recommend
Market
“Daily market for groceries and souvenirs. I the middle of the famous 'Pijp'- area. Nice place to wander and try some streetfood. Try a 'Stroopwafel'!”
  • 827 locals recommend
Aquarium
“ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, the historical zoo in central Amsterdam | Things to do for all ages ”
  • 517 locals recommend
Food Court
$$
“Find here lots of different street foods from many places in the world! Also don’t miss to sit down at Gin Tonic bar and taste one of the best drink you have tried! All of it are inside an old tram fabric! Very interesting place to go!! ”
  • 679 locals recommend
Brewery
$$
“Great experience about the brand Heineken ! Buy your tickets in advance to save money on the entrance.”
  • 418 locals recommend
Plaza
“The famous Dam Square! Go shopping or visit different tourist attractions, there is a lot to do here! ”
  • 354 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“The 9 streets are famous for its small stores and unique atmosphere, you'll not get bored walking around”
  • 757 locals recommend
Plaza
“the major museums are all located on this square, also the iconic I AMSTERDAM letters.”
  • 412 locals recommend
Museum
“The Dutch Film Museum. Amazing architecture and views overlooking the city. They have great expositions and movies. Wouldn't recommend the restaurant though, walk a bit further to TOLHUISTUIN for food. Can't miss this spot! ”
  • 680 locals recommend
Brewery
$
“One of the most popular beer brewers of Amsterdam. Nice to have a beer on their terras under the windmill..”
  • 710 locals recommend
Neighborhood
“Nice park to stroll around, also some nice cafes, a club, a cinema etc are located there. ”
  • 621 locals recommend
Music Venue
$$
“Feel like going to a concert? Check their website and book your dream night out!”
  • 537 locals recommend
Gastropub
$$
“Nice restaurant with his own small beach. Take the boat (free) from central station to NDSM werf.”
  • 634 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Museum
“The Dutch Film Museum. Amazing architecture and views overlooking the city. They have great expositions and movies. Wouldn't recommend the restaurant though, walk a bit further to TOLHUISTUIN for food. Can't miss this spot! ”
  • 680 locals recommend
Brewery
“One of the most popular beer brewers of Amsterdam. Nice to have a beer on their terras under the windmill..”
  • 710 locals recommend
Gastropub
“Nice restaurant with his own small beach. Take the boat (free) from central station to NDSM werf.”
  • 634 locals recommend
Event Space
“This is Amsterdam’s foodcourt! Really nice to go for a drink and some food. Can be crowded in the weekends. ”
  • 439 locals recommend
Join us for chicken and burgers!
“Popular beer cafe, huge selection of tap and bottled beers, great burgers and most famous roasted chicken in town.”
  • 344 locals recommend
Gastropub
“Right in the centre , next to Amsterdam central station. sitting by the water and watching the sunset together with a glass of wine. Its just magical :-)”
  • 358 locals recommend
Music Venue
“There is a lot to see and do in Amsterdam, all depending on your taste. If we were in the neighborhood, you could run into us and other locals at Roest. If the weather is nice, nothing beats Amsterdam Roest (5-10 min walk) at Jacob Bontiusplaats. At an old factory location, Roest has a pseudo beach area, a rough edged arty atmosphere and plenty of cold drinks.”
  • 323 locals recommend
Café
“... and of course you will find a time to enjoy the famous and most delicious Apple Pie in the world! ”
  • 341 locals recommend

Get to know Amsterdam

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