Monuments & Districts
Amsterdam has some 6500 monuments, including churches, bridges, gables, and city furniture. Together they form one of the most important historic city centres in the world. Important monuments include city views, such as on the Nieuwmarkt or the Jordaan neighbourhood, Centres such as the Magna Plaza, The Bijenkorf, the Canal Houses and many others
The City Centre
In Amsterdam's oldest quarter you can browse through medieval streets. Ancient cafés alongside the trendiest of shops. The city was built around the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam's oldest building dating from 1300 AD. In this part of Amsterdam every stone tells a story!
Until Rembrandt's statue was unveiled in 1876 this square was called Botermarkt (buttermarket). For over a century it has been the centre of Amsterdam's nightlife. Here you can find famous cafés, discos and the renowned Tuschinski theatre. In summer, sitting in one of the many outdoor cafés, you can see the world pass by till way past midnight.
The citys green heart, situated close to the Leidseplein and the museumplein, is by far the most popular with visitors and locals, especially during summer and on sunny winterdays. The park is always filled with skaters, joggers and all sorts of street performers. In the summer the Vondelpark open air theater stages regular performances.There are several bars in the park, and at Vertigo you can also find good food at reasonable prices.
The Dam was built around 1270 between two dikes in order to prevent floodings. Now it is the central square between Rokin and Damrak. The Palace on Dam Square, The Nieuwe Kerk, The War Memorial and Madam Tussaud's are its main attractions. The Dam has a chequered history of political demonstrations and civil rights protests.
The Red Light District or Wallen
The Wallen forms the old defense system of Amsterdam. Here the boats used to dock and the sailors searched for pleasure. Behind the red lit windows the prettiest women offer themselves for further acquaintance. You can visit Europe's only Buddhist temple and have a meal in one of the many oriental restaurants afterwards.
This more than 300 year old working-class area was given the name jardin (garden) during the French occupation because all the streets are named after flowers, plants and trees. On Mondays and Saturdays you can visit several markets. An exploration of the many courts, shops and galleries is an absolute must! Conclude the day with dinner in one of the many atmospheric restaurants.
The Nieuwmarkt is on the edge of the Red Light District and is dominated by the 15th century Waag (weighhouse). The square is surrounded by 17th and 18th century facades and has many pleasant cafés and restaurants. In summer the square is transformed into a big outdoor café where you can see all the colorful Amsterdamers pass by.
The Oosterpark area
In this area you can see, taste and smell Amsterdam's and Holland's colonial past. The Museum of the Tropics has exhibitions and performances from all parts of the world all through the year. At the Dappermarket all cultures of the world are represented. Want to sample Surinamese, Indian, Moroccan, Turkish, Thai or Chinese? Here you can find it all.
The Pijp was built as a working-class area in order relieve the overpopulated Jordaan in the 19th century. Nowadays it is Amsterdam's most vibrant area with the daily Albert Cuyp street market at its centre. In the Heineken brewery on Stadhouderskade you can see how our beer is traditionally brewed.
In the 17th century 'The Plantage' (plantation) was a green area outside the city walls where Amsterdammers spent their free time. From 1848 onwards it became one of the most prominent areas of Amsterdam. The Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese Sinagoge tell about the bright but also sad history of this area. Exotic plants can be seen in the Hortis Botanicus (botanical garden) and you can visit wildlife in Artis Zoo.
The Spui quarter
The Spui quarter is the heart of the old city and is an excellent starting point from which to discover the rest of the city. Here you can find chic restaurants next to authentic old brown cafés and trendy fashion outlets next to second hand clothing shops. Visit the flower market, the Begijnen court or the Amsterdam Historical Museum.