With so much to see and do in Amsterdam, expats will have a great time finding their way around the city's canal-lined streets. Cycling is one great way for expats to get their bearings and take in the city’s sights, or they can take a more leisurely canal tour.
Culture vultures will enjoy artistic attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt House Museum, while history buffs will love the famed Anne Frank House. Edgier expats will surely head to the Red Light District, even if only out of curiosity, as well as the coffee shops that serve marijuana-infused treats which would be considered illegal back home.
Recommended attractions in Amsterdam
Amsterdam coffee shops
An iconic part of the city. A trip to one of Amsterdam’s coffee shops, where marijuana-based products are available, is an essential part of living in this city, even for expats who don’t partake in any of the ‘activities’.
Learn about the city’s past as this museum covers Amsterdam's development from a small medieval settlement on the river to the modern thriving metropolis it is today.
Anne Frank House
Step inside the home of Anne Frank, view the original diary she wrote over two years, and learn more about the horrors of World War II in Amsterdam, where anti-Semitism and Nazi persecution were part of daily life.
The Dutch Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum)
This museum provides fascinating insights into the Dutch Resistance Movement during World War II, displaying false documents, weaponry and other equipment providing testimony to its members’ innovation.
National Maritime Museum
The Netherlands is known for its famous explorers and the National Maritime Museum covers five centuries of Dutch naval history, allowing visitors a glimpse into the adventurous seafaring past of the Dutch.
Our Dear Lord in the Attic
A concealed Catholic church (the combined top floors of a 17th-century canal house) bears a stark reminder of the Alteration period in the Netherlands where Protestantism was declared the official religion and other churches had to operate in secret.
Red Light District (De Wallen)
Most residents have visited the Red Light District at least once, even if just to say they’ve seen it. It offers more than just bright lights, scantily-clad ladies in the windows, throngs of tourists and canals. Expats and tourists are also recommended to pay a visit to the area's breweries and museums.
Rembrandt House Museum
Expats can catch a glimpse into the life and times of one of the world’s most renowned artists at the Rembrandt House Museum, where the man himself lived between 1639 and 1656, during the height of his career. Be sure to ask about the discounts on offer.
Van Gogh Museum
Housing several hundred paintings and drawings by Van Gogh, all new residents of Amsterdam should see the iconic artist’s work in person.
The 47-hectare Vondelpark offers a relaxing break in nature. Not only can expat families and friends enjoy a good picnic in this green space, but the park is often buzzing with activity from food services, the playground and even an open-air theatre.
►For more on what to see and do in the city, see Lifestyle in Amsterdam
►Learn about popular events and see What's On in Amsterdam
"I love how the locals know how to celebrate their holidays or to enjoy each ray of sun by sitting outside with a glass of good wine and surrounded by friends. Green areas can be found everywhere in the city and people ride bikes instead of driving cars – all of that contributes to a very good quality of life." Romanian expat Dana talks about the quality of life in Amsterdam and all the things to see and do.
"I enjoy that there is always something happening in my area. Amsterdam never sleeps." Read more in this interview with Monique.
Are you an expat living in Amsterdam?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Amsterdam. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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