10 Alternative Things To Do And See In Amsterdam, 2016
As anyone who's been captivated by the culture of Amsterdam knows, it's virtually impossible to get enough of the Dutch capital in just one weekend. Us at CityXplora know that bitter-sweet dilemma of being stuck in the Rijksmuseum for hours all too well, and feeling obliged to renew our affections for the city by just strolling the streets endlessly. They're guilty pleasures that we wouldn't trade for the world, but which we always try to reign in to keep our city breaks fresh.
Below is a list of lesser considered tours and attractions that we're aiming to experience in 2016. Why not fit in a few yourself and let us know what you think of them in the comments below, and if you happen across a cool new gem feel free to share your suggestion.
1, Gastronomic Canal Cruises
A little change often does a world of good, and the same can apply to your city break in Amsterdam. Our recommendation if you've already done the classic 1 hour canal cruise in the past would be to jazz it up with a lovely gastronomic element. There's little else more relaxing in the Dutch capital than a journey around the sights of Grachtengordel with an accompanying platter of beer, brownies and gourmet pizza. If pizza's not your thing then try the Heineken and Burger Cruise, the Cheese & Wine Candlelight Night Cruise, or a even a full 4-Course Dinner Cruise.
Cruise Berthing Point: Prins Hendrikkade 25, 1012 TM Amsterdam
2, Hop-On Hop-Off Canal Cruise
Tried the sightseeing buses before? Amsterdam's new hop-on hop-off canal cruise has berthing points next to Hermitage Amsterdam, Gassan Diamonds B.V., Rembrandt House Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Jewish Historical Museum, Heineken Experience and the Anne Frank House. The Amsterdam hop-on hop-off canal cruise has 7 departure points throughout the city, check them out here.
3, Efteling Theme Park
While it's not quite in Amsterdam, Efteling is very accessible from the capital via public transport, and is an excellent way to diversify your next city break. Attractions range from the thrilling 'Baron 1898' roller coaster with its 37.5-metre free fall, to live shows such as 'Raveleijn', which feature a full cast of actors, stunt horse riders and special effects. Grab you fast-track entry tickets from CityXplora, pick them up from the Lindbergh Travel Office at Damrak 26, then hop aboard a train the adjacent Amsterdam Centraal station. You can find more travel details on our Efteling page.
Efteling Address: Europalaan 1, 5171 KW Kaatsheuvel
This art museum dedicated entirely to works depicting cats is definitely one for those with a moggy (or two) at home. While we'd regard it as something of a hidden gem it's anything but obscure. Niche perhaps, and maybe even a little eccentric to those who're not a fan of cats, but with highlight pieces attributable to famous names such as Rembrandt, Picasso and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec it's well worth a lookout. Beyond paintings there's an amazing collection of sculptures, photographs and iconic posters like Theophile Steinlen's Art Nouveau advertisement for Le Chat Noir's 1896 cabaret tour.
KattenKabinet Address: Herengracht 497, 1017 BT Amsterdam
5, Bijbels Museum
The in same way that the non-religious can make a case for visiting famous religious sites on the grounds of their architectural and cultural significance, Amsterdam's Bijbels Museum is worth a lookout for its linguistic and historical treasures. It's home to the oldest bible in the Netherlands (printed in 1477) and a replication of one of the Dead Sea scrolls. Other fascinating displays endeavor to explore religious and daily life in ancient Judea, as well as the proposed designs of long lost structures such as the Second Temple. The museum's scope isn't even limited to the Abrahamic religions, as evidenced in their collection of Egyptian antiquities. See original hieroglyphic tablets, canopic jars, venerated statues and a complete mummy.
Bijbels Museum Address: Herengracht 366, 1016 CH Amsterdam
6, De Appel Art Centre
As someone who can easily spend getting through just a few exhibits in the Rijksmuseum I know all too well that, to quote a now widespread meme, one does not simply do all of Amsterdam's art museums in a day. However, the place I'd recommend if you're interested in the city's modern art scene is De Appel Art Centre, a mid-sized institution situated along the southern edge of the Oosterdok. Keep an eye on their online programme for any upcoming exhibits which might interest you, such as the Prix de Rome 2015, running from November 21 until January 17th 2016.
De Appel Art Centre Address: Prins Hendrikkade 142, 1011 AT Amsterdam
7, Science Center NEMO
Cast you eyes just a little further east across the Oosterdok and you'll spot the copper green exterior of Amsterdam's premier science center. As with many institutions of its kind throughout the world NEMO aims to impart knowledge about the natural world through fun, interactive exhibits. It's therefore popular with young and old alike, and a great choice for visiting families. What crafty youngster hasn't stood by a riverside without being tempted to build their own dam, well you can do just this at the Water Power exhibition. There's also experiments to be done in the Laboratory, bridges to be built in Amazing Constructions, and much more.
Science Center NEMO Address: Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam
8, Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam
Amsterdam's place to be for stirring and evocative images. Foam Amsterdam runs a handful of exhibitions during any given set of months, as well as a range of workshops and free guided tours. Join them before December 9th, 2015 to discover exactly what it is that creates the archetypal 'iconic' image. Subjects on show include Che Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr, the Gulf War and more. From early December Paul Bogaers will also be inviting visitors to seek insights and inspiration in works he's created over the past five years. 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts' draws heavily from the artist's fascination with implicit meaning and African voodoo culture.
Foam Amsterdam Address: Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam
9, Allard Pierson Museum
Archeology and ancient civilisations are the subject of this University of Amsterdam museum, named after the institution's first professor of classical archeology, Allard Pierson (1831–1896). It's open every day from 10:00-17:00 (except Monday), and from 13:00-17:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Artifacts on show date from between 4000BC and 1000AD, and range in geographical scope from Ancient Egypt to Imperial Rome. Don't expect to see just the original objects themselves, however, as the museum has incorporated cutting-edge 3D techniques to create complimentary scale models with all their original design features and colours. A must for any lover of history.
Allard Pierson Museum Address: Oude Turfmarkt 127, 1012 GC Amsterdam
10, Pianola Museum
Before recording devices such as the gramophone were practical and commercially viable the wealthy elites of the early 20th century used to fill their drawing rooms with music in a different way. Pianola's were mechanical devices that could reproduce piano compositions by means of paper rolls with punched holes representing notes. It's a novel machine that could easily have been forgotten in the annals of time were it not for places like the Pianola Museum in Amsterdam. This little building on Westerstraat in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam is dedicated to showcasing not just the devices, but the sounds and atmosphere of a bygone era. It's an interesting visit for any lover of classical music and music history.
Pianola Museum Address: Westerstraat 106, 1015 MN Amsterdam