Amsterdam: The city of canals #places

5 min read

Places can affect us, create a certain atmosphere that remains for a long time, and give us new impressions. What is a city like? Where does this feeling come from, the effect that you feel in the city? In our #places section, we take you to the European capitals – to introduce you to places, personalities, buildings that reflect the city in all its facets. Let’s go to … Amsterdam! 


Canals with rows of houses

#places: Amsterdam

Country: Netherlands
Inhabitants: 864.217
Area: 219,32 km2
Famous Landmark: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam


The Dutch capital Amsterdam is only 120 miles away from the German-Dutch border and is known for its charming houses, its many museums, the notorious coffee shops and its beautiful canals, perfect for exploring by boat. In 2010, the 17th-century Amsterdam canal system was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. About 15,000 bicycles are fished out of the canals every year. It is often a mystery how they got into the water. Moreover, the canals are spanned by many bridges that are characteristic of the city and surpass even Venice with their number. Culturally the city has a lot to offer, too: The Anne Frank Museum or the Rijksmuseum, which houses the largest collection of art in the country.

Outside of the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam
© I, Ceinturion, BibliotheekOBA 2, CC BY-SA 3.0
Houses with a canal in the foreground


Do you love books and architecture? Then you should definitely visit the new headquarters of the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, which is located on the Oosterdoks island. More than 1.5 million books can be found here on an area of ​​28,000 square meters. This makes it the largest public library in Europe. The impressive building was designed by the Dutch architect Jo Coenen, who intentionally designed the entrance area as an urban meeting place with the help of a huge canopy. The core of the building is built with large glass walls surrounded by a limestone structure, creating a particularly elegant appearance. The imposing, ten-storey building not only houses a large number of books, but also two theaters, as well as a restaurant and a rooftop terrace from which you can enjoy a wonderful view.

Address:  Oosterdokskade 143, 1011 DL Amsterdam

close-up of the facade of the EYE Filmmuseums
Geometric facade elements create a linear pattern.
EYE Filmmuseum from the outside

Another architectural highlight of the Dutch capital is the EYE Filmmuseum, located directly behind the main train station and easily reachable by ferry. Originally located in the Vondelpark in a 19th century pavilion, the museum moved into the spectacular new building opened in 2012, designed by the Viennese architecture firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects. They have also designed the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. Like a sculptural, white spaceship, the building lies on the north bank of the River IJ, and seems to take on a different form from every angle. A visit in the evening is also worthwhile, because then the museum is illuminated impressively. Visitors can look forward to a lot of attractions inside: An exhibition on the history of cinema, multimedia installations, interesting temporary exhibitions, a restaurant and four movie theaters showing different films.

Address: Ijpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam

It is hard to believe, but Oude Kerk, the city's oldest preserved building, is located in the middle of the red light district of Amsterdam. It houses a historic 17th-century organ, as well as a transept organ and a cabinet organ that create a wonderful sound. The ground consists of about 2,500 tombstones, under which over 10,000 people are buried. The church does not only host masses, but also concerts, exhibitions in a historical atmosphere and the international organ festival in the summer.

Address: Oudekerksplein 23, 1012 GX Amsterdam

Interesting Places

Visit the oldest cinema in Amsterdam, The Movies. Already in 1912 it was opened under the name "Tavanu" and today shows art house films, documentaries and sometimes even Hollywood productions today. In the Art Deco ambience, you can sit back in the red velvet seats, go on a journey through time and enjoy a good movie. In the same building, which dates back to the 17th century, there is also a restaurant that serves Asian and Indonesian dishes - perfect for a pre-cinema or after a hard day.

Address: Haarlemmerdijk 161, 1013 KH Amsterdam

© Vera de Kok, The Movies cinema, CC BY-SA 3.0

If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, why not take a walk through the botanical garden Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam. Already in 1683 it was founded as Hortus Medicus Amstelodamensis to breed medicinal plants. Today it houses more than 4,000 trees and plants from around the world. In addition, be sure to visit the "Three Climate Zone Greenhouse" and the Orangery: a small café in the middle of the park.

Address: Plantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD Amsterdam

© Zxempire, HortusBrugOost, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL

Amsterdam is world famous for its many museums, such as the Van Gogh Museum. Slightly less well-known, but at least as interesting is the Moco Museum, which is located in an old city villa on Museumsplein and presents modern and contemporary art for everyone. At present, among other things, the art of the street artist Banksy and the American artist Daniel Arsham can be admired in a wonderful historic ambience. In the outdoor area some sculptures are very worth seeing. The famous Van Gogh Museum is located in the direct heighborhood. A little tip: Visit the museum on a Friday evening, because then there are cocktails and music in addition to the art.

Moco Museum: Honthorststraat 20, 1071 DR Amsterdam

Van-Gogh-Museum: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam

© BGCopy, MocoMuseumAmsterdamTHEONE, CC BY-SA 4.0

Cafés and Restaurants

If you like sweets, visit Van Wonderen Stroopwafels. The thin waffles are a Dutch specialty and filled with caramel. This little sin was invented in Gouda in the 19th century. At Van Wonderen Stroopwafels, the waffles are freshly prepared and some are topped with delicious toppings: from marshmallows to nuts, chocolate chips and brittle. Here you are spoiled for choice - and at the same time, the decorated waffles look really beautiful.

Address: Kalverstraat 190, 1012 XH Amsterdam, Niederlande

© Takeaway, Stroopwafels 01, CC BY-SA 3.0
The Café De Sluyswacht from the outside
© Hajotthu „De Sluyswach St. Anthoniesluis“
houses by the water

Strolling through the Dutch capital, it is easy to see that many of the houses are not straight. Since the customs used to be calculated partly according to the width of the house, the houses were built up - on a relatively soft ground. As a result, some houses began to sink so that they got lopsided. The house of the Café De Sluyswacht is also very inclined and offers tourists a special photo opportunity. As a guest you get delicious Dutch snacks and can taste many different beers.


Recipe: Dutch Bitterballen

Bitterballs are very popular in the Netherlands. They are breaded, meat-filled croquettes that should be crunchy on the outside and hot and soft inside. Often, this specialty is served with mustard.


  • 1 onion
  • 75 g butter
  • 50 g flour
  • 250 ml milk (3,5%)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 150 g roast beef
  • flour
  • egg
  • breadcrumbs
© Takeaway, Bitterballen mosterd mayo, CC BY-SA 3.0


First, cut the onion into small cubes. Then the onion is fried until glassy with butter and the flour is added. Add the milk, simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly and season with nutmeg. Then cut the meat into pieces, add and season with salt. Now fill the mass into a mold and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, prepare flour, egg and breadcrumbs and shape the mass from the fridge into small balls. To bake, roll the balls in flour first, then in egg and then in breadcrumbs. Now cook the balls either in the oven or in the fryer for 20 minutes at 180 ° C.

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