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FREE THINGS TO DO IN Amsterdam

TOP FREE ATTRACTIONS IN Amsterdam

Traveler's Guide to Top Attractions In Amsterdam For Free

Free Things To Do in Amsterdam - 2018

1. Concertgebouw (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

This neoclassical building is said to be one of the finest concert halls in the world. Built in 1888, it is much acclaimed for its superb acoustics and host 900 concerts a year, seen by 800,000 people.

There are guided tours of the hall available for €10 per person, or you can buy a ticket for one of the fantastic evening performances, but you can also take in some music for free. From September to June every year, there is a free lunchtime concert every Wednesday at 12.30pm. The performances are very varied; from a public rehearsal from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, to appearances from conservatory ensembles and upcoming musicians, playing everything from early music to the most modern compositions. These concerts are very popular, so be sure to arrive half an hour early to get a seat. It’s also well worth going to see the vast and splendidly appointed interior of the Great Hall


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2. Central Library (Openbare Bibliotheek) (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

Opened on the 7th of July 2007, this state-of-the-art library boasts the accolade of being the largest in Europe. Occupying an incredible 28,000m², it is used by 2.5 million people each year and has ten floors. The design is ecologically friendly, leading to it being acclaimed as “Most Sustainable Public Building in Amsterdam”. Half of the 1200 seats have free internet access.

Located just a few minutes from Central Station, the library offers travellers a perfect place to relax in supremely comfortable surroundings and catch up on their emails. You can also take in the fantastic views of the city to the south - perhaps, if the weather’s right, while enjoying a bite to eat on the roof terrace, which features the self-service restaurant La Place.

Among the other attractions are a recording studio, exhibition space, and well-stocked children’s section with its “Mouse House”. You wouldn’t necessarily think of a library as a tourist attraction, but Amsterdam’s is in a league of its own.

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3. Prinsengracht (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

This beautiful canal is the longest in Amsterdam, and features many sites of interest along its length: the Westerkerk (Western Church), the Anne Frank House (link), and the Homomonument (Gay Monument). You can also access the Jordaan (link) via the bridges over the Prinsengracht.

A pleasant few hours can be spent strolling along the canal and admiring the charming old houses, most of which date from the Dutch Golden Age of global expansion the 16th to 18th centuries. You can also enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafes on the waterfront, such as the “Papeneiland”, which opened in 1641. Its basement features one end of a tunnel which runs under a canal from the Posthorn church; Catholics could use the tunnel to escape in the event of trouble. The church itself was disguised due to the persecution of Catholics during the Reformation, and you can identify it from the posthorn over the door.

There are many houseboats along the canal, and if you’d like to experience what it’s like to live on one, there is the Houseboat Museum.

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4. Vondelpark (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

This expansive 120-acre park, centrally located near Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum (links), is a fantastic place to visit on a sunny day. You can check out the many interesting features on a sunny day, or simply relax and have a picnic with the family.

Established in 1865, the park was initially named Nieuwe Park, but took its current moniker from a statue of playwright Joost van den Vondel which was established two years later. You can also find a sculpture by Picasso titled “The Fish”.

Among the attractions are an open-air theatre, which hosts concerts in the summer of everything from classical music to cabaret. Although entrance is free, a donation of one Euro is highly encouraged.

There are many places to enjoy refreshments, including the charming modernist building, the Blauwe Theehuis, which dates from the 1930s.

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5. Begijnhof (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

One of the oldest parts of Amsterdam, the Begijnhof is an inner court surrounded by historic buildings, which were originally the homes of the Beguines - women who devoted themselves to a life of prayer and good works without taking formal religious vows.

It is the only inner court in the city that dates back to the Middle Ages, first being mentioned in 1389, and still sits at medieval street level - a full metre below the rest of the city.

Although the order of Beguines is gone, the place still retains a hushed, sanctified atmosphere - an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The houses are still occupied by single women, so when you visit, please remember that this is a residential street.

There are several interesting sights, such as Amsterdam’s oldest surviving house, Het Houten Huis, which dates from the 15th or 16th century, one of only two wooden houses left in the city.

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6. Red Light District (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Amsterdam’s main red light district in De Wallen is certainly notorious for its sex shops, peep shows and windows showing the merchandise on offer. There is plenty of opportunity to explore this side of the area, but there is much more to it than most people realise.

Located in the oldest part of Amsterdam, the Red Light District features charming architecture; centuries-old houses that lean close together along winding cobbled streets. There are the picturesque canals, the 14th century gothic Oude Kerk (Old Church), and the lively market at Nieuwmarkt square.

While legalised prostitution remains an integral part of the culture of the area, there are signs that the city is trying to spruce up the image of the Red Light District, with an influx of trendy international restaurants, and many former prostitutes’ windows converted into art installations. For the adventurous, it is definitely well worth a visit - just be prepared to travel in pairs or groups as there are still some seedy characters and pickpockets.

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7. Walking Tour from Dam Square (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

SANDEMAN operates a highly popular walking tour from the National Monument at Dam Square twice daily. This is a great way to get an overview of the city and get an idea of what you’d like to explore in more detail, all accompanied by a commentary which covers all aspects of Amsterdam, from legalised drug use and prostitution to the devastating impact of the Holocaust.

Among the sights taken in are the Red Light District, the Anne Frank house, the Begijnhof, and the Jordaan District (links). It’s also a great way to meet fellow travellers.

Tours are completely free, but you are, of course, expected to tip the guide if you feel the tour was time well spent. It takes three hours, so make sure you have comfortable shoes. It is highly entertaining, though, and guides deliver the tour with a sense of humour, along with stories, songs, and freebies from the city of Amsterdam.


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8. Street Markets (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Amsterdam has a wide variety of street markets, but by far the largest and most popular is the Albert Cuyp, located in the vibrant de Pijp district. In fact, it’s rumoured to be the largest daytime market in Europe, and has been established for over 100 years.

With its 260 stalls, there’s something for absolutely everyone and it’s great fun hunting for a bargain. Get a new pair of shoes or some beautiful jewellery and try local delicacies like raw herring or freshly baked syrup waffles. You can also pick up some highly multicultural items, reflecting the wealth of diversity in the city from Surinamese, Turkish and Moroccan elements among others.

There’s also a statue of popular Dutch singer André Hazes, and when you’re all shopped out you can enjoy a coffee or a full-blown meal at one of the many ethnic restaurants and cafes that line the street behind the stalls.


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9. Civic Guards Gallery (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

This small but fascinating museum gives an insight into the life of Amsterdam’s wealthier citizens in days gone by. Here you will find formal portraits of them in their official role as Civic Guards, as well as representations of their wives who carried out charity work, dating back to the 16th century.

Rembrandt and Hals are among the notable artists whose work is displayed here. It’s certainly one of the smallest galleries in the world, located as it is in a passageway between the Begijnhof and the Kalverstraat and featuring just 15 classic paintings, but they are highly impressive and it’s well worth a few minutes of your time. It’s also accessible from the Amsterdam Museum.

The gallery also showcases the interesting evolution of portrait painting in the Netherlands. In the old days, you had to pay for the privilege of being featured, meaning that only the rich were immortalised. But the Gallery also has several more recent portraits, including ordinary citizens and immigrants as well as Dutch footballers and boxers.


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Duration: 1.5/2 Hours

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Rijksmuseum Ticket Skip-the-Line

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Best Hop-on Hop–off Boat Tour Amsterdam

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Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour Amsterdam

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Amsterdam Red Light District Walking Tour

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Keukenhof Gardens Day Trip from Amsterdam

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Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise with 4-Course Dinner and Drinks

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Heritage Museum Amsterdam Skip the Line Ticket

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Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo Ticket

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4.5 (5,869 Reviews)

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4.5 (9,092 Reviews)

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Anne Frank Walking Tour and Jewish Quarter

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Evening Canal Cruise Amsterdam

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4.5 (3,819 Reviews)

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