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Cultural things to do in Amsterdam

From the historical treasures displayed within the city’s museums to the work of its iconic artists embellishing the walls of the capital’s galleries, there’s no end of things to do in Amsterdam.



Amsterdam’s most celebrated museum is the Anne Frank House, which is situated on the banks of the Prinsengracht canal.  Here, Anne Frank, her family and four other Jewish people hid from the Nazis in the 1940s. Their hiding place, the Achterhuis, which is Dutch for ‘back house’, is a small annex at the back of the building.


The building was saved from demolition after the war and opened to the public in 1960 showcasing the life of the famed diarist Anne Frank and her time in hiding, as well as the plight of the Jewish during the Nazi regime.


As one of the symbols of Amsterdam, the tulip is as prominent an icon for the city today as it was at the time of its introduction in the Netherlands in the 16th century. The Amsterdam Tulip Museum sits just across from the Anne Frank House and tells the story of the tulip from its origins in the Ottoman Empire to the gardens it adorns today, providing a thorough and unique account of Amsterdam’s history and culture as a capital city.


The museums are located in the heart of the historic part of the city with many shops and attractions nearby, making them a great place to start a day out.



Standing proudly as one of the most popular things to do in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum welcomes nearly a million visitors every year. The museum’s focus is split across history and art in Amsterdam and holds around 8,000 objects for the public to discover, including masterpieces by famed Dutch painters Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer, as well as more unusual objects including the stern of the HMS Royal Charles which was captured by the Dutch in 1667.


Netherlands-born painter Vincent Van Gogh remains one of the most prominent names in the art world, and the Van Gogh Museum works to celebrate the masterpieces of the artist and his contemporaries through a number of special exhibitions and displays. The museum holds the single largest collection of Van Gogh pieces, making it one of the most must-see art museums in both Amsterdam and the world, as it is visited by art enthusiasts, historians and casual visitors on city breaks and cultural European river cruises which regularly pass through the city.



The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is the famed symphony orchestra of the Netherlands which is based at the city’s concert hall, the Concertgebouw. While the concert hall was founded in April 1888, the orchestra was not established until later, premiering its first performance at the venue on 3rd November that year.


Tickets for recitals by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra can be purchased through their website, with various genres of music performed all year round they never leave their fans stuck for what to do in Amsterdam. The Concertgebouw also releases live streams of a number of their concerts, which can be viewed here.



If there’s one thing you must do in Amsterdam, it’s catch a performance by the Dutch National Ballet – the largest dance company in the Netherlands.  Made up of around 78 dancers, the ballet has developed into what is now considered to be one of the most respected in the world. On average they put on 70 performances a year in Amsterdam, as well as 25 performances in the rest of the Netherlands and worldwide.


The Muziektheater is the home of the Dutch National Ballet and De Nederlandse Opera. Seating 1,600 people, it is officially one of the largest theatres in the whole of Europe. Opened in 1986, the music theatre has held regularly performances spanning the artistic spectrum ever since.


With so many performances and enriching venues at your disposal during trips to the Netherlands’ capital, there is never any shortage of cultural things to do in Amsterdam. Whether you plan ahead and book tickets to the ballet or opera, or visit the many museums or galleries during your stay, it couldn’t be easier to immerse yourself in the city’s culture, traditions and history.


Image Credit: Leoks (