Historic buildings, top-notch museums, beautiful ambiance, and world-famous canals are just a few reasons why so many visitors flock to this city each year. Amsterdam is located in the Netherlands and is just one of many amazing cities in this small country.
Here are three things to do in Amsterdam if time is limited. Obviously, there are many more things to fill your time with if you have a few days.
No doubt you have seen many photos of this area as it is one of the most well-known locations in Amsterdam. Jordaan was built in the 17th century to house immigrants and working-class citizens. Originally a poor part of town, families crammed into the small houses that were set up along the canals and side streets.
In the 19th century Jordaan began to decay into ruin due to the number of individuals living there a lack of running water and sewerage.
Then in the 1920’s the conditions improved because of better hygiene and healthcare, the introduction of sewer pipes and drinking water.
In the 1970’s the city council decided to renovate Jordaan and by the end of the 20th century the neighborhood was filled with artists, students, and young professionals.
It is now one of the most expensive places to live in the city.
Jordaan is known for its markets. Every Monday there is a flea market at the Noordermarkt that lasts until 1 p.m. On Saturdays you can visit the Lindenmarkt that offers different types of cuisine.
As you roam around the area, be on the lookout for stone tablets that can be found above the doors. These were to mark what type of individuals or professions were housed there. A butcher had a pig on his tablet, a baker had a loaf of bread.
Have brunch or breakfast at any one of the many adorable cafes in the Jordaan neighborhood. Sip a cup of coffee and watch the world go by. Some of the best cafes can be found on Westerstraat.
Van Gogh Museum
Visit the Van Gogh Museum to see a real up close and personal look at the famous artist’s work. I loved the way the artwork was displayed, and Vincent van Gogh’s life described. One of my favorite displays is the artist’s actual palette and paint tubes. This building holds the world’s largest collection of paintings by the tortured artist.
Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who did not receive the notoriety that he deserved until after his death. He decided to become an artist at the age of 27 but had trouble fitting in with the art community of the time. After a bit of roaming around he moved to the countryside town of Nuenen, Netherlands. In a matter of a decade, he created over 2,100 works of art.
Vincent’s younger brother Theo, who was the most loyal person in Vincent’s life, tried to sell the artist’s work in Paris. However, the French hated the works and thought them too dark and distasteful. The impressionist movement was happening during this time and the other painters were showing off works in pastel colors and lighthearted scenes.
Van Gogh is famously known for his mental instability, namely, the removal of his own ear. However, there is so much more to him than the sad reality he lived in. He was hospitalized in mental institutions in several places during his life. However, van Gogh continued his work and changed some of his techniques and color palettes but always retained the brushstrokes that would make his art recognizable.
There are many speculations about his death. Was it suicide or murder? We may never know but one thing is for certain, his art lives on. He left over 850 paintings and almost 1,300 works of art on paper behind. He is buried in Auvers, outside of Paris with his loyal brother Theo buried nearby.
Tickets can be purchased online HERE.
Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you are an art fan you may also want to check out the Rijksmuseum that houses Vermeers, Rembrandts and other world-renowned artworks.
Anne Frank House
Over 107,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands to concentration camps during the war. Only 5,000 survived the ordeal. The Frank family hid in the house located at Prinsengracht 263 for over two years until their capture in 1944.
Look through the eyes of Anne Frank when you tour the home that she and her family used to hide from the Nazis during World War II. Upon entering the “Secret Annexe” you will immediately get the feeling of what it must have been like for Anne to spend her teen years in a small space with the entirety of your family. It was necessary for them to stay completely quiet during the day. All Anne had was a diary which she wrote in frequently.
The Frank family was later joined by Hermann and Auguste van Pels, their son Peter, and a dentist Fritz Pfeffe, making the space even more crammed and uncomfortable. In August 1944 the Gestapo raided the home and all eight hidden individuals were taken. Anne was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945 and died just weeks before the liberation. She was only 15 years old.
Her father Otto was the only survivor of the family and returned to Amsterdam after the war and found the ransacked annexe. Upon his search of the property for anything left by his family he found Anne’s diary. He had it published so the world could remember his daughter and understand the lives that were destroyed.
This is one of the country’s busiest museums with nearly a million visitors each year. Purchase tickets online in advance of your visit to ensure entry. You will be asked to choose a timeslot for your visit; this cannot be changed or refunded so pay attention to the time you choose. Photography is prohibited inside the museum and house.
Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands