After a busy first day visiting Amsterdam, this second day of our “Amsterdam in 2 wonderful days” will start again from the Central Station.
You will enter it from its main entrance and get to its back exit. From there, take a free ferry boat that will bring you to the northern part of the city (a former industrial area, now converted into a fine post-industrial residential district).
There we will find the entrance to A’DAM Tower, at the top of which A’DAM Lookout, our first stop of the day, stands.
1. A’DAM Lookout
A’DAM Lookout is a panoramic 360-degree observation deck with an unrivalled panoramic view of Amsterdam’s city centre, pulsating port, distinctive Dutch polder landscape, and notorious canals.
The experience begins with a see-through-ceiling elevator that will take you from the 1st to the 20th floor of the A’DAM Tower in only 20 seconds.
Once on the top, in addition to the 360-degree sky deck, you will find the “Over the Edge”, Europe’s highest swing that goes back and forth over the edge of the tower at 100 m/ 380ft above the ground. Perfect for all the daredevils and thrill-seekers out there!
A state-of-the-art indoor immersive exhibition about Amsterdam’s history and culture completes the experience.
Finally, A’DAM Lookout features a sky bar and a restaurant with an array of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and drink options. From a simple cup of coffee to elaborate drinks, and from a chocolate cake to a complete seven-course meal, there is something for everyone. The best view of the city is still served.
Admission fee: 14.5€/ 17$ (included in your I Amsterdam Card).
From there, get back to Central Station. Once out, go left. Take the first bridge you will find on your right, and the next stop will be on your left.
2. Basilica of Saint Nicholas
The Basilica of Saint Nicholas (“Basiliek van de Heilige Nicolaas”) is the city’s primary Roman Catholic church. It was built at the end of the 19th century, at a time when Roman Catholics could once again profess their faith in public after three centuries of prohibition. But it was only in 2012, 125 years after its consecration, that Pope Benedict XVI elevated it to a basilica.
Its design is a combination of several revival styles: the most prominent being the Neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance.
Two towers surround the main facade, with a rose window in the centre. A bas-relief sculpture of Christ and the four Evangelists sits in the middle of the window. In the upper part of the gable, there is also a sculpture of the patron saint of both the church and the city of Amsterdam.
A high octagonal tower with a baroque style dome and lantern, crowned by a cross, articulates the crossing of the main body of the church. The floor plan is a conventional three-aisled cross-basilica.
Within the church, there are several religious murals, like the one of the crown of Maximilian I standing right above the high altar.
Above the main entrance, under the rose window, you can find a 19th-century Sauer Organ.
Once out of the Basilica, go left onto Prins Hendrikkade, and left again onto Zeedijk. Turn right onto Sint Olofssteeg, and, then, left onto Oudezijds Voorburgwal. You will find our next stop at number 40 of this street.
3. Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder
Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (“Our Lord in the Attic Museum”) is a 17th-century Catholic Church built on the top three floors of a canal house. It is a relevant example of a “schuilkerk” (“clandestine church“) in which Catholics and other religious dissenters from the 17th century Dutch Reformed Church, unable to worship in public, held services.
Catholic masses were officially forbidden from 1578 onwards, but the Protestant governors of Amsterdam generally turned a blind eye, as long as churches such as this one were unrecognizable from the outside.
The church has been open as a museum since 1888, and has 85,000 visitors annually.
The museum contains the front room, the between room, the hall, the church, the Lady chapel, the confessional, the Jaap Leeuwenberg hall, and the 17th-century kitchen.
The property has been listed as a rijksmonument.
Admission fee: 14€/ 16.5$ (included in your I Amsterdam Card).
From there, continue onto Oudezijds Voorburgwal, and you will find the Oude Kerk on your right.
4. The Oude Kerk
Oude Kerk (“Old Church”) is the oldest building in the city. It was founded around 1213, and the bishop of Utrecht consecrated it in 1306 to Saint Nicolas. It became a Calvinist church after the Reformation in 1578, and it still is today.
This church is surrounded by window brothels, pubs, cannabis and magic mushroom shops in the heart of the so-called Red Light District. Standing outside the main entrance, you will indeed find a coffee shop to the left, windows with sex workers in front, and the Princess Juliana Nursery School to the right. Can you name any other city where you can see something like that? I bet you not! That’s one of Amsterdam’s unique features!
Although all Protestant churches in the Netherlands have plain interiors and few artefacts, De Oude Kerk is unusual as it incorporates elements found in Catholic cathedrals throughout Europe.
It indeed features elements like the sculpted folding choir seats known as “Misericords“, stained glass high windows full of light, remarkable old gravestones (2,500 in the church, including one of Rembrandt’s wife, Saskia van Uylenburgh, and another 10,000 beneath), three organs, an 18th-century pulpit, unusual wooden Burgundy figures high on the pillars, and excellent architecture.
In the tower, there is a 47-bell Hemony carillon that rings out over the city every Saturday afternoon. It is because of these features that this church is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions.
Curious about how it got its name? It dates back to the 15th century when the Nieuwe Kerk (the “New Church”) was constructed beside Dam Square as the city’s second, larger parish church.
Although the Oude Kerk has hosted several exhibits and special events over the years, it was the first church in Holland to be designated as a museum in 2016. Its mission is to present contemporary art in a historically significant environment.
Admission fee: 12€/ 14$ (included in your I Amsterdam Card).
From there, cross the bridge onto Oudekennissteeg, and again onto Molensteeg. Then, turn left onto Zeedijk, and you will find the next stop on your left, right in the heart of the city’s Chinatown district (area between the Stormsteeg, Gelderse Kade and Zeedijk).
5. Fo Guang Shan He Hua Buddhist temple
The Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple is Europe’s largest temple constructed in the style of a traditional Chinese palace. It was inaugurated by Queen Beatrix in 2000 and has been in daily use since then.
The Temple is dedicated to Guan Yin, a female representation of Buddha who symbolizes family life and is inhabited and run by an abbess and four nuns.
Buddhist monasteries and temples are traditionally built on the summits of hills or mountains. The three-arched Mountain Gate leads to Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple, but since there are no mountains in the Netherlands, a large staircase leads to the Great Hall. Each phase represents a Buddhist practice. This method leads to “bodhi” (enlightenment or awakening to the reality of the Buddha’s teachings).
On an altar surrounded by smaller statues of other Chinese deities, a gleaming statue of Guan Yin sits. She is a bodhisattva, a divine being who achieves liberation while also assisting others in their search for redemption. She has a thousand hands, according to legend. These many hands reflect her ability to save all living creatures. She has a Buddha statue on her upward turned hand palm, a vase pouring out water in the same way Guan Yin pours out compassion and a bell whose ebbing sound symbolizes wisdom in her hands. A tiny statue of Amitabha, the Buddha of the Pure Land, appears to be entangled in Guan Yin’s hair. This is the land where the trials and tribulations of daily life do not obstruct Buddha’s teachings.
In front of the altar, a row of candles burns on a low shelf. Next to Guan Yin are two pagodas with illuminated niches holding hundreds of miniature Buddha statues. The images’ recurrence reflects Buddha’s omnipresence. The walls are covered by plaques with reliefs of Guan Yin and the names of the Chinese donors that made the construction of this temple possible.
Fill the donation box with a euro or more. The money will be used to purchase a gleaming red apple, which will be given to you as a gift. Place the apple in front of Guan Yin’s shrine on the altar. Fruit is a nutrient-dense food with a good flavour. It represents the product of spiritual cultivation as an offering. Similarly, flowers may be provided as a sign of transience because they are exquisite and fragrant but do not last forever. Finally, before descending the stairs and mingling with the crowd on Zeedijk, light an incense stick and take a moment of quiet reflection.
Individual or small group tours are only available on Saturdays at 2, 3, and 4 p.m., with no need to make an appointment.
There are two kinds of tours:
- Tour A: Introduction to Buddhism and explanation of the symbols in the temple. Duration: 45 minutes/1 hour. Admission fee: 5€/ 6$ (not included in your I Amsterdam Card);
- Tour B: Tour A + meditation session (meditation is approximately 15 minutes). Duration: 1 hour. Admission fee: 8€/ 9.5$ (not included in your I Amsterdam Card).
From there, head south on Zeedijk toward Molensteeg. At the end of Zeedijk, you will find a square called Nieuwmarkt and De Waag, the next stop.
6. De Waag
De Waag (“The Weighing House”), resembling a small castle, originally was one of the city’s three city gates, the Sint Antoniespoort (“Saint Anthony’s Gate”), and part of the medieval walls of Amsterdam, when built in 1488.
When the city expanded in the 1600s, they converted it into a weighing house, and the name stuck.
Later on, the building housed several guilds, the most notable of which was the “Theatrum Anatomicum“, where the Guild of Surgeons would hold their annual public dissection. One of the most famous paintings of Rembrandt, “The Anatomical Lessons of Dr Nicolaes Tulp“, depicted such a scene.
In the 19th century, the building served as a municipal fencing hall, a furniture workshop, a workshop for oil lamps used for street lighting, a fire station and the city archive. In the first half of the 19th century, punishments were carried out in front of the building. There was even a guillotine. But after a major restoration and reconstruction in 1996, De Waag’s upper levels became home to the Waag Society (a foundation that aims to foster experimentation with new technologies, art and culture), while a restaurant-café dominates the ground floor, offering a fantastic dining experience in an atmospheric space lit by 300 candles.
It is the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam and has been listed as a rijksmonument since 1970.
From there, head south on Nieuwmarkt toward Keizersstraat, and turn left onto Kloveniersburgwal. You will find our next stop at the number 29.
7. The Trippenhuis
This grand house at Kloveniersburgwal 29 is sometimes referred to as “the widest house in Amsterdam” (22 m/ 72 ft wide). It was built when people were taxed on the width of their house, indicating that the larger the house, the wealthier the owner.
The Trippenhuis (“Trip House”) is a neoclassical canal mansion with a perfectly symmetrical façade that conceals not one but two symmetrical adjoining buildings. It was constructed for the wealthy Trip brothers, who inherited their fortune from weapons factories and forges, in the 1600s. That is why on the gunpowder grey exterior, which has chimneys shaped like mortars and cannons etched on it, there are several references to arms.
The story goes that when the Trip house was done, the brothers’ coachman sighed and remarked that he would be the happiest man alive if he had a residence even half as big as their front door. The Trip brothers agreed and built him a small Trip house (“Kleine Trippenhuis”) on Kloveniersburgwal 26 across the canal. With its mere 8 ft/ 2.44 m width, it can still be seen today (hint: look for a tiny white facade).
That is most likely an urban legend, though. The skinny house in fact was constructed 60 years after the Trip mansion, after both of the brothers had died, most likely to fit a residence into what had previously been a small alleyway. Anyway, the carriage driver’s wish would have come true if the story were genuine since the Trippenhuis door is only a smidgeon thinner than the little house’s.
Since 1812, it has been the seat of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
In 2020 the renovated Trippenhuis won the Amsterdam Architecture Prize.
From there, continue Kloveniersburgwal toward Bushuissluis, and, then, turn left onto Nieuwe Hoogstraat. At the end of the street, turn right onto Sint Antoniesbreestraat, then cross the bridge and continue onto Jodenbreestraat. You will find the next stop on your right.
8. Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum is a historic house and art museum where the Dutch painter Rembrandt lived and worked between 1639 and 1656.
The exhibit, which opened in 1911, is a recreation of Rembrandt’s rooms and studio. The period furniture and artefacts are on display alongside prints, sculptures, and a few paintings by other painters from Rembrandt’s time. Rembrandt’s prints, as well as the graphic techniques he employed, are on display as well. Rembrandt also had an odd array of rarities from all over the world, which can be seen in the Cabinet Room, including busts of Roman emperors, arrows, shells, and butterflies.
If you want to know more about the life of this painter, his graphic work, and the Dutch Golden Age in general, make sure not to miss it!
Admission fee: 15€ / 18$ (included in your I Amsterdam Card).
From there, continue onto Jodenbreestraat, and, then, turn right onto Houtkopersdwarsstraat. You will find the next stop on your left.
9. Waterlooplein Flea Market
Waterlooplein Flea Market is one of the oldest markets in the city.
This square, built in the early 1800s, was a well-known and prosperous Jewish market until the Second World War when the Jews were expelled. The market resurrected after the war and has since become a popular pit stop for visitors and locals alike.
Waterlooplein Market became a hippie market in the 1960s and 1970s. Some stalls were set up by travelling hippies selling their wares, while others by locals profited from the hippie craze. Many consider that time to be the best and liveliest in the history of the square.
With over 300 stalls, today this flea market is now extensive to browse through quickly, and with such a wide array of things on sale, making a fast decision is difficult. As a result, make sure to arrange enough time for your visit.
Besides, Waterlooplein Market is not just about buying things, you can find something to eat and drink too. Here you can get fine coffee, fries, falafel, sausages, langos (Hungarian fried bread), stroopwafel and poffertjes. You can also have Italian food and drinks at the Piadina Factory food truck, or some giant spring rolls from the Vietnamese Loempia food van.
It opens every day, except for Sundays.
From there, head southwest on Waterlooplein toward Amstel, cross the bridge and continue onto Amstelstraat. You will face Rembrandtplein only a few hundreds of metres ahead.
Rembrandtplein (“Rembrandt Square”) is one of the busiest and liveliest squares in the city. It was named after the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt van Rijn, who owned a house nearby before going bankrupt and moving to Jordaan, as we see in the first part of this article.
This square was originally known as Botermarkt (literally “butter market“) as that was the use it had to local farmers in the Middle Ages. As the urban population grew in the early 20th century, the market became a common meeting place for artists, labourers, and young people. It was not given its current name until 1896, though, when a Rembrandt cast-iron statue was brought to the centre of the square.
The bronze cast sculptures in front of the Rembrandt statue were installed in the square in 2006 to commemorate Rembrandt’s 400th birthday. They are a three-dimensional representation of his most famous painting “Nachtwacht” (“The Night Watch“).
This square is also famous for the nightlife happening in its many clubs, cafés, terraces, bars, and hotels.
From there, take Reguliersbreestraat. At the end of the street, you will find the next stop, the Munttoren, right in front of you.
The Munttoren (“Mint Tower”), or Munt, is a 40-meter/130-feet-tall tower that stands on the conjunction of the Amstel river and the Singel canal, near the flower market that we visited on the first day.
It was built between 1480 and 1487 as part of Regulierspoort, one of the main gates in Amsterdam’s medieval city wall. It had two towers separated by a gate and guardhouse. After the city’s expansion, though, this city defence was no longer needed and lost its function.
The name of the tower comes from the fact that in the 17th century, the guardhouse on the side of it was used to mint coins.
Only the guardhouse and a portion of the western tower remained after the gate was destroyed by fire in 1618. Around 1620, the Munttoren was reconstructed in the Amsterdam Renaissance style. The foundation was an octagonal structure, with an elegant open spire at the top. The top-of-the-building clock had four faces and a Hemony carillon of bells. There are 38 bells in the carillon, which chime every 15 minutes.
The present guardhouse is not the original medieval structure, but a 19th-century Neo-Renaissance-style reconstruction.
From there, take Vijzelstraat. Continue onto Nieuwe Vijzelstraat, and, at the roundabout, take Weteringlaan. Turn left onto Stadhouderskade, and you will find our next stop on the opposite side of the street.
12. Heineken Experience
The Heineken Experience is a historic brewery and corporate visitor centre for the internationally distributed Dutch pilsner, Heineken beer.
This industrial facility was built as the first Heineken brewery in 1867, serving as the Heineken primary brewing facility until 1988, when a more modern, larger facility was constructed on the outskirts of the city.
So, in 1988 Heineken closed its old Amsterdam brewery, and opened a tour for the fans of its beer in 1991.
The immersive museum will take you on a thrilling behind-the-scenes tour of one of the most famous European pilsners. It features multimedia displays, historical brewing artefacts, and a tasting bar on four floors. There is also “Brew Your Ride,” a 4D experience that lets visitors experience what it is like to be a Heineken bottle. You will learn about the roots of the company, the four natural ingredients of Heineken beers, the brewing process, a tasting room, the Heineken brand, and its collaborations with the UEFA Champions League and the Rugby World Cup. Of course, you will finish the tour with two Heinekens and learn how to draught the perfect Heineken.
A shop with Heineken memorabilia is accessible without an admission ticket.
There four different tours available:
- The “Heineken Tour” will grant you access to the old brewery and its exhibition for a 1.5h self-guided tour with two fresh beers at the end of it. The price is 21€ / 25$ (you can save 1.5€/ 1.8$ by booking online). With your I Amsterdam Card you will get a 25% discount. Time slot ticket reservation is compulsory.
- The “Rock the City” tour will grant you all the previous plus a canal cruise through Amsterdam with a guide, and access to A’DAM Lookout. The price is 35 € / 41.6$.
- The “VIP tour” will grant you a 2.5h tour with a personal guide, access to one of our hidden bars completely styled after important people in Heineken history. There you will get to taste five premium beers and some Dutch bites. The price is 55 € / 65$.
- The “Perfect Match” will allow you to explore both the Heineken Experience (and get two cold beers at the end) and the Johan Cruijff ArenA, in an order that fits your schedule best during the self-guided tours. The price is 27.5 € / 33$.
From there, turn left onto Stadhouderskade at the exit of the Heineken Experience, and again onto Ferdinand Bolstraat. Then, turn left again onto Albert Cuypstraat, where you can find our next stop.
13. Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market is a street market in the De Pijp bohemian neighbourhood. It was named after Albert Cuyp, a 17th-century Dutch painter, and, with over 300 stands, it is the largest and most popular outdoor market in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe.
The city agreed to establish this free market in 1905 to be held only on Saturday evenings at first. The market became a daily market seven years later, in 1912, and is still open six days a week to this day.
The product line includes everything from vegetables, fruit, cheese, fish, and spices to clothing and even cameras. Many Surinamese, Antillean, Turkish, and Moroccan items can also be found in the market, giving the area a deep multicultural feel. The prices are among the most affordable in Amsterdam.
From there, if you are a craft beer enthusiast, I recommend ending this intense day out in the city at the Brouwerij Troost, our next and last stop.
To get there from the end of Albert Cuyp Market, turn right onto Van Woustraat, and, then, again right onto Tweede Jan van der Heijdenstraat. Cross Sarphatipark, and, then, turn left onto Tweede van der Helststraat. Turn right onto Karel du Jardinstraat, and again right onto Lutmastraat. Finally, continue onto Cornelis Troostplein, and you will find Brouwerij Troost on your left at the number 21. In 16 minutes you should be able to get there waliking.
14. Brouwerij Troost
This fantastic craft brewery is located in an art deco-inspired beer palace converted from a former monastery in de Pijp. Though Troost makes plenty of delicious, time-honed beers like I.P.A.s, pilsners, and weizens, the brewery also produces several new, experimental brews that are only available for a limited time.
An excellent spot to grab a freshly brewed beer complemented by some pub-style snacks, and a perfect way to end this second day of this “Amsterdam in 2 wonderful days”!
Amsterdam is undoubtedly a city of great charm. It is impossible to stay indifferent walking through Jordaan, its numerous canals, bridges and lovely backyards. Its exquisite architecture and the fact that it has been built on millions of poles just blew up my mind! And, despite being a massive capital, it is so well-organized that you can live there without getting the stress that comes with living in a big city. Not to mention the extreme cleanliness and meticulous attention they give to the public good. Have a look at any flowerbed or pot with plants or flowers around the city, and you will be amazed!
For all of these reasons, consider going to Amsterdam as soon as you are allowed again. It will not let you down!
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