I Amsterdam City Card
Go to one of the I Amsterdam Visitor Centres to pick up the I amsterdam City Card. Visit world-class museums, take a cruise through the charming canals and sample the local delicacies. In addition, the City Card gives you unlimited access to Amsterdam’s public transport system for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours.
Take the ferry for a free boat ride
Behind Central Station you’ll find a number of ferries crossing the IJ River and they’re all completely free! Jump on a boat for the ideal introduction to Amsterdam Noord. The Buiksloterweg stop is best for exploring the EYE Filmmuseum and the Tolhuistuin, as well as historic Noord that maintains its village appeal. Or go to NDSM Wharf – a former shipyard filled with artists’ studios, creative workshops and intriguingly barren terrain.
See Amsterdam from above
Besides curling up and paging through the huge selection of English-language books and magazines, the Amsterdam Public Library near Central Station has tons of other free attractions. There’s a floor filled with kid-sized fun, rotating art exhibitions, weekly readings, reading tables with international magazines and newspapers and occasional concerts. Even if you’re not a book lover, it’s worth a visit for the impressive architecture and the magnificent view from the top floor over the city of Amsterdam.
Free lunch concerts
You can find a free concert nearly every day of the week. The National Opera & Ballet (formerly Amsterdam Music Theatre) puts on free concerts every Tuesday at 12:30 and the Royal Concertgebouw holds their free lunch concerts at the same time on Wednesdays. And the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ serves up free lunch concerts one Tuesday each month.
Take a strol at the Oostelijk Havengebied (Eastern Docklands)
In the Eastern Docklands, to the east of Central Station, there is a wealth of modern architecture and design, but there are also contemporary hot spots in historic warehouses. The Oostelijke Handelskade constitutes the heart of the Oostelijk Havengebied and has consisted of a chain of storehouses since the end of the 19th century. Imposing residential blocks have now been put up between the warehouses, as well as unusual places.
Visitors with a smartphone can scan the QR code to reveal additional information about each location, including background stories, little-known secrets, historical photos or pictures of the interiors. Based on your current location, you can also get tips about other points of interest in the neighbourhood. There are no fixed routes – instead, you can explore sections of the city at your own pace, based on your interests.
Visit one of the markets
Amsterdam’s open-air markets are a feast for the senses and offer countless photo opportunities. From organic vegetables and flowers to antiques and second-hand treasures, markets are a great way to get a local perspective.
Climb the tower of the Westerkerk
This 17th-century Protestant church is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands. Since first opening to parishioners in 1631, the Westerkerk has borne witness to countless historical moments over the centuries. Rembrandt van Rijn is buried in the Westerkerk, as are several other famous Dutch artists. Anne Frank was soothed by the chimes of the church’s clock tower while hiding 100 meters away and mentioned it several times in her famous diary. Also former Queen Beatrix was married here in 1966. Visitors and churchgoers alike now flock to the Westerkerk for its religious services and summer concert series. Guided tours are available in spring and summer (April to October) and they take about 30 minutes
Visit to the Begijnhof
Tucked behind an inconspicuous door on the Spui square, a world of quiet reflection is waiting to be discovered. The Begijnhof is a tranquil courtyard that dates back to the 14th century, once inhabited by religious women who took a vow of chastity. It's still home to a small chapel and an English Reformed church. The door to the garden is only open during the day.
Explore Amsterdam by foot
Amsterdam is by nature a walking city. Nowhere else will you find so many points of interest within a single square kilometer. Start exploring Amsterdam’s divers neighbourhoods – the Jordaan, Pijp and Plantage are particularly picturesque. If you prefer to explore the city with a group, Sandeman’s New Amsterdam walking tour walking tour is still completely free.
Enjoy one of the concerts, shows or theatre performances in Amsterdam. Feeling spontaneous and rather pay less to go out in Amsterdam? Every day, from 0:00 onwards, the Last Minute Ticket Shop (LMTS) offers a wide range of heavily discounted tickets for gigs, theatre, comedy shows, opera and more!
Visit Amsterdam Museum
Some museums in Amsterdam have sections that you can visit for free! Just minutes from the Begijnhof, the Schuttersgalerij (Civic Guards Gallery) is now officially part of the Amsterdam Museum but is still free for all visitors. Duck into this alleyway from Kalverstraat 92 or Sint Luciensteeg 27 to discover a small but impressive gallery filled with historical and modern portraits of the Dutch elite.
Many of Amsterdam’s churches have been repurposed as concert venues, museums and more. But there are still a number of functioning churches where you can attend a service or admire the interiors during the week for free, including the Westerkerk, Noorderkerk, St. Nicolaaskerk, De Papegaai (H.H. Petrus en Pauluskerk) and Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk.
Take a stroll through one of Amsterdam parks
Amsterdam’s gardens and parks are open (and free) all year round, with kilometres of well-kept walking paths and plenty of space for a picnic. In the summer months, the Vondelpark puts on performances in their free open-air theatre and you’ll often find free festivals in parks as well.
Visit the garden of the Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum garden has 7,000 plants, 16,000 bulbs, statues, vases and ornaments and parts of buildings from the Dutch architecture. New in the outdoor collection is a payphone from 1933 and a large outdoor chess board on which anyone can play.
Eat, drink & shop at De Hallen
This converted tram depot in the south west of the city is now a funky haven of food, film and culture, and an ideal place to take shelter on a rainy day in Amsterdam. The vast, industrial building houses an arthouse cinema, boutique hotel and several independent outlets, as well as a vibrant local goods market every weekend. De Hallen’s piece de resistance has to be its beautiful Foodhallen – a huge indoor foodie market offering a fantastic selection of upmarket street munchies from local Amsterdam vendors, as well as a range of specialist bars.
High resolution images are available and free of charge to media by registering at Amsterdam Mediabank