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Netherlands rural lanscape - windmills in Zaandam, Netherlands
Image from Dmitry Rukhlenko

Top things to do in the Amsterdam Area with the I amsterdam City Card

Venture out of Amsterdam to discover magnificent windmills and flower fields, iconic artworks and carefully preserved Dutch traditions. There’s no better way to make the most of your time – and save money – than by buying the I amsterdam City Card. Simply order the City Card online and enjoy free or discounted entry to the Amsterdam Area's unmissable highlights.

Experience natural history galore in the Teylers Museum

Image from Teylers museum Haarlem

The Teylers Museum in Haarlem houses over 200 years of art, science, and natural history. Founded in 1778, the extensive collections include paintings (many of which are by the Dutch Romantics), drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael, fossils, minerals, medals, coins, scientific instruments, and books. When you visit, don’t miss the Oval Room, a stately neoclassical building with a library, observatory, and laboratory which showcases experiments to the public. And it’s all free with your I amsterdam City Card.

Teylers Museum | Spaarne 16, Haarlem | Price: €15 (free with the City Card)

Marvel at 17th-century masterpieces of Frans Hals

Image from Mo Schalkx

Haarlem’s Frans Hals Museum boasts an array of 16th and 17th-century paintings and the world’s largest collection of portraiture by the eponymous artist. The museum’s extensive collection also covers the entire spectrum of art from the period, as well as furniture, ceramics, glass and silver pieces that were crafted when the Netherlands was one of the cultural capitals of the world. Visit the museum for free with your I amsterdam City Card.

Frans Hals Museum | Groot Heiligland 62, Haarlem | Price: €16 (free with the City Card)

Enjoy nature and art at the Singer Laren sculpture garden

Singer Museum in Laren-garden
Image from Singer Laren

The Singer Laren museum displays art by Jan Sluijters, Kees van Dongen, Anton Mauve, Bart van der Leck, Leo Gestel and others from the 1880-1950s. There is also a large sculpture collection with seven works by August Rodin, including The Thinker. The temporary exhibitions often showcase works by acknowledged masters of modern art. Finish your visit in the beautiful sculpture garden designed by Piet Oudolf.

Singer Laren | Oude Drift 1, Laren | Price: €18 (free with the City Card)

Step back in time at the Fortress Museum

Naarden was granted its city rights in 1300 (the only town in Het Gooi with these rights) and later developed into a fortified garrison town with a textile industry. Naarden is the home of the Netherlands Fortress Museum (Nederlands Vestingmuseum).

Head to Naarden, a historic fortified town famous for its six-pointed star shape, with double ramparts and moats, to explore the Fortress Museum (Vestingmuseum). The site is spread across an open-air plot of land, where you can meander through a collection of historical cannons, and a labyrinthine network of underground passageways and vaulted casemates where ancient weapons and artillery are on display. You will have the opportunity to walk along the ramparts and view the fortress from the museum’s boat while learning about the importance of defences throughout the history of the Netherlands. While you are in the area, you should also visit Muiderslot Castle (below). I amsterdam City Card holders get in free at both locations. 

The Dutch Fortress Museum | Westwalstraat 6, Naarden | Price: €12,50 (free with the City Card)

Play the knight at Castle Muiderslot

Image from Ben van Melzen Photography

Located in the fortified town of Muiden, Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot is like something from a fairy tale. The 700-year-old medieval fortress – complete with drawbridges, towers and moats – has welcomed many famous residents and was part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam, which kept invaders at bay. With gardens, guided tours, falconry and kids’ treasure hunts, it delights visitors of all ages.

Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot | Herengracht 1, Muiden | Price: €17,50 (free with the City Card)

See windmills in the Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans

There’s no better place to see a Dutch icon up close than the Zaanse Schans open-air museum. Located in the heart of the Zaan region, the 250-year-old park takes visitors back to the country’s industrial past and features working windmills that helped produce products like linseed oil, paint, mustard and paper. There’s also a preserved village of historic Dutch homes, warehouses, workshops and even a cheese factory. Your City Card provides free entry to all of Zaanse Schans’ museums and windmills, and you even get discounts at the local restaurant.

Zaanse Schans Open-Air Museum | Zaanse Schans | Price: over €42 (free with the City Card)

Discover the Cobra modern art movement

Installation view of Kosmogonie: Zinsou – een Afrikaanse kunstcollectie Cosmogony: Zinsou -- an African art colleciton contemporary art exhibition in October 2022
Image from peter tijhuis

The Cobra art movement was a revolutionary modern art movement that flourished in the aftermath of World War II. Its hallmarks were spiritual and artistic freedom rooted in European art history. The Cobra Art Museum in Amstelveen cultivates an impressive collection of works created during the avant-garde movement, as well as modern art. There is no precise definition to the meaning of Cobra, and that shines through each artist’s point of view. The Cobra Art Museum displays works by artists such as Karel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Christian Dotremont and others. You can get to the museum by taking tram 5 at Museumplein heading towards Amstelveen, and getting off at Binnenhof.

Cobra Museum of Modern Art | Sandbergplein 1, Amstelveen | Price: €15 (free with the City Card)

Cruise the Zuiderzee

The Rederij Volendam-Marken Express ferry service has been transporting tourists and locals between the historic Dutch towns of Volendam and Marken for over 80 years. After boarding, sit back and learn about the folklore of this fascinating area. And if you’re hungry, sample the delicious Dutch pie during the 45-minute trip across the Zuiderzee. Boats depart several times a day from the towns’ ports, and the shuttle is free with the I amsterdam City Card.

Volendam-Marken Express | Havenbuurt 21, Marken | Price: €13,5 (free with the City Card)

Explore Amsterdam’s Fort Pampus

Hop on a ferry to discover Fort Pampus, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in 1887 as part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam, it sits on a man-made island in the middle of IJmeer. Though it was armed with large-calibre guns and a permanent garrison of 200 men, the fort never saw any action. With historical artifacts to discover, audio tours, and an extensive events calendar, the island makes for a fascinating day trip. The ferry runs from April to November and there are several departures from Amsterdam and Muiden from Tuesday to Sunday. The ferry is free for City Card holders.

Fort Pampus | Herengracht, Muiden | Price: €19,50 (free with the City Card)

Put the kids to work in the Zuiderzee open-air museum

At the Zuiderzee Museum, kids can get a taste of life in the Netherlands in the early 20th century by taking part in chores like cleaning, dusting and sweeping. There are also traditional games for them to play and special activities on certain days, including clog painting and writing lessons using an old-fashioned dip pen. Grownups will also enjoy this indoor-outdoor museum, which has an impressive collection of antique fishing boats and displays of ornate handicrafts. When you’re done, stop by the gift shop for a discount on smoked herring, a local speciality.

Zuiderzee Museum | Wierdijk 12-22, Enkhuizen | Price: €189,50 (free with the City Card)

Get a glimpse into traditional Dutch life in Volendam

Image from Geert Snoeijer

The Volendams Museum depicts life in this fishing village from 1800 to the present day. With a unique selection of paintings, sculptures, pottery, life-size dioramas and traditional costumes, it offers a glimpse into the area’s culture and history. The collection also features works by celebrated Dutch artists – including Henricus Rol and Edwin Austrin Abbey – as well as unusual items, like a scale model of the Volendam shipyard and mosaics created in 1947 by a retired monk using more than 11 million cigar bands. Get free entry with your I amsterdam City Card to what is easily one of the Netherlands' most unconventional and interesting museums.

Volendams Museum | Zeestraat 41, Volendam | Price: €5 (free with the City Card)

Looking for more things to do? Show your I amsterdam City Card for free entrance to these as well as 80+ other attractions in Amsterdam and the Area. While train travel is not included in the card, you can buy train tickets at every train station or get an Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket which will allow you to combine several journeys into your visit duration with minimal hassle.