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Discover Amsterdam
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Live, Work and Study
Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder our lord in the attic museum, Oudezijds Voorburgwal.
Image from Arjan Bronkhorst

Amsterdam’s best hidden gems

Amsterdam’s world-famous museums and monuments will keep culturally-minded sightseers occupied for weeks. But look beyond the best-known attractions, and you’ll find some sparkling hidden gems. From secret cafes and obscure music venues to rooftop bars and a museum in an underground bank vault, here’s our round-up of the best non-touristy things to do in Amsterdam.

Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder

Ons Lieve Heer op Solder our lord in the attic museum church during Museumnacht 2018
Image from Joris Raaijman

Positioned on a side street in the middle of De Wallen, this remarkably well-preserved canal house museum built during the 1660s is too often overlooked by visitors. Visitors can explore a warren of historic living areas before following the narrow staircases up to the attic where a complete Roman Catholic church is concealed in the rafters.

NEMO’s Roof

NEMO; Roof
Image from DigiDaan

Whilst NEMO Science Museum is one of the city’s most popular family attractions, not many people know that the rooftop boasts some of the most spectacular views of downtown Amsterdam. Architect Renzo Piano envisioned this outdoor space as a sky-high public square, complete with kinetic water sculptures that kids can play in and a cafe.

De Koffieschenkerij

De Koffieschenkerij café terrace
Image from De Koffieschenkerij

Tucked away in the cloister garden of the Oude Kerk, this charming tearoom is hidden in plain sight. Indulge in chai lattes, loose-leaf teas and coffee with apple cake or venture out to the nearby Quartier Putain for a signature toastie and craft beer in the relaxed atmosphere of the De Wallen.


Mezrab Outside Terrace
Image from Mezrab

Settle into Mezrab’s cosy floor cushions for a night of tall tales and real-life stories told by professional storytellers. This unique cultural centre in the Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Docklands) area has grown into one of the best stages for spoken-word, improv and comedy in the city.

REM Eiland

REM eiland
Image from Koen Smilde

At this towering sea rig in the harbour of Amsterdam, you can dine 22 metres above the water in a former pirate radio station. Cosy in the winter and glorious in the summer when guests can dine on the roof terrace, the restaurant bar at REM Eiland is open for cocktails and lavish multi-course evening meals.

Nieuwendammerdijk and Cafe ‘t Sluisje

Café 't Sluisje Nieuwendammerdijk
Image from Koen Smilde

This photogenic street in Noord is rich with Dutch history. Fishermen, shipbuilders and traders built their homes here, designed in the same style as the gabled facades of traditional canal houses. At one end, Cafe ‘t Sluisje is an old brown café overlooking the harbour that dates back more than 100 years.

LAB 111

Lab111 cinema
Image from Koen Smilde

Housed in one of the city’s most unusual converted spaces: a former pathological anatomy lab, LAB111 is a cinema and cultural space that is about as quirky as it gets. On the agenda, you’ll see a range of special screenings as well as art exhibitions, lectures and concerts. There’s also a great café and restaurant!

Amsterdam City Archives

Stadsarchief city archives de bazel building
Image from Dorain Kransberg

All stored within the monumental De Bazel building - an Art Deco gem that is well worth a visit in itself - the Amsterdam City Archives is the largest treasure trove of municipal history in the world. Take a guided tour of the period rooms or visit the fascinating (and free) exhibitions downstairs in the underground vault of a former bank.

The Houseboat (Woonboot) Museum

Houseboat Museum interior
Image from Houseboat Museum

This miniature floating museum gives guests the unique opportunity to experience life onboard a traditional Dutch houseboat. Located on the Hendrika Maria, a former cargo ship from 1914, the boat has now been transformed into a cosy living space where visitors can poke around before enjoying tea and cake in the retro armchairs.

Podium Mozaïek

Podium Mozaiek open-air concert outside terrace
Image from Tim Hillege

Located in the former Pniël Church in Bos en Lommer, Podium Mozaïek provides a stage and meeting place for a range of cultural initiatives. The programme offers music, theatre, dance, exhibitions and spoken word whilst the spectacular sun-soaked terrace is the perfect spot to indulge in Mediterranean-inspired food and craft beers.


Orgelpark colourful music installation
Image from Orgelpark

Housed in the heritage-listed Parkkerk close to Vondelpark, Orgelpark is an international concert hall that gives the church organ a new face in contemporary music culture. In addition to the varied programme, there's a wonderful Art Deco ambience, an intimate concert hall featuring impressive organs, beautiful and clear acoustics, and a cosy foyer.

Brouwerij de 7 Deugden

24H Nieuw-West - Molen van Sloten, Brouwerij De 7 Deugden
Image from Amie Galbraith

Entering the ancient village of Sloten feels a bit like stepping back in time. Here you’ll find the Sloten Windmill Museum – one of the few remaining fully functioning polder mills and Brouwerij de 7 Deugden, one of the city’s best microbreweries. On request, you can have a guided tour and explore the flavours during a tasting in the garden, weather permitting.

House of Bird

House of Bird people on the terrace
Image from House of Bird

Try a speciality beer in House of Bird Brewery’s tasting room, surrounded by the spectacular nature of the Diemerbos in Zuidoost. The owners take pride in their sustainable, seasonal menu made of locally sourced products, and the nearby forest is perfect for a decompressing walk.