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20 safe ways to enjoy Amsterdam during coronavirus

The Dutch capital is full of things to see and do, whether you love history, culture or just taking in the sights. The coronavirus outbreak put many activities in the city on hold for some time. Now, venues, event spaces and restaurants are re-opening their doors, meaning there is an abundance of activities to enjoy safely in Amsterdam, whether you’re going outdoors or staying inside. Always check the latest updates before heading out though!

Soak up some culture

Amsterdam’s famed concert halls and clubs are steadily re-opening, with many places being a great way to treat yourself to a night out. With so much happening in the city now every weekend, it can be overwhelming to stay in the know. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you! Our Weekend Guide is packed full of suggestions with everything from classical and rock concerts to cabaret shows and dance parties.

Discover Amsterdam's street art scene

Besides Amsterdam’s famous contemporary and world-famous museums, its graffiti and street art scene is continually gaining momentum. During a stroll through any one of the city’s character-filled neighbourhoods like the NDSM wharf, Zuidoost and Nieuw-West , you’ll find sculptures, murals, installations and quirky curiosities to spark your interest. And when you need to warm up, STRAAT Museum is a colossal indoor museum dedicated entirely to street art and graffiti.

Relax at a campfire terrace

With every little ray of sunshine, Amsterdammers love nothing more than relaxing over a beer at an outdoor terrace. The fun doesn’t stop when the wet weather arrives as we’ve written a round-up of the best covered terraces to escape the rain. And when it gets cooler, many venues also have heaters and campfires or to keep guests warm and dry, so you can still enjoy a drink – and perhaps some traditional Dutch snacks like bitterballen – like a local.

Surround yourself with nature

Relax your body and calm your mind with a day trip to unique green oases just outside Amsterdam. Nature areas like Amsterdam Forest, Waterleidingduinen and Nationaal Park Nieuw Land are great options to escape the hustle and bustle of the city all year round. Bring a car, take the train or jump on your bike to discover the best nature areas in and around Amsterdam.

Be part of the festival season

Amsterdam’s cultural agenda never stops with cultural festivals taking place in every season. In the winter months, see the city’s historic waterways set aglow by hundreds of light installations during the stunning Amsterdam Light Festival. Or, be a part of Amsterdam Dance Event - an electronic music conference and dance festival spread across hundreds of incredible clubs and venues throughout the city.

Indulge your inner gourmand

Amsterdam’s finest food is always just around the corner! In every neighbourhood, you’ll find restaurants and eateries catering to every cuisine and style, from Michelin-starred establishments to more unusual dining experiences. Read on about everything eating and drinking in Amsterdam. Or, if you’re staying inside, check out some delicious recommendations from local food writer Monique van Loon about the best delivery options in the city.

Cosy up in a bruin café

For a taste of authentic Amsterdam flavour and Dutch culture, don't miss a visit to a traditional Dutch pub known as a bruin café (brown bar). These local watering-holes are a quintessential part of Amsterdam’s culture – and are the favoured haunts of some colourful local personalities. They’re also a great place to sample home-grown delicacies like jenever, craft beers along with an assortment of fried bar snacks. Lekker!

Streets are made for walking

Whatever the season, Amsterdam is a highly compact city and very easy to explore on foot. It's definitely possible to get a good taste of the city's best sights, attractions and experiences in a short space of time if you know where to go. From LGBTQ+ history to heartwarming tales of the city’s famous former inhabitants, discover the hidden stories of Amsterdam with these themed walking routes!

See the windmills

Along with wooden clogs and tulips, windmills are probably the most famous Dutch icon – and there are plenty of them to see around the Amsterdam Area. If you’re a beer fan, head east and enjoy a cold one on the terrace of Brouwerij ‘t IJ, which sits beneath the 18th century De Gooyer Windmill. Want to get back in shape? Cycle all the way to Zaanse Schans, a free outdoor park where you can see a collection of quaint windmills along the riverfront.

Have some chuckles

With so many internationals relocating to the city trying to navigate their way through the weird and wonderful Dutch way of life, Amsterdam’s English-language comedy scene is first rate. Boom Chicago hosts some of the best stand-up comedians from the UK, the US and Europe with weekly comedy shows, improv. and drag performances. You can also check the agenda at The Comedy Cafe or Mezrab for more spoken word and comedy nights.

Tour some grand estates

Amsterdam – and the surrounding area – is filled with grand estates with beautiful grounds that can be explored inside and outside. Frankendael Estate is located in Watergraafsmeer and dates from the 17th century; wander through the historic gardens for and take in the grand Huize Frankendael while you’re there. At De Olmenhorst, you can pick apples with the kids while enjoying the lovely country setting. If you’re up to the task, try turning them into a pie once you get home.

Admire the architecture

There’s no denying it: Amsterdam is a looker. Spend a day admiring the architecture when you need a change of pace. The historic centre canal ring is a must-see and it’s easy to spend hours taking photos of the grand 16th century buildings nestled together along the narrow streets. Other neighbourhoods have plenty to offer as well, including De Pijp, with its cosy, funky vibe, and Amsterdam Noord, which has loads of post-industrial charm.

Treat yourself to a hotel stay

After spending so much time at home, it can be quite the treat to escape for a night or two. Amsterdam offers an array of unusual hotels to stay in where the change of scenery will feel like you’re a million miles away. For stunning views, try the Faralda NDSM Crane Hotel – which, as its name suggests – is located in a real construction crane. You can also sleep in a houseboat along the Amstel or book an old bridge house that’s part of the SWEETS Hotel.Do you want to immerse yourself in Amsterdam's sights, culture and cuisine, but you are not yet able to travel to our beautiful city? Follow the tips below for a dose of The Dam that makes you want to visit us in the future!

Visit the museums from your sofa

Some of the world’s best museums are in Amsterdam and it’s even possible to experience them while sitting on your sofa with a cup of tea or a cheeky glass of wine. Best of all, there’s no need to get dressed up for a virtual experience, so put on your slippers and explore the Van Gogh Museum or go on a VR tour of the Anne Frank House. If you’re an aspiring artist, the Rijksmuseum has video tutorials to help you learn to paint like the masters.

Drop the beat with Dutch DJs

As a world capital for techno, electronica and dance music, Amsterdam is home to amazing DJs and clubs that keep the beats pounding all night long. Though you might not be able to visit them right now, you can take the party anywhere you go by checking out this compilation of DJ performances. Shot in and around the capital, they offer an enticing mix of fantastic views and pulsing tunes.

Immerse yourself in the city

Sometimes, the best way to explore Amsterdam is through books and movies set in the city. Whether you’re on the other side of the world or distancing in your place in De Baarsjes, you can curl up with a copy of The Goldfinch or The Fault in Our Stars and feel like you’re walking along the canals. On Saturday night, make popcorn and watch Diamonds are Forever, the Hitman’s Bodyguard or even Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo if you really need an escape. We won’t tell.

Lend a helping hand

Helping others can really lift your spirits and there are safe ways to support those in need during the outbreak. If you have a few euros to spare, worthy organisations always appreciate donations. Consider giving blood if you’re able or make some face masks for friends and family using a free pattern. Many organisations also offer safe opportunities to volunteer that can make the hours race by.

Plan some day trips

There are plenty of day trips you can enjoy around the Amsterdam Area. Grab your bike and cycle to Muiderslot to visit one of the most beautiful castles in the Netherlands or ride through Waterland and see the rolling farmlands and quaint villages – a little adventure to somewhere new can really brighten your day.

Learn something new

Online classes and workshops are an excellent way to keep busy when you're spending time at home – try one based in the city. Amsterdam Writing Workshops will teach you about creating flash fiction, memoirs and short stories, and IN Amsterdam’s partners offer tutorials and courses that can enhance your CV and get your career on track.  

Wear a mask that makes a difference

To help minimise the spread of coronavirus, keep yourself safe, look stylish and support a worthy cause by getting a mask made by an organisation that’s helping make the world a better place. Many are also created using recycled and sustainable materials, minimising waste.