Though it isn’t the least expensive destination in Europe, there are loads of free cultural attractions in Amsterdam, including the city’s famous floating flower market, among the biggest parks in the Netherlands, and a magical plaza that appears onto Artis Zoo’s flamingo enclosure. Following is a roundup of the best places to go to in Amsterdam that is totally free of charge.
CHECK OUT THE FLAMINGOES AT ARTISPLEIN
CATCH A FREE CONCERT AT THE CONCERTGEBOUW
Classical music in Amsterdam revolves around the Concertgebouw. This beautiful, neo-classic building is located on the eastern side of Museumplein and appears right onto that the Rijksmuseum. It’s considered to be among the finest concert venues on earth and the entire construction was specifically designed for orchestral acoustics. Once every week, the Concertgebouw retains a free lunchtime concert that often contains performances from Amsterdam’s top classical musicians.
STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS AT BLOEMENMARKT
The world’s only floating flower market is moored to the southern banks of Singel canal in Amsterdam. This exceptional attraction has been around since the mid-19th century and was constructed on the water in order to make it easier for flower traders to transfer their wares via Amsterdam’s canals. Today, the market features around 15 different stalls, mounted on barges, that sell a whole slew of goods related to horticulture, such as ready-to-plant tulip bulbs, fresh blossoms of flowers and garden decorations.
CLIMB TO THE TOP OF AMSTERDAM CENTRAL LIBRARY
While Amsterdam’s beautifully horizontal geography could make it a perfect city for cycling, in addition, it means that it is quite hard to locate a decent vantage point. Fortunately, there are many large buildings dotted around town that offer amazing views over its winding canals and picturesque neighborhoods. Amsterdam’s principal public library is among the tallest buildings in the town center and is absolutely free to go into every day of the week. On clear days, many regions of Amsterdam are visible from its upper levels, including the bohemian quarter de Pijp and trendy Jordaan.
CHECK OUT DAPPERMARKT
Each of Amsterdam’s daily markets has its own distinctive charm and each sells a wide choice of goods ranging from fresh vegetables and fruit to hand-knitted woolen sweaters. Although Albert Cuyp Markt in de Pijp or even Nieuwmarkt at Amsterdam-Centrum is attractive on account of their centrality, these markets can become notoriously busy (especially during the weekends). Dappermarkt, on the other hand, is only a small bit further away and comprises an equivalent variety of local joys, clothing and fresh food. The market runs down the middle of Amsterdam-Oost, also is within walking distance from the area’s largest park, Oosterpark.
This northern neighborhood has changed considerably over the past couple of decades and developed from a bustling dockland into one of Amsterdam’s most popular cultural hubs while retaining its industrial vibe intact. There are now many cultural hotspots located in NDSM-Wharf, that can be largely placed inside old, heavy-duty buildings associated with the area’s former delivery industry. As an example, there’s Pllek Restaurant, which is built within a number of shipping containers and Faralda Crane Hotel which offers guests the opportunity to sleep inside the top heights of a towering, red crane. A little passenger ferry regularly travels between the Docklands and Centraal Station, allowing visitors to enjoy views across Amsterdam’s harbor before disembarking at NDSM.
EXPLORE AMSTERDAMSE BOS
Amsterdam’s biggest recreation reasons, Amsterdamse Bos, is approximately three times larger than New York’s Central Park and contains ample space for several outdoor activities including biking, hiking, swimming, and boating. The park is situated at Amsterdam’s southernmost suburbs and features many different kinds of terrains, ranging from lakeside beaches to pristine woodlands. There are several other sights located around the park like the open-air theater which hosts displays from spring until early fall or Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve — a rustic farm where guests can pet and feed heaps of infant goats. Though it’s slightly further afield than other parks in Amsterdam, it is easy enough to access Amsterdamse Bos by bicycle or public transport (for instance, tramline 16 or 24 from Centraal Station to VU Medisch Centrum).
DELVE INTO THE CITY’S HISTORY AT AMSTERDAM CITY ARCHIVES
Amsterdam’s municipality retains its archives safe within a former bank, known as de Bazel, which is recognized as one of the most complete cases of Dutch Brick Expressionism from town. The institute’s permanent exhibition is placed inside the building’s vault and is available to the general public. Its collection contains the scolding document that transpired that the philosopher Baruch Spinoza from Amsterdam’s Jewish neighborhood, and a police record regarding Anne Frank’s missing bicycle. Every one of those relics provides invaluable insights into Amsterdam’s history and paints a vivid picture of the town’s past. The writings also feature a peaceful café which serves lunchtime dishes and another gallery space that hosts temporary exhibitions dedicated to specific aspects of Amsterdam’s history.