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Amsterdam Guide

Things To Do in Amsterdam When You’re Broke

The words “free” and “Dutch” are generally thought to mix together about as well as chalk and cheese. The Dutch are knowfor giving you nothing for nothing.

Perhaps because of more competition in the travel market from the up and coming cities of Prague and Tallinn in Estonia or maybe because of accusations that Amsterdam has screwed tourists since the introduction of the Euro and gotten too expensive and with all other countries eyeing up the young and alternative markets, the Amsterdam tourist office VVV has issued a list of free things to see and do in the city to entice people to come to wonderful Amsterdam. They have rebranded itself asIamsterdam.

So we have to do our bit to get tourists to come. So below is the list and a few more they missed.

Amsterdam things to do for free.

Who says you cannot get something for nothings. Well, some things in life are free and inAmsterdam there are a number of things to do for free without any fee involved.

You can:

Take a stroll along the wonderfulAmsterdam canals,up one side and down the otherwhile admiring the beautiful buildings with some amazing architecture to view. You can do this twice once during daytime and again at night. Most Amsterdammers” do not use curtains so you can see inside the rooms at night. Believe me, it’s great on a summers evening to walk along looking into people’s windows and admire the style.

Escape the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam and drop into the famousBegijnhof, a little secret garden surrounded by little 14th-century town houses including the oldest house in all of Amsterdamdating from 1420. This place is so peaceful and quite you can hear no noise from outside traffic. Please respect the notice– NO noise please.The houses are still lived in by on a daily basis and still by single women.

A nice spot to escape the Amsterdam rain or the Amsterdam sun is to walk through the short cut enclosed passage between the Begijnhof and theAmsterdam Historic Museumand admire the collection of seventeenth-century paintings of the Amsterdam Civic Guards which date back to the 16th century. The paintings are huge in size and can take a few minutes each to really take the whole painting in. Well worth a visit.

Visit the nineteenth centuryHollandsche Manège((Dutch horse riding school)) which was inspired by the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna. located at Vondelstraat 140, Amsterdam, 1054 GT /Phone: +31 20 618 09 42) . You can view the horses and ponies and ride for free Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning.. Other times costs Euro 7 per hour. Anyone over 8 can ride.The school has 40 horses and 15 ponies For outdoor riding a better place is

Amsterdam Bos.

View from bridges.

Visit one or more of the many bridges that cross the Amsterdam canals and admire the view from them. It’s just great to lean over a bridge and just stand for a few minutes and take in the entire view. A great night time bridge view is standing on the bridge leading down to Dam Square which looks down to Nieuwmarkt, the view of the Waag building on Nieuwmarkt which is all lit up at night is really special and many postcards have this view on them and many pictures are taken daily of this view at night and by day. Two other famous ones are at Reguliersgracht at Herengracht where you can see 15 bridges. The view from the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) over the Amstel river between Kerkstraat and Nieuwe Kerkstraat is also worth a look.

Something a bit different to do is to check out how measurements of sea level are made. Beside a bronze plaque in the passageway between the Muziektheater and the Stadhuis (Town Hall) in Waterlooplein are three glass columns filled with water. The first two show the current sea level at Vlissingen and IJmuiden; the third, 5m (15 ft.) above your head, shows the high-water mark during the disastrous floods in Zeeland in 1953.

Take a walk through theVondelpark.

pack a picnic basket, grab a blanket and you’re all set for a great afternoon in Vondelpark park.

On a nice sunny day, there is nothing better to do than sit in Vondelpark park and people watch.

You will see all walks of life here.

Listen to a lunchtime rehearsalconcert at the Muziektheater(on Tuesdays) or the Concertgebouw (on Wednesday). The rehearsals are every week from June to October.

There are different programmes depending on the day but most feature chamber music, symphonic performances, or previews of full concerts.

Go for afree boat rideon the ferry which connects Amsterdam to the IJ island and while over there explore the area. Architects are being let loose over there so you will come across some crazy designs. Sails between the Central Station and Amsterdam North, from theback of the central station.

Visit the Blomenmarkt (Flower Market)on the Singel.

Visit the famous flower market and view the stalls. Not as good as it used to be. Most stalls are selling more ornaments than flowers theses days. Less trouble more profit and isworld renowned around the world as the floating flower market but today all but one isnow a permanent fixed structure on the canal. Still worth a visit.

Visit the late nineteenth century seven Countries Houses, built in the styles of Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Holland and England. (Roemer Visscherstraat 20-30)

Listen to the 17th-century carillons of the Westertoren, the Zuidertoren or the Munttoren.

Listen to a good old Dutch barrel organ in the street (mixed with the rattle of money as the organ-grinder tries to persuade you to make a donation).Some of them look amazing and sound wonderful. You will know most of the tunes they play and you will find yourself humming them long after you have walked away. Mostly during the summer months.

Visit one or all of Amsterdam’s markets starting at A and so on -Albert Cuyp Marketis your first port of call.Click here for entire list of marketsin Amsterdam and enjoy the atmosphere of Amsterdam’s markets.

Try walk to the top of theNemo buildingand admire the view over Amsterdam. There is a charge to enter but not for the climb. Or if your lazy get lift to the top and walk down the huge wide steps.

Nemo is everything you wanted to know about (You guessed it technological and scientific developments in the worlds of biomedicine and information technology).

Visit the garden at the Rijksmuseum and see fragments from a number of ruined old buildings stored there.

View the plans for Amsterdam in the permanent town-planning exhibit in the Zuiderkerk.

Visit thenarrowest houses in Amsterdam. Amazing people still live in them today but do not take kindly to people knocking on there door “Can I have a look in your house”

So do not bother to ask. The most narrow houses in Amsterdam can be found at

Singel # 7. This tiny house is only one metre wide and not much wider than its front door. Admittedly, this is the back of the house; the front is quite a bit wider but still very impressive.

Another narrow house is Oude Hoogstraat 22 a tiny house with a clock gable, typical of Amsterdam. The front is only 2.02 metres wide. The house is 6 metres deep really tiny.

another one is only around the next corner at 26 Kloveniersburgwal. This building is run as a kinky women clothing shop and has a beautiful front to it. Measuring only 2.44-meter-wide.

The house is known as the ‘Trippen House’ or ‘The House of Mr Trip’s coachman.’ It is located right opposite theTrip House at no. 29. Trip House is well over 22 metres wide and is the most impressive private residence in Amsterdam. The wealthy brothers had this house built in 1660. The brothers amassed a fortune from the trading.The story goes that their coachman exclaimed on seeing the building: ‘ If I had a house as wide as the front door I would be content. Mr.Trip overheard him and made his wish came true. No word whether he charged rent or just gave it to him.

Zeedijk Temple

A Buddhist temple in Amsterdam’s Chinatown.Chinatown has its own Buddhist temple.

The beautiful roof tiles and many characteristic ornaments were flown in from China for this temple which the Queen officially opened in 2001. You must remove your shoes to enter and only vegetarian food allowed inside (Meat is Murder). The chapel itself is quite small so on days of worship, when the Buddhists turn out in large numbers to pray many of them can not fit inside.and have to pray on the steps.

Annual events

Gay pride weekend (1st weekend of August)

Also another crazy time in Amsterdam and lots going on for free. Just walking about is so much fun on it’s own. Also there is the canal parade on Saturday which passes down the Prinsengracht canal.. A another must see.

Queen’s Day April 30th each year.

A crazy day in Amsterdam and even better if it does not rain. over one million people decent on the city. Anything goes, Sell anything without a licence. Amazing day. A much in the life see event.

Out door live and DJ music all over the city, bands, floats, stalls and lots more. The day ends early around 8-9pm most of the stalls are forced by the police to finish up but several of the music events go on a little later. Not a lot of people know about it and anyone arriving in Amsterdam on April 30th for the 1st time will have some welcome. All in all a wonderful crazy day in Amsterdam.

Prinsengracht music festival.(September)

Every September there is the Prinsengracht music festival. 2 nights of magic music all for free.

You can hear a pin drop during the performances. Broadcast live on TV.

Bring your foldaway chair and go early as viewing space is grabbed early. Many people arrive by both and park and listen to the show.


Chinatown is the area between Stormsteeg, Geldersekade and Zeedijk. The quarter is well known for its Nieuwmarkt square. China Town itself is home to many Chinese restaurants and many unusual shops. Every year between January 21 and February 20Chinatown goes wildduringthe celebrations to mark theChinese New Year.

A large Chinese dragon visits every Chinese business in all of China Town blessing each business and warding off evil spirits for the coming year by letting off Chinese fire crackers which are very long strips of gun powder with a final one huge bang. A very noisy day indeed.

In 2005 it rained the entire day and the dragon was looking the worse for wear, but the show must go on, and did.

In 2006 the day was cold and windy with the odd shower but all in all not too bad and there was a good turn out. Let’s see what 2007 brings. – Stayed tuned.

In 2007 . The day was dry but cloudy and windy but was a good show.

2008 was a warm day day here in Amsterdam. Two Dragons this year and lots more people looking on.. The fire crackers were as noisy as ever and the streets turned to a sea of red.

2009 , The best yet, again two Dragons on show this year and a great day . With more and more Chinese businesses opening up the day is getting longer and longer.

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