Taylor in Keukenhof 20

Falling in Love with Amsterdam, Netherlands

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam became one of my new favorite cities in Europe for numerous reasons. I loved how beautiful, safe and clean the city was; the culture was very relaxed; the architecture was amazing and the food was absolutely delicious.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

In May 2019, I decided to book a lovely four-day getaway to Amsterdam to experience the city for the first time, see the infamous tulip fields and get a taste of true Dutch culture. I fell in love with this city and there was no better way to experience it than with Clink Hostels – an award winning hostel company that offers unique and creative ways for travelers to enjoy a city.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

In this blog post, read all about my experience staying at ClinkNOORD in Amsterdam and discover the top ten things to do in and around the city.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

*During my time in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Clink Hostels hosted me for four nights at ClinkNOORD.


Getting to and Around Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

My trip to Amsterdam was an addition onto another trip I had done during spring 2019. I started my journey in Morocco for a week and then made my way to Sevilla, Spain. After spending four days in Sevilla, I flew up to Amsterdam for a cheap cost and spent the rest of my trip there before heading home.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

After arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schipol, I took a taxi to Clink. I highly recommend not taking a taxi to your accommodation in Amsterdam because it is VERY expensive. Uber is a bit cheaper, but taking the train to Amsterdam Centraal will definitely help you save money! Truth be told, since I was traveling for two weeks, I couldn’t haul my big heavy luggage through the train station, so I ended up just catching an Uber on the way back to the airport from Clink.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

When you are actually in Amsterdam, it is pretty easy to get around by walking. I also recommend renting a bike as well! It is important to note that there are so many bikes in Amsterdam, so please watch out because it is very easy to get hit if you aren’t paying attention. There are, however, specific lanes for bikes, pedestrians and cars, so always keep an eye out and stay in your designated lane to prevent an accident.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has 150 canals and 1,250 bridges throughout the city, making it similar to Venice, Italy. (In fact, Amsterdam has more canals than Venice!) The difference between the two European cities is that Amsterdam has cars and since Venice is comprised of different islands, the main way to get from one place to another is by water taxi or water buses.  So, if you are looking to get somewhere quickly in or around Amsterdam, you could either rent a car, take a taxi or Uber, utilize the GVB Bus Tram Metro or take a hop on hop off water bus (there are a few companies that offer this).

Staying at ClinkNOORD:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my time in Amsterdam, I had so much fun staying at ClinkNOORD in Amsterdam-NOORD. ClinkNOORD is part of Clink Hostels that offer friendly and familiar budget-friendly hostels in Amsterdam and London. They also just opened up hostels in Dublin and Lisbon. What makes Clink Hostels perfect for all types of travelers are that they are situated in prime, central locations in each city, offering a fun and convenient travel experience.

About ClinkNOORD:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

What is so cool about ClinkNOORD in Amsterdam is that it was once a 1920’s laboratory turned into a vibrant hostel for all to enjoy. Located a few minutes from downtown via the free ferry that goes to Amsterdam Centraal train station, this fun hostel has a bar (ZincBAR), café (CatalystCAFE), a guest kitchen to cook your own meals (open from 7am to midnight), 24-hour reception, various lounge areas to relax and get work done, stained glass windows to add charm and detail, art displays for creativity and character, arcade games for fun, an atrium that makes you feel like you’re outside, a library and more! Check in for ClinkNOORD opens at 2:30pm and you must be checked out at 10am to avoid extra charges. You will also get a hostel access key card to get you into your room and the hallways during all hours of the day. The keycard will also get you into ClinkNOORD as well. Please ensure you don’t lose your keycard because then you will be charged a few euros each time you have to get a new card.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

ClinkNOORD also has free walking and bike tours, great deals on activities to do around Amsterdam and they even host game nights, fitness classes (such as yoga) and solo traveler meet ups. The hostel also has free WiFi throughout, a travel store called TravelSHOP (here you could purchase discounted tickets for Amsterdam attractions as well as travel essentials), laundry for small fees, hair dryers for rent, a luggage room and lockers. (Please note that you will need to bring your own lock for the lockers. The reception desk also has locks for a small price.)

Private En-suite Rooms at ClinkNOORD (Single, Twin, Double or Quad Rooms)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

In addition to being centrally located, what I loved about ClinkNOORD was the selection of rooms available. I was hosted in the hostel’s private en-suite room that included a full sized bed with fresh linens as well as a private bathroom that had a shower, toilet, sink, fresh towels, shampoo and body wash. Since I was alone, I got the single private en-suite. This room is also perfect for couples as well! If you are traveling with a friend, you could get a twin room with a bunk bed or double room with a double bed. If you are venturing with a couple friends, you could book a private quad room with bunk beds and a double bed. All of the private rooms include a private bathroom, USB slots, plug outlets and storage compartments (there was also a lot of space under my bed to store my large luggage). What I love about staying in hostels that have private en-suit rooms is that I could still have fun and meet new friends while enjoying my privacy.

En-suite Dormitory Rooms at ClinkNOORD (Mixed and All Female Dorms)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Not only are there a great selection of private en-suite rooms at ClinkNOORD, there are also a great range of en-suite mixed dorm rooms for both men and women who are traveling in small groups or are solo travelers. These en-suite mixed dorm rooms offer modern bunk beds and lockers. Each guest also has their own USB slot and reading light with their bed. These rooms also offer fresh linens, but you will need to rent towels at the reception desk for a small fee. There are also en-suite dorms for just females! There are 4 to 6 bedded en-suite mixed dorm rooms and 4 and 10 bedded en-suite girls dorms.

Bedded Shared Dorm Rooms at ClinkNOORD (Mixed Rooms)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

For a wallet-friendly option, I highly recommend staying in the 8 to 14 bedded dorms. These dorms have large shared space with modern bunk beds and lockers like the en-suite rooms. There are also USB slots and reading lights with each bed. Bed linen is also provided and towels can be rented at reception for a small price. The difference between these rooms versus the en-suite dorms is that there is no private bathroom. Guests can use the communal bathrooms located in the hallways.

Eating and Drinking at ClinkNOORD:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my stay at ClinkNOORD, I enjoyed a complimentary breakfast every morning. If you are staying at the hostel, breakfast costs 5.90 euros if you book in advance or 8 euros otherwise. The breakfast at ClinkNOORD includes a selection of cereals, breads, cold cuts, salads, eggs, hot dogs, beans, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola. There are also a large selection of hot and cold drinks. The breakfast is located in the lower level of ClinkNOORD, near where ZincBAR is located. Since there are so many lounge areas in the hostel, you could enjoy your food anywhere!

If you are around for lunchtime or are looking for a great snack, CatalystCAFE offers delicious paninis, sandwiches and baked goods to enjoy. Right before I left to go to the airport on my last day, I enjoyed a nice lunch there. It is absolutely perfect for all times of the day.

My favorite place to hangout at ClinkNOORD was at ZincBAR. It was definitely the place where I was able to meet new friends. ZincBAR is also the area where all of the hostel’s events take place such as cocktail trainings, trivia nights, traveler meetups, karaoke and more! During my first night at ClinkNOORD, I hung out at ZincBAR and enjoyed some awesome Dutch beer along with a delicious Margherita pizza! The pizza was absolutely amazing and I totally ate the whole thing. No regrets! Not to mention, the live music was also awesome. It was definitely a memorable night! Not only could you savor local brews at ZincBAR, you can also get a nice cocktail and enjoy the other items on their seasonal menu. In regards to the menu, they have a great selection of appetizers, salads and soups, vegan dishes, burgers and pizza.

Overall, I had such a blast staying at ClinkNOORD and highly recommend choosing your stay with Clink Hostels if you’re traveling around Europe. I cannot wait to come back and make more memories at Clink!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in and Around Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

1. Get Lost in Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

One of my favorite parts of Amsterdam was admiring the architecture and the dancing houses. To me, Amsterdam is very different than the rest of Europe and there is something about the vibe that makes it the perfect city for all to enjoy. Also, shall I mention that Amsterdam is super photogenic! Admittedly, during my time in Amsterdam, I woke up super early one morning to stroll around and get some photos of myself with my tripod.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Since I love the architecture so much, I was so excited to get some shots in front of these gorgeous Dutch buildings. The reason why the houses in Amsterdam are tilted is because they are built on a wooden foundation. Just like in cities like New Orleans, Amsterdam is marshland. Over the years, the wooden poles have decayed or rotted, causing the tilting of the houses. During my time in Amsterdam, I met up with another influencer, Hannah of Exploring Relentlessly, who took me around the city and taught me some interesting facts. If you notice when you’re in Amsterdam, each house has a hook at the top to enable residents to pull large furniture and appliances up and into the windows at the proper floor. The homes in Amsterdam are so narrow, causing the staircases to be super steep, making it difficult to carry large objects up them. (I witnessed this for myself when I visited the Anne Frank House that I talk about below.) The windows, however, are rather large and could fit a couch or washing machine through them. Another cool thing to notice as you stroll around Amsterdam is the decorative gables at the top of each house. The style of the gables gives an insight into the history of the building. Another cool thing to note is how wide the house is. Amsterdam would tax residents on the width of their house, so if you see a home that is wide, a wealthy person at one point lived there.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Some of the best areas to get lost in are Jordaan, Jodenbuurt and the Red Light District. In Jordaan and Jodenbuurt (Jewish Quarter) you could find cute cafés, indie boutiques, bakeries, museums, outdoor restaurants, cozy pubs and small businesses. The Red Light District during the day is pretty quiet, although you will still see some women in the windows. However, the Red Light District offers great coffee houses, cafés and museums.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

A great area that Hannah took me to that didn’t include a lot of tourists was to the Westelijke Eilanden (Western Islands) in Amsterdam. The Prinseneiland and Realeneiland are the two most beautiful isles that are connected by stunning white little bridges that open up to let boats through. It was definitely an awesome experience getting to walk through this area.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Some other wonderful places to see in Amsterdam is the beautiful Amsterdam Centraal train station; the Bloemenmarkt – the world’s only floating flower market, the Damrak – where the former stock exchange building is located and the area where you could see the dancing houses; Dam Square – the most notable town square in Amsterdam; the Magna Plaza Shopping Centre – one of the most beautiful malls in the world and the famous house boats – former cargo vessels turned into houses along the canals.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

2. Eat and Drink Your Way Around Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Another reason why I LOVED Amsterdam is because the food was absolutely amazing! No matter where you go, you will definitely be savoring a delicious meal! Below is a list of places I ate at during my time in Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

ZincBAR at ClinkNOORD: Like I mention above, ZincBAR is a social element that provides a great concoction of drinks, seasonal food, live music and fun events. On my first night in Amsterdam, I enjoyed dinner and drinks at ZincBAR and it definitely did not disappoint! For dinner, I savored a delicious Margherita pizza with a pint of Dutch beer. It was perfect!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

The Happy Pig Pancake Shop: Prior to going to Amsterdam, I was told that I needed to try Dutch pancakes and that it would change my life. Let me tell you, it definitely did my friends! Known to have the best pancakes in Amsterdam, I made my way to The Happy Pig Pancake Shop – home of the original rolled pancakes. I luckily got to The Happy Pig Pancake Shop right when it opened so that I ensured I got a seat. When you first arrive, you will need to order at the counter. You could either build your own pancake or waffle, choose a savory special or do what I did by picking one of the Happy Pig Recommendations! I ended up getting the Everybody’s Sweetheart that consisted of lightly rolled pancakes with banana, chocolate-hazelnut sauce and toasted almond slices. I also had a latte on the side. Yes, I also finished it all (no shame)! Since I have a sweet tooth, especially for breakfast, this definitely hit the spot.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Bussia: Amsterdam is known for having amazing Italian restaurants. I was so thankful someone recommended Bussia to me – a modern Italian restaurant. Located in the charming ‘9 Streets’ area of Amsterdam, Bussia is a comforting restaurant with a super friendly staff. During my time at Bussia, I was given two samples before I received my delicious pasta di mare that consisted of squid ink spaghettini with lobster meat in a lobster bisque. It was absolutely AMAZING! I also enjoyed a nice white wine with this dish.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Melly’s Stroopwafels: You cannot go to Amsterdam without getting a stroopwafel! For those who do not know, a stroopwafel is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling. You could either have it plain or get it with chocolate or a fruity frosting topped with your favorite goodies such as M&Ms, sprinkles, etc. After my amazing Italian dinner at Bussia, I just made it to Melly’s Stroopwafels right before it closed. I enjoyed a delicious stroopwafel with a strawberry frosting and M&Ms and it was so good! I could have easily enjoyed a few of these.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Van Stapele Koekmakerij: Known as the best cookies in Amsterdam, Van Stapele Koekmakerij is a must-visit if you are a lover of baked goods. What is interesting about this cookie shop is that it only sells one cookie! It consists of dark chocolate with a melted white chocolate filling and is served to you fresh out of the oven. It is absolutely amazing! I knew I couldn’t leave Amsterdam without visiting Van Stapele. One thing to note is that there is a line to get inside Van Stapele, but it goes fairly quickly.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Bleu: During the day that Hannah and I strolled around Amsterdam, we grabbed a light lunch at Bleu – a trendy French restaurant located near the Jordaan area. Since we had been walking around, it was nice to sip an Aperol Spritz and savor a smoked salmon toast. The smoked salmon toast was absolutely incredible and it made for the perfect lunch.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Sampurna: Since Indonesia was once a Dutch colony, there are a plethora of amazing Indonesian restaurants located throughout Amsterdam. I highly recommend making your way to one of them because Indonesian food is so yummy! I honestly haven’t had Indonesian food since my trip to Bali in October 2018, so my friend from college recommended a great restaurant to check out called Sampurna. I enjoyed some of my favorite Indonesian dishes such as tempeh (soybean), sambal telur (an egg dish with sauce), sautéed veggies and Indonesian fried rice with chicken and sausage. It was so good!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

De Koffieschenkerij: As I was strolling through the Red Light District one morning, I came across a beautiful church called Oude Kerk. I wanted to go inside, but mass was in session since it was a Sunday. Right next to the church was a cute little courtyard and coffee bar where I decided to enjoy breakfast. Since De Koffieschenkerij is also known for their lavish cakes, I enjoyed a comforting chai latte and peanut butter chocolate cake in their courtyard with some fresh orange juice. It was absolutely perfect!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

3. Visit the Anne Frank House

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

One of the most educating and eye opening experiences during my time in Amsterdam was walking through the Anne Frank House. Unless you book your trip to Amsterdam several months in advance and also get your Anne Frank tickets then, it is extremely hard to get tickets to visit the museum and house. I consider myself extremely lucky because the receptionist at ClinkNOORD told me that if I go onto the museum’s website at 9am the day of, there would be a possibility I could get a ticket. On my last full day in Amsterdam, I set my alarm for 9am to ensure I didn’t miss it and I got the ticket!!! I was so happy that I was able to go because I have had such an interest in Holocaust studies and I also read the Diary of Anne Frank and also watched the 1959 movie when I was studying the subject in school.

Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929. During this time period, unemployment was extremely high and there was severe poverty in Germany. Adolf Hitler and his party came to rise during this time. Hitler and his supporters hated Jews and blamed them for the problems going on in Germany. With the extreme hatred of Jews and the declining economic situation in Germany, Anne’s parents Otto and Edith decided to move to the Netherlands. It was in Amsterdam where Otto Frank founded a company that traded in pectin – a gelling agent used to make fruity jams.

In September of 1939, after several years of Anne becoming acclimated in the Netherlands, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. In May of 1940, the Nazis also invaded the Netherlands and the Dutch army surrendered. During this time, laws and regulations became strict for Jews. Jewish children had to go to a separate school, all Jewish entrepreneurs lost their businesses, they had to start wearing a Star of David on their clothes and then slowly but surely, young adults were being called to labor camps in Nazi Germany. Anne’s older sister Margot (who was three years older) received a call, making her parents nervous, so they went into hiding the next day in order to prevent a future arrest.

On Anne’s 13th birthday, she received a diary as a present. During her two years hiding in the annex of her father’s former office, she wrote about what happened during that time period and she also presented her thoughts and feelings. Anne never finished writing in her diary because in August of 1944, she and the other people hiding in the annex were discovered and arrested by police officers.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

After their arrest, the Franks along with the other family in hiding were sent to a prison in Amsterdam and then to the Westerbork transit camp. Later on, they were transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp. Months later, Anne and Margot were then deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they both died of typhus in February of 1945. Otto Frank was the only one from the annex who survived. Anne‘s mother Edith died in Auschwitz.

When Otto returned to Amsterdam, he visited the annex that ended up being emptied out by the Germans. Anne’s diary was discovered and her writings made a deep impression on her father. In June 1947, 3,000 copies of Het Achterhuis (The Secret Annex) were printed. Later on, her diary was translated to over 70 languages. In 1960, the house where Anne and her family hid for over two years became a museum.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

It was definitely a surreal experience being in the building that Anne and her family stayed in for over two years. I walked out of the museum with tears in my eyes and a reawakening of the horrible events that happened during the Holocaust. Until Otto Frank’s death in 1980, he was closely involved with the Anne Frank House and Museum and hoped that all readers of her diary and visitors of Amsterdam become aware of the dangers of discrimination, racism and hatred.

As you make your way through the museum and annex, you cannot take photos. So to sum it up, the annex was a very small and cramped place. You could also do a virtual tour on the Anne Frank website.

4. Learn the BTS Behind the Red Light District

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

The Red Light District of Amsterdam (also known as De Wallen) is the oldest district of Amsterdam. It said that ever since it was built in the late 14th century, it has been notorious for the women inhabiting its streets.

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. Overall, it is a tough business! In most places worldwide, prostitution is pretty secretive. The Red Light District, however, offers inspection and supervision to minimize potential abuses. The number one aim is to prevent forced prostitution.

During my time in Amsterdam, I was interested in learning more about the Red Light District and found out about Red Light Secrets – a truly educating experience that takes you behind the scenes of the most notorious area of Amsterdam.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Since prostitution had been going on for centuries in Amsterdam, it never stopped. In the later part of the 18th century, beautifully-furnished brothels opened up in De Wallen and were recognized by the red colored lanterns hanging by the doors. Over the years, religious representatives would go out at night waving Bible texts in front of prostitutes and clients. From 1897 to 1902, there was a ban on brothels. Soon after, the prostitute business flourished again. Police, however, did not allow women to entice their clients standing in their doorways. They could only do that from behind the window curtains.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Over the years, awareness has grown over the prostitutes who may have come to Amsterdam against their will and being forced to do their profession under false pretense. Even though a lot of that is still going on, unfortunately, there are plenty of prostitutes in Amsterdam that do their job simply because they love it. (Amsterdam is trying to completely end illegal prostitution.) In 2000, brothels in the Netherlands became legal and prostitution is now regarded as an official profession. All prostitutes must pay income tax and follow the rules and regulations applicable to other professions in the country.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my experience at Red Light Secrets, I was taken on a small audio tour by Inga, a Russian woman who escaped forced prostitution in Germany to work for herself in Amsterdam. She has been a prostitute for more than 15 years and no longer has a pimp. Inga educated me on the business behind prostitution, the hardships and what goes on behind the scenes. You could read more by clicking here. She also shared a lot of her personal stories as well.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

At the museum, I got to visit a brothel in its original states; another brothel where an unsolved murder crime happened and I got to visit the rooms, read personal stories and experienced what it feels like to sit behind one of the famous red light windows. I will admit that I felt a little funny about going to this museum, but since prostitution makes up for a large part of Amsterdam, I believe it is very important for people to learn more about what goes on. The museum also talks about sex trafficking and how not every prostitute does their job on their own will, sadly!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

5. Wander through the Tulips of Holland (During the Springtime)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

One of the main reasons why I traveled to Amsterdam during the spring was to see the famous tulip fields. Originally from Turkey, tulips were imported into Holland during the 16th century.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

From late March through early May, you could visit the tulips in Lisse, Netherlands. If you are looking to visit an actual tulip farm where you could walk through the infinite fields, I recommend traveling to the Netherlands in mid April because they are in full bloom during that time. Since I traveled to Amsterdam later in the tulip season, all of the bulbs had been cut at the local farms.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Instead, I made my way to Keukenhof Tulip Gardens – a massive flower park located in Lisse, about 25 minutes from Amsterdam. Every year, more than 7 million tulips are planted in the fall to bloom in the spring. During my time in the Netherlands, I booked a photography tour with Sandra Herrero. She took the most beautiful shots of me at this magical place. Check out her photography below and throughout the blog.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Every year, Keukenhof has a specific theme. The theme for 2019 was Flower Power! There are 10 miles of trails where you could see different types and colors of tulips! Throughout the year, there are exciting flower shows, inspiration gardens, unique art installations and fun events at this wonderful garden. The park also has entertainers throughout (particularly those wearing wooden Dutch shoes) and there are also food trucks!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

I absolutely loved seeing all of the different types of tulips. All of the colors were absolutely gorgeous! My favorite area was definitely where the windmill was. It is the perfect way to truly feel like you’re in Holland.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Overall, it was a truly enchanting experience walking through Keukenhof. I had so much fun shooting with Sandra and I also got the opportunity to meet a London travel vlogger – Iwan, also known as Mr. Carrington on YouTube and Instagram. We connected and shortly found out we both were working with Clink Hostels! You could check out Iwan’s vlog on Amsterdam here!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Traveling to Keukenhof is super easy from both the city of Amsterdam along with Amsterdam Airport Schipol. Sandra and I took the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Schipol and then took the Keukenhof Bus Express to the gardens. You could also drive to Keukenhof or book a guided tour from Amsterdam, The Hague or Rotterdam. There are also taxis that will take you there as well and you could also attend a bike tour too.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

6. Get Your Nature Fix Around Vondelpark – Amsterdam’s Largest Park

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Vondelpark is the largest park in Amsterdam and is also the most famous city park in the Netherlands. It is the perfect place to go to if you want to enjoy a picnic with friends, walk your dog, read a book or people watch (which is what I did). After a long morning of walking around, it was definitely nice to sit in the park and enjoy nature.

Vondelpark is a bit of a walk from the heart of Amsterdam, but it is totally worth it once you get there. During the summer, there are free concerts, which is awesome. Both locals and visitors could also enjoy the gardens, statue of the poet Vondel, a playground, restaurant and terrace. You could also ride a bike through Vondelpark as well!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

What is interesting about Vondelpark is that it was constructed on a swampy area, so every 30 years there needs to be a renovation since the ground level of the park constantly lowers itself. The park easily floods during a heavy rainstorm though. It is still beautiful regardless!

7. Enjoy an Evening Canal Cruise around Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my time in Amsterdam, I was constantly told that I needed to experience the city through the infamous canals. Since I booked a day trip to Brugge, Belgium, I received a free 1-hour canal cruise through Lovers Canal Cruises.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

You could book your canal cruise anytime throughout the day, but I decided to do mine in the evening because I figured it would be beautiful to see the sunset on the water. When I hopped on, I was given an audio guide and learned more about the history of Amsterdam. During the hour, we went past lavish merchant houses, gothic churches, famous museums and medieval buildings. I also learned that Amsterdam was the founding city of Liberalism.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

8. Visit a Famous Amsterdam Museum

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is definitely a city known for its museums. In fact, there are around 75 museums located throughout the city. Besides the museums I talked about above, some other great museums to visit during your time in Amsterdam are listed below:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

9. Walk Around the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

One thing I wasn’t originally planning on doing prior to my Amsterdam trip, but ended up doing it on a whim, was visiting the Amsterdam Royal Palace located in Dam Square. This beautiful building was built as the city hall for the magistrates of Amsterdam. Nowadays, it is one of the three Palaces, which the State has placed at the King’s disposal by an Act of Parliament. It is also used for Royal Events like the reception of the foreign heads of state during visits to the Netherlands, the King’s New Year reception and other events. The Royal Palace is also where various official and royal prizes are handed.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

For 10 euros, you could do an audio tour around the palace and learn the history behind it. I was absolutely fascinated with all of the rooms! (This experience was very similar to visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid. Click here to read more.)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

10. Do a Day Trip

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Since the Netherlands is such a small country, you could easily do day trips to other cities and even countries. During my four days in Amsterdam, I did a lovely day trip to Brugge, Belgium, which was absolutely magical! Here is a list of other recommended places to visit that isn’t too far from Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
  • Lisse
  • The Hague
  • Rotterdam
  • Utrecht
  • Haarlem
  • Leiden
  • Antwerp
  • Delft
  • Brussels
  • Gouda
  • Ghent

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

I had such a blast in Amsterdam and it was even more fun staying at ClinkNOORD. To stay up to date with Clink Hostels, follow their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages! If you have any questions about my stay at Clink Hostels or general inquiries about my time in Amsterdam, Netherlands, please send me an email at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Basic Facts of The Netherlands:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Amsterdam

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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6 Comments

  1. Michele Weinstein on May 20, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    This place looks so fun!!!!! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Taylor Deer on May 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much Michele! Amsterdam became one of my new favorite cities in Europe.

  2. Hannah on May 21, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    I am so so happy you had an amazing time in Amsterdam! And I loved to read through this article, because I really think you got a true sense of what the city is REALLY like! Let’s hope that in the future more people will come here with such an open mind and heart rather than just visiting to get drunk and high and eat cheap greasy food in the red light area for an entire weekend!! Haha

    • Taylor Deer on May 21, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Haha yes, it was such a blast! Thank you so much again for showing me around and introducing me to off-the-grid places throughout the city. 🙂

  3. Charu Goyal on May 31, 2019 at 10:18 am

    This is so well written Taylor. Amsterdam is a place that is super close to my heart and reading this brought so many memories back. There is definitely so much to Amsterdam than the party scene there and I am so glad that you showed that.

    • Taylor Deer on May 31, 2019 at 10:39 am

      I’m so glad it brought you back to Amsterdam! I fell in love with this city and definitely want to go back in the near future. 🙂 Also thank you so much!

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Taylor in Keukenhof 20

Falling in Love with Amsterdam, Netherlands

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam became one of my new favorite cities in Europe for numerous reasons. I loved how beautiful, safe and clean the city was; the culture was very relaxed; the architecture was amazing and the food was absolutely delicious.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

In May 2019, I decided to book a lovely four-day getaway to Amsterdam to experience the city for the first time, see the infamous tulip fields and get a taste of true Dutch culture. I fell in love with this city and there was no better way to experience it than with Clink Hostels – an award winning hostel company that offers unique and creative ways for travelers to enjoy a city.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

In this blog post, read all about my experience staying at ClinkNOORD in Amsterdam and discover the top ten things to do in and around the city.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

*During my time in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Clink Hostels hosted me for four nights at ClinkNOORD.


Getting to and Around Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

My trip to Amsterdam was an addition onto another trip I had done during spring 2019. I started my journey in Morocco for a week and then made my way to Sevilla, Spain. After spending four days in Sevilla, I flew up to Amsterdam for a cheap cost and spent the rest of my trip there before heading home.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

After arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schipol, I took a taxi to Clink. I highly recommend not taking a taxi to your accommodation in Amsterdam because it is VERY expensive. Uber is a bit cheaper, but taking the train to Amsterdam Centraal will definitely help you save money! Truth be told, since I was traveling for two weeks, I couldn’t haul my big heavy luggage through the train station, so I ended up just catching an Uber on the way back to the airport from Clink.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

When you are actually in Amsterdam, it is pretty easy to get around by walking. I also recommend renting a bike as well! It is important to note that there are so many bikes in Amsterdam, so please watch out because it is very easy to get hit if you aren’t paying attention. There are, however, specific lanes for bikes, pedestrians and cars, so always keep an eye out and stay in your designated lane to prevent an accident.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has 150 canals and 1,250 bridges throughout the city, making it similar to Venice, Italy. (In fact, Amsterdam has more canals than Venice!) The difference between the two European cities is that Amsterdam has cars and since Venice is comprised of different islands, the main way to get from one place to another is by water taxi or water buses.  So, if you are looking to get somewhere quickly in or around Amsterdam, you could either rent a car, take a taxi or Uber, utilize the GVB Bus Tram Metro or take a hop on hop off water bus (there are a few companies that offer this).

Staying at ClinkNOORD:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my time in Amsterdam, I had so much fun staying at ClinkNOORD in Amsterdam-NOORD. ClinkNOORD is part of Clink Hostels that offer friendly and familiar budget-friendly hostels in Amsterdam and London. They also just opened up hostels in Dublin and Lisbon. What makes Clink Hostels perfect for all types of travelers are that they are situated in prime, central locations in each city, offering a fun and convenient travel experience.

About ClinkNOORD:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

What is so cool about ClinkNOORD in Amsterdam is that it was once a 1920’s laboratory turned into a vibrant hostel for all to enjoy. Located a few minutes from downtown via the free ferry that goes to Amsterdam Centraal train station, this fun hostel has a bar (ZincBAR), café (CatalystCAFE), a guest kitchen to cook your own meals (open from 7am to midnight), 24-hour reception, various lounge areas to relax and get work done, stained glass windows to add charm and detail, art displays for creativity and character, arcade games for fun, an atrium that makes you feel like you’re outside, a library and more! Check in for ClinkNOORD opens at 2:30pm and you must be checked out at 10am to avoid extra charges. You will also get a hostel access key card to get you into your room and the hallways during all hours of the day. The keycard will also get you into ClinkNOORD as well. Please ensure you don’t lose your keycard because then you will be charged a few euros each time you have to get a new card.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

ClinkNOORD also has free walking and bike tours, great deals on activities to do around Amsterdam and they even host game nights, fitness classes (such as yoga) and solo traveler meet ups. The hostel also has free WiFi throughout, a travel store called TravelSHOP (here you could purchase discounted tickets for Amsterdam attractions as well as travel essentials), laundry for small fees, hair dryers for rent, a luggage room and lockers. (Please note that you will need to bring your own lock for the lockers. The reception desk also has locks for a small price.)

Private En-suite Rooms at ClinkNOORD (Single, Twin, Double or Quad Rooms)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

In addition to being centrally located, what I loved about ClinkNOORD was the selection of rooms available. I was hosted in the hostel’s private en-suite room that included a full sized bed with fresh linens as well as a private bathroom that had a shower, toilet, sink, fresh towels, shampoo and body wash. Since I was alone, I got the single private en-suite. This room is also perfect for couples as well! If you are traveling with a friend, you could get a twin room with a bunk bed or double room with a double bed. If you are venturing with a couple friends, you could book a private quad room with bunk beds and a double bed. All of the private rooms include a private bathroom, USB slots, plug outlets and storage compartments (there was also a lot of space under my bed to store my large luggage). What I love about staying in hostels that have private en-suit rooms is that I could still have fun and meet new friends while enjoying my privacy.

En-suite Dormitory Rooms at ClinkNOORD (Mixed and All Female Dorms)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Not only are there a great selection of private en-suite rooms at ClinkNOORD, there are also a great range of en-suite mixed dorm rooms for both men and women who are traveling in small groups or are solo travelers. These en-suite mixed dorm rooms offer modern bunk beds and lockers. Each guest also has their own USB slot and reading light with their bed. These rooms also offer fresh linens, but you will need to rent towels at the reception desk for a small fee. There are also en-suite dorms for just females! There are 4 to 6 bedded en-suite mixed dorm rooms and 4 and 10 bedded en-suite girls dorms.

Bedded Shared Dorm Rooms at ClinkNOORD (Mixed Rooms)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

For a wallet-friendly option, I highly recommend staying in the 8 to 14 bedded dorms. These dorms have large shared space with modern bunk beds and lockers like the en-suite rooms. There are also USB slots and reading lights with each bed. Bed linen is also provided and towels can be rented at reception for a small price. The difference between these rooms versus the en-suite dorms is that there is no private bathroom. Guests can use the communal bathrooms located in the hallways.

Eating and Drinking at ClinkNOORD:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my stay at ClinkNOORD, I enjoyed a complimentary breakfast every morning. If you are staying at the hostel, breakfast costs 5.90 euros if you book in advance or 8 euros otherwise. The breakfast at ClinkNOORD includes a selection of cereals, breads, cold cuts, salads, eggs, hot dogs, beans, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola. There are also a large selection of hot and cold drinks. The breakfast is located in the lower level of ClinkNOORD, near where ZincBAR is located. Since there are so many lounge areas in the hostel, you could enjoy your food anywhere!

If you are around for lunchtime or are looking for a great snack, CatalystCAFE offers delicious paninis, sandwiches and baked goods to enjoy. Right before I left to go to the airport on my last day, I enjoyed a nice lunch there. It is absolutely perfect for all times of the day.

My favorite place to hangout at ClinkNOORD was at ZincBAR. It was definitely the place where I was able to meet new friends. ZincBAR is also the area where all of the hostel’s events take place such as cocktail trainings, trivia nights, traveler meetups, karaoke and more! During my first night at ClinkNOORD, I hung out at ZincBAR and enjoyed some awesome Dutch beer along with a delicious Margherita pizza! The pizza was absolutely amazing and I totally ate the whole thing. No regrets! Not to mention, the live music was also awesome. It was definitely a memorable night! Not only could you savor local brews at ZincBAR, you can also get a nice cocktail and enjoy the other items on their seasonal menu. In regards to the menu, they have a great selection of appetizers, salads and soups, vegan dishes, burgers and pizza.

Overall, I had such a blast staying at ClinkNOORD and highly recommend choosing your stay with Clink Hostels if you’re traveling around Europe. I cannot wait to come back and make more memories at Clink!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in and Around Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

1. Get Lost in Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

One of my favorite parts of Amsterdam was admiring the architecture and the dancing houses. To me, Amsterdam is very different than the rest of Europe and there is something about the vibe that makes it the perfect city for all to enjoy. Also, shall I mention that Amsterdam is super photogenic! Admittedly, during my time in Amsterdam, I woke up super early one morning to stroll around and get some photos of myself with my tripod.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Since I love the architecture so much, I was so excited to get some shots in front of these gorgeous Dutch buildings. The reason why the houses in Amsterdam are tilted is because they are built on a wooden foundation. Just like in cities like New Orleans, Amsterdam is marshland. Over the years, the wooden poles have decayed or rotted, causing the tilting of the houses. During my time in Amsterdam, I met up with another influencer, Hannah of Exploring Relentlessly, who took me around the city and taught me some interesting facts. If you notice when you’re in Amsterdam, each house has a hook at the top to enable residents to pull large furniture and appliances up and into the windows at the proper floor. The homes in Amsterdam are so narrow, causing the staircases to be super steep, making it difficult to carry large objects up them. (I witnessed this for myself when I visited the Anne Frank House that I talk about below.) The windows, however, are rather large and could fit a couch or washing machine through them. Another cool thing to notice as you stroll around Amsterdam is the decorative gables at the top of each house. The style of the gables gives an insight into the history of the building. Another cool thing to note is how wide the house is. Amsterdam would tax residents on the width of their house, so if you see a home that is wide, a wealthy person at one point lived there.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Some of the best areas to get lost in are Jordaan, Jodenbuurt and the Red Light District. In Jordaan and Jodenbuurt (Jewish Quarter) you could find cute cafés, indie boutiques, bakeries, museums, outdoor restaurants, cozy pubs and small businesses. The Red Light District during the day is pretty quiet, although you will still see some women in the windows. However, the Red Light District offers great coffee houses, cafés and museums.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

A great area that Hannah took me to that didn’t include a lot of tourists was to the Westelijke Eilanden (Western Islands) in Amsterdam. The Prinseneiland and Realeneiland are the two most beautiful isles that are connected by stunning white little bridges that open up to let boats through. It was definitely an awesome experience getting to walk through this area.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Some other wonderful places to see in Amsterdam is the beautiful Amsterdam Centraal train station; the Bloemenmarkt – the world’s only floating flower market, the Damrak – where the former stock exchange building is located and the area where you could see the dancing houses; Dam Square – the most notable town square in Amsterdam; the Magna Plaza Shopping Centre – one of the most beautiful malls in the world and the famous house boats – former cargo vessels turned into houses along the canals.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

2. Eat and Drink Your Way Around Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Another reason why I LOVED Amsterdam is because the food was absolutely amazing! No matter where you go, you will definitely be savoring a delicious meal! Below is a list of places I ate at during my time in Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

ZincBAR at ClinkNOORD: Like I mention above, ZincBAR is a social element that provides a great concoction of drinks, seasonal food, live music and fun events. On my first night in Amsterdam, I enjoyed dinner and drinks at ZincBAR and it definitely did not disappoint! For dinner, I savored a delicious Margherita pizza with a pint of Dutch beer. It was perfect!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

The Happy Pig Pancake Shop: Prior to going to Amsterdam, I was told that I needed to try Dutch pancakes and that it would change my life. Let me tell you, it definitely did my friends! Known to have the best pancakes in Amsterdam, I made my way to The Happy Pig Pancake Shop – home of the original rolled pancakes. I luckily got to The Happy Pig Pancake Shop right when it opened so that I ensured I got a seat. When you first arrive, you will need to order at the counter. You could either build your own pancake or waffle, choose a savory special or do what I did by picking one of the Happy Pig Recommendations! I ended up getting the Everybody’s Sweetheart that consisted of lightly rolled pancakes with banana, chocolate-hazelnut sauce and toasted almond slices. I also had a latte on the side. Yes, I also finished it all (no shame)! Since I have a sweet tooth, especially for breakfast, this definitely hit the spot.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Bussia: Amsterdam is known for having amazing Italian restaurants. I was so thankful someone recommended Bussia to me – a modern Italian restaurant. Located in the charming ‘9 Streets’ area of Amsterdam, Bussia is a comforting restaurant with a super friendly staff. During my time at Bussia, I was given two samples before I received my delicious pasta di mare that consisted of squid ink spaghettini with lobster meat in a lobster bisque. It was absolutely AMAZING! I also enjoyed a nice white wine with this dish.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Melly’s Stroopwafels: You cannot go to Amsterdam without getting a stroopwafel! For those who do not know, a stroopwafel is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling. You could either have it plain or get it with chocolate or a fruity frosting topped with your favorite goodies such as M&Ms, sprinkles, etc. After my amazing Italian dinner at Bussia, I just made it to Melly’s Stroopwafels right before it closed. I enjoyed a delicious stroopwafel with a strawberry frosting and M&Ms and it was so good! I could have easily enjoyed a few of these.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Van Stapele Koekmakerij: Known as the best cookies in Amsterdam, Van Stapele Koekmakerij is a must-visit if you are a lover of baked goods. What is interesting about this cookie shop is that it only sells one cookie! It consists of dark chocolate with a melted white chocolate filling and is served to you fresh out of the oven. It is absolutely amazing! I knew I couldn’t leave Amsterdam without visiting Van Stapele. One thing to note is that there is a line to get inside Van Stapele, but it goes fairly quickly.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Bleu: During the day that Hannah and I strolled around Amsterdam, we grabbed a light lunch at Bleu – a trendy French restaurant located near the Jordaan area. Since we had been walking around, it was nice to sip an Aperol Spritz and savor a smoked salmon toast. The smoked salmon toast was absolutely incredible and it made for the perfect lunch.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Sampurna: Since Indonesia was once a Dutch colony, there are a plethora of amazing Indonesian restaurants located throughout Amsterdam. I highly recommend making your way to one of them because Indonesian food is so yummy! I honestly haven’t had Indonesian food since my trip to Bali in October 2018, so my friend from college recommended a great restaurant to check out called Sampurna. I enjoyed some of my favorite Indonesian dishes such as tempeh (soybean), sambal telur (an egg dish with sauce), sautéed veggies and Indonesian fried rice with chicken and sausage. It was so good!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

De Koffieschenkerij: As I was strolling through the Red Light District one morning, I came across a beautiful church called Oude Kerk. I wanted to go inside, but mass was in session since it was a Sunday. Right next to the church was a cute little courtyard and coffee bar where I decided to enjoy breakfast. Since De Koffieschenkerij is also known for their lavish cakes, I enjoyed a comforting chai latte and peanut butter chocolate cake in their courtyard with some fresh orange juice. It was absolutely perfect!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

3. Visit the Anne Frank House

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

One of the most educating and eye opening experiences during my time in Amsterdam was walking through the Anne Frank House. Unless you book your trip to Amsterdam several months in advance and also get your Anne Frank tickets then, it is extremely hard to get tickets to visit the museum and house. I consider myself extremely lucky because the receptionist at ClinkNOORD told me that if I go onto the museum’s website at 9am the day of, there would be a possibility I could get a ticket. On my last full day in Amsterdam, I set my alarm for 9am to ensure I didn’t miss it and I got the ticket!!! I was so happy that I was able to go because I have had such an interest in Holocaust studies and I also read the Diary of Anne Frank and also watched the 1959 movie when I was studying the subject in school.

Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929. During this time period, unemployment was extremely high and there was severe poverty in Germany. Adolf Hitler and his party came to rise during this time. Hitler and his supporters hated Jews and blamed them for the problems going on in Germany. With the extreme hatred of Jews and the declining economic situation in Germany, Anne’s parents Otto and Edith decided to move to the Netherlands. It was in Amsterdam where Otto Frank founded a company that traded in pectin – a gelling agent used to make fruity jams.

In September of 1939, after several years of Anne becoming acclimated in the Netherlands, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. In May of 1940, the Nazis also invaded the Netherlands and the Dutch army surrendered. During this time, laws and regulations became strict for Jews. Jewish children had to go to a separate school, all Jewish entrepreneurs lost their businesses, they had to start wearing a Star of David on their clothes and then slowly but surely, young adults were being called to labor camps in Nazi Germany. Anne’s older sister Margot (who was three years older) received a call, making her parents nervous, so they went into hiding the next day in order to prevent a future arrest.

On Anne’s 13th birthday, she received a diary as a present. During her two years hiding in the annex of her father’s former office, she wrote about what happened during that time period and she also presented her thoughts and feelings. Anne never finished writing in her diary because in August of 1944, she and the other people hiding in the annex were discovered and arrested by police officers.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

After their arrest, the Franks along with the other family in hiding were sent to a prison in Amsterdam and then to the Westerbork transit camp. Later on, they were transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp. Months later, Anne and Margot were then deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they both died of typhus in February of 1945. Otto Frank was the only one from the annex who survived. Anne‘s mother Edith died in Auschwitz.

When Otto returned to Amsterdam, he visited the annex that ended up being emptied out by the Germans. Anne’s diary was discovered and her writings made a deep impression on her father. In June 1947, 3,000 copies of Het Achterhuis (The Secret Annex) were printed. Later on, her diary was translated to over 70 languages. In 1960, the house where Anne and her family hid for over two years became a museum.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

It was definitely a surreal experience being in the building that Anne and her family stayed in for over two years. I walked out of the museum with tears in my eyes and a reawakening of the horrible events that happened during the Holocaust. Until Otto Frank’s death in 1980, he was closely involved with the Anne Frank House and Museum and hoped that all readers of her diary and visitors of Amsterdam become aware of the dangers of discrimination, racism and hatred.

As you make your way through the museum and annex, you cannot take photos. So to sum it up, the annex was a very small and cramped place. You could also do a virtual tour on the Anne Frank website.

4. Learn the BTS Behind the Red Light District

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

The Red Light District of Amsterdam (also known as De Wallen) is the oldest district of Amsterdam. It said that ever since it was built in the late 14th century, it has been notorious for the women inhabiting its streets.

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. Overall, it is a tough business! In most places worldwide, prostitution is pretty secretive. The Red Light District, however, offers inspection and supervision to minimize potential abuses. The number one aim is to prevent forced prostitution.

During my time in Amsterdam, I was interested in learning more about the Red Light District and found out about Red Light Secrets – a truly educating experience that takes you behind the scenes of the most notorious area of Amsterdam.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Since prostitution had been going on for centuries in Amsterdam, it never stopped. In the later part of the 18th century, beautifully-furnished brothels opened up in De Wallen and were recognized by the red colored lanterns hanging by the doors. Over the years, religious representatives would go out at night waving Bible texts in front of prostitutes and clients. From 1897 to 1902, there was a ban on brothels. Soon after, the prostitute business flourished again. Police, however, did not allow women to entice their clients standing in their doorways. They could only do that from behind the window curtains.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Over the years, awareness has grown over the prostitutes who may have come to Amsterdam against their will and being forced to do their profession under false pretense. Even though a lot of that is still going on, unfortunately, there are plenty of prostitutes in Amsterdam that do their job simply because they love it. (Amsterdam is trying to completely end illegal prostitution.) In 2000, brothels in the Netherlands became legal and prostitution is now regarded as an official profession. All prostitutes must pay income tax and follow the rules and regulations applicable to other professions in the country.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my experience at Red Light Secrets, I was taken on a small audio tour by Inga, a Russian woman who escaped forced prostitution in Germany to work for herself in Amsterdam. She has been a prostitute for more than 15 years and no longer has a pimp. Inga educated me on the business behind prostitution, the hardships and what goes on behind the scenes. You could read more by clicking here. She also shared a lot of her personal stories as well.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

At the museum, I got to visit a brothel in its original states; another brothel where an unsolved murder crime happened and I got to visit the rooms, read personal stories and experienced what it feels like to sit behind one of the famous red light windows. I will admit that I felt a little funny about going to this museum, but since prostitution makes up for a large part of Amsterdam, I believe it is very important for people to learn more about what goes on. The museum also talks about sex trafficking and how not every prostitute does their job on their own will, sadly!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

5. Wander through the Tulips of Holland (During the Springtime)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

One of the main reasons why I traveled to Amsterdam during the spring was to see the famous tulip fields. Originally from Turkey, tulips were imported into Holland during the 16th century.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

From late March through early May, you could visit the tulips in Lisse, Netherlands. If you are looking to visit an actual tulip farm where you could walk through the infinite fields, I recommend traveling to the Netherlands in mid April because they are in full bloom during that time. Since I traveled to Amsterdam later in the tulip season, all of the bulbs had been cut at the local farms.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Instead, I made my way to Keukenhof Tulip Gardens – a massive flower park located in Lisse, about 25 minutes from Amsterdam. Every year, more than 7 million tulips are planted in the fall to bloom in the spring. During my time in the Netherlands, I booked a photography tour with Sandra Herrero. She took the most beautiful shots of me at this magical place. Check out her photography below and throughout the blog.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Every year, Keukenhof has a specific theme. The theme for 2019 was Flower Power! There are 10 miles of trails where you could see different types and colors of tulips! Throughout the year, there are exciting flower shows, inspiration gardens, unique art installations and fun events at this wonderful garden. The park also has entertainers throughout (particularly those wearing wooden Dutch shoes) and there are also food trucks!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

I absolutely loved seeing all of the different types of tulips. All of the colors were absolutely gorgeous! My favorite area was definitely where the windmill was. It is the perfect way to truly feel like you’re in Holland.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Overall, it was a truly enchanting experience walking through Keukenhof. I had so much fun shooting with Sandra and I also got the opportunity to meet a London travel vlogger – Iwan, also known as Mr. Carrington on YouTube and Instagram. We connected and shortly found out we both were working with Clink Hostels! You could check out Iwan’s vlog on Amsterdam here!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Traveling to Keukenhof is super easy from both the city of Amsterdam along with Amsterdam Airport Schipol. Sandra and I took the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Schipol and then took the Keukenhof Bus Express to the gardens. You could also drive to Keukenhof or book a guided tour from Amsterdam, The Hague or Rotterdam. There are also taxis that will take you there as well and you could also attend a bike tour too.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

6. Get Your Nature Fix Around Vondelpark – Amsterdam’s Largest Park

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Vondelpark is the largest park in Amsterdam and is also the most famous city park in the Netherlands. It is the perfect place to go to if you want to enjoy a picnic with friends, walk your dog, read a book or people watch (which is what I did). After a long morning of walking around, it was definitely nice to sit in the park and enjoy nature.

Vondelpark is a bit of a walk from the heart of Amsterdam, but it is totally worth it once you get there. During the summer, there are free concerts, which is awesome. Both locals and visitors could also enjoy the gardens, statue of the poet Vondel, a playground, restaurant and terrace. You could also ride a bike through Vondelpark as well!

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

What is interesting about Vondelpark is that it was constructed on a swampy area, so every 30 years there needs to be a renovation since the ground level of the park constantly lowers itself. The park easily floods during a heavy rainstorm though. It is still beautiful regardless!

7. Enjoy an Evening Canal Cruise around Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

During my time in Amsterdam, I was constantly told that I needed to experience the city through the infamous canals. Since I booked a day trip to Brugge, Belgium, I received a free 1-hour canal cruise through Lovers Canal Cruises.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

You could book your canal cruise anytime throughout the day, but I decided to do mine in the evening because I figured it would be beautiful to see the sunset on the water. When I hopped on, I was given an audio guide and learned more about the history of Amsterdam. During the hour, we went past lavish merchant houses, gothic churches, famous museums and medieval buildings. I also learned that Amsterdam was the founding city of Liberalism.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

8. Visit a Famous Amsterdam Museum

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is definitely a city known for its museums. In fact, there are around 75 museums located throughout the city. Besides the museums I talked about above, some other great museums to visit during your time in Amsterdam are listed below:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

9. Walk Around the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

One thing I wasn’t originally planning on doing prior to my Amsterdam trip, but ended up doing it on a whim, was visiting the Amsterdam Royal Palace located in Dam Square. This beautiful building was built as the city hall for the magistrates of Amsterdam. Nowadays, it is one of the three Palaces, which the State has placed at the King’s disposal by an Act of Parliament. It is also used for Royal Events like the reception of the foreign heads of state during visits to the Netherlands, the King’s New Year reception and other events. The Royal Palace is also where various official and royal prizes are handed.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

For 10 euros, you could do an audio tour around the palace and learn the history behind it. I was absolutely fascinated with all of the rooms! (This experience was very similar to visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid. Click here to read more.)

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

10. Do a Day Trip

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo By Sandra Herrero Photography

Since the Netherlands is such a small country, you could easily do day trips to other cities and even countries. During my four days in Amsterdam, I did a lovely day trip to Brugge, Belgium, which was absolutely magical! Here is a list of other recommended places to visit that isn’t too far from Amsterdam:

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam
  • Lisse
  • The Hague
  • Rotterdam
  • Utrecht
  • Haarlem
  • Leiden
  • Antwerp
  • Delft
  • Brussels
  • Gouda
  • Ghent

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

I had such a blast in Amsterdam and it was even more fun staying at ClinkNOORD. To stay up to date with Clink Hostels, follow their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages! If you have any questions about my stay at Clink Hostels or general inquiries about my time in Amsterdam, Netherlands, please send me an email at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam

Basic Facts of The Netherlands:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Amsterdam

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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6 Comments

  1. Michele Weinstein on May 20, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    This place looks so fun!!!!! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Taylor Deer on May 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much Michele! Amsterdam became one of my new favorite cities in Europe.

  2. Hannah on May 21, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    I am so so happy you had an amazing time in Amsterdam! And I loved to read through this article, because I really think you got a true sense of what the city is REALLY like! Let’s hope that in the future more people will come here with such an open mind and heart rather than just visiting to get drunk and high and eat cheap greasy food in the red light area for an entire weekend!! Haha

    • Taylor Deer on May 21, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Haha yes, it was such a blast! Thank you so much again for showing me around and introducing me to off-the-grid places throughout the city. 🙂

  3. Charu Goyal on May 31, 2019 at 10:18 am

    This is so well written Taylor. Amsterdam is a place that is super close to my heart and reading this brought so many memories back. There is definitely so much to Amsterdam than the party scene there and I am so glad that you showed that.

    • Taylor Deer on May 31, 2019 at 10:39 am

      I’m so glad it brought you back to Amsterdam! I fell in love with this city and definitely want to go back in the near future. 🙂 Also thank you so much!

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