There’s more to Amsterdam than canals, coffee shops, bicycles and the red light district. As well as its museums and the 17th-century houses along the canals, Amsterdam has a lot of surprising sites, undiscovered by the mainstream tourist.
Pay a visit to the smallest house in the world (located at Singel 7), the tiniest museum — the Miniature Museum for Modern Art (Singel 548), the “Magere brug” (skinny bridge, Amstel) or a Buddhist temple (Zeedijk 106-118) in the heart of the city.
A brand new hostel located east of the centre in a typical Amsterdam neighbourhood designed by Dutch architect Edward van Vliet. The hostel shares this 1900s former school with a café/restaurant, theatre and cinema. www.stayokay.com
mid-range: NH City
A hotel at the heart of Amsterdam overlooking the famous Singel Canal, close to the flower market and the home of Anne Frank. Offers a shuttle bus to and from the airport 20 kilometres away. www.nh-hotels.com
deluxe: GRAND HOTEL
A new luxury hotel set in the newly-restored Shipping House, a monumental building built between 1912 and 1916 in the Amsterdam School style that retains many of its original features. In the centre of town, 500 metres from the central station. amrathamsterdam.com
The house where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary as she and her Jewish family hid during World War II is now a well-known museum telling the story of their experience. Anne Frank’s diary is among the original objects on display. annefrank.org
van gogh museum
The museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world, giving the visitor the chance to track the artist’s developments, or compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century in the collection. www.vangoghmuseum.nl
RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Dating back to the 14th century when sailors arrived in need of some female company, the district just south of the central station is full of sex shops, brothels, gay bars, cinemas, hotels and different kinds of museums. While this part of the city is a major tourist attraction, the mayor has been trying to clean it up of late. http://amsterdam-red-light-district.info/
A traditional restaurant that occupies six epic buildings in the historical centre of Amsterdam, complete with original architectural features. They serve traditional Dutch dishes including stamppot: Mashed potatoes with a vegetable, served with sausage and bacon. http://www.haesjeclaes.nl/
Trendy Mediterranean restaurant and club in the old port centre, the area is sometimes called the Manhattan of Amsterdam. Eat there then enjoy live jazz on Thursday and Sunday and sets from big name house DJs on the weekend. Book ahead www.panama.nl
A cultural meeting point, Hotel Arena is actually a hotel, restaurant, bar and club in one. Built as an orphanage in 1890 this building became a youth hostel in 1982 and was given its other functions in 1990. Housed in the building’s former chapel, the club offers two floors of music, a mix of international DJs, 80s theme nights, salsa lounge and club classic. www.hotelarena.nl
New club owned by famous Dutch DJ Tiësto located in a monumental building that used to be a cinema. A young trendy crowd dines at the restaurant, and it’s a club every Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the latest house and electronic music. www.cineac.nl