- For other places with the same name, see Amsterdam (disambiguation).
Amsterdam  is the capital of the Netherlands. With more than one million inhabitants in its urban area, it is the country's largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative centre. Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North, because of its lovely canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. There is something for every traveller's taste here, whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.
Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important trading centres in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. The city's small mediaeval centre rapidly expanded as the Jordaan and the Canal Belt neighbourhoods were constructed; the latter's cultural significance was acknowledged when it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded in all directions, with many new neighbourhoods and suburbs designed in modernist styles.
Amsterdam is not the seat of the government, which is in The Hague. Partly because of this, the city has an informal atmosphere unlike other capital cities its size. In fact, Amsterdam has a history of non-conformism, tolerance and progressivism, all of which come together in its liberal policies concerning cannabis and prostitution. Other attractions include the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, the Flower Market, Albert Cuyp Market, and the Vondelpark.
The mediaeval centre and most visited area of Amsterdam. It is known for its traditional architecture, canals, shopping, and many coffeeshops. Dam Square is considered its ultimate centre, but just as interesting are the areas around Nieuwmarkt and Spui. The Red Light District is also a part of the Old Centre.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Canal Ring was dug in the 17th century to attract wealthy home owners. It is still a posh neighbourhood with many Dutch celebrities owning property. The Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are the city's prime nightlife spots.
A traditional working class area gone upmarket with plenty of art galleries, hip boutiques and happening restaurants. Also includes the Haarlemmerbuurt and the Western Islands.
Intended to be an extension of the Canal Ring, lack of demand made this into a leafy area with lots of greenery, botanical gardens and Artis Zoo. Also includes the Weesperbuurt and the Eastern Islands.
One of Amsterdam's prime areas, a trip to the city is not complete without a visit to the Museum Quarter. You can chill in the Vondelpark with a bottle of wine, or go hunt for bargains at the Albert Cuyp Market. It is the most popular area for accommodation as rates are considerably cheaper than in the city centre.
|West and New West
A vast suburban area that can be divided in West and New West. West is a charming area built in the late 19th century. New West was built after World War II and often catches newspaper headlines for crime; urban renewal is underway to improve living conditions in this area.
North is a newly-built suburb that lies at the northern side of the IJ. Most visitors go to the area east of the motorway A10, a protected polder area that culturally belongs to Waterland. The traditional Dutch countryside is best explored by bicycle.
East is a large and diverse residential area. The Eastern Docklands and IJburg stand out as relatively affluent neighbourhoods known for their modern architecture.
An exclave of Amsterdam, the Bijlmer was foreseen as a neighbourhood of the future with large apartment blocks separated by tracts of green. It turned into a lower-class residential district home to people of over 150 nationalities, often associated with crime and robberies. Its safety record has improved remarkably the last years, but it still is mostly visited by adventurous travellers (and football fans).
The "Amsterdam" that most visitors experience is the city centre, the semi-circle with Central Station at its apex. It corresponds to the city as it was around 1850. Five major concentric canals ring the Old Centre; the Singel, the Herengracht, the Keizersgracht, the Prinsengracht, and the Singelgracht, together forming the Canal Ring. Other districts inside the city centre are the Jordaan, a former working-class area gone upmarket, and Plantage, a leafy and spacious area known for its zoo and botanical gardens. The roads Nassaukade, Stadhouderskade, and Mauritskade surround the centre and mark the location of the former city moat and fortifications. Almost everything outside this line was built after 1870.
The semi-circle is on the south side of the IJ, often called a river but more exactly is an estuary. Going east from Central Station, the railway passes the artificial islands of the redeveloped Eastern Docklands. North of the IJ is mainly housing, although a major dockland redevelopment has started there too.
The river Amstel flows into the city from the south. Originally, it flowed along the line Rokin-Damrak. The dam in the Amstel, which gives the city its name, was located under the present Bijenkorf department store. The original settlement was on the right bank of the Amstel, on the present Warmoesstraat: it is therefore the oldest street in the city. The city has expanded in all directions, except to the northeast of the ring motorway. That area is a protected rural landscape of open fields and small villages that could be considered a part of the Waterland region.
The radius of the semi-circle is about 2 km. All major tourist destinations, and most hotels, are located inside it or just outside it. As a result, a large swathe of Amsterdam is never visited by tourists: at least 90% of the population lives outside this area. Most economic activity in Amsterdam — the offices of the financial sector, and the port — is near or outside the ring motorway, which is 4-5 km from the centre.
The expansion of Amsterdam outside this beltway, and the expansion of activity outside the old centre, is redefining what locals consider the 'central area' of Amsterdam. Without a doubt the most popular district outside of the city centre is the South for its quality museums and gentrified neighbourhood 'De Pijp'.
Many people choose to visit Amsterdam because of its reputation for tolerance, although part of this reputation is attributable to cultural misunderstandings. Prostitution is legalised and licensed in the Netherlands, and in Amsterdam it is very visible (window prostitution), and there are large numbers of prostitutes. The sale, possession, and consumption of small quantities of cannabis, while technically illegal, is tolerated by authorities (the policy of gedogen). This does not mean that you can get away with anything in Amsterdam. In any case, public attitudes and official policy have hardened in recent years. For more on coffeeshops and drugs, see below in Stay safe.
Depending on your viewpoint some people will consider Amsterdam an unwholesome city whereas other people will find their relaxed attitudes refreshing. If you avoid the red light district, Amsterdam is an excellent family destination.
Most people in Amsterdam, young or old, seem to speak at least some conversational English.
|Daily highs (°C)||5||6||10||14||18||21||23||23||20||16||10||6|
|Nightly lows (°C)||0||0||2||4||8||11||13||12||10||7||4||1|
Check Amsterdam's 7 day forecast at weer.nl
Amsterdam is a large city and a major tourist destination, so you can visit it all year round. However, in winter the days are short (8 hours daylight around Christmas), and the weather may be too cold to walk around the city comfortably, let alone cycle. January and February are the coldest months, with lows around 0°C and highs around 5°C. July and August are the warmest months, with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F) at daytime, however, neither summer, nor winter, constantly have the mentioned values. In summer, heat waves (3 days above 30°c) and rainfall at 18°c are quite common, as well as freezing temperatures at daytime with a bit of snow (which may cause trouble in your planning schedule) or a mild 10°C in winter. Always be prepared for some rain: one in two days this occurs, however, it also might become a week at your holiday. Gray clouds cover Amsterdam most time in winter, while in spring and summer, the sun shines six to eight hours a day on average.
Some things are seasonal: the tulip fields only flower in spring, and Queen's Day (Koninginnedag) is always on 30 April, unless it this date occurs on a Sunday. Queen Beatrix was actually born on 31 January, but since January is mostly too cold for outdoor activities, the celebrations are held on the day she became queen of the Netherlands, which was her mother Juliana's birthday.
Get in 
By plane 
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol 
Main article: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Other airports 
Using airports other than Schiphol could prove cheaper in some cases, as some budget airlines fly to Eindhoven and Rotterdam Airports. Then buses and trains can be used to get to Amsterdam. Renting a car is also an option. A taxi is not advisable, from Rotterdam to Amsterdam a taxi would cost €130, and from Eindhoven even more.
From Eindhoven Airport (IATA: EIN, ICAO: EHEH)  take a local bus (Hermes bus 401, duration about 25 minutes, frequency about four times per hour, €3.20 on board or €2.05 using a 15 strippenkaart or €1.71 using an OV-chipkaart) to the train station, from there take a train to Amsterdam (duration 1hr 20 min, frequency four times per hour, single €17.20). Alternatively, take the express bus directly from the airport to Amsterdam central station, which takes 2 hr 15 min. This service goes only 3 to 4 times per day; see their website for a schedule. The ticket price is €25.50 for a single or €42.50 for a return .
From Rotterdam The Hague Airport (IATA: RTM, ICAO: EHRD)  ("Zestienhoven") take a city bus (RET "airport shuttle" bus 33, duration 25-30 minutes, frequency every 10-20 minutes, €2.50 on board or €1.39 using the OV-chipkaart) to Rotterdam Centraal train station, from there take a train to Amsterdam (duration about an hour, frequency every 10-20 minutes, single €13.40).
Schiphol airport is 11 km from the centre of Amsterdam in a straight line, Rotterdam is 57 km and Eindhoven is 107 km. Other airports that could possibly be used are:
- Groningen Airport Eelde (142 km) (IATA: GRQ) 
- Maastricht Aachen Airport (173 km) (IATA: MST) 
- Weeze Airport in Germany (121 km) (IATA: NRN) 
- Antwerp International Airport in Belgium (135 km) (IATA: ANR) 
- Brussels Airport in Belgium (167 km) (IATA: BRU) 
By train 
Most trains arrive and depart from Amsterdam Centraal Station (with one extra 'a' in Dutch), located on an island between the Amsterdam/Old Centre and the IJ waterfront. Other important train stations are Duivendrecht and Bijlmer-ArenA in the southeast, Amstel and Muiderpoort in the East, RAI and Zuid in the South, and Lelylaan and Sloterdijk in the West. Schiphol Airport also has its own train station, which functions as a major interchange station. It has at least seven trains an hour to Amsterdam Centraal, with additional trains going to other stations in Amsterdam.
Most international trains run directly to Amsterdam Centraal Station:
- Thalys  is a high-speed train that connects Amsterdam with Paris (3h19), Brussels (1h54), and Antwerp (1h12). Thalys trains rup up to ten times a day. The cheapest tickets are sold early, so book in advance if possible. There is a bar coach available; if you're travelling in first class, a snack and drinks are included in the price.
- Fyra is a brand-name for services on the high speed line in the Netherlands. There are domestic connections to Rotterdam and Breda, and international connections to Antwerp and Brussels.
Note: From the 17 January 2013 onwards, all international Fyra services are suspended until further notice due to technical problems. On 11 March 2013, a replacement intercity service was introduced from The Hague to Brussels and vice versa. Travellers can catch this intercity either in The Hague HS (Den Haag HS) station (using a conventional intercity service between Amsterdam Centraal and The Hague), or in Rotterdam Central (using a domestic Fyra service that uses the high speed line between Amsterdam and Brussels). The latter option saves you some time, but is also a little more expensive. This replacement intercity only runs as far as Antwerp on weekends, at which time it's necessary to change there for a connecting service to Brussels.
- ICE International  connects Amsterdam up 7 times each day with Düsseldorf (2h16), Cologne (2h41), and Frankfurt (3h46). One ICE-train runs to Basel (6h43). There is a BordBistro-coach available on each ICE-train.
- The Intercity train to Berlin  runs every two hours and connects Amsterdam with Osnabrück (3h08), Hanover (4h20), and Berlin (6h22). A BordBistro-coach is available on each train to Berlin.
- CityNightLine/Euronight  runs overnight trains from Amsterdam Centraal Station directly to Copenhagen (1 night), Warsaw (1 night), Minsk (1 night and 1 day), Moscow (2 nights and 1 day), Prague (1 night), Munich (1 night) and Zurich (1 night). Travelling with these trains might save you a hotel night. You can choose to spend the night in ordinary seats, reclining seats (only to Warsaw/Munich/Zürich), 6- or 4-bedded couchettes, or a 3, 2 or 1-bedded private sleeper-compartment with washing bassin or private shower/toilet. A breakfast is included in the sleeper-compartment, other snacks/drinks are also on sale on board the trains.
- Eurostar  runs a high speed service from London St Pancras Station to Brussels Zuid/Midi Station. From Brussels you can continue to Amsterdam by Thalys or take the Intercity to Amsterdam. Tickets are sold on the Eurostar website and (sometimes cheaper) on the NS Hispeed website.
If you plan to take a train to Amsterdam, it's advisable to check the train times in the international journey planner . Most tickets are sold online, and often it is cheaper to book tickets in advance. Tickets are also sold at the international ticket offices at Amsterdam Centraal Station and at Schiphol Airport. Or visit the Treinreiswinkel  (Singel 393).
By bus 
Most international bus services are affiliated to Eurolines, which has a terminal at Amstel Station (train station, metro station 51, 53, 54, tram 12). One bus per day is usually the maximum frequency on these routes.
The British low-budget bus company Megabus  operates a bus service twice-daily from London and Paris to Amsterdam via Brussels, terminating at the Zeeburg Park and Ride Coach Park in the east of the city. From there, there are frequent tram and bus services into the city.
There are only a few long-distance national bus services in the Netherlands, and apparently none to Amsterdam.
By car 
The western part of the Netherlands has a dense (and congested) road network. Coming from the east (Germany), the A1 motorway leads directly to Amsterdam. On the A12 from Arnhem, change at Utrecht to the A2 northbound. From the south (Belgium), the A2 goes directly to Amsterdam: the A16 /A27 from Antwerp via Breda connects to the A2 south of Utrecht. From The Hague, the A4 leads to Amsterdam. All motorways to Amsterdam connect to the ring motorway, the A10. From this motorway, main roads lead radially into Amsterdam (the roads S101 through S118).
In most cases, you should want to avoid going to the area enclosed by the A10 ring road and the IJ water by car: traffic is dense and parking spaces are expensive, even multiple kilometers from the center (multiple euros per hour, often also in evenings and on Sundays, ) and often hard to find. Instead, when on the A10, follow the signs to one of the P+R-spots (P+R Zeeburg to the east, P+R ArenA to the southeast, P+R Olympisch Stadion to the south, and P+R Sloterdijk to the west). Here you can park your car and take public transport to the city centre, for a single fare. There is only a flat rate of €8 a day, but public transport to the city centre for up to 5 persons is included. There are also a few places a short walk from outer tram stops to park for free.
The speed limit on Dutch motorways is 130 km/h, except where indicated. On the A10 ring motorway around Amsterdam, the maximum speed is 100 km/h, and 80 km/h on the Western section. These limits are strictly enforced and there are many speed cameras.
By sea 
The maritime Passenger Terminal Amsterdam is close to the city centre but is only for cruise ships. The nearest ferry port is IJmuiden (ferry from Newcastle upon Tyne) with DFDS Seaways, who offer a daily overnight ferry services from Newcastle-upon-Tyne (North Shields) in the United Kingdom see  (official site). 125 km away by car there is a ferry terminal at Rotterdam Europoort (ferry from Kingston Upon Hull), and Hook of Holland (ferry from Harwich). it's about 80 km by the road to Amsterdam by the most direct route. Hook of Holland has an train station. Take the train to Schiedam Centrum or Rotterdam Centraal and from there a train to Amsterdam.
Get around 
Amsterdam's centre is fairly small, and almost abnormally flat, so you can easily get to most tourist destinations on foot - from the train station, within half an hour.
By public transit 
A new national ticketing system has recently been introduced, based on a contactless card, called OV-chipkaart ("Public Transport chip card"). Since 3 June 2010, the old 'strippenkaart' system has been abandoned on all forms of public transport in Amsterdam, making the chipkaart the only valid way of travelling in Amsterdam. To travel with a card, one has to check in at the start of the journey and check out at the end by holding the card in front of the card reader.
Three types of OV-chipkaart are available:
- a personal card on which you can load weekly/monthly/yearly subscriptions
- an anonymous card on which you can load money which can be spent on public transport
- a disposable card which can be used for a limited number of hours/trips only
The first two types carry a fee of €7.50 for the card itself, and you have to have at least €4 on it to be able to travel. The OV-chipkaart can be obtained from GVB vending machines in all metro stations, from the desks at some bigger stations (including Centraal Station) and some shops (see this map).
For visitors, the most useful type of travel pass is probably the 24/48/72/96/120/144/168 hour ticket. This allows the holder to travel on an unlimited number of journeys on the tram, metro and (night)bus throughout the validity period of the pass. On a tram, only the 24 hr ticket can be purchased from the conductor. These passes are also available at tourist offices (located at Schiphol airport and just outside Centraal Station), AKO bookstores in Schiphol Airport and Centraal Station, many hotels and GVB Tickets & Info. Day passes are not valid on busses operated by Connexxion and Arriva. (Best deal in Amsterdam )
Prices as of Jan 2012: €7.50/24 hours, €12/48 hours, €16/72 hours, €20.50/96 hours, €25/120 hours, €28.50/144 hours and €31/168 hours. If you stay longer in Amsterdam, you can buy discounted weekly or monthly tickets from most post offices or other ticket sale points which are cheaper. GVB tickets are not valid on trains to Schiphol airport. You can use them on buses to Schiphol but it's usually quicker to get there by train. For current information on the Dutch Public Transportation-system ('Openbaar Vervoer' or O.V. in Dutch/NL) check online Openbaar Vervoer (O.V.).
Public transport within the city is operated by the GVB (Gemeentevervoerbedrijf ). The tram (18 lines) is the main form of public transport system in the central area, and there are also dozens of (night-)bus routes. Regional buses, and some suburban buses, are operated by Connexxion  and EBS . All tram stops have a detailed map of the system and the surrounding area. You can also get a free public transport map at the GVB Tickets & Info offices (just outside Centraal Station).
Most trams these days have conductors, near the rear of the tram. Board by the driver or the conductor. If you have questions, the conductor will be sure to respond to your query. You can also buy 1 hr and 24 hr tickets at the conductors. Enter buses only via the front door.
There is a four line metro, including a short underground section in the city centre, that serves the neighborhoods of the South East. It takes 15-20 min from Centraal Station or Waterlooplein to the Bijlmer (Amsterdam Arena stadium, Heineken Music Hall and Pathe Arena cinema and IMAX).
A fifth metro line, the north/south line, is currently under construction. This big project started in 2003 to build a new underground metro line to connect the north of Amsterdam with the south (the Noord/Zuidlijn or North/Southline). The project has proved somewhat of a disaster for the city government with big budget overruns and delays. Building in the wet underground of Amsterdam is difficult and some buildings along the line have sustained damage due to subsidence. For the visitor to Amsterdam, the only thing to note are the ongoing roadworks along the route of the metro line. Underground metro stations are still being built or finished often causing parts of roads to be blocked off to cars, buses and trams for an extended time. Usually you can pass on foot or bicycle. In 2011 building work is being undertaken in the city centre at Central Station, Damrak, Rokin and Vijzelgracht/Weteringcircuit.
Just like the tram and metro, local buses are operated by the GVB. There are also suburban buses to nearby towns such as Haarlem and Uithoorn; these are operated by Connexxion or EBS (the company name and house style is prominent on the bus side) and can be used within Amsterdam if you travel with an OV-chipkaart.
By boat 
There are several free ferry services across the IJ river, to Amsterdam North, the most frequent runs every 7 min. They all leave from a new jetty on the northern (rear) side of Centraal Station. The nicest one is the 15 min service to NDSM Werf, a funky, up and coming, industrial neighborhood with a nice cafe-bar (IJkantine) restaurant (Noorderlicht), indoor skateboard park, and the Pancake Boat (Pannekoekenboot) which sails many times each week. Ferries leave every 30 min from Centraal Station and from NDSM Werf. Double frequencies during rush hours.
By rental boat 
There are several rental boat companies in Amsterdam. Here you can rent your own boat for max. 6 persons. Boaty rent a boat Amsterdam  is one of them. You will get a personal instruction and a good map before you leave. The boats are electric and easy to drive yourself. Another boat rental company you might like to try is Boat Amsterdam , which offers a large selection of large and small rental boats.
By Rent A Scooter 
By bicycle 
A pleasant way to cover a lot of ground is to rent a bicycle. There are approximately 750,000 people living in Amsterdam and they own about 800,000 bicycles. The city is very, very bike-friendly, and there are separate bike lanes on most major streets. In the city centre, however, there is often not enough space for a bike lane, so cars and cyclists share narrow streets. Cyclists do not have the right of way even though it might appear so when observing the typical Amsterdammer's cycling behaviour (see Extra legal protection). Be very careful watch out for other cyclists. Always show other traffic where you're going (e.g., by holding out your hand) in order avoid accidents and smoothen the traffic flow. If not indicated otherwise by signs, the right-before-left rule applies. Avoid getting your tire in the tram rails; it's a nasty fall. Always cross tram rails at an angle. When crossing tram lanes, watch out for fast approaching taxis. They have a rather ruthless driving style. Let none of the above deter you from doing it the Amsterdam way. Rent a bike! There are bike rental shops at stations, and several others in and around the city centre. Bikes cost about €9 to €20 per day. (Bring wet gear.)
A good map for cycling (routes, repairs, rentals + also public transport) is Amsterdam op de fiets (a Cito-plan). When preparing a route, there's a digital bicycle route-planner for Amsterdam, see Routecraft.com 
Bicycles can be taken for free on all ferries across the IJ, and on all metros and some carriages of tram 26 using the bike supplement fee (€1.60 in 2012) on the OV chipcard. Use the special bike racks, locations indicated by a bicycle sign on the outside of the carriage.
Make sure to get a good lock (or two), and to use it. Amsterdam has one of the highest bicycle theft rates in the world, see the Netherlands page. Note also that if buying a bike, prices that seem too good to be true are stolen bikes. Any bike offered for sale to passers-by, on the street, is certainly stolen. There's an old Amsterdam joke; When calling out to a large group cyclists passing by; "Hey, that's my bike!" about five people will jump off "their" bikes and start running.
- Star Bikes Rental . Classic and solid Dutch bikes for those who want to fit in with the locals. They have the traditional black granny, pick-ups, tandems, bikes for kids and for disabled needs. Prices: 5€ (4 hr) - 7€ (full day) - 9€ (24 hr), 2 lockers included. This business is located behind Central Station. You can also arrange exclusive picnic and barbacue sets within your rental.
- MacBike Bicycle Rental . Perhaps the most ubiquitous bicycle rental agency in Amsterdam, their bicycles are painted red with a MacBike sign on the front, everyone will know you're visiting. The bicycles are reliable, and in very good condition. Several locations around the city centre for assistance or repairs. Online bicycle reservations at their website.
- Orangebike, Rentals & Tours . Their bikes are not so obvious coloured, more discrete, reliable and sturdy. The typical Dutch Grandmother bikes are available at Orangebike. 3 hr historical city tour by bike for €19.50. Online reservations available.
- Frederic site map Bike, insurance, bags, locks, and children seats all included for €10 a day. Extremely close to central station. Bikes are offered "incognito", for the discerning guest who does not want to appear "touristy".
- Rent a bike Damstraat Offer daily to weekly rentals. Have promotions in place with several hotels for "discount tickets", ask at the front desk. €12.50 for the first 24 hr, insurance included. Offers repairs for your bike and new and used bike sales.
- Het Zwarte Fietsenplan . Rent traditional Dutch bikes. Explore Amsterdam on a traditional black bike. There are no bright red, yellow, blue or orange bikes in their shops. There are 3 locations throughout the city centre and the shops have long opening hours, 7 days a week. Also rents out cagobikes for kids.
The bicycle is ideal for exploring the surrounding countryside. Within half an hour you're out of town. Go North, take the ferry across the IJ to Waterland. Or go South, into the Amsterdamse Bos (a giant park), or follow the river Amstel where Rembrandt worked. You can also take your bike on the metro (with a reduced fare ticket, see public transport gvb.nl ) to end of line Gaasperplas, and cycle along rivers and windmills to old fortified towns like Weesp, Muiden and Naarden.
By taxi 
Metered taxi 
Taxis in Amsterdam are plentiful but expensive. Hailing taxis on the street is generally not to be recommended unless you are going to a big landmark (e.g., Central Station or Schiphol). The recent liberalisation of the taxi service in Amsterdam has meant an influx of taxi drivers who have little or no clue of where they are going and who drive erratically and dangerously (e.g., driving on bicycle lanes instead of the main road or ignoring red lights). Tourists are advised to stick to public transport if at all possible. Get into a taxi only if you know the route yourself and are able to give directions to the taxi driver and if you know roughly how much the journey ought to cost so you don't get cheated.
Some drivers, traditionally at Centraal Station or Leidseplein, will refuse short trips or will quote outrageously high fares, even though all taxis are metered. Even if you convince the driver to use the meter, he will often take a circuitous route that racks up €15 or more on the meter. For reference, no trip within the historic centre should cost more than €10 or so. In 2012, the car service Uber (using their mobile app) became available in Amsterdam. Although slightly more expensive than a normal taxi, you can avoid a lot of the problems associated with taking an Amsterdam taxi from busy areas (Centraal Station/Leidseplein) and at peak evening hours.
The Netherlands (and Amsterdam) is in the middle of a huge taxi liberalization scheme which has been jarring to all involved. After many missteps, the government has introduced an unusual pricing scheme. First you feel sticker shock as the initial fare is now €7.50. Luckily, that includes the first two kilometres of travel and there is no charge for waiting in traffic. If you need to run in somewhere, you need to negotiate a waiting fee with the driver. 50 cents per minute is customary.
Unlicensed, illegal, cabbies operate mainly in Amsterdam Zuidoost. These aren't easily recognized as such, and most certainly don't drive Mercedes cars. They are known as snorders and most easily reached by mobile phone. Rides within Amsterdam Zuidoost (the Bijlmer) range from €2.50 to €5, whereas Zuidoost-Centre can run up to €12.50. Snorders have a shady reputation, so consider their services only if you are adventurous.
A Thai-influenced transportation service using three-wheeled, open-air (but covered) motorized vehicles was introduced in August 2007 and may be a more economical and fast way to get around the city centre compared to taxis. Tuk-tuk pricing is based on a zone system. Within a zone, a ride is €3.50 per person, €5 for 2 persons and €6.50 for 3. If you go to another zone, €3.50 is added (irrespective of number of persons). This service is handy if it is past the regular tram/bus/metro service hours (approximately half past midnight). They take reservations 24 hr /day 0900 99 333 99 and there is a fee of €0.55 per call.
By car 
It is practical to use a car only outside of the historic centre; within the historic centre, the traveller is advised to stay with public transport. In Amsterdam, a car is generally a liability and not an asset. Use a car only if you are going to an obscure location many miles out that is not served by public transport.
Driving around Amsterdam is a pain: many of the streets are narrow, the traffic (and parking) signs are baroque and obscure, and cyclists and pedestrians may get in your way. Plus, petrol is about €1.54 to €1.7 per litre. You can try parking at one of the secured parking garages, for example under Museumplein, or near the Central Station, and then walk around the city centre, or use a tram. Car parking is very expensive in Amsterdam and it's often hard to find a place to park. You can choose to pay by the hour or for the whole day. Parking is free outside the centre on Sunday. There is always a spot available on the Albert Cuypstraat (which is a market during the rest of the week). From there, it is a 5 minute tram ride or 15 min walk downtown.
Another option is to park your car further outside the city-centre. For € 8,- you get a full day (24 hr) of parking and a return ticket downtown. The ride takes about 15 minutes. Look for the P+R (Park and Ride) signs. 
You can also park for free in some parts of Amsterdam outside the city centre though this may be slowly changing. Parking is still free everywhere in Amsterdam-Noord, and you can just take the bus from the Mosplein stop to the city centre easily. Plenty of buses run through here.
Popular car rental chains operate in a smaller capacity in Amsterdam, including Avis and Budget Rent a Car. Most recently 'Car 2 Go' has all-electric Smart Car's available within and around the city.
Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centres in Europe, with about 7,000 registered historic buildings. The street pattern has been largely unchanged since the 19th century — there was no major bombing during World War II. The center consists of 90 islands linked by 400 bridges, some of them beautifully lit at night.
The inner part of the city centre, the Old Centre, dates from medieval times. The oldest streets are the Warmoesstraat and the Zeedijk located in the Nieuwmarkt area of the Old Centre. As buildings were made of wood in the Middle Ages, not much of this period's buildings have survived. Two medieval wooden houses did survive though, at Begijnhof 34 and Zeedijk 1. Other old houses are Warmoesstraat 83 (built around 1400), Warmoesstraat 5 (around 1500) and Begijnhof 2-3 (around 1425). The Begijnhof is a late-medieval enclosed courtyard with the houses of beguines, Roman Catholic women living in a semi-religious community. Beguines are found in Northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and north-western Germany. House number 34 at the Begijnhof is the oldest home in Amsterdam. Entry to the courtyard and surrounding gardens is free, but be careful not to disturb the local community still living here.
One of the most prominent features is the Canal Ring, a concentric ring of canals built in the 17th century. The merchant-based oligarchy that ruled the trading city of Amsterdam built canal houses and mansions in the most prestigious locations here, especially along the main canals. Typical for the country are its traditional white draw bridges. The best example has to be the Magere Brug in the Canal Ring, which is over 300 years old and nearly in its original capacity. It is a beautiful place to overlook the river and take in some traditional Dutch architecture.
The Jordaan was built around 1650 along with the Canal Ring, but not for the wealthy merchants. For a long time it was considered the typical working-class area of Amsterdam, and included some notorious slums. The name probably derives from the nickname 'Jordan' for the Prinsengracht. Apart from a few wider canals, the streets are narrow, in an incomplete grid pattern (as the grid followed the lines of the former polders located here in medieval times). This district is the best example of "gentrification" in the Netherlands, as recently it turned into a hip boutique district. It's Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk were voted "best shopping streets in the Netherlands 2011".
There are several large warehouses for more specific uses. The biggest is the Admiralty Arsenal (1656-1657), now the Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum) at Kattenburgerplein. Others include the former turf warehouses (1550) along the Nes, now the municipal pawn office; a similar warehouse at Waterlooplein 69-75 (Arsenaal, 1610), now an architectural academy, and the warehouse of the West India Company (1642) at the corner of Prins Hendrikkade and 's-Gravenhekje. The city office for architectural heritage BMA  has an excellent online introduction to the architectural history and the types of historical buildings available. The website includes a cycle route along important examples.
Windmills were not built in urban areas, since the buildings obstructed the wind. The Amsterdam windmills were all originally outside its city walls. There are a total of eight windmills in Amsterdam, and most of them are in West. However, the best one to visit is De Gooyer, which is not far from the city centre, and is being used as a brewery for you to enjoy. The only windmill fully open to the public is the Molen van Sloten in Sloten, a former village now part of West.
Churches and synagogues 
Since the Middle Ages and throughout the 17th century, the Netherlands was a country with a relatively high degree of freedom and tolerance towards other religions and cultures, especially compared to other countries in Europe. Between 1590 and 1800, the estimated foreign-born population was never less than 5 percent, many of them settling in Amsterdam. This led to a large diaspora of Jews, Huguenots (French Protestants), Flemish, Poles and other peoples in the city. Especially the Jewish have always had a large presence in Amsterdam, notably in the Old Jewish Quarter (though this quarter has been in a status of decay since World War II). The most prominent synagogue is The Esnoga  (or The Portuguese Synagogue), built in 1675 in an austere Classicist style.
As the Netherlands was a Protestant nation, most of the churches are from this branch of Christianity. Some of the most notable churches:
- Oude Kerk (1306)  Located on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, in the red-light district. The oldest of the five main churches in the historic centre. You can climb the tower from April to September on Saturday & Sunday, every half-hour. Also open in the winter by group appointment (maximum 10 people) cost €70 per hour. (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- Nieuwe Kerk (15th century)  Located on Dam Square. Used for royal coronations, most recently the crowning of Queen Beatrix in 1980, and royal weddings, most recently the wedding of crown prince Willem-Alexander to princess Máxima in 2002. Today, the church is no longer used for services but is now a popular exhibition space. With an entry price of €10 this is the Netherlands most expensive and least rewarding visitor attraction.
- Zuiderkerk (built 1603-1611)  Located on Zuiderkerkhof ("Southern Graveyard") square. Now an information centre on housing and planning. You can visit the tower from April to September Monday to Saturday (with guide only) every half-hour, cost €6. Also open in the winter by group appointment (maximum 15 people) cost €70 per hr. (mailto:email@example.com) for more information.
- Noorderkerk (built 1620-1623)  Located on Noordermarkt on the Prinsengracht.
- Westerkerk (built 1620-1631)  Located on Westermarkt near the Anne Frank House. The church is open (free) for visitors from Monday to Friday, 11AM-3PM, from April to September. You can also climb the tower (with guide only) every half-hour, Mon to Saturday €6. The tower is also open in the winter by group appointment (maximum 10 people) cost €70 per hr. (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. In good weather you can see all of Amsterdam, and as far as the coast.
The late-medieval city also had smaller chapels such as the Sint Olofskapel (circa 1440) on Zeedijk, and convent chapels such as the Agnietenkapel on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal 231 (originally 1470), now the University of Amsterdam museum. Later churches included the Oosterkerk (1669) in the eastern islands, and the heavily restored Lutheran Church on the Singel (1671), now used by a hotel as a conference centre. Catholic churches were long forbidden, and built again only in the 19th-century: the most prominent is the Neo-Baroque Church of St. Nicholas (1887) opposite Central Station.
Also, investigate some of the "hidden churches" found in Amsterdam, mainly Catholic churches that remained in activity following the Reformation. A prominent hidden church is Amstelkring Museum (Our Lord in the Attic Chapel) Well worth the visit. Two hidden churches still in use are the Begijnhofchapel  near the Spui, and the Papegaaikerk  in the Kalverstreet (both Catholic).
Amsterdam has an amazing collection of museums, ranging from masterpieces of art to porn, vodka and cannabis. The most popular ones can get very crowded in the summer peak season, so it's worth exploring advance tickets or getting there off-peak (e.g. very early in the morning). Some of the quality museums that you can't miss:
- Anne Frank House — dedicated to Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who kept a diary while hiding from Nazi persecution in hidden rooms at the rear of the building (known as the Achterhuis). It's an exhibition on the life of Anne Frank, but also highlights other forms of persecution and discrimination.
- Rijksmuseum — absolutely top-class museum that has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Some artists you can't overlook are Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. The must-sees are Rembrandt's Night Watch and Vermeer's Milkmaid. The museum also boasts a substantial collection of Asian art. The Rijksmuseum is under heavy construction until at least 2013. Until then, there is a limited collection on display called 'the Masterpieces', showing all the highlights that are absolutely worth a visit.
- Van Gogh Museum — even someone with little knowledge of art must have heard about Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. This museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world.
The other museums are described in the district articles.
The Museum Card (Museum Jaarkaart)  costs €39.95 (or €22.45 for those under 18 years old). It covers the cost of admission to over 400 museums across the Netherlands and you can buy it at most major museums. It is valid for an entire year, and you will need to write your name, birthday, and gender on it. If you are going to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, those are €12.50 and €14 each respectively, so this card can quickly pay for itself. The tickets to the major museums, including the audio guide, can be bought early from the tourist information desk at no extra cost. Alternatively, for short stays, you can consider buying the I amsterdam card , starting at €38 per day, which includes "free" access to Amsterdam museums, public transport and discount on many tourist attractions.
The locals spend their summer days in Amsterdam opening a red wine in the Vondelpark — and so should you. Every district in Amsterdam has at least one park, but the Vondelpark in South stands out for its size and convivial atmosphere. The neighbourhood best known for its greenery is the Plantage. Besides its leafy boulevards and grand mansions, it also features the botanical gardens of the Hortus Botanicus. Finally, Artis Zoo is a good attraction for the kids.
A more recent tradition is the opening of so-called city beaches. Yes, it's now possible to lay in the sand far from any natural coastline! Amsterdam counts three of these beaches, which are located in West, East and South. The one in East is probably the best one, and you get the fine architecture and atmosphere of the IJburg neighbourhood included for free.
Red Light District 
The Red Light District consists of several canals, and the side streets between them, south of Central Station and east of Damrak. Known as 'De Wallen' (the quays) in Dutch, because the canals were once part of the city defences (walls and moats). Prostitution itself is limited to certain streets, mainly side streets and alleys, but the district is considered to include the canals, and some adjoining streets (such as Warmoesstraat and Zeedijk). The whole area has a heavy police presence, and many security cameras. Nevertheless it is still a residential district and has many bars and restaurants, and also includes historic buildings and museums — this is the oldest part of the city. The oldest church in Amsterdam, the Netherlands-gothic Oude Kerk on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal at Oudekerksplein, is now surrounded by window prostitution. The area has many sex shops and peep show bars.This section of town is a common attraction for bachelors celebrating a stag night; if you ever get hassled, a firm and loud "Leave me alone" will work most of the time.
Modern architecture 
Modern architecture is under-represented in Amsterdam (as opposed to Rotterdam), but as the outer districts were built in the 19th and 20th centuries, there is definitely some to be found. Immediately outside the Singelgracht (the former city moat) is a ring of 19th-century housing. The most prominent buildings from this period are the Central Station (1889) and the Rijksmuseum (1885), both by P. J. H. Cuypers. Amsterdam West, especially the neighborhood De Baarsjes, was built in the Amsterdam School and New Objectivity architectural styles from the 19th century. A completely different approach to architecture has been the Bijlmer, built in the 1970s and foreseen as a town of the future for upper-middle-class families. Large apartment buildings and relatively large rooms were combined with common grass fields and a separation of pedestrian and car traffic. It has been a revolutionary way of thinking in the architectural world, but eventually the neighborhood turned into a lower-class residential district home to people of over 150 nationalities, and it is often associated with crime and robberies. It has improved remarkably the last years though, and adventurous travelers might be interested to know more about the history of this bizarre district.
Since there was little large-scale demolition in the historic centre, most 20th-century and recent architecture is outside it. The most prominent in architectural history are the residential complexes by architects of the Amsterdam School, for instance at Zaanstraat / Oostzaanstraat.
- Museum of the Amsterdam School . The best-known example of their architecture. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11AM to 5PM, entrance €7.50, includes 20 min. guided tour.
- Eastern Docklands. The largest concentration of new residential buildings. The zone includes three artificial islands: Borneo, Sporenburg, and KNSM/Java-island. The latter has been built as a postmodern interpretation of the old canal belt. Across from it, is the brand new Piet Heinkade, and some adjoining projects. Accessible by tram 10, tram 26 to Rietlandpark, or best of all by bicycle.
- The largest concentration of box-like office buildings is in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost (South-East) around Bijlmer station (train and metro), but the area does have some spectacular buildings, such as the Amsterdam ArenA stadium and the new Bijlmer ArenA station.
- Amsterdam is replacing older sewage plants by a single modern plant, in the port zone. Connecting existing sewers to the new plant requires long main sewers, and the use of sewage booster pumps - a new technique at this scale. The new booster pump stations are a unique type of building, designed by separate architects. The three complete pumps are located at Klaprozenweg in the north, on Spaklerweg (just east of the A10 motorway), and beside and under Postjesweg, in the Rembrandtpark.
Several companies offer private tours by car, van, or mini bus for groups of up to 8 people. Bike tours are also available at a more affordable price, and offer a more authentic Dutch experience.
- Other companies offer canal cruises, usually lasting from one to two hours. Departures from: Prins Hendrikkade opposite Centraal Station; quayside Damrak; Rokin near Spui; Stadhouderskade 25 near Leidseplein.
- The Canal Bus . Runs three fixed routes, stopping near major attractions (Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank's House, etc.). You can get on or off as often as you like, but it is expensive, €20 per person per 24 hr. The first boats start between 9.15AM. and 10.45AM. depending on which stop you get on. The last boats start dropping off at around 7 p.m.
- Lovers Canal Cruise  start opposite the Rijksmuseum. It is €12 per person, but you cannot get on and off. The cruise is about 1 hr 30 min.
- Amsterdam Boat Guide  Local company offering private boat tours in classic boats. Canal cruises, dinner cruises etc.
- Amsterdam Jewel Cruises  offers an evening dinner cruise. It is the only classic boat offering a private table for a romantic dinner cruise. A la carte dining, but not cheap! The cruise starts at 7.30 pm and lasts just under three hours.
- You can cruise the canals yourself, without the commentary with a canal bike (pedal boat) or rented boat.
- Boaty Rental Boats . Boaty offers rental boats (max. 6 persons) for your own private tour: decide where to go yourself or choose one of Boaty's free canal routes. These rental boats are electrically driven which means they are silent and free of exhaust fumes. They are charged with renewable energy every night so you can enjoy your time on the water as long as you like. The boats are very stable, unsinkable and of course the rental is accompanied by free life vests in different sizes.
- Canal Company . Has four rental locations; two-seater canal bikes cost €8 per person per hour.
- Venetian Gondola . You can also rent a gondola, hand made by an Amsterdam girl who traveled to Venice to learn the craft and build her own Gondola which she brought back to Amsterdam.
- Watch a movie at one of the over 55 cinemas.
- Coffeshoppes. If you are above the age of 18 you can enter a cannabis shop. It is only legal to purchase your buds at the coffeshoppes not on the streets however. Yes, even tourists that are 18 years of age have access to these shops.
Amsterdam for free 
- A day in Amsterdam without spending a penny: stroll along the canals, see the Begijnhof, smell the flowers at the Bloemenmarket, visit the Albert Cuypstraat market, see the Magere Brug and relax in the Vondelpark.
- Diamond factories in Amsterdam offer free guided tours, such as at Gassan Diamonds and Coster Diamonds.
- Ferry over the River IJ The GVB ferries that run on the north side of central station are free of charge and provide nice views of the harbor and skyline, as described above. Combine the ferry to Buiksloterweg with a short walk to the Eye movie museum for its architecture and free exhibition in the basement.
- Free lunch concerts are held at the:
- Concertgebouw  This theatre close to Museumplein holds a free concert every Wednesday at 1230. Worth a visit if only for it's architecture.
- Het muziektheater  Holds a free lunch concert at Tuesdays.
- MuziekGebouw aan't IJ  This theatre has a free concert once a month (every second Tuesday at 12:30PM).
- Ignatiushuis Every Tuesday at 12:30. Entrance at Beulingstraat 11 . Check out the programme.
- Westerkerk  Church at Prinsengracht which has free organ concerts every Friday at 1PM.
- Friday night skate  Put on your skates, and join the popular weekly skate tour (since 1997), a different route every week.
- NEMO Panorama terrace  During summer the Nemo Science museum has a panorama roof terrace on its roof with deckchairs with free entry.
- OBA Amsterdam’s Public Library  - Read newspapers and magazines or relax at Amsterdam's main library at Oosterdokskade. Internet is no longer free.
- Rijksmuseum garden  a curious collection of architecture, free entrance during museum opening times.
- Stadsarchief  The city's archive on Vijzelstaat often has free exhibitions.
- The Schuttersgallerij (Civic Guards Gallery) is a hidden passageway filled with 15 enormous 17th-century paintings; entrance is free to the public during museum hours. Known as the Schuttersgalerij (Civic Guards' Gallery), the collection features massive and meticulously realistic portraits of wealthy citizens from the Dutch Golden Age, the same class of subjects Rembrandt depicted in the most famous of Civic Guard paintings, "Nightwatch". You can find it just inside the arched gateway to the Amsterdam Museum at Kalverstraat 92.
- Vondelpark open-air theatre  Open air theatre at the city's main park running during the summer on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, there are several other festivals in Amsterdam, many of them free, as listed below.
Amsterdam is a cultural haven with year-round festivals for every pocket.
- Chinese New Year: Festival through Zeedijk and China town.
- Queensday April 30: The national holiday, nominally in celebration of the Queen's birthday (in fact the previous Queen's birthday) is hard to describe to anyone who's never been there. The city turns into one giant mass of orange-dressed people (all Amsterdam locals, and another 1 million or so from throughout the country visit the parties in the city) with flea markets, bands playing, and many on-street parties, ranging from small cafes placing a few kegs of beer outside to huge open-air stages hosting world-famous DJ's. The Vondelpark is the place for children selling and performing. An experience you'll never forget. Normally held on April 30th, but if that is a Sunday, it is celebrated one day earlier (to avoid offence to orthodox Protestants).
- Art Amsterdam: a modern art fair in the RAI exhibition and conference centre. If you want to know what the latest developments are in Dutch galleries, this is where to find them all in one place.
- Holland Festival: famous around the world, this Netherlands performing arts festival brings events from all over the world on the fields of music, opera, theatre and dance.
- Taste of Amsterdam: A culinary festival where you can explore the food of famous Amsterdam restaurants and their chefs.
- The Open Garden Days: Normally you can see only the front of the canal houses, but during the Open Garden Days you get to go past the entrance and see the green world behind them, many times bigger than you would have expected. You can buy one ticket that gives you entry to all participating gardens, and there is a special canal boat to take you from one location to another.
- Amsterdam Roots Festival: an open-air (free) festival with music from non-western countries accompanied by paid film and theatre performances in the surrounding area theaters.
- Julidans (July Dance): International Contemporary Dance Festival, always showing the latest developments in modern dance.
- Vondelpark Open Air Theater: This free festival offers many different performances every day. Go to the open air theatre just by the fountain and let the entertainment do the work. From cabaret to drama to concerts to dance, there is something here for everyone and of all ages.
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week: Twice a year, this event presents young and upcoming fashion in Europe and with a focus on Dutch design.
- Robeco Summer Concerts: affordable classical music concerts taking place at the prestigious Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
- De Parade: Martin Luther King Park. Circus turns vintage, on an old-fashioned fairground with many different tents, the performers are each trying to attract their public, featuring spectacles of dance, theatre, magic, art, animation and music.
- Canal Pride: . Amsterdam gay pride on the first weekend in August. One of the biggest festivals in Amsterdam with parties, performances, workshops and a boat parade on the Prinsengracht on Saturday afternoon which is always well worth seeing.
- Prinsengracht concert: third weekend of August each year. A free open-air classical music concert is held every year on a stage in the middle of the Prinsengracht canal. If you have a little boat, join the crowds and make sure to bring your rose wine or prosecco for full enjoyment.
- Sail Amsterdam: tall-ships from all over the world come to visit the Amsterdam harbour every 5 years, the next time in 2015.
- Uitmarkt: The opening of the cultural season in the last weekend of August, it offers a taste of the year to come with 30 min performances at different theaters, an extensive book market and many open-air concerts. All free.
- Jordaan Festival: A big inner city street festival celebrating the diversity of this former working class district. Features can include drum bands, a children's festival, opera and cabaret, a boules competition, a flea market and an auction.
- Robodock arts festival: A unique festival presenting contemporary art shows in the huge, old NDSM shipyard depot, in the Amsterdam North. The atmosphere is rough, industrial, experimental. A lot of loud music, fire, smoke, noise and heavy machinery are usually elements of these performances.
- National Restaurant Week: Two times a year, participating restaurants offer a full 3 course dinner for a mere €25 (excl drinks), allowing you to experiment a different restaurant for a change or a chance to eat affordably at one of the famous 5-star restaurants.
- Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE): Usually held during the second last weekend in October, this electronic music annual festival gathers cream of the crop faces from the house and techno scenes. Buy your tickets in advance to avoid paying more at the door and queueing for hours on. Besides partying for four nights in a row, the conference offers workshops, seminars, presentations etc.
- Museum Night – Museumnacht: Long before the film came out, this night at the museum attracts new crowds at the traditional Amsterdam museums with special performances at unusual locations. Do as the locals do and hire a bike to go from one place to the other.
- pAn Amsterdam – Art and Antique Fair: Third week of November. The biggest national art and antiques fair in the Netherlands.
- IDFA - International Documentary Filmfestival of Amsterdam: Leidseplein, (various times). International documentary festival screening some 200 documentary films and videos.
Amsterdam is home to two universities, both offer summer courses and other short courses (with academic credits).
- Vrije Universiteit (VU University) . Founded in 1880, the VU campus is located southwest of the city centre, and approximately 20 minutes away by bicycle. It is the only Protestant general university in the Netherlands.
- Universiteit van Amsterdam . Founded as the Athenaeum Illustre in 1632, in 1877 it became the University of Amsterdam. With about 25,000 students, the UvA is on three separate campuses in the city centre, plus smaller sites scattered over Amsterdam.
The Volksuniversiteit . Despite the name, it is not a university, but a venerable institute for public education. Among the many courses are Dutch language courses for foreigners.
Many people plan to move to Amsterdam for a year to relax before "settling down". This plan often falls apart at the job phase. Many people will find it difficult to get a suitable job, if they do not speak Dutch. However, hostels and hotels in Amsterdam may need bar staff, night porters etc., who speak English and other languages. There are also specialist websites for English and non-Dutch speakers looking to work in Amsterdam and they are an often a good place to start; Blue Lynx - Employment by Language , Undutchables , Unique  and Xpat Jobs are all useful resources.
Immigration matters are dealt with by the Immigration Service IND . Registration is done by both police and municipalities. Immigration policy is restrictive and deliberately bureaucratic. That is especially true for non-EU citizens.
European Union citizens do not require a work permit. Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians are afforded a one year working-holiday visa. In general the employer must apply for work permits. Immigration is easier for "knowledge migrants" earning a gross annual salary of over €45,000 (over €33,000 for those under 30).
There are many flexible office solutions in Amsterdam that enable you to rent office space for a short term. See for example Regus or the Ph120 flexible office solutions at Prins Hendrikkade 120 
- Individual listings can be found in Amsterdam's district articles
The main central shopping streets run in a line from near Central Station to the Leidseplein: Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, Heiligeweg, Leidsestraat. The emphasis is on clothes/fashion, but there are plenty of other shops. They are not upmarket shopping streets, and the north end of Nieuwendijk is seedy. Amsterdam’s only upmarket shopping street is the P.C. Hooftstraat (near the Rijksmuseum).
Other concentrations of shops in the centre are Haarlemmerstraat / Haarlemmerdijk, Utrechtsestraat, Spiegelstraat (art/antiques), and around Nieuwmarkt. There is a concentration of Chinese shops at Zeedijk / Nieuwmarkt, but it is not a real Chinatown.
The ‘interesting little shops’ are located in the side streets of the main canals (Prinsengracht / Keizersgracht / Herengracht), and especially in the Jordaan - bounded by Prinsengracht, Elandsgracht, Marnixstraat and Brouwersgracht. The partly gentrified neighbourhood of De Pijp - around Ferdinand Bolstraat and Sarphatipark - is often seen as a 'second Jordaan'.
- Fashion & Museum District . Located in Amsterdam Zuid, this is considered the chic area for shopping in Amsterdam, close to the Museum district, the PC Hooftstraat and the Cornelis Schuytstraat have some of the finest designer shops in the city, including designer shoes, health and well-being specialists, massage, fashion boutiques, designer interiors, designer florists and specialist shops.
In the older areas surrounding the centre, the main shopping streets are the Kinkerstraat, the Ferdinand Bolstraat, the Van Woustraat, and the Javastraat. The most ethnic shopping street in Amsterdam is the Javastraat. There are toy stores and clothing shops for kids in the centre, but most are in the shopping streets further out, because that's where families with children live.
You can find plus size clothing in the centre of Amsterdam. C&A, and H&M are both on the main shopping streets from the Central station. A bit further from the city centre you can find Mateloos, Promiss, Ulla Popken as well as several stores by chain M&S mode.
A give-away shop can be found at Singel 267, open Tuesdays and Thursdays 5PM-17PM and Saturdays 12 noon-5PM.
English-language books can mostly be found in the Old Centre. Large Dutch bookstores also carry a selection of foreign language books.
Street markets 
Street markets originally sold mainly food, and most still sell food and clothing, but they have become more specialised. A complete list of Amsterdam markets (with opening times and the number of stalls) can be found at online at Hollandse Markten  and Amsterdam.info  in English.
- Albert Cuyp. Largest in Amsterdam, best-known street market in the country. Can get very crowded, so watch out for pickpockets. Monday to Saturday from about 9AM until around 5PM.
- Ten Cate Market. 3rd largest in Amsterdam. Monday to Saturday from about 8AM until around 5PM. Food, households, flowers and clothing.
- Dappermarkt. In the east, behind the zoo, and was voted best market in the Netherlands. Monday to Saturday from about 8AM until around 5PM.
- Lindengracht. In the Jordaan, selling a wide range of goods, fruit and vegetables, fish and various household items. Saturday only. 9AM to 4PM. Tram 3 or 10 to Marnixplein, and a short walk along the Lijnbaansgracht.
- Lapjesmarkt. Westerstraat, in the Jordaan. A specialist market concentrating on selling cloth and material for making clothes, curtains etc. Mondays only. 9AM to 1PM. Tram 3 or 10 to Marnixplein.
- Noordermarkt. In the historical Jordaan area of the city. On Monday morning (9AM to 1PM) the Noordermarkt is a flea market selling fabrics, records, second-hand clothing etc., and forms part of the Lapjesmarkt mentioned above. On Saturday (9AM to 4PM), the Noordermarkt is a biological food market, selling a wide range of ecological products like organic fruits and vegetables, herbs, cheese, mushrooms etc., there is also a small flea market. Tram 3 or 10 to Marnixplein, and a short walk down the Westerstraat.
- Waterlooplein. Near the city hall. Partly flea market, partly alternative and second hand clothing and accessories. More oriented towards tourists than to locals.
- Individual listings can be found in Amsterdam's district articles
Smoking is banned in all Dutch bars and restaurants, although many bars and cafes have sealed smoking rooms (rookkamer) in which smoking is permitted.
Places to eat 
There is a large diversity of restaurants in Amsterdam, especially if you are looking for Asian cuisine, although much of it is tailored to the fairly bland local tastes and might not have the fire you would expect. The influence of the Dutch colonial past is apparent, as can be seen in the wide array of Indonesian restaurants. As in other cities with a large number of tourists, better value can often be found in streets that are not main tourist corridors.
Nieuwmarkt Most Asian restaurants are clustered at the Zeedijk in Nieuwmarkt, for this reason often dubbed as Amsterdam's Chinatown. It's also home to many tokos, small Asian grocery stores that sell Eastern food and spices. Chinatown offers plenty of Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants, usually good value. Indonesian restaurants are usually of excellent quality, but Indian ones can be expensive.
Damstraat Is a fairly busy road filled with small and cheap Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants - expect sticky tables, but it's definitely a good place for budget travelers. The numerous falafel bars have a good value, often sporting a "all you can pile" salad bar.
Nieuwezijdse kolk This street goes from the dam square to the central station. It has multiple narrow streets crossing it and in the Nieuwendijk street you can find the best ice-cream of Amsterdam. There are two shops: One is called 'Zomer ijs en winter kost' (summer ice and winterfood) and is located on number 6. They have all the flavors you can think of and even make a flavor on demand, but you have to tell the owner 1 or 2 days in advance. All the ice is homemade with natural ingredients and he asks a very reasonable price. In the winter he serves typical Dutch winterfood, like mashed potatoes with cabbage and sausage. The other is called Bakkerij van der Linde. Its officially a bakery, but they don't sell bread, but amsterdam`s most famous whipped cream ice, lovely almond cookies and cakes. Like my friend always says, this ice is sinfull. The tecture is really creamy and soft, it melts easy and they put it in a cone with a soup spoon. A small icecream costs 1 euro, a big one 2.
Surinamese food is widely available and worth a try. The highest concentration of Surinamese restaurants can be found in the South, especially in the Albert Cuypstraat. A good example cam be found in Surinaams-Chinees Afhaalcentrum Albina at Albert Cuypstraat 69. It`s cheap (around €6), and very good. If you arrive around dinnertime you probably have to wait for a table. The surroundings are depressing but the food is so good you will come back anyway.Locals recommend the roti with bone, the moksi meti, petjil and Bojo as dessert. Try the Dawet as well; this typical drink is made from milk, coconut milk and rose sirup and has sago balls in it. Most kids like it.
Eetcafe's are pubs serve evening and night time meals.
Many restaurants of all kinds can be found in the Haarlemmer Neighborhood (north of Jordaan), and in the narrow streets crossing the two.
Also worth trying is the Van Woustraat in the Pijp, or continue to the Rijnstraat in the Rivierenbuurt.
Exquisite but expensive restaurants can be found in the Utrechtse Straat.
Local specialties 
Local cheese Buy some at the Albert Cuyp market, or at specialist cheese shops found around central Amsterdam. Dutch cheese is traditionally firm, and is made in large wax-covered wheels, and falls into two main categories - Young and Old. Within those categories, there exists a rich variety. Among the more unusual young cheeses is cumin (Komijn) cheese, which is particular to the Netherlands. Sheep (Schapen) and goat (Geiten) cheeses are also common. Old (Oud) cheese can be made of any sort of milk, and is often reminiscent of Italian Parmesan in consistency and sharpness of flavour.
Don't forget to taste the main culinary contribution of the Amsterdammers to the world: Heineken it tastes no better here. Try some of the other excellent beers you can get from this part of the world such as "witbeer" (white beer). Check out bitterballen, fried breaded ragout balls, and the kroketten (the same, but shaped like a cylinder), but take care not to burn your mouth. Last but not least, don't forget to try a traditional herring or a broodje haring (herring sandwich), available from fish stalls around the city. Herring in Amsterdam is usually with served onions and pickles. A good try is the fish stand on the Koningsplein near the Flower Market. If you're visiting in late November or December, you can enjoy oliebollen, which are round blobs of sweet fried dough embedded with raisins (sultanas) and dusted with powdered sugar.
Places to avoid 
Avoid at all costs any steak house or fast food shop in the centre - they are well known tourist traps.
For food during the day, the Albert Heijn' supermarkets (largest national chain) usually have cheap ready-to-go meals on hand, from prepackaged sandwiches and salads to microwavable single-serving meals. There is one right behind the Royal Palace on Dam Square, on the Nieuwmarkt, on Koningsplein and in the Vijzelstraat. When on train stations, there is a to go version of this shop, called Albert Heijn To Go. They are usually found on stations like Amsterdam Centraal, Sloterdijk, Bijlmer ArenA and such. Beware that the price of these products can be two times higher than a regular store.
For budget meal, check out also the various Falafel and Shoarma restaurants around the Damstraat and Muntplein. They usually include in the dish a large amount of salad. Lange Leidsedwarsstraat (just off Leidseplein) has about five Italian restaurants that sell pasta or pizza for €5.
Amsterdam's famously wild nightlife caters to all tastes and budgets.
Bars and pubs 
The archetypical Amsterdam watering hole is the bruine ("brown bar" or "brown café"), a neighborhood pub of sorts with gorgeous dark wood panelling — hence the name — and booths. These do not sell cannabis, see coffeeshops below for that. Popular entertainment areas with lots of bars are the Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein.
The nightclubs in Amsterdam are not as rough as one might think. Many nightclubs are grouped at Leidse Square and Rembrandt Square in the Canal Ring. As these two squares are also the typical tourist traps of Amsterdam, prices are relatively high and there are lots of scams. You can't go wrong at Melkweg, Sugarfactory and Paradiso, three live music venues that usually have a large queue in weekends. Paradiso has the best interior, as it used to be a church, while Melkweg feels more like a nightclub. Sugarfactory is a little more intimate and is a multidisciplinary platform for young talent. Jimmy Woo is an impressive VIP-room, but their dress code is very strict. There are also some nightclubs in Eastern Amsterdam (notably Panama) and near Westerpark.
Amsterdam's gay nightlife is not what it used to be, but there is still an active community at the Reguliersdwarsstraat in the Canal Ring. The annual gay pride in August is a fun event that can be attended by gays and straights alike.
Amsterdam is renowned for its liberal drug policy. Coffeeshops, not to be confused with coffeehouses or cafes, are allowed to sell cannabis and hash for personal use (not more than 5 grams). While technically still illegal, mostly to comply to international treaties, personal use of (soft) drugs are regulated by the Ministry of Justice under an official policy of gedogen; literally this means to accept or tolerate, legally it is a doctrine of non-prosecution on the basis that action taken would be so highly irregular as to constitute selective prosecution. The city council of Amsterdam allows coffeeshops to operate only with the provision of set, non-transferable licenses as shown by an official green and white sticker on the window of a coffeeshop. Coffeeshops are to sell only soft drugs (such as cannabis), selling of other drugs is not allowed. Also selling of dried hallucinogenic mushrooms is not allowed.
That said, drug usage is increasingly being strictly controlled by the Dutch government. Garish advertising is not allowed (look for red-yellow-green rasta colors and the English word "coffeeshop"); no alcohol or edible cannabis products may be sold inside a coffeeshop; customers who want to smoke their weed mixed with tobacco are limited to special sealed 'smoking areas'; the amount of coffeeshops has decreased significantly since 1995; coffeeshops within a '250 meter school zone' have been closed down; and the usage of magic mushrooms has been forbidden since December 2008 (after two fatal incidents with foreign tourists).
Still there are about 250 coffeeshops in Amsterdam, most of them in the Old Centre. Prices hover around €7.50 for 1 gram, with the average joint holding around 0.33g and a 5g/person sales limit. Most coffeeshops are happy to recommend varieties and prepare your joint for you. Some offer vaporizers/inhalators for people who don't want to smoke.
Using (soft) drugs is not allowed in public places, though in reality it will never be an issue. Just stay away from children's playgrounds and schools. Many coffeeshops offer a 'smoking lounge' where soft drugs may be used. Also note that despite the confusion on the subject, the Netherlands-wide smoking ban applies only to tobacco. However, since the Dutch commonly smoke tobacco mixed with their marijuana or hash, many coffeeshops, especially those unaccustomed to tourists, may require all smoking to be done in a separated smoking section or outdoors (this is far more common in coffeeshops outside of Amsterdam). Most central coffeeshops with large tourist clienteles will allow marijuana or hash smoking in their entire space, requiring you to smoke in the separated section only if your joint contains tobacco. Many coffeeshops also provide a non-tobacco herbal filler for those who find pure joints too strong. You may usually smoke joints containing this herbal filler anywhere within the coffeeshop although individual house rules may vary. If in doubt, always ask the staff.
- Bulldog, . Chain of touristy coffeeshops.
- Grey Area. Tiny, but famous for their outstanding weed, especially "American" strains.
- The Bluebird - one of the best selections of pot in Amsterdam.
- De Kuil (420 Cafe)
- Global Chillage - Good produce and nice tunes but uncomfortable seating.
- Barney's . Multiple Cannabis Cup winner.
- Rokerij. Four coffeeshops.
- Kadinsky - 2 coffeeshops, across the smaller one (at Damrak) is the "Kadinsky Bar" where you can order alcohol & smoke your goods.
- Hill Street Blues - lively atmosphere but buy cannabis elsewhere.
- Club Media - Completely organic menu, fair selection, good prices, lovely staff, free fruit!
- Katsu - Just around the corner from Media, good prices + nice atmosphere.
- The Greenhouse - usually pretty crowded but when warm or if you can get a seat definitely one of the nice coffeeshops near the red light. Also has a bar next door.
- De Dampkring - three locations, bought out Pink Floyd and renovated it. Original shop featured in a scene in Ocean's 12. Very decent hashish ("Rifman" products), rather high prices.
- De Kroon.
- Homegrown Fantasy.
- The Jungle (Het Oerwoud) - Good selection of pre-rolled joints sorted on strength (from beginner to expert). Has two pool tables.
- The Otherside. - Gay coffeeshop.
- Betty Too - Absolute gem, cozy and friendly place with moderate prizes and interesting, international crowd.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Mid-range||€80 to €150|
- Individual listings can be found in Amsterdam's district articles
Amsterdam has over 400 registered hotels of varying standards from budget facilities to some of the most expensive hotels in Europe. Advance booking is recommended, especially for weekends and holidays. Don't expect you'll find an affordable bed once you're here. Most hotels and hostels can be found in the Old Centre, notably south of central station, and in the South around the Museum Quarter. Charming boutique accommodation can be found in the wealthy residential Canal Ring, home to the rich and famous and its squares are the prime nightlife spots of the city. The Jordaan is another area for hip boutique accommodations, slightly upmarket, but still for mid-range prices. Some cheaper hostels can also be found in the Red Light District.
A simple bed in a hostel starts around €15 on weekdays in the winter and up to €90 on a weekend in the summer. Hostels often expect you to book at least 2 nights in a weekend. A twin room in a budget hotel, 1-2 stars, might cost around €40 on weekdays in the winter and up to €100 on summer weekends. In a three and four star hotel, the prices would range from €100 to €200, depending on season, and five stars hotels can cost between €150 and €400 a night.
Do not expect a wide amount of services from cheaper end hostels and hotels. Most of these do not have elevators and have the usual steep staircases; if you suffer from vertigo, do get an assurance that you will be getting a first or second floor room or book a hotel that has an elevator.
Stay safe 
You should take normal precautions against pickpockets and baggage theft, especially in the main shopping streets, in trams and trains, at stations, and anywhere where tourists congregate. Street begging is no longer common in Amsterdam, since the police take a harder line. Some beggars are addicts, some are homeless, and some are both.
What looks like a footpath, especially along a canal bank, may be a bike lane. Bike lanes are normally marked by red/purple tiles or asphalt, and a bike icon on the ground. However, the colour fades over time, so you might miss the difference. Don't expect cyclists to be kind to pedestrians: some consider the side-walk an extension of the road, to be used when it suits them. Never stay or walk on the bike path or street for extended periods of time, as you will be greeted only by angry bell ringing. Keep in mind that for many Amsterdammers, the bike is their main means of transportation. For the bike theft problem see above, Get around.
Watch out for trams when crossing the street. Taxis are also allowed to use some tram lanes, and even if not allowed, they often use them anyway.
Groups of women visiting the Red Light District at night might feel harassed in the aggressive environment, though this is said to be the safest area because of the police presence. Keep to main streets and groups. Do not take photographs of the prostitutes!, you will be yelled at or worse.
Although not really dangerous, women especially might want to avoid the narrow lane north of the Oude Kerk (Old Church) after dark as the atmosphere can be quite intimidating.
Amsterdam is actually one of the safest cities in the world. International consultancy Mercer ranked Amsterdam 13 out of 215 world cities for personal safety in its 2010 Quality of Life Survey. 
Journeywoman.com calls Amsterdam 'female-friendly' and recommends it as a city where women travelling alone should feel comfortable and safe. 
However, there are differences between the neighborhoods. While it's filled with all types of people during the day, the Red Light District does attract seedier visitors and vagrants after sunset. You may want to avoid walking alone here or in parks at night.
The Bijlmer and Slotervaart in West still have a bad name regarding violence and harassment. With recent urban renewal projects, these neighborhoods have made significant progress in the last few years.
The local authorities provide a brochure  with tips, do's and don'ts and other safety information.
Cannabis and other drugs 
It cannot be denied that many tourists come to Amsterdam for the coffeeshops. Coffeeshops (in English but written as one word) sell only soft drugs such as marijuana and hash - asking for other drugs is pointless because coffeeshops are watched closely by the authorities, and nothing will get them closed faster than having hard drugs for sale. 'Café' is the general name for a place licenced to sell alcohol: a bar.
Quality varies. Coffeeshops aimed at tourists are more likely to have overpriced and poor quality products. A simple rule of thumb is: if the place looks good and well-kept chances are their wares will be good as well. Don't just enter a coffeeshop being overwhelmed that it's possible at all to buy and consume cannabis openly: be discerning as to the quality.
If you're not a smoker, and you really want to try it, start with something light, make sure you don't have an empty stomach, and don't combine it with any other drugs or intoxicants, including alcohol. Be forthright with the counter person about your inexperience, they see it all the time. Go with an experienced person if you can. Regardless of the strength, your first experience can be quite a sensation at first, but will quickly decrease in intensity. You may want to plan to return to your hotel and "hole up" for a couple hours until you become comfortable with the feeling. If you do find yourself too strongly under the influence - feeling nauseated, woozey or faint - drink orange juice or eat something sweet like cookies or candy, and get fresh air. Dutch-grown nederwiet (a.k.a. super skunk) is much stronger than you might expect, even if you are experienced. The THC level can be as high as 15%, twice the norm (source: Trimbos Institute).
There's a small chance you will be approached by people offering to sell you hard drugs in the street, especially as you are walking through the Red Light District. Ignoring or failing that a firm refusal is enough - they will not pester you. The selling of drugs in the street is illegal and often dangerous; moreover the drugs sold to strangers are usually fake. When they invite you to see the goods, they can lure you into a narrow street and rob you.
So-called smartshops do not sell any illegal products, but a range of dietary supplements, including 'herbal exstacy' - a legal attempt at an ecstasy pill alternative which is a complete waste of money and various more or less obscure psychedelic herbs and despite a change in the law, one type of magic mushrooms. It is the latter which causes problems as people often underestimate their strength. Magic mushrooms have few physical risks attached to them, but can have a very strong short-acting psychological effect, which can either be great or very distressing, depending on your own mindset (e.g. if you are relaxed, have any serious worries, history of mental illness, etc.) and your surroundings (e.g. if you feel comfortable and safe in them). The first time you try this should always be in a familiar and trusted environment, not on the streets of an unfamiliar city. If you do decide to try it please get informed first. Conscious Dreams , the company who invented the entire concept of a 'smartshop' back in 1994 does this clearly (without downplaying the possible risks just to sell more like some other shops do) and responsibly. Also plan well ahead, make sure you have thought out where you will be, most recommended is going to a large park like the Vondelpark, the Rembrandtpark or the Amsterdamse Bos where it is quiet, and there is no risk from traffic. Make sure that being intoxicated will not endanger your safety, or that of anybody else. Be sure to make your purchase in the Smartshops rather than a regular coffeeshop. They are better regulated and information is available from the attendants that work there. They are also of better quality and stronger potency than at the coffeeshops.
If you're not sure of how much to take, take a small dose. Then you'll know what your "tolerance" level is. People who have bad trips are those who take a dosage over their own tolerance level. Never take more than one packet of mushrooms - usually half is good for your first time. A good smart shop can give you more info about this.
Do keep in mind that all hemp related products (except the seeds) are still illegal. This can be confusing for most tourists, who do think hemp products are legal since they are sold in coffeeshops. Hemp products are not legal, rather they are "tolerated" under the Dutch Opium Act. Read more about the legalities in the article about the Netherlands.
As of April 2009 you can still buy Magic mushrooms.
Amsterdam plays host to the Cannabis Cup, the most important marijuana related event in the world every year during the week of Thanksgiving. The Cannabis Cup is organized by High Times magazine, and offers both tourists and natives the chance to enjoy 5 days of consuming and judging marijuana in different forms. Participants are eligible to pay $199 in advance or €250 at the door to obtain a "judges pass", which allows entry to the event for all 5 days, admission to numerous concerts and seminars held during the event, the ability to vote on numerous awards that are handed out, and free bus tours to and from the event. Day passes are available for €30 for each day, and certain concerts sell tickets at the door provided they are not already sold out.
The first internet cafés of the country opened in Amsterdam, but they vanished as quickly as they appeared. Only a few smaller internet cafés remain in the Old Centre. Outside of it, you might want to try your luck at one of the phone shops (belwinkel), which cater for immigrant communities in the Netherlands, but they usually have only one or two terminals. The Amsterdam Public Library (Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam", OBA) offers free internet access. It is limited to web-only access though and is located near the Central Station in the Old Centre. It's possible to get wi-fi here as well, but you need to show your passport.
If you bring a laptop, many hotels in the city offer wifi free of charge for guests, but inform before making a booking. Don't count on this when staying at a hostel or cheaper end hotel. On the go, you can try some of the various coffee houses or fast food chains for wi-fi.
The telephone country code for the Netherlands is 31, and Amsterdam's city code is 020. You only need to dial the 0 if you're calling from within the Netherlands.
Pay phones are increasingly rare as most Dutch people have a mobile phone. That's why pay phones mostly cater to tourists and can be found around tourist areas, such as the central station. If making local calls from a pay phone, you will need a phone card (€5 minimum) as many green KPN telephone booths do not accept coins. blue/orange Telfort booths accept both coins and cards. The KPN booths are currently being replaced by newer models, which will accept coins again. There are very few public telephones on the streets or in public transport stations in the Netherlands. If you need to make a call and do not have access to a local phone or hotel phone, it is best to go to a call centre or use a calling service over the internet (like Skype, for example). Most payphones require phone cards which can be bought at post offices and some delis, although the cards are increasingly hard to find. Also, as in any area, some of the pay phones are scams. If you do need to use a payphone, call the free customer service number listed on the payphone first to make sure the phone is actually in service. When you call the customer service number listed on the phone, if you get a recorded message or 'number not in service' message in Dutch or English, then DON'T put your money or credit card into the phone. Phones run by BBG Communications, common in Europe and the U.S., have repeatedly been alleged to make fraudulent charges with credit cards used in their phone, for calls that were never made.
If you really do need a pay phone, they can be found in groups of six near the main entrance of the Central Station.
There are phone shops ('belwinkel') all over the city. Outside the city centre, they mostly serve immigrants calling their home country at cheap rates.
If you have a simlock-free European GSM mobile phone (suitable for GSM 900/1800 networks), consider buying a prepaid simcard. You can buy these in any electronics store, and they are often the same price as buying a KPN phonebooth card. Calling then is a lot cheaper than using pay phones, and you are mobile.
Religious services 
Holy Mass in Catholic churches (Overview of Cath. Masses in the city center (English): ):
- Begijnhofkapel (HH. Joannes en Ursula), Begijnhof 29.  Sun: 10PM 11:15PM (in French); Mon-Fri: 9AM, 5PM; Sat: 9AM.
- De Krijtberg (St. Franciscus Xaverius), Singel 448 (stop Koningsplein of trams 1, 2, 5).  Sat: 12:30PM, 5:15PM; Sun: 9:30AM; 11:00AM (Latin), 12:30AM, 5:15PM; Mon-Fri: 12:30PM, 5:15PM.
- Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, Keizersgracht 220/218 B (stop Westermarkt of trams 6, 13, 14, 17 or busses 21, 170, 172).  Sat: 7PM; Sun: 11:15AM, 1:00PM (surinam.); Mon-Fri (chapel): 12:15PM, 7:30PM.
- Papegaai (HH. Petrus en Paulus), Kalverstraat 58 (by feet 20 min from central station). Sat: 5:30PM; Sun: 10:30AM (Latin), 12:15PM (Latin); Mon-Sat: 10:30AM.
- Zusters van Moeder Teresa, Amsterdam-Badhoevedorp, Egelantierstraat 147 (city centre). Sun: 3:00PM; Mon-Sat: 07:30AM.
- Vrouwe van alle volkeren, Diepenbrockstraat 3 (near to RAI congress centre), tel. (020)-6620504. Sun: 09:30AM, 11:15AM; Mon-Sat: 12:15PM; Tue: 7:15PM.
- Parish of the Blessed Trinity, Zaaiersweg 180, 1097 ST Amsterdam, Tel:020-4652711,020-7772740. Mass in English, Sunday 10:30 am and Noon.
English Language Worship for Protestants:
- English Reformed Church, Begijnhof 48, 1012 WV Amsterdam, telephone +31(0)20 624 9665. Service at 10:30 Sundays. An English language Reformed Church led by a (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland minister.
Old Catholic Church (a Dutch denomination in communion with the Church of England - Anglican)
- Parochie van de H.H. Petrus en Paulus & H.H. Johannes en Willibrordus, Ruysdaelstraat 39.. Eucharist 10:00 Sundays (in Dutch)
The older generation of Dutch people tends to be more religious.
Go next 
Direct trains connect Amsterdam to Paris, to major Belgian cities like Brussels and Antwerp, and to German cities like Cologne, Frankfurt and Berlin. The ticket machines directly sell tickets to nearby destinations in Belgium and Germany, for longer journeys you will need to consult the international ticket office at the west end of the Central Station. CityNightLine trains run directly from Amsterdam Central Station to Milan, Vienna, Copenhagen, Prague, Warsaw, Moscow, Munich, Innsbruck, and Zurich (reservation compulsory).
Almost any place in the Netherlands can be reached within 3 hr of rail travel. To make more sense, day trips can be divided into those close to the city (about 30 min by public transport) and those further afield.
North Holland 
- Alkmaar - historic town with its cheese market
- Enkhuizen - interesting small town with the Zuiderzee Museum, that shows how people used to live with the persistent danger of the sea
- Haarlem — the closest of the historic cities, just 15 minutes from Amsterdam centre by train
- Muiden — formerly a small port at the mouth of the Vecht river, it boasts the Muiderslot, the best-known castle of the country
- Naarden — surrounded by a complete ring of 17th-century fortifications
- Purmerend -the end of the former purmer lake ( Purmer End)
- Hilversum — affluent town known for its magnificent town hall, also offers cycling tours through forests and the heath
- Zaanstreek-Waterland — picturesque villages a short trip from the city
- Zaanse Schans — historic windmills, tradesmen workshops and an open-air museum
- Zandvoort — closest beach resort to Amsterdam
Further destinations 
- Delft — well known for its traditional blue and white ceramics
- Gouda — historic town famous for its Gouda cheese and the cheese market
- 's-Hertogenbosch — typical city for the Southern Netherlands, goes crazy during carnival
- Keukenhof — a seasonal attraction in the Spring, these enormous flower fields are popular among travellers
- Kinderdijk — this authentic network of windmills shows the typical Dutch countryside at its best
- Leiden — vibrant student town with the country's oldest university and several museums
- Rotterdam — has a history of rivalry with Amsterdam, and a completely different atmosphere with modern architecture
- The Hague (Den Haag) — political heart of the country, Madurodam, and Scheveningen, the most popular beach of the country
- Utrecht — historic town that has a less-ambitious canal system
|Routes through Amsterdam|
|END ←||W E||→ Muiden → Hengelo|
|END ←||N S||→ Utrecht → Maastricht|
|END ←||N S||→ Hoofddorp → The Hague|
|END ←||S N||→ Zaandam → Leeuwarden|
|Alkmaar ← Haarlem ←||N S||→ END|