50 things to do while studying in Amsterdam

By Hannah Wheeler, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands

Here is a list of some of the best things, both touristy and Dutchie, to do in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I hope it has something that will appeal to everyone: from club recommendations to must try cookies…

Dutch specialities and Culture

  1. Enjoy a Canal boat ride 
  2. Find bargains for clothes and furniture in kringloops and Rataplans 
  3. Walk around the city centre and Jordaan on Kingsday for an all-day street party – the night before there will also be lots of celebrations to go to! 
  4. Explore other cities in the Netherlands like Dan Hague, Leiden and Utrecht – they are always described as mini Amsterdams… 
  5. Take the ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord (it’s free) 
  6. Ij Hallen flea market!
  7. Buy a bike from Waterlooplein market (or just enjoy the market if you don’t need a bike/have got one already) 
  8. Check out the museums (don’t forget about the NEMO and Tropen museum which aren’t in Museumplein)
  9. Visit the red light district (don’t be a knob) 
  10. Venture to somewhere in the south of the Netherlands, like Breda, for carnival in February 
  11. Go ice skating at Museumplein before Christmas 
  12. Learn to pronounce ‘Goedemorgen’ correctly – aka. Good morning 
  13. Check out Nordmarkt on Saturday 
  14. Visit a dutch castle 

Social activities, day and night

  1. Go to some Amsterdam Dance Events (ADE) in October 
  2. Go to Skate Cafe for a good night out – other good club spots are Panama, Shelter and De Marktkantine! AVOID escape at all costs… 
  3. Storytelling night at Mezrab (in English of course) 
  4. Go to Summer Breeze night in Westerpark to dance salsa in the summer months on Thursday
  5. Check out Joe’s Garage, a kind of underground spot that has vegan food nights and movie nights for only donations – look at their website to get an idea of their ethos and nights! 
  6. See a gig at the world-famous Paradiso venue – I saw bicep there
  7. Get a drink in the sun at Waterkant 
  8. Chill or party in Vondelpark 
  9. Visit PLEK, a city beach and bar 
  10. Go to Cafe Alto on a weeknight for free live music 
  11. Drink like a dutchie – buy jugs of beer for the table
  12. Go to the Book exchange store to swap second-hand books and find new ones (all books are in English)
  13. Study at OBA in Oosterdok for a change of scenery when doing work 
  14. Go out to an ESN night to meet other internationals and have a light-hearted time 
  15. Wonder experience roller skating (it has a disco vibe, if that’s your thing) 
  16. Go to the sustainable Christmas market at De Ceuvel 
  17. Check out mini festivals or foodmarkets at westergas 
  18. Go to the cinema at the Kriterion and at Pathe Tuschinski for different movie experiences

Nature-based activities

  1. Kayak and swim in Amsterdam Bos (forest)
  2. Go for a nature trip to a national park like Zuid-Kennemerland
  3. Take your bike to cycle around Het Twiske in Noord – you can go for a swim at the lake’s beach 
  4. Swim in sloterplas 
  5. Cycle out to see the tulips (Keukenhof is a money trap – instead, get a train with your bike and cycle around the countryside to find tulip fields)
  6. Visit the Amsterdam Bos (a forest) in every season and watch how it changes

Food (Because food always needs a separate category)

  1. Get a fresh stroopwafel from Albert Cuyp market 
  2. Buy cookies from Van Stapele 
  3. Eat some Surinamese food! 
  4. Try out FEBO for fast food from a cabinet 
  5. Find a local farmers’ market to get fresh produce (often cheaper) 
  6. Eat an Oliebollen at Christmas time – I recommend the Nutella!
  7. Eat some dutch Panakuchen or Poffertje (the best is from a place near the Anne Frank house 
  8. Get some food at De Hallen, there’s something for everyone 
  9. Get some dutch fries and sit by the canal to eat (i recommend the Pindasaus sauce if you like peanut butter) 
  10. Buy some dutch staples from the supermarket like Hagelslag and Dutch mayo 
Poffertje when at Ij hallen flea market

and finally…

  • Fly, bus or train away to another European country that’s on your doorstep!

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