Top Attractions in the Netherlands

Me and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

First visit: April 2005
Photography by Arthur Jeciel

I have visited Amsterdam twice in the past (the first one being 10 years ago) but it was only on my third visit last week that I was able to explore this beautiful city known for its canals, bikes and tulips. I was only transitting at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport but it was enough to take the train to the city center, see the beauty of the Netherlands capital for just a few hours, and then back to the airport again. I was not able to visit any museums due to lack of time but just admiring the wonderful architecture of the buildings was indeed a joy for me. Here are some of the places I visited and which I would recommend to my fellow travelers.

Royal Palace Amsterdam: Originally built as a city hall in the 17th century, this palace is definitely the top attraction in Amsterdam and should not be missed.

Amsterdam Central Station: This is probably one of the most beautiful train stations I've seen because it's very "Dutch".

Oude Kerk: Located near the "Red Light District", this is the oldest building in Amsterdam and home to medieval tombstones and contemporary art exhibitions.

Beurs van Berlage Conference Center: Often referred to as the most beautiful conference center in Amsterdam.

De Nieuwe Kerk: This more than 600 year old church located on the right side of the Royal Palace is famous for its beautiful architecture and two world-famous organs.

Dam Square or Dam: This is the main town square in Amsterdam and during my visit, there was already a sort of stage being done in preparation for the Christmas season.

Nationale Opera and Ballet: Located in the Waterloo Plein, this is hard to miss when touring the city of Amsterdam.

Saint Egidio Church

Magere Brug or Skinny Bridge: This wooden drawbridge is one of Amsterdam's most iconic.

Series of Seven Bridges: Here you can find a series of seven arched-brick bridges in succession

Rijksmuseum: Also known as the Museum of Netherlands, here you will find Dutch art from the middle ages to the Renaissance to the 20th century.

I amsterdam letters: The slogan of the city of Amsterdam, this icon located just in front of the Rijksmuseum is not to be missed.

Van Gogh Museum: This museum houses the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, the famous Dutch Post-impressionist painter noted for his use of color.

Concertgebouw or Concert Building: A concert hall with neoclassic architecture located near the Rijksmuseum.

Stedelijk Museum: Located beside the Van Gogh Museum, this is an international museum dedicated to modern contemporary art and design.

Westerkerk: A Dutch protestant church built between 1620 and 1631.

Anne Frank Huis: A house turned museum, this was the hiding place of Anne Frank where she wrote her diary "The Diary of Anne Frank", during World War II.

The National Monument: A World War II monument built in 1956 located on Dam Square

Saint Nicholas Basilica: Located to the left of the Central Station, this basilica is definitely worth a visit.

Magna Plaza Shopping Mall: This was actually not on my tourist map but it caught my attention because of the beautiful architecture. Well, before being turned into a shopping mall, this used to be the Amsterdam Main Post Office. No wonder.

Enjoying the famous canals of Amsterdam: I was not able to take a boat trip due to lack of time but hopefully I'll get to do it on my next visit.

Taking the public transportation: During my visit, I was able to try the train, the tram, the metro and the bus which was really enjoyable.

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