Amsterdam is a city of frugality. So, it makes sense that indulging in the art scene or soaking up a bit of sun here doesn’t have to involve a hefty price tag. In fact, it doesn’t involve a price at all.
Here are a few of my favorite FREE things to do in Amsterdam.
1) A walk, skate, or museum visit, in the park…
Just south of the Leidseplein, you’ll find Vondelpark, a beautiful park nestled among the gray, towering blocks in Amsterdam’s city center. Named for a famous poet, the space benefits from a location close to all the major museums and is a great place to stop after a busy day spent exploring the city.
Hundreds of acres of land are sprinkled with thriving greenery, colorful blooms, and the occasional wildlife (read: ducks, swans). Best of all? This urban oasis is FREE and open to the public every day of the year.
What to see and do: The National Film Museum, a treasure trove of more than 30,000 films, will wow eager art fans who will be tempted to stop and catch a screening. Playgrounds abound in Vondelpark, making it a delight for traveling family groups. You can rent a pair of skates from Snoephuisje (Vondelpark, 7) if you are up for some fun and games or just bring along a blanket and goodies for an idyllic picnic in the sun. And of course, summertime brings in numerous free concerts in the park’s quaint Open Air Theater.
Opening Hours: Daily (9 AM to 5 PM)
2) Narrowest house in the world?
Rather than visiting the high-profile tourist spots, wouldn’t it be more exciting to check out one of those little known record-breaking monuments? How about something quirky or innovative, something that made a mark above all its more glamorous peers? Well, this is one of those fascinating sites, and it’s FREE to enter and explore.
At Singel #7 (just off of the Singel Canal), barely reaching one meter in breadth, this house is definitely one of the narrowest in the world. Admittedly, it’s the entrance that boasts the most tiny proportions; the rest of the house is pretty run-of-the-mill. Nonetheless, it’s worth checking out. And, hey, you could always stay at the Liberty Hotel (next door at #5) and snap some photos from your room.
Cheapo tip: If this topic continues to fascinate you, head over to Oude Hoogstraat, 22 which is also queuing up for the narrowest house title.
Amsterdam’s rich historical background is evident in a variety of city landmarks; no need to dish out oodles of cash for a bit of Dutch culture. Most landmarks signify amazing turning points in human history too, so catching a glimpse of them is certainly worth a jaunt. Here are three must-sees:
The Spinoza statue, located outside Amsterdam’s City Hall, is a requisite for history buffs. Dedicated to the renowned philosopher by the same name, the statue is a tribute to a great thinker of our time. Do snap a shot of the phrase near the statue: ‘The purpose of the State is freedom.’
Situated in the midst of Dam Square, the Dutch National Monument is a towering symbol dedicated to loved ones lost during World War II. A worthy testament.
Finally, in 2007, a bronze statue depicting a female prostitute was placed in Oudekerksplein, in front of the Oude Kerk. As is the custom in Amsterdam, the sculpture aims to show respect for all those who choose prostitution as their line of work.