Yes, we know! You saved a bunch by renting an apartment with Amsterdam Apartments, which is so much cheaper than the average hotel. But now you want to save even more and check out the free attractions of Amsterdam. Well, it turns out you’re still in for a treat.
Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
-Get to know the history and most important icons of Amsterdam by joining a three hour free walking tour. Simply turn up at either the National Monument in Dam Square at 11.15 am or 1.15 pm and look for a tour guide from the New Amsterdam Walking Tours. You’ll be astounded with the depth of the commentary (I know for a fact, because I myself learnt the entire script off by heart five years ago…)
-Are you a classical music lover? Amsterdam has so much to offer, and the free lunchtime concerts at Concertgebouwplein are a delight. Just turn up at the square on Wednesdays at 12.30 pm and watch the rehearsals for official shows that night for free. The Concertgebouwplein is off Van Baerlestraat.
-Think you’re too skint to take a boat ride? Think again – you can do it for free! Just make your way to the ferries behind Centraal Station, which go to the northern part of Amsterdam, which is hardly interesting, but you can just stay on the boat and go straight back. The panorama is great, especially at sunset; you’ll imagine you’re in Manhattan. The trip to Buiksloterdijk lasts the longest.
-Check out the 17th century art at the Civic Guards Gallery. Some of it is rather spectacular. Slip into the museum via the Kalverstraat gate to the Amsterdam Historical Museum. Just look for a glass overground walkway.
-Just behind the Civic Guards Gallery is the 'Begijnhof', an extensive complex of gardens and courtyards that the regular tourist will routinely ignore. One of the cottages in the Begijnhof ranks as the oldest house in Amsterdam and dates back to the 13th century. The cottages used to be occupied by spinsters ‘begijntjes’. The place shuts at 5 pm.
-Visit the many art galleries and see what Amsterdam’s artists are up to. Art galleries in the Museumkwartier are a good starting point. Just head to the Rijksmuseum and look for signposts to the Museumkwartier. You’ll stumble on the one brilliant art gallery after the other. No headache-inducing museum tours, but just hop-in-hop-out art watching. And what’s more, the art is a lot less stuffy too!
-Become an obscurantist and check out live music acts in bars and cafes. Get a gig guide and look under the free listings, or hop into Mulligan’s Irish bar in Amstel on Sunday nights, where there are free jam sessions. Jazz freak? Cafe Alto on Korte Leidsedwarsstraat is the place on most nights. Malo Melo has free blues bands on Wednesdays nights.
-In case you need free stuff because you’re saving up to buy presents, look no further than the nine little alleys (Negen straatjes) which crisscross from Reestraat through to Wijde Heisteeg. Not quite as claustrophobic as the Lanes in Brighton, these nine little alleyways are very popular because they host blissfully charming tiny shops, some of which are speciality store with highly quirky products on offer as well as inspirational designer goods and off the wall clothes. There is even a shop there that only sells toothbrushes, and apart from the eye candy, the area offers plenty of cafes.