The Cultural Wonders to Experience in Amsterdam

December 13, 2018
by Olivia Del Viscio

I was blown away by the many things Amsterdam is famous for, including its many canals, canal houses, and beautifully historic architecture. However, my favorite thing about studying abroad in Amsterdam is its art culture. From a museum about cows to the well-known Rijksmuseum, there’s art to appeal to everyone!


I was completely overwhelmed by the gigantic collection at the Rijksmuseum. At the Rijks, there is over 800 years of Dutch and international art. It is currently the country’s largest collection of art, featuring pieces from Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Steen.

I used the Rijks App (free on the app store!) to download an audio tour of the “highlights” of the Rijks. There were quite a few tours to choose from; I wish I’d had more time to explore them all!

The Royal Palace

I happened upon the Royal Palace, one of the Netherlands’ most important and historic monuments, completely by accident. It originally served as Amsterdam’s town hall. Throughout the years and transitions of power, the government building was transformed into the magnificent palace that stands today. The palace continues to be utilized for state visits from world leaders and heads of state. However, most of the year, it is open for visitors. Not to mention, it’s absolutely stunning.

The Tulip Museum

I found the Tulip Museum, located in a beautiful, canal-side house, while exploring Jordaan. The exhibit describes a period in Holland’s history known as Tulipomania. Seriously – you can’t make this stuff up.

Tulipomania overtook the Netherlands in the 1600s. Crowds were wild to see the tulips in bloom. This craze and subsequent decline affected the country’s economy in a significant way and pushed Holland within a stone’s throw of bankruptcy.

Anne Frank House

Another of Amsterdam’s most well-known sites, for good reason, is the Anne Frank house. It sits in the same location where Anne Frank lived in hiding with her family during World War II. The rooms of the house preserve the atmosphere of Anne’s period of hiding. Documents, photographs, and notebooks are also on display in the museum.

Due to the popularity of the Anne Frank House, I wasn’t able to visit. Tickets have to be purchased in advance and cannot be bought at the door. My only regret of my trip to Amsterdam is that I didn’t have the opportunity to see these beautifully sobering artifacts up close.

Street Art and Entertainment

No matter where I was in Amsterdam, I continued to come across public art in various forms. Artists and musicians shared their crafts throughout the city. I found there to be plenty of beautiful street art in Jordaan, the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam.

Also, if you find yourselves lost on the streets of Amsterdam, you may happen upon street musicians and enthusiastic audiences. In the magical city of Amsterdam, it’s not unusual to run into art. Take it in -- you’ll never want to leave!

Olivia Del Viscio is the Program Development Coordinator.

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