5 Things to Do Between Meetings in Amsterdam

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Mar 29, 2018

Known for windmills, tulips, canals and cannabis, Amsterdam 
is a curious mix of commerce and culture. Once the world’s most important financial centre (it’s said the first stock exchange was founded here in 1602), the capital of the Netherlands enjoyed a Golden Age during the 17th century, thanks mainly to the Dutch 
East India Company, which put the city on the map as an international shipping and trading hub. If you're heading here for business and want to squeeze in a little culture, here are five of the best ways to see the best of Amsterdam.

Masterful art

Museumplein is home to three 
of Europe’s most exciting museums. Start at the exceptional Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandts, Vermeers and other Dutch Golden Age masters. Hop over to the Van Gogh Museum for 
the world’s largest collection of the Post-Impressionist’s paintings, drawings and letters. Then head 
to the Stedelijk Museum for modern masters such 
as Kandinsky and Pollock.

Canal cruising

A canal cruise is a must. Do a hop-on, hop-off tour if you want to explore the city at your own pace. Otherwise, book an hour-long trip on a glass-topped boat.

Shopping around

You’ll find the best boutique shopping in the beautiful 9 Streets district. For luxury designer 
brands, stroll the upmarket 
P. C. Hooftstraat near Museum Quarter. De Pijp, Amsterdam’s hipster neighbourhood, is the 
place to go for the coolest stores, bars and restaurants and excellent people-watching.

Painting the town

The city’s famous Red Light District has shaken off its grubby image and is now bustling with gentrified cafés and boutiques (but still girls in windows). Book a 1.5-hour walking tour for some history with your red-light ramblings – and never take photos.

Wheel spin

Hire a bike. It’s the fastest, easiest and most enjoyable way to zip around the city (Lycra and helmet not compulsory). Many hotels offer complimentary bikes but if they don’t, there are plenty of rentals near the bigger squares. Cycling 
in the city can be chaotic so stick 
to the bike lanes and look out for trams (and scooters, which also use the bike lanes).

Local knowledge

Hendrikje Crebolder, the director of development 
and media at the Rijksmuseum, shares her city favourites.

1. I love contemporary photography and Foam is great for national and international names and upcoming talent.
2. I like walking over the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) and relaxing at Amstelveld, 
a calm square in the middle of Golden Age canal houses. There’s a lovely flower market there every Monday.
3. For me, live concerts are the best musical experiences. Go to Paradiso or, to hear the acclaimed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, head to The Concertgebouw.
4. Hortus Botanicus in the Plantage neighbourhood feels like a jungle in the middle of the city. It’s an oasis of peace and a great place to have lunch.
5. Amsterdam Noord 
is a lesser-known but beautiful area with amazing contemporary architecture. Take a ferry across the IJ 
lake then rent a bike for 
a different view of the city.

SEE ALSO: The Business Travellers Guide to Amsterdam Hotels