Top 5: Fantastic Free Activities In Amsterdam
There’s a belief the more money you spend, the better your trip will be. When you’re out traveling, you have to stay at the ritziest hotels, eat at the fanciest restaurants, and shop at the priciest stores.
And if you don’t do all of those things, then you’re not getting the most of your trip. In our experience, that just isn’t true; you don’t have to break the bank to have a great vacation.
Take Amsterdam for example; this city proves that some of the best things in life are free. Amsterdam has plenty of parks, forests, and landmarks that you can visit without spending a dime. There are also quite a few city-wide festivals and events that are 100% free.
We’re absolutely excited to share our top 5 favorite free activities in Amsterdam. We’re talking indoor and outdoor activities — the sort of things that you could do over a long weekend. Strap on your favorite walking shoes, because we’ll be bouncing all around the city. Speaking of which, you should definitely store your luggage and heavy bags in a safe place before getting started.
Back in 1865, Nieuwe Park opened in the Amsterdam-Zuid borough. This was by far one of the largest public parks to ever grace the city. Thousands of people flocked to Nieuwe Park during its opening year. As the park became more popular, more amenities and features were added — including a sculpture of Dutch playwright Joost van den Vondel in 1867. From that point on, people stopped using the name Nieuwe Park and started using the moniker “Vondelpark.”
Centuries later, Vondelpark still gets around 10 million visitors per year. Vondelpark’s cultural significance is a big reason why so many people frequent the area. Joost van den Vondel is a cultural icon in the Netherlands. He wrote numerous plays, novels, and poems that are still popular today. Some of Vondel’s most famous works include Joseph, The Brothers, and The Passover or the Redemption of Israel from Egypt.
Another reason why Vondelpark is so popular is that there are so many different things to do there. Vondelpark has bars, restaurants, open-air theatres, statue gardens, and weekly events. It’s easy to see why so many people love Vondelpark. You can learn more about Vondelpark and everything that it has to offer by visiting this website.
Amsterdam Free Library
Who says that a vacation can’t double as an educational experience? The Amsterdam Free Library has thousands of books and magazines that visitors can read without paying a dime. New books are added to the library’s collection every month. On the flip side, you can find several rare books that the library has housed for years.
The Amsterdam Free Library also offers several different programs that visitors can sign up for. They’ve got programs for young children, programs for adults, and a very popular Summer Reading Program. This library is community-driven and was really built for the people, by the people. Stop by the Amsterdam Free Library’s website to see which books are in stock and which events are on the calendar.
Dutch National Opera & Ballet on Tuesdays
The only thing that beats a live performance is a free live performance. But, great concerts and ballet shows that are free are extremely hard to come by. That’s why so many people flock to the Dutch National Opera & Ballet on Tuesdays. Free lunch concerts are held on Tuesdays and all are welcome to come. Some of the pieces you might hear include:
- The works of Handel
- Cantatas by J.S. Bach
- Concertos by Vivaldi
Really, you can experience renditions of all kinds of classical pieces. There is a catch to these lunchtime concerts; these events are first-come, first-served affairs. Seats are limited and the Opera always gets packed on Tuesdays, so you’ll want to get there as early as possible. To learn more about the Tuesday Lunch Concerts, as well as to learn more about the Opera in general, you can visit their main website by following this link.
Amsterdam has many great museums, but none are quite like the Rijksmuseum. This place is the national museum of the Netherlands and has been around for centuries. Ancient artifact exhibits, a massive library, a selection of Rembrandt’s greatest works—- this place has it all! However, you have to pay to see those exhibits. The price of admission isn’t steep by any means, but we’re talking about Amsterdam’s free activities today.
So, why are we discussing the Rijksmuseum? Because this museum’s garden is 100% free to visit. You won’t just find gorgeous flora and fauna here, you’ll also find several notable points of interest:
- Playground equipment designed by Aldo van Eyck
- An interactive water maze
- The van Logteren gazebo
- Numerous statues and sculptures
The list goes on and on. The Rijksmuseum Garden is popular with Amsterdam’s local citizens and visitors from other countries. This place never goes out of style and there’s never a bad time to visit.
Amsterdam Light Festival
Winter is always an exciting time in the Netherlands. Sinterklaas (Santa Claus’ Dutch predecessor) sails into town and cities get covered in fields of white snow. A place like Amsterdam truly becomes a Winter Wonderland during this time of year, especially because of the Amsterdam Light Festival.
Each December, Amsterdam hosts a city-wide light art exhibition. Artists from all around the world participate in the festival, creating inspired and amazing works of art. These designs are then displayed during the Light Walk — an art showcase that runs from December 10th to January 3rd.
The Amsterdam Light Festival also encourages students and young children to participate. They’ve hosted more than 800 workshops at local schools. We could honestly go on forever about how awesome this festival is. If you’re interested in attending, stop by the Amsterdam Light Festival’s website to learn more about this electrifying event.