Fun fact: New York City was originally called New Amsterdam by Dutch settlers. Now, you’ll have to visit the Netherlands for Amsterdam, the original namesake. The capital city has given us the legendary Eddie Van Halen, is home to one of Europe’s oldest Chinatowns and sets an example on how to live a car-free life (read: bikes, bikes and more bikes). Our guide takes you through its famed canals for every vibe you’re looking for.
Amsterdam for Extroverts
- Europe and football (soccer for the Americans) is a match made in heaven. Amsterdam’s Ajax Football Club dons red, black and white to match the city’s flag and sports four European Cups as one of the top clubs in Europe. Grab tickets to an Ajax home game in the Johan Cruijff Arena in the Zuidoost district and buckle in.
- We love activities with a cause. Instead of a traditional boat tour, join Plastic Whale for a two-hour tour that will take you through the city’s iconic canals while you help fish up plastic debris along the way. The company turns the plastic into boats and office furniture and it’s a feel-good way to give back to a city as a visitor.
Amsterdam for Introverts
- Cat lovers, meet De Poezenboot or The Catboat, the only floating cat shelter in the world. A refuge since the 60s, you can financially “adopt” one of their resident cats. Not only will you be keeping the shelter afloat, you’ll receive updates on your new friend every December. Sign. Us. Up.
- Amsterdam is definitely enough to whet the appetite but if you have an extra day, tack on a day trip to Delft (a swift hour train ride) or Ultrecht (30 minutes) to escape the usual crowds. Delft is home to Delftware, the Netherlands’ signature blue and white painted pottery along with picturesque canals upon canals. Johannes Vermeer was born here and casually anchored the Dutch Golden Age of painting. In Ultrecht, there are even more canals and restaurants along with unique museums to explore such as Centraal and the Miffy Museum for the kiddos.
Amsterdam for Ambiverts
- Time your visit to a festival because why the heck not. During the holidays, artists from around the world create light art for the Amsterdam Light Festival – you can take in a full tour by boat with a spiced gluhwein in hand or walk around to catch what you can from the canal shore. Spring brings the Kaboom Animation Festival which spotlights masters of the craft along with promising newcomers.
- Genever, that lovely juniper Dutch spirit, is found in all forms throughout the city. Wynand Fockink dates back to the 1600s and is one part liquor store, one part distillery and our favorite part: a tasting room. They sell genever varietals by the bottle in their shop or you can sit down for a sip or three.
- And for all still reading, De Pijp is THE neighborhood to bookmark. Also known as the Latin Quarter, this is where you’ll find a diverse spread of cuisine nestled alongside boho shops and the creative arts. Visit the 118-year-old Albert Cuyp street market for local handmade snacks and souvenirs.
Where to stay: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam
As part of our Stay Human: Come As You Are series, we’re pulling back the layers to tailor immersive city experiences meant for all energy levels and personalities – from the most extroverted of us to the ones who prefer to sit back and observe.