Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands as well as the most populated city with about 800.000 residents. It is known as one of the most colorful and open-minded cities in Europe and famous for its cyclists, canals, multicultural community and street culture. The 165 canals and 1200 bridges are the reason for the city´s nickname “Venice of the North”. Amsterdam is a unique city with some of the world´s most interesting museums on one hand and its famous red light district and coffeeshops on the other.
How to get there
It is easiest and fastest way to travel from Duisburg to Amsterdam by train. You can board the ICE 126 and 122 (Deutsche Bahn) at the Duisburg Hauptbahnhof/Central Station and get off at the Amsterdam Centraal/Central Station, which is located in the middle of the city. The Amsterdam Centraal is the fourth stop of your train ride, which will take about 2 hours. The ticket price usually varies between 35 Euro and 55 Euro depending on how early you book your ticket, so try to plan your trip in advance. Also please bear in mind that the trains can be late while planning your trip.
Drive on the A3, A40 or A57 if you want to get there by car. The car drive will take about 2,5 hours. Amsterdam is a popular destination for tourists, so there might be traffic jams. There are a lot of parking lots in the centre of the city as well as some in the surrounding areas. For on-street parking you can look for a blue box with the letter P. on it, parking there usually requires payment. Parking in Amsterdam can be very expensive and cost you up to about 50 Euro a day in a centre garage.
Parking garages in the center of the city
FlixBus, MeinFernbus, Eurolines and Postbus are bus companies that can take you from Duisburg to Amsterdam. The tickets cost about 20 Euro to 40 Euro. The bus rides with less expensive tickets usually need a longer time.
Amsterdam´s history is connected to water since it used to be a small fishing village and quickly became one of the words busiest ports in the 17th century, so one of the most beautiful ways to discover the city is by taking a canal boat tour, which takes about an hour. Canal boats are and ideal transport along the canals and a great introduction to the city, passing all the highlights of Amsterdam. There is also multilingual commentary provided on board (usually in English, German, Dutch and French).
There are a lot of different kinds of canal tours like the Hop on-Hop off canal boat tour, which you can board and hop off at many stops whenever you like (23 Euro), the Open boat tour (18,50 Euro) as well as the 100 Highlights Cruise, that will show you why the canals of Amsterdam have been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO by passing Amsterdam´s most famous attractions (16 Euro) and Dinner Cruises (usually more expensive).
The latest check-in is usually a few minutes before departure at the Damrak Pier ( a 4 minute walk from the Amsterdam Central station.
How to get to the Damrak Pier from Amsterdam Centraal
In Amsterdam are more than seventy Museums of different kinds to visit, smaller ones as well as main tourist attractions. Combined they attract about seven million visitors every year. The museums are often crowded, but you can buy the tickets online in order to skip the queue (http://adaminfo.amsterdam.ticketbar.eu/en/museums/).
The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most famous museums in Amsterdam. It maintains the world’s largest collection of the artists work. The Museum is located at the Museumplein/Museum Square. Opening hours are from 9 am until 5-6 pm, a ticket (+ audio guide) costs 25 Euro.
Another main attraction is the Anne Frank House, which is located at the Prinsengracht in the Center district of the city. The young Jewish diarist and her family hid inside the house for about 2 years during World War II. Today, the exhibition attracts 1,2 million visitors every year. Opening hours are from 9 am until 7-10 pm, a ticket costs 9 Euro. Due to its popularity the Anne Frank House is sold out for weeks (sometimes months) ahead. Make sure to buy your ticket in advance!
The last of the “Big Three” is the Rijksmuseum (the State Museum), which is one of the most popular museums in the world. It is over 200 years old and contains Dutch art from the Middle Ages until today. One of the highlights of the Rijksmuseum is “The Night Watch” (Rembrandt, 1642). The Museum is also located at the Museumplein/Museum Square. Opening hours are from 9 am until 5 pm, a ticket costs 17,50 Euro.
How to get to the Museumplein and the Anne Frank house from Amsterdam Centraal
”The Night Watch”
Madame Tussauds and Amsterdam Dungeon
Another highlight is Madam Tussauds´ collection of wax figures, which is located at the Dam square (10 minute walking from the Central Station). Waxworks of famous politicians, singers, artists and athletes are displayed in the 1971 opened Museum. The Madam Tussauds in Amsterdam does not only present the wax figures cabinet but also possesses an interactive art exhibition, equipped with multimedia effects. Opening hours are from 10 am until 6 pm (out of season) and from 7 am until 8:30 pm during June-September, a ticket costs 22 Euro (https://www.madametussauds.com/amsterdam/en/).
The Amsterdam Dungeon is an 80 minute walkthrough adventure through the scary history of Amsterdam. Visitors experience storytelling, live actors and special effects. Inside the Dungeon are different attractions like the Torture Chamber, the Labyrinth of Lost Amsterdam and the Great Plague. There are new and updated shows on a regular basis. The Amsterdam Dungeon is also located at the Dam square, opening hours are from 11 am until 6 pm, a ticket costs 22 Euro. If you want to visit the Dungeon as well as Madam Tussauds you can get an online discount (32 Euro) (https://www.thedungeons.com/amsterdam/en/).
How to get to the Dam Square
Exploring Amsterdam by bike
There are over 700.000 bikes in Amsterdam as a third of the city´s population uses the bike as their main means of transport. It is a city that is very easily explored by bike because it offers a perfect infrastructure for cycling. But always remember to properly lock your bike!
Renting a bike in Amsterdam is very easy since there are rental shops in almost every part of the city. You will usually get a lock from the bike rental. Renting a bike costs about 6 Euro per hour and 15 Euro a day. Paying for an insurance is recommended and costs you about 3 Euro extra.
Bike Rentals in the center of Amsterdam
Written by Lisa Brümmer