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18 Famous Buildings in Amsterdam to Visit

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Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world regarding architecture. From Gothic cathedrals to iconic Dutch windmills, the city is home to some of the most famous buildings on the planet. If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, add these famous buildings to your list of places.

Amsterdam is home to buildings in various styles and periods and many of these buildings have played an important role in the city’s history.

There are many amazing examples of architecture in Amsterdam. Given the city’s high-density urban environment, you’ll have a chance to see a variety of buildings, from the old merchant houses during the Dutch Golden Age to Art Deco modern buildings to the tulip-lined canal bridges. It’s truly a haven for some serious eye candy.

Crossing off all these buildings while visiting this majestic city is easy. The amazing cycling infrastructure makes it easy to access nearly any neighborhood. Here is a list of the most famous ones (in no particular order):

Most Famous Buildings & Architecture in Amsterdam

1. The Rijksmuseum

Enchanting Dutch architecture at Rijksmuseum Garden, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous museums in the world and is likely the most famous building on this list. It houses Dutch masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals.

This Neo-Renaissance building is located on Museumplein and was designed by Pierre Cuypers, who also designed Amsterdam Centraal Station. After years of construction, it was opened to the public in 1885.

The Rijksmuseum was built to house the collection of paintings owned by King Willem I, which had been gathered during his time as governor-general of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). When he became king, he decided that an art gallery would be a fitting tribute to himself, so The Rijksmuseum was born.

Today, it is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions, and even from the outside, it’s easy to see why. The collection of paintings on display is truly breathtaking, and the architecture of the building is simply stunning.

See Related: Amsterdam Souvenirs to Buy on Your Trip

2. Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Anne Frank House is one of Amsterdam’s most emotionally moving places. The building was where Anne Frank and her family were hidden away during the German occupation in WWII. Today, the house is a museum that preserves the story of Anne Frank and her time in hiding.

When you visit the Anne Frank House, you’ll see the shop where Anne’s father worked and the secret apartment where the family hid. You’ll also see Anne’s diary, which she wrote while hiding.

The diary gives a detailed account of Anne’s life during the war and is a powerful testimony to the human spirit. The Anne Frank House is a must-see for anyone visiting Amsterdam. It’s a moving reminder of the cruelty of war and a tribute to those who suffered during the Nazi occupation and the Holocaust.

See Related: Best Amsterdam Tours

3. Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Dam Square with Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of the most grandiose buildings in the city. It was built in 1655 to be used as a residence for the Dutch monarchs and has served that purpose ever since.

The palace is open to visitors year-round but may close during special occasions or official events. Visitors can enter through either building A or B; both offer tours that let you see every part of this beautiful structure firsthand – if you’re lucky enough to visit on a day when they’re open!

The Royal Palace is one of the best-known examples of Dutch Baroque architecture, which features ornate decorations on many surfaces (such as pillars) alongside symmetrical designs throughout each room.

You’ll also find many rooms with large windows facing out onto Dam Square itself. These windows allow people outside the Dam Square plaza below to see what’s happening inside.

See Related: Tips to Plan an Amazing Girls Trip to Amsterdam

4. Royal Concertgebouw

Royal Concertgebouw

Royal Concertgebouw is one of the world’s most impressive concert halls in Amsterdam! Named one of the five best concert halls by National Geographic Traveler, this is a must-see for any music lover.

The Royal Concertgebouw is also home to the renowned Concertgebouworkest (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra). If you’re lucky enough to be in town when they’re performing, don’t miss it! You can also see some beautiful art while you’re there.

The building houses paintings, sculptures, and stained glass windows by famous artists like Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Gogh, and Renoir. For a taste of Dutch history, check out the pieces that depict moments from Dutch culture.

Of course, the iconic building itself is a work of art! Royal Concertgebouw was designed by architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt and completed in 1888. With its grand facade and stunning interior, it’s no wonder it is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

See Related: Best Markets in Amsterdam to Visit

5. St. Nicholas Church

Majestic Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Amsterdam - Historic religious landmark amidst vibrant cityscape
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

St. Nicholas Church is a beautiful Baroque church located in the central square of Amsterdam, opposite the Royal Palace. The church is known for its ornate 17th-century pulpit and high altar with gilded angels. It is also known for its impressive organ from 1698, which it still uses today.

The church is open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 pm; admission is free. Visitors can marvel at the church’s beautiful architecture and listen to a concert performed by the magnificent organ.

6. Amsterdam Central Station

Amsterdam Centraal Station façade against clear blue sky.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Amsterdam Central Station is one of the busiest train stations in the Netherlands, and it is also one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in the city.

The station was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and completed in 1889. Central Station in Amsterdam is a great example of Dutch Neo-Renaissance architecture.

The building was designated a national monument in 1983, making it a popular tourist attraction for visitors who want to experience something quintessential about Amsterdam.

See Related: Best Food Tours in Amsterdam

7. Stedelijk Museum

Dusk view of Stedelijk Museum with visitors on Museumplein lawn, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Stedelijk Museum is one of Amsterdam’s most famous and iconic buildings. It is home to many modern and contemporary art and several temporary exhibitions.

The museum is also known for its distinctive design, created by renowned architect Willem Dudok. The Stedelijk Museum is a must-visit for art lovers and one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions. You can easily spend a few hours wandering through the galleries, admiring the paintings, sculptures, and installations.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history and development of modern art, the Stedelijk Museum is the perfect place to start your journey.

See Related: How to Find Cheap Amsterdam Trips

8. De Nieuwe Kerk (The New Church)

De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam with World Press Photo Premiere banners, showcasing historic Gothic architecture and contemporary cultural events.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

De Nieuwe Kerk is one of the most beautiful churches in Amsterdam. The De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is located in the heart of Amsterdam, and it is popular with tourists because it is home to a number of important artworks, including a painting by Rembrandt.

The church, designed by Hendrick de Keyser and completed in 1615, is traditional Gothic but incorporates some Renaissance elements.

Formerly the city hall during the Dutch Golden Age, the De Nieuwe Kerk is one of the most unique churches in Amsterdam. In addition to being a beautiful church, it is also a popular venue for concerts and other events.

9. Oude Kerk

Oude Kerk steeple under a moody sky in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Oude Kerk is a must-see for any traveler to Amsterdam. Amsterdam’s oldest church is one of the city’s most famous buildings. Located in the heart of the Red Light District, it is open to visitors throughout the week.

The Oude Kerk (“Old Church”) is one of Amsterdam’s most famous landmarks. It’s also the oldest building in Amsterdam, built-in 1213 by a wealthy merchant named Gijsbert van der Goes.

The church was originally located on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal canal. Still, it was rebuilt during the 15th Century and moved to its current location near Kalverstraat (a busy shopping street) when the surrounding area became too dangerous for residents due to flooding issues caused by nearby sea dykes breaking down.

See Related: Best Museums in Amsterdam for Art Fanatics

10. NEMO Science Museum

Architecture of Nemo Science Museum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

NEMO Science Museum is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions and one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Located on the banks of the River IJ, it is home to a number of interactive exhibits and is notable for its contemporary architecture.

The museum is housed in a former shipyard, which makes it unique and gives it a very distinct character. It is located in the Oosterdok, which lies on the east side of Amsterdam.

NEMO offers interactive exhibits on science and technology, allowing visitors to experience things like electricity or gravity for themselves. It also has special exhibitions that occasionally change so you can visit them repeatedly.

11. Museum Het Rembrandt House

Rembrandt House Museum Entrance
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Museum Het Rembrandt House is devoted to the life of Rembrandt van Rijn, his work, and his family. This museum is in a building originally built by four brothers in 1639.

The building was divided into apartments until the 17th Century when it became a warehouse for cheese and butter traders. In 1795, the commercial space was sold to merchants, who used it as a new office for their business until 1868, when they moved out and left the building empty.

In 1871, one of these merchants presented a building concept to local authorities interested in establishing a public library at this location. However, plans were never finalized for such a project because of a lack of funding or support from other interested parties, such as publishers or writers groups who felt that this place should become another art museum instead—which shows how much Amsterdam loves art!

It wasn’t until 1877 that someone proposed turning this building into a museum dedicated solely to Dutch history—which is also partly why there are so many different museums located within proximity here today.

See Related: How to Travel From London to Amsterdam

12. A’DAM Tower

A'Dam Tower and Eye Filmmuseum on IJ River in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

A’DAM Tower is a tall skyscraper in Amsterdam that you should definitely visit if you want to see some impressive architecture. It is the tallest in Amsterdam and has a hotel and conference center, so it’s also good for business travelers looking for more than sightseeing when they go on vacation.

It’s located at A’DAM Square and is easily accessible to public transportation and other tourist attractions. The 20th-floor viewing deck of A’DAM Tower offers an amazing city view.

13. Westerkerk

Aerial view of historic Westerkerk and Amsterdam canals with boats and Dutch architecture.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Westerkerk is one of the most beautiful churches in Amsterdam and one of the city’s most famous architectural pieces. It is located in the heart of the Jordaan district and is home to several important artworks.

Westerkerk is a church in Amsterdam, built-in 1620. It’s one of the city’s oldest churches and one of the tallest, so you can see it all over Amsterdam and beyond! Westerkerk has a beautiful tower worth seeing if you have time to spare, as well as a museum with religious artifacts on display.

We recommend visiting outside during normal hours to get photos without crowds of tourists. Westerkerk’s tower offers stunning views over central Amsterdam – make sure to climb it if you can. You’ll be rewarded with panoramic cityscape views and can even see as far as Utrecht on a clear day!

See Related: Brussels vs Amsterdam: What’s the Difference?

14. Heineken Experience (Old Heineken Brewery)

Copper Brewery Tanks at the Heineken Experience
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Heineken Experience is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions and one of the city’s most iconic buildings. The building was once the home of the Heineken Brewery and has been converted into a museum that tells the story of the Heineken brand.

The Heineken Experience is a must-visit for any traveler to Amsterdam. It is an excellent way to learn about the history of one of the world’s most popular beers. Visitors can tour the old brewery, learn about brewing, and taste some of Heineken’s most famous beers.

15. Eye Filmmuseum

Eye Filmmuseum Exterior
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Eye Filmmuseum, located on the Herengracht in Amsterdam’s old city center, is considered one of the most important cinematographic museums in Europe. It hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions related to film history, from silent movies to contemporary digital productions.

The permanent exhibition offers a chronological walk through the history of cinema. Visitors can see numerous props used in famous films, such as one of James Bond’s Aston Martins or costumes worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The museum also hosts rotating temporary exhibitions on various topics, such as animated films or documentaries on specific themes, such as cinema during World War II.

The museum also organizes lectures, workshops, and guided tours that explore these topics further through screenings and discussions with film experts (such as directors).

See Related: Best Military Museums in Europe

16. nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel

nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel
Image by Booking.com

If you’re looking for a unique place to stay near the Amsterdam Convention Centre (Amsterdam RAI), the nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel is worth considering! This hotel and conference center, located in Amsterdam’s Zuidas Business district, was designed by world-renowned architect Reinier de Graaf. It’s a modern interpretation of a classic Dutch windmill.

The tall, magnificent building was completed in 2010 and had many windows that give it an open feeling despite its height in an Art Deco setting. It’s one of Amsterdam’s best examples of modern Dutch architecture.

17. Parkeergarage RAI

Parkeergarage RAI
Image by RAI.nl

Not far from the nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel, on the other side of the Amsterdam RAI, is a multifunctional car park that has to be seen and believed. Designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects, this new parking lot is famous for two enormous corkscrew towers.

This 30-meter building and its eight floors offer parking spaces for around 1,000 cars. When the RAI isn’t holding major events and doesn’t need the car park for visitors, this incredible parking lot functions as a public parking space.

Best of all, the building’s assigned role oscillates between the parking lot and the gallery. The first floor is a flexible space not just for parking cars but also for hosting conventions and as an exhibition space.

See Related: ​​Best Museums in Europe to Visit

18. Strawinskylaan Bicycle Parking Space

Strawinskylaan Bicycle Parking Space

A bike park? Really? The parking lot wasn’t enough? Well, how about the largest underground bike parking lot in the city? Does that do anything for you? Well, in this case, it should! Regarding parking cars and bikes around Amsterdam, space is a huge issue, and parking lots can be ugly.

So, how do you make them more bearable to look at? Hide them underground, or turn them into architectural masterpieces. In the case of the Strawinskylaan Bicycle Parking Garage, the designers (wUrck Architects) did both!

Found north of Amsterdam Zuid railway station, this incredible curving marvel is one of the city’s most stunning examples of modern architecture. The underground zone beneath this gleaming structure can accommodate 3,750 bikes.

Types of Architecture in Amsterdam

Traditional Amsterdam house with black facade, Dutch gable, and bicycle, showcasing iconic architecture and local culture.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Walking the streets of Amsterdam, you’ll notice the architecture is quite varied. This is because the city has been built and rebuilt many times over the centuries but done so with practical urban planning.

As a result, there’s a mix of old and new, traditional and contemporary architecture to be found throughout Amsterdam. Some of the most popular types of architecture in Amsterdam include:

1. Canal houses

These are the tall, narrow houses that line Amsterdam’s canals. They were built in the 17th Century during the Dutch Golden Age and are characteristic of Amsterdam’s canal belt. These old merchant houses are unlike anything else in the entire world.

2. Gothic architecture

Gothic architecture is characterized by its pointed arches and ribbed vaults. In Amsterdam, you’ll find Gothic elements in several buildings, including the Old Church (Oude Kerk) and the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk).

3. Renaissance architecture

Most of Amsterdam’s Renaissance architecture dates back to the 16th Century. Many of the city’s canal houses were built in this style. You can also find flares of Renaissance revival architecture in several of Amsterdam’s museums, such as the Rijksmuseum.

4. Baroque architecture

Baroque architecture is characterized by its ornate and dramatic features. In Amsterdam, you’ll find several examples of Baroque architecture, including the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) and the Nieuwe Kerk.

5. Dutch Classicism

Dutch Classicism is a style of architecture popular in the Netherlands in the 18th Century. Several notable Amsterdam buildings were built in this style, including the Royal Palace and the National Museum (Rijksmuseum).

6. Modern architecture

In recent years, Amsterdam has seen a rise in modern architecture. This type of architecture is characterized by its clean lines and simple forms. The city’s most popular modern buildings include the Zuidas business district and the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

7. Sustainable architecture

Sustainable architecture is a green design that uses environmentally friendly materials and energy-efficient features. Amsterdam has several examples of sustainable architecture, including the Bijlmermeer neighborhood and the Energiehuis.

As you can see, Amsterdam has a wide variety of architecture. Whether you’re interested in the city’s traditional canal houses or modern buildings, there’s sure to be a type you’ll enjoy.

With fantastic food, great people, a distinctive culture, practical urban planning, and outstanding cycling infrastructure, Amsterdam is a must-visit European city.

But those aren’t the only reasons to visit. This city is filled with beautiful buildings that all feature something special that makes them unique, but many share one commonality: they were designed by famous architects.

If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest travel news and tips, subscribe to our free travel newsletter. You’ll receive monthly updates on the latest things to see and do in Amsterdam, as well as other great destinations around the world.

FAQ

Why are canal houses in Amsterdam crooked?

The buildings in Amsterdam are crooked because the city was built on lands below sea level and the sinking manmade canal system waterways. The soft ground causes the buildings to sink over time, making them lean.

What is the most famous building in Amsterdam?

The most famous building in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum, a national museum that houses Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to today.

What is the largest building in Amsterdam?

The largest building in Amsterdam is the RAI Convention Center, built in 1986. It is located just outside the city center.

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