The 15 Best Free Things To Do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a vibrant and fascinating city. Crisscrossed by a thousand canals and crossed by bridges and bicycles, the capital of the Netherlands is perfect for a weekend break or a longer vacation. There is so much to see and do, that you will not get bored… But if you also want to enjoy it without having to spend much, here are 15 great things that you can do in Amsterdam for 0 euros.

Amsterdam Travel Guide
Where To Stay in Amsterdam
Hotel NH Collection Amsterdam Doelen (Review)
Hotel Estherea Amsterdam (Review)

Don’t miss out on anything and enjoy the capital of the Netherlands without spending a single euro.

What are you waiting for? Book your hotel in Amsterdam, pack your bags and fly away. The next trip to Amsterdam will cost you much less than you think with our advice. When you get back, tell us what you liked best.

Art Galleries

Besides museums, Amsterdam is full of small, independent art galleries. The most important ones are Radar (art and architecture gallery with urban-inspired exhibitions), Galerie Fons Welters (an industrial space full of exhibitions and installations of the most modern kind) or KochxBos (a kind of living-dining room converted into a residential street with emphasis on kitsch, colourful and surreal art).

Most of them are in the Jordaan neighborhood and entrance is free. So get out your creative side and come on over.

The EYE Film Museum

The EYE Film Museum

Although the temporary exhibitions are paid, the permanent one is free, so you have no excuse not to get involved in the world of cinema. The Panorama room envelops visitors with a hundred movie scenes that are projected on the walls and can be selected through control panels.

There are also some futuristic booths with a sofa perfect for enjoying the cinema. As if that were not enough, the EYE building is a marvel and the views from the bar and restaurant are unbeatable.

Get on the ferry in IJ

Seeing the city from the water is one of the best things you can do in Amsterdam. You don’t have to leave a small fortune in the boats that sail the canals at astronomical prices.

Although less glamorous, you can always hop on one of the three ferries that run on the IJ, the waterfront of the Dutch capital, to explore Amsterdam-Noord. The NDSM Wharf area is a former shipyard that has been restored and attracts the coolest people in town.

Markets

Like all cities, Amsterdam has many markets, each with its own personality. Stop by the daily Albert Cuyp markt in De Pijp, or the Noordermarkt in the Jordaan, ideal for buying organic food.

But if you like antiques and vintage, don’t miss the “flea market” in Waterlooplein. Looking for flowers? Stop by the Bloemenmarkt, a market with more tulips than you’ve ever seen.

City Archives

The permanent exhibition at the Stadsarchief (the Amsterdam City Archives) is a good place to explore local history. They have such original documents as a police report on the theft of Anne Frank’s bicycle or photos of John Lennon and Audrey Hepburn. The building that contains it is an old bank decorated with geometric brick motifs.

Enjoy urban art

Amsterdam is one of the most creative cities in the world and as soon as you see the murals and graffiti that cover it you will understand us. Stop by Spuistraat to feel like an open-air art gallery. Best of all? That it’s free.

Free concerts

On Wednesdays at lunchtime in the Concertgebouw (the third best concert hall in the world) there are public rehearsals, which means you can see the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra or perhaps smaller groups for free.

Go early because it starts at 12.30pm and is quite popular with the locals. If you prefer jazz, Bimhuis jazz has one free night a month (Monday Match) where improvisation is the main feature. Around 10 a DJ gets behind the decks to make you dance. In places like Jazz Café Alto and Belgique there is also usually free live music.

Lovers of classical music and opera can enjoy free concerts from 12.30pm to 1pm every Tuesday from September to May at the Muziektheater.

Begijnhof

Yes, the huge Vondelpark is an ideal place to rest, relax or have a picnic. But if you are looking for some peace and quiet and much more authenticity, the Begijnhof is an island of calm. A small square surrounded by old buildings with a central garden. The whole is from the 14th century and is a beautiful place to enter through a narrow passage. Take a book and relax by the oldest house in Amsterdam (number 34). From here you can also go to the Guardia Civil Gallery, a covered street full of 17th century paintings which is also free and is managed by the Amsterdam Museum. But be discreet and don’t disturb the peace of the place.

The botanical garden of the University of Vrije

This small green oasis collects more than 6,000 different species of plants, including some that have been confiscated by customs at Schipol airport. Concerts and workshops are held here and although it is still open it is in danger of disappearing if the university hospital is extended.

Enjoy the view

If you like the panoramic views of the cities and are looking to enjoy it from the heights, read on. From the top floor of the National Library (OBA), where the cafeteria and terrace are located, you can see Amsterdam from a bird’s eye view. The NEMO Science and Technology Museum also has a fabulous viewpoint on its terrace, free of charge.

Take a free tour

Okay, you may have to leave a tip at the end, but free tours are one of the ways to explore Amsterdam, especially if it’s your first time there. They last three hours and take you through some of the most emblematic places in this city full of canals, from the Red Light District to the Anne Frank House. They leave at 11.15am and 1.15pm from the Nationaal Monument on Dam Square.

Visiting a diamond factory

You may not be able to afford a diamond, but the Gassan Diamond factory tours are free and very interesting. They last 1 hour and you can see the jewelry cutters and polishers in action as they tell you more about the importance of this industry.

The gardens of the Rijksmuseum

Unlike its brother and neighbour, the beautiful gardens of the Rijksmuseum can be visited without paying a single euro. They are full of sculptures, plants and flowers that give them a very special air. If you want to know more, inside the museum they have free guides with information about the garden. By the way, they are open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.

Explore the Dutch Riding School

The Hollandsche Manège was created in the 19th century in imitation of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and still has its original appearance today. It is open to the public and it is possible to explore its rooms and see how riding students practice. By the way, the stables are also free but you can only enter if you understand Dutch for safety reasons.

The bridge of the 15 bridges

Visiting Amsterdam and not crossing any of the bridges that connect the two sides of the canals is practically impossible. In fact, it is from the bridges that the best views of the surroundings are usually obtained. We recommend that you don’t miss the “Bridge of 15 Bridges” on the corner of Reguliersgrach and Herengracht, from where you can see 14 more bridges. Wait until the night falls and the lights come on. The picture will be incredible.