Dam Square Amsterdam

Last Updated: November 22, 2023

Gerrit Vandenberg

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Are you looking for more information about Dam Square in Amsterdam?

Then this article is for you. As a Dutch local, I loved writing this comprehensive post about the most famous square in Amsterdam: Dam Square, the original location of the Dam in the Amstel River dating back to the 13th century.

I’ll dive into the history of the square. It’s unique landmarks and buildings, significant events here, and why it’s interesting for you today as a visitor, including a free place to use a toilet (which is hard to find in Amsterdam).

The Royal Palace on Dam Square Amsterdam.
The Royal Palace on Dam Square Amsterdam © Hidden Holland

Dam Square: the pulse of the city

Today, Amsterdam’s Dam Square is best described as organised chaos. Trams everywhere, pedestrians, cyclists, cars, protestors, street performers, pigeons, and unassuming food stalls all fighting to claim their space.

It’s also the starting point for many walking tours because the National Moment (more about that later) is a perfect recognition point.

When I was a kid, there were many more pigeons than there are today for various reasons, but they’re still here. And tourists still love feeding them

Dam Square connects via the streets Damrak and Rokin Central Station, 5 minutes to the North. And Munt Tower and the Flower market, 5 minutes to the South.

It’s also the starting point for the city’s two main shopping streets: Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat.

Plus various other streets worth talking about (more below, including a tip on where to find the best ice cream in the city). 

An Important Role in the History of Amsterdam

Dam Square is truly a historical hub. It was created in the 13th century when a dam on the Amstel River was built. (somewhere around 1270), speaking of old.

The street that is now Rokin used to be the Amstel River.

The history of Amsterdam’s oldest square was found for the first time in official records in 1275.

Amsterdam was then known as “Amestelledamme,” a little harder to pronounce than its name today.

This was the middle point of trade in the day. A busy fish market was here, and boats from around the world docked to offload exotic items like spices and porcelain.

In the Golden Age (17th century), the Dutch were a world trading power. And because of this period, we have this amazingly beautiful city full of canal houses and canals that we all enjoy today. 

Over time, as the square grew in importance with the addition of the New Church and the city entered its Golden Age, Dam Square evolved into the heart of the city’s daily hustle.

This era also saw the addition of the Royal Palace, back then Amsterdam’s Town Hall and the Weigh Building, marking the square as a central point in Amsterdam’s growth and development.

The Weigh Building was later demolished by Louis Bonaparte, who, upon residence in the newly converted Royal Palace, complained that his view was obstructed). But you can still see it in old paintings, thankfully.

Today’s Dam Square looks very different than in 1300 or during the Golden Age. This part of the River Amstel has long since been filled in, and a road was created instead. Where boats once docked, cars, bicycles, and trams take over today.

Also, many of the smaller homes are now gone and made way for pompous industrial 19th and 20th-century buildings to show off newfound wealth, nothing new there.

We’ll dive deeper into that later in this article, including a tip for a fascinating free audio tour.

But the liveliness remains. There is always something going on.

Over time, Amsterdam’s main square became a “National” square because of yearly remembrances, significant events, royal functions, and as a prominent demonstration location.

My Favorite Travel Books

My Favorite Travel Guide
Rick Steves Amsterdam & the Netherlands

I love how Rick Steves' guidebooks offer a traveler's perspective. This is my favorite Amsterdam guidebook by far! Rating 4.8/5 on Amazon.

05/18/2024 07:44 am GMT
05/18/2024 06:45 am GMT

Click here for more Netherlands book recommendations.
(travel books, art books, language books, and maps)

Map of Dam Square Amsterdam

There is a lot to cover in this article from tourist attractions, to Dam Square hotels, to significant landmarks, to shopping, to the more obscure landmarks that are still worth mentioning. Here is a map of the square:

Tourist Attractions and Monuments

There is a lot to see in Dam Square in the old City Center. Even though it might at first feel like a big open empty square there is a lot to discover. Even beyond the main attractions and monuments.

But let’s start there first:

1. Feel Like Royalty: Royal Palace Dam Square Amsterdam (Koninklijk Paleis)

The Royal Palace on Dam Square Amsterdam.
The Royal Palace on Dam Square – © Hidden Holland

Built during the 17th century, the Neoclassical Royal Palace was designed by Jacob van Campen.

This has been the former city hall of Amsterdam since 1655 until its conversion to a royal residence in 1808.

The inside of the palace is lavish with a stunning marble interior

Today, it’s one of the palaces in the Netherlands used by the Dutch Royal Family, mainly for state visits and royal events.

The coronation is held here, for example, with the famous balcony scene. The King will also have state dinners, and sometimes even today, heads of state spend the night here.

The Royal Palace is open to the public for a fee, but check opening hours before you go. It will be closed when used for official purposes. 

You can check current availability and prices for the Royal Palace here

📍 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam

2. Discover Heritage at De Nieuwe Kerk (De Nieuwe Kerk)

Right next door is the New Church. Don’t be fooled by the name, because just like in Delft, the gothic Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam is not that new. The church dates back to 1408 and has been rebuilt in 1645 after a fire.

It’s Amsterdam’s second oldest church after you might have guessed it: the Old Church. The Old Church can be found in the Red Light District and is where Rembrandt’s wife, Saskia, is buried. The Old Church is open daily to visit (for a fee).

The New Church serves as an exhibition space and a venue for royal ceremonies. For example, the remembrance of the death on May 4th by the King originates from the New Church. But also weddings take place here.

The New Church is open to the public during an exhibition only.

Check the website for current and upcoming events.   

📍 De Dam, Amsterdam

3. Honor History at the National Monument

The national monument Dam Square.
The National Monument Dam Square – © Hidden Holland

On the opposite side of Dam Square lies the 3rd most important monument, the national monument designed by J.J.P. Oud.

It’s located on the smaller side of the square in front of Hotel Krasnapolsky.

While its shape has sparked some controversy, its purpose is deeply serious. Erected in 1956, this monument is in memory of Dutch soldiers and resistance members who died in World War 2.

The site hosts the National Memorial Day Service on May 4th, an event attended by the King and open to the public.

Remember, even if you don’t understand Dutch, respecting the occasion’s solemnity and avoiding talking is essential. Make absolutely sure to be quiet at 8 p.m. for two minutes on May 4th.

Security is tight for this significant event, so bringing minimal baggage is possible, and expect checks.

📍 De Dam, Amsterdam

4. Meet the Stars in Wax at Madame Tussauds

Madam Tussaud Wax Museum Amsterdam inside the Peek and Cloppenburg building.
Madam Tussauds Wax Museum Amsterdam – © Hidden Holland

The Peek & Cloppenburg building, a key landmark on Dam Square since 1917, houses a German clothing department store and The Wax Museum Madame Tussauds Amsterdam.

While I sometimes wonder if I should recommend a wax museum during your trip to Amsterdam, a city rich in history and culture, I must admit every time I’m here, I enjoy it.

I remember it from visits with school, and when I was there recently in 2023, I still enjoyed it a lot (and the attraction did receive a significant upgrade).

I can see why it’s a hit among both locals and tourists.

PS: The lines outside are there for a reason. By trickling in new visitors they ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for those inside.

A highlight of a Madame Tussauds visit is the large circular window at the top, offering great views over Dam Square. 

Local’s Tip: For a similar view, but free, check out the second floor of the Peek & Cloppenburg store right next door.

Madame Tussauds is a popular spot, so booking tickets in advance is necessary, mainly since they operate on time slots.

You can book your Madame Tussauds Amsterdam tickets here.

📍 De Dam 20, Amsterdam

5. Discover Curiosities at Ripley’s Believe or Not Amsterdam

Ripleys Believe it Or Not Amsterdam at Dam Square.
Ripleys Believe it Or Not Amsterdam at Dam Square – © Hidden Holland

Located right in the heart of Dam Square, Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Amsterdam is a recent addition to the global attractions that now pop up in all major world tourist destinations.

I find it hard to recommend when you’re here in Amsterdam. Even more so than Madame Tussaud.

When you have no idea what else to do, and it’s a rainy day, it could be fun to spend some time here. Many weekend visitors seem to enjoy it.

It’s a place where you can explore an array of rare artifacts and engage in interactive games. Among them a giant large wooden clog.

Once inside, you can upgrade your ticket with a gold, silver, and bronze package for added experiences. 

Get your tickets for Ripley’s Believe or Not Amsterdam here.

📍 Dam 21, Amsterdam

6.  Experience Chills at the Amsterdam Dungeon

The Amsterdam Dungeon offers a scary experience in the heart of the city. 

Out of the three tourist attractions, I would personally recommend the least. But I also understand why it’s popular with many

The attraction provides a dramatic, actor-led experience through some darker chapters of Amsterdam’s history. I find its approach to history sensationalized and not to my taste, but it’s clear that The Amsterdam Dungeon has fans.

If you’re looking for a touch of horror during your visit, buy your Amsterdam Dungeon tickets here

📍 Rokin 78, Amsterdam

Shopping Dam Square

Besides the attractions we just discussed, Dam Square is littered with shops and restaurants

The largest and first department store in the Netherlands can be found on the town square next to the National Monument. It will be hard to miss. It’s a favorite for both visitors to Amsterdam and locals alike.

Other shopping opportunities on the square are the large Peek and Cloppenburg clothing store, a Swarovski diamond store, a few larger run-of-the-mill tourist souvenir stores, and a Tours and Ticket booking office (which I recommend you book before you come to Amsterdam).

Close to the square are also two shopping buildings worth noticing: the Magna Plaza shopping mall and the Scheltema Book store. 

More shopping tips are in the “Streets around Dam Square” section.

7. Indulge in Luxury Shopping at De Bijenkorf

The Bijenkorf Amsterdam at the top floor.
The Bijenkorf Amsterdam at the top floor – © Hidden Holland

Did you know this prominent upscale department store was the first department store in the country? Constructed between 1911 and 1914.

Soon it was followed by other branches and other brand stores like Vroom and Dreesmann (V&D), and HEMA. But the Bijenkorf has always set the benchmark for quality and luxury.

A special time of year to visit is, for sure, the holiday season. The Netherlands has two major holidays in December (Sinterklaas on December 5, and Christmas on December 25, and 26 (yes, we have two Christmas days, I’m sorry, America). 

The Bijenkorf celebrates them all. Starting in November the store windows will be set up for the holidays, and take a look inside in the Atrium for Sinterklaas’s helpers climbing the ropes to deliver presents in their beautiful clothing.

Sinterklaas his helpers at the Bijenkorf.
Sinterklaas his helpers at the Bijenkorf – © Hidden Holland

A tradition that has been going on for decades. I remember seeing them as a kid, and I went to see them again just this week in 2023 now I am 43. It’s always a delight.

On the top floor, you’ll find a Christmas show.

Locals Tip: The Bijenkorf also offers FREE toilets on the 5th floor behind the restaurant.

A free toilet is something quite hard to find in Amsterdam. Make sure to make a note of this 🙂 

📍 Dam 1, Amsterdam

8. Shop in Style at Magna Plaza (or what is still left of that)

Speaking about a building that is NOT easy to miss. Cornelis Peters designed the heavily decorated Magna Plaza building just behind the Royal Palace.

Magna Plaza once was the city’s post office. It must have felt like entering a royal palace to get your stamps.

Unfortunately, all post offices in the country were closed in the late 80s and 90s, and today the building is a shopping mall. When finished, it was re-branded to Magna Plaza (the name comes from the new owner’s name).

Initially, it was a luxury shopping experience and super cool. Today, only a sliver of that grandeur remains.

It’s pretty sad-looking inside, with lots of empty retail space. There is a food hall on the top floor, but who knows for how long. 

Going to the toilet here sets you back significantly, so it’s much better to use the free option at the Bijenkorf around the corner I mentioned above.

So why would you still go there?

The architecture is stunning if you try to look through the closed storefronts. It’s well worth to go inside and look at the details of the building. And (for now) you can still find some restaurants and shops here.

📍 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 182, Amsterdam

9. Explore Literary Treasures at Scheltema Bookstore

The largest bookstore in Amsterdam is Scheltema behind Dam Square.
The largest bookstore in Amsterdam is Scheltema – © Hidden Holland

Scheltema Bookstores, established in 1853, is an institution in Amsterdam. It’s the largest bookstore in Amsterdam and in the city’s surroundings.

The store has a long history, stretching back over a century and a half. It offers a welcoming and inspiring environment. The shelves are lined with an impressive array of books and a cafe.

I love coming here and plucking myself in one of their comfortable chairs to read a little bit.

It also hosts various events, including book launches, author readings, and discussions.

📍 Rokin 9, Amsterdam

Hotels Amsterdam Near Dam Square

There are hundreds of hotels in the Amsterdam City center alone. So I can’t go over each of them. But I’ll highlight some of the best hotels near Dam Square below. 

Below I’ll review the hotels and a B&B I would recommend in this area.

For those hoping for cheap hotels in Dam Square Amsterdam or a cheap B&B near Amsterdam Dam Square, I have bad news. Prices are steep.

The main reason for that is that Amsterdam has stopped developing new hotels with the city creating a shortage in rooms. And that is reflected in the prices. Prices are not always correlated to the level of luxury you might expect.

10. The 5-Star NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Let’s start with the most luxurious of them all: Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky.

Overlooking the Royal Palace, the NH Grand Krasnapolsky is a historic hotel featuring the beautiful glass atrium Winter Garden. 

It’s hard to imagine when you’re looking at this grand building today, but it originated as a humble café in 1866. From there, it has become one of the city’s most prestigious hotels.

The hotel has stunning architecture, especially on the inside, because honestly, from the outside, it looks a bit brute.

Staying here is not cheap. And although on the booking sites, you see each room featuring a view of Dam Square, the “lowest” price rooms will land you a room in the modern backside annex instead.

Dam Square view rooms are listed separately and cost just a tad extra. Did I say a tad? 

Click here to check the prices and availability of the Krasnapolsky hotel.

📍 Dam 9, Amsterdam

11. The 4-Star Swissôtel

Swissôtel Amsterdam is a contemporary hotel located on Dam Square. It offers modern, well-appointed rooms that feature sleek design and up-to-date amenities.

The hotel’s location makes it an ideal choice for travelers in the heart of Amsterdam, close to major attractions and public transport links. But it can also be noisy being on the city’s main street. 

For prices and availability of the Swissôtel Amsterdam, click here.

📍 Damrak 96, Amsterdam

12. The 4-Star Amsterdam De Roode Leeuw Hotel

Hotel Amsterdam De Roode Leeuw is a historic hotel in the center of Amsterdam. It was established in the early 20th century. It’s right next door to the Swissôtel.

The hotel features comfortably furnished rooms with modern amenities, some with views of the busy street in front.

On-site, a restaurant serves some classic Dutch cuisine (but don’t expect Stamppot like served at Moeders or The Pantry).

Availability for the Amsterdam De Roode Leeuw Hotel can be found here.

📍 Damrak 93-94, Amsterdam

13. The 4-Star Hotel V Nesplein (I recommend this hotel)

This excellent boutique hotel lies a bit past Dam Square but only minutes by foot. It’s a more laid-back street filled with quirky restaurants, cafes, and cultural venues.

Inside, the hotel looks just beautiful, and reviews are raving about the rooms’ aesthetics and the building, staff, and breakfast.

Compared to the other 4-star hotels mentioned above that are directly on Dam Square, this hotel is quieter and has a more local feel.

You can find prices and room availability for Hotel V Nesplein here

📍 Nes 49, Amsterdam

14. The 3-Star Rho Hotel Amsterdam

Located just off Dam Square, the Rho Hotel is also in the street Nes—a little square away from the crowds. I like the historic building and reception, but the rooms look boring, true to its 3-star rating. 

For the prices charged, you can also often get a 4-star hotel for the same price.

You can find prices and availability for the Rho Hotel here.

📍 Nes 5-23, Amsterdam

15. Private and Chic Salon de Franz – with a large terrace

The Private and Chic Salon de Franz Bed and Breakfast is 500 meters (0.3 miles) from Dam Square.

This recently renovated B&B offers an elegant retreat and combines privacy with luxury.

Like the beautifully decorated Royal Room with a terrace and a kitchenette, it’s hosted by the opera singer Morschi and is an ideal base for exploration in Amsterdam. 

Check prices and book your stay at the Private and Chic Salon de Franz here.

📍 Nes 120-2, Amsterdam

Events At Dam Square

Besides occasionally approved large-scale demonstrations (nowadays most at Museum Square, but not always), here are three events well worth mentioning:

16. Remembrance Day Memorial (Dodenherdenking)

Royal family arriving to lay wrath at remembrance of the death.
[replace caption text]

As mentioned before, every year, you can be part of the 2-minutes of National Silence the Dutch observe. It’s possible to see the King in person (behind a wall of police officers).

Besides that, it’s a wonderful opportunity to reflect and just be still and think about the incredible gift we enjoy, and that is being free. Take a moment to commemorate those who have fallen for our freedom.

The event will be held in Dutch only, but you can still take a moment to think about your freedom in silence. And take in the atmosphere.

You can attend every year on May 4th. For a good view, be early. The King comes out of the New Church a few minutes to 8 p.m. He will then observe 2-minutes of silence and lay the first wreath at the National Monument.

📍 Dam, Amsterdam

17. The Yearly Dam to Dam Run

The Yearly Dam to Dam Run is a popular Running event in the Netherlands, linking two Dutch cities – Amsterdam and Zaandam.

The run spans a distance of approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles). It starts at Dam Square and finishes in Zaandam.

It attracts thousands of participants of varying skill levels, from professional athletes to amateur runners (and walkers).

The Dam to Dam Run is a highlight in the Dutch sporting calendar.

This is the official Damloop website to register if you want to run it yourself.

📍 Dam, Amsterdam

18. The National Tulips Day – Pick Tulips For Free

National Tulip Day, marking the kickoff of the tulip sales season in The Netherlands is a fun annual event where you pick your tulips for free. Yes, free.

Tulip Growers from around the country offer the event for free to the public.

I list the event here in this list because it was traditionally held on Dam Square, but because of its insane popularity, the event moved recently in 2023 to Museum Square where there is more space for everybody.

The square will transform into a massive tulip-picking garden featuring over 200,000 tulips.

From 1 p.m., visitors are invited to partake in the unique experience of picking their own tulips at no cost. The 2024 event will be held on January 20th.

Starting from National Tulip Day, tulips will be available for purchase nationwide, marking the beginning of the much-anticipated tulip season.

But don’t get too excited because tulips do not flower yet in nature. The real tulip season will not kick off until late March at the Keukenhof flower gardens and in the flower fields in mid-April.

PS: if you’d like to go on a private tour with me to the tulip fields in April, you can read more about that on my private tour page.

📍 Museumplein, Amsterdam

Find Other Cool Landmarks on Dam Square

But let’s revisit the landmarks of Dam Square because, besides the prominent landmarks, there are more notable buildings on Dam Square and statues that are super interesting.

19. Reisbureau der Staatsspoorwegen 

Building Reisbureau der Staatsspoorwegen Dam Square Amsterdam.
Building Reisbureau der Staatsspoorwegen – © Hidden Holland

This unobtrusive building is easy to pass, but when it was built, it caused controversy. Making it extra funny today that we hardly notice it. It’s right next to the New Church. You see the inscription Reisbureau der Staatspoorwegen (Travel agency of the National Railways Company) on the rooftop. 

Can you find it?

This building once was the main office for the national railway company and its travel agency. The top three floors were apartments.

Today, it’s home to the Naked Espresso coffee bar on the ground floor, which is an excellent spot for coffee on a sunny day. The rest of the building is apartments. 

Interestingly, the architect “Karel de Bazel” designed both the exterior and the interior, but the interior unfortunately did not survive. Can you believe his “ornaments” were once considered frivolous? 

📍 Dam 10, Amsterdam

20. De Bisschop Building

Find the Sinterklaas gable at the De Bisschop Building Dam Square Amsterdam.
Find the Sinterklaas gable at the De Bisschop Building – © Hidden Holland

It’s the building on the corner with Damrak. Today, a diamond store occupies the ground level. But the main point of interest here is the gable stone depicting Sinter Claes.

Do you see it? Are you wondering what the three kids are doing there in a tub?

Sinterklaas (as we call him today) was a saint, and miracles were accredited to him. Including bringing back to life these three children who were killed before.

📍 Dam 2, Amsterdam

21.  Royal Industrieele De Groote Club

Royal Industrieele De Groote Club at Dam Square Amsterdam.
Royal Industrieele De Groote Club at Dam Square Amsterdam – © Hidden Holland

This is a beautiful stately building to the left of the palace. It was built as a club for the industrial elite in 1870 but rebuilt in the early 1900s.

It was a great meeting spot for meeting business owners and had rooms for single members who needed housing for a longer time.

Unfortunately, you can’t visit the inside today. But there is an exciting story in the architect audio tour below.

📍 Dam 27, Amsterdam

22. Industria

The Industria building was a private business club like “De Groote Club.” Today, it’s home to the Gassan Diamond store.

Every year, business executives still claim a spot for a private viewing of the remembrance service on May 4th, right behind the podium.

📍 Rokin 1, Amsterdam

23. Beurs van Berlage

This brute, immense building behind the Bijenkorf building is the former stock exchange building and a masterpiece of the famous architect Berlage.

Today, it’s mainly a conference location, but there are still ways to visit the “Beurs” as a visitor.

There are two escape rooms inside from award-winning designers. Did you know only 50% of participants can solve the mysteries? 

There is also a bistro, exhibition rooms, co-working spaces, and the Tony Chocolonely Super Store.

You can visit the Beurs van Berlage website here.

PS: there are old articles out there saying you can climb the tower. That was possible in 2017. Not anymore.

📍Damrak 243, Amsterdam

Audio Guided Walk Dam Square (Both Free)

24. Dam Square Architecture Audio Tour

Bronze artwork on Dam Square showcasing 8 prominent buildings at Dam Square by Streetart Frankey.
Bronze artwork on Dam Square “Discover Dam Square” – © Hidden Holland

If you’re truly interested in the architecture and buildings of Dam Square I can highly recommend the 2-hour free Dam Square Architecture Audio Tour which you can listen to here for free (English Version) or the (Dutch Version). 

Don’t worry thinking you’ll have to spend two hours at the square if you don’t want to. The tour is perfectly created in bite-sized pieces. Just click on the building that interests you and listen to its story. 

25. Steve Rickes Audio Tours

I love Rick Steves Amsterdam travel guide (you can get it here), and his audio tours. If you want to read along get the full guidebook or the pocket version.

But if audio only is fine you can download his app for free on your phone (look for the Rick Steves Audio Europe app in your app store).

Steve’s Jordaan Walk starts at Dam Square. And his City Tour will pass Dam Square.

For both tours, it’s helpful to have large enough data bundles on your phone to listen to the audio on the go. I recommend getting an eSIM card to save a lot of money.

The Lowest Priced And Most Flexible eSIM cards (incl. tethering)

Airalo Netherlands eSim

Stop searching for WI-FI; get an affordable eSIM for the Netherlands. From just $4.50 for 1GB, but I recommend at least 10GB. TIP: Get the App for easy top-up.

Important Streets Around Dam Square

As the main square in the city, there are many streets leading to and from it and they all have their own specific interests.

Keep on reading to get a better feel for the area, and learn where to get the best ice cream in the city.

26. Damrak

The IJ was where the big ocean-going ships docked, while the Damrak had the smaller vessels used for traveling within the country.

The storage buildings along Warmoesstraat, which are still there, had their back ends facing the water. The word ‘Rak’ in Damrak refers to a straight section of water, and this particular part is right at the Dam.

27. Rokin

Just around the corner from the Dam is Amsterdam’s largest bookstore Scheltema, housed in a 5-storey building on Rokin. This street is further known for its exclusive cigar shop Hajenius.

28. Kalverstraat

The most popular shopping street in Amsterdam runs parallel to Rokin and connects Dam Square with the Mint Tower and the flower market.

I remember when I was a young adult (a long time ago), I would come here to get my clothes and everything else I needed. Of course, this was before the internet.

Today the street is lined still with mainly international and national retail chains for high-street fashion, shoes, and bags. But quality has gone down since most shoppers moved online. 

29. Nieuwendijk

Nieuwendijk is a large and busy shopping street for reasons I will never understand. It runs opposite Kalverstraat and connects Dam Square with Central Station.

It’s filled with tourist shops and low-quality products. Also expect lots of overpriced candy stores, and mushroom products if you know what I mean.

But there are a few gems here. Like the first HEMA department store, their flagship store today. Come to try their famous warm sausage, pea soup (in season), and of course, the pastry they made famous: a Tompouce. It’s also a great store to stock up on Stroopwafels. (more on Dutch foods can be found in my article here)

Nieuwendijk is also home to the best ice cream in the country: at the tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery Van Der Linde. Don’t ask for flavors, there is one (whipped cream and dairy ice cream), just choose what size you want. And no cards, this is a cash-only place. 

Consider getting a Wise Debit Card, which will allow not only cheap foreign currency exchange but also free cash withdrawals when you’re here in Amsterdam.

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30. Warmoestraat

Warmoestraat is renowned for its distinctive character. It might feel a little bit rough here but you should be fine. This lively street is a hub for the leather and LGBTQ+ community. Hosting a variety of specialized shops and bars that cater to them.

That the Red Light District is just around the corner is made clear by the Condomerie store. The world’s first condom specialty store, known for its educational approach to sexual health and its vast array of products.

31.  Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal (behind the Royal Palace)

Nothing special is to be found here except a very convenient large Albert Heijn supermarket store (note this chain doesn’t take credit cards, more in my article about Supermarkets in Amsterdam). Thus again you might want to consider the Wise Debit Travel Card I mentioned above.

32. Nes

Nes is a small pedestrian street behind Rokin next to Ripley’s Believe Or Not on Dam Square is celebrated for its rich theatrical heritage, Off-Broadway style. It’s a cultural hub, housing some of the city’s oldest theaters like the De Brakke Grond and the Theater Frascati.

This is where you find the Hotel V Nes and many quirky cafes, bars, and restaurants.

33. Pijlsteeg

Wijnand Fockink Distillery Amsterdam.
Wijnand Fockink Distillery Amsterdam – © Hidden Holland

Pijlsteeg is a small alley right next to Hotel Krasnapolsky known for Wynand Fockink, a 17th-century distillery. This historic spot offers a taste of old Amsterdam with its authentic Dutch spirits. It’s great for a brief stop. On the other side begins the (in)famous red-light district.

34. De 9 Straatjes

Not exactly adjacent to Dam Square but super close, and a fantastic place to find one-of-a-kind shops. Touristy too since it’s literally mentioned everywhere, but in a much better and original way than most other tourist places.

These 9 little streets offer a mix of trendy, antique, modern, luxury, cheap, second-hand, and other small interesting stores. I love Motel A Miio, with products made in Portugal. The products make me happy. I bought one of their lamps and absolutely love it.

Parking Dam Square Amsterdam

Parking in Amsterdam can be more than just finding a spot for your car. Parking your bike can be equally challenging. So let’s go into both:

35. Car Parking

Many people arriving in Amsterdam by car are looking for a parking space as close as possible to where they need to be. 

In Amsterdam that is not a great idea. First driving in the city center is a nightmare.

Then parking is extremely limited and expensive.

There is one parking garage “Q-Park Bijenkorf” near Dam Square which costs just over €10 an hour. There is barely any street parking (which costs €7.50 per hour).

Be aware of online advertisements for Oosterdok Parking for just €10 a day. This parking is legit but it’s a 20-minute walk from Dam Square. They advertise it as Dam Square parking.

Cars often arrive at the Bijenkorf parking (Q-Park) thinking they booked this one but then find out they’re at the wrong parking garage. It will be nearly impossible to make a U-turn. And you’ve waited for no reason.

Because that is the most annoying part of the Bijenkorf Parking. It’s always full, and because of that the one-way street leading to the parking garage is blocked all day.

There is no option to turn around or to pass the queue. Once you’re in it, you’re stuck. The hold-up often already starts at the city hall or Mint tower.

Choosing a P+R parking lot at the edges of town is much better. And use public transportation from there. Convenient locations are P+R Noord, RAI, Sloterdijk, or Zeeburg.

36. Bike Parking

Yes, that’s a thing here too. The city is very clear about where you can park your bike and where not.

All day, every day they’re on the lookout for removing bikes that are not parked correctly.

If your bike is gone, don’t assume your bike is stolen immediately. It could very well be you parked it in a forbidden location. Always contact the city depot to see if they have it. You can then collect it at a fee.

To avoid problems never park it on the street, even though you see other people doing the same.

Unless the area is clearly marked as a bicycle parking area (there will be markings on the floor and signs in both English and Dutch). You don’t want your rental bike to be gone right?

Your safest bet is using one of the many underground bike parking garages. Yes, that is also a thing. The nearest one to Dam Square is located at the Stock Exchange Building: Beurs. It’s free and secure.

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