By Ciara Hickey
Every European city has its own unique must-see tourist attractions. For Paris it’s the Eiffel Tower, for London it’s Big Ben, for New York it’s Times Square.
In Amsterdam however, it is difficult to pinpoint just one landmark that you must visit due to the city’s rich history and colourful culture.
If you do happen to visit Amsterdam and (unfortunately) only have one day, here are the top three attractions which will let you experience some of the finest aspects of Amsterdam.
- The Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank House fills those who enter with a sense of sadness. With the reconstruction of Anne’s living quarters in the annex of her father’s shop, you are transported back to a time where sunlight is non-existent and movement was minimal all in order to stay alive.
In comparison to other museums dedicated to those who suffered under Nazi control during WWI and WWII, the Anne Frank Museum offers the human element to the facts and figures. Excerpts of Anne’s diary are plastered on the annex’s walls, each diary entry reminding you of the tragedy of this young girl’s life and the lives of too many others.
Tickets can be bought on the door for €9 for an adult and €4.50 for children under 18. The museum is open to the public between the hours of 9.30am and 3.30pm, but to avoid disappointment of being turned away after waiting in line for over two hours, it’s worth paying €16 online to skip the queue.
- Heineken Experience
Established in 1864, Heineken is Holland’s trademark beer. A museum was opened up in 1988 in the brewery where Heineken was first made over 150 years ago.
Not only does the museum educate you on the three generations of the Heineken family business and their awards, it is also highly interactive. From allowing you to try your hand at brewing yourself to a 4D experience of feeling like “a bottle of Heineken”, the Heineken experience succeeds in educating through entertainment.
Tickets are €16, and include 3 drink free pints of Heineken at the end of the tour, as well as the opportunity to stay in the lounge area and pull your own pints.
- Red Light District
Amsterdam’s Red Light District is one of the oldest and most renowned red light districts worldwide. Dating back to before Medieval Times, brothels and prostitution only became illegal in 2000.
The District is exactly what you expect it to be; half-naked women standing in windows enticing potential customers, with sex shops and sex museums standing either side of the windows. It’s not exactly somewhere you’d want to bring your grandmother to, but it’s a unique experience of a culture which openly accepts selling sex so easily.
The best times to visit the Red Light District is after dark so to see the red lights in their full effect, but shops and museums in the area are open both day and night.
Of course the best way to travel around the city to these attractions is on two wheels. Bicycles can be rented out for €8 a day, and with bike parks on nearly every street corner there’s no fear of not finding a place to park your bike.
However, if cycling isn’t for you, canal tours bring you around the whole city with designated hop on/hop off points while also informing you on the city’s history.