Best Historic Sites in Amsterdam: Discover the City's Rich History

Some people say that walking around in Amsterdam is like walking in one big open air museum. There is just so much to see and historic sites to visit that it's advices to plan your trip carefully. Luckily most historic sites are located close to each other in the old city center. 

Every city has its own unique feel and vibe, which is determined by a number of things. The local historic sites are no doubt one of the largest contributing factors to the aura that surrounds a city. When in Amsterdam, users recommend paying a visit to Anne Frankhuis, in the Jordaan area to get a feel for what truly makes up the city.

Another great area to experience and wander around are the most famous canals the: Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizersgracht. There you find the unique museums Willet-Wolthuysen and Museum van Loon. If you always wanted to know what a canal house looked like on the inside during the 17th century these museums are two historic sites not to miss.

In the evening the Tuschinski theater is perfect for a night out. This cinema is located in an old art deco theater and seeing one of the blockbuster movies there is just a totally different experience.

If you take the train to the airport plan some extra time to check out the beautifully renovated central station in Amsterdam.

So many historic sites in Amsterdam! This list will give you some guidance on where to go.

Old City Centre/Old Side


Amsterdam Centraal Station, one of the Netherland's main transportation hubs, is an intersection of activity. Trains, trams, taxis, buses, ferries and metros – you name it; this station gets people where they need to go. While many visit...  Read More

Eastern Canal Ring
Museum Willet-Holthuysen
Photo courtesy of Jessica Lipowski


A stately, elegant home built in the late 17th century, this museum displays the wealth of generations, as well as various decor styles popular during the past few centuries. The home's final owner, Louisa Holthuysen, bequeathed the residence to...  Read More

Eastern Canal Ring
Museum van Loon


This gracious, beautifully ornamented canal house dates from the late 17th century and is a virtual time capsule of decorative arts, family treasures and city history. Purchased by the Van Loon family (one of Amsterdam's foremost dynasties) in...  Read More

Old Center / Red Light District
Dam Square


Make your way to Dam Square and enjoy the constant hustle and bustle. The square is home to many attractions, including the Royal Palace, National Monument, Madame Tussauds and others. Take a tour of the Royal Palace; admire the beautiful...  Read More

Old Center / Red Light District


Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt van Rijn. Visit The Rembrandt House, where you can explore the place he called home, as well as a studio, from the years 1639 and 1658. This historic building is made up of...  Read More



Designed by Hendrik van Berlage, this structure originally housed Amsterdam's Stock Exchange. Illustrating the shift from 19th to 20th-century architecture, the substantial building makes evident its methods of construction, even utilizing them...  Read More

Old Center / Red Light District


Visit the former headquarters of one of the most powerful companies in history, the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC in the Dutch language). Founded in 1602, the company's main goal was to trade with Asia. The...  Read More

Old Center / Red Light District
De Waag


Many of Amsterdam's historic buildings have enjoyed multiple uses through the centuries, and this turreted edifice on the Nieuwmarkt square is no exception. Constructed first as a gate for the city's fortified walls, it was later transformed...  Read More

Eastern Canal Ring


Whimsical and extravagant, this circa-1921 theater is a mad foray into creativity, an Art Deco study of color and shape. Named for the Jewish tailor who envisioned and financed the structure, the movie theater is a spectacle of stained glass,...  Read More

Anne Frankhuis


Thanks to her diary, the story of Anne Frank's hiding from the Nazis is a well-known historical event. Nevertheless, visitors to the actual building where she, her family and friends hid during the German occupation will find themselves thrown...  Read More