Walking Tour of Amsterdam
Here is a city with a reputation for decadence and permissiveness which, nevertheless, has a charming ambience and friendly people, making it an important stop for anyone who seeks a complete European experience.
This walk begins in Dam Square, home of the Royal Palace, the National Monument, and the New Church. It is a very busy place with automobiles, trams, and hordes of people. After checking the three attractions listed above, exit the square to the south on Rokin (near the National Monument). Take a right into Spui, an adorable tree-lined square which contains the Begijnhof, a former cloister for single women interested in a life of solitude and charity.
Head back to Rokin, turn right and then right onto Vijzelgracht to reach Muntplein. At the square is the Mint Tower. Nearby, on SIngel Canal, is the Flower Market.
Take Vijzelgracht south to Weteringschams, take a right, then left, across the canal to the Rijksmuseum, one of the world’s great art museums. It is especially famous for collection of works by Dutch masters, in particular, Rembrandt. Also in this museum complex is the Van Gogh Museum, another of Amsterdam’s mega-attractions.
After your visit here, go back out the way you entered the museum area to Leidsed Warsstraat and turn left. At the square up ahead (Leidseplein) turn right on Leidsestraat and proceed to the very next canal, Prinsengracht. Take a left just across the canal and walk approximately one mile to Radhuisstraat. Just beyond the intersection is Amsterdam’s most popular attraction, the Anne Frank House. You will know it by the long line waiting to enter. Next to it is the Westerkerk, which contains the remains of Rembrandt.
After the amazing visit to the Anne Frank House, head north, away from the churhc, then take the first right to the second canal (Herrengracht). Take a left and walk to Brouwersgracht. Across the canal is West Indies House, the former headquarters of the Dutch West India Company, which controlled trade with the Americas.
Take a right and walk down to Singel Canal. On the opposite side, at #7, is the Narrowest House (at least in frontage at 1 meter wide). Continue eastward, then turn left and then right at Prins Hendrickkade. When you reach the Central Station area, look for St Nicholas Church and the Schreierstoren (Tower of Tears) which was once part of the city’s fortifications. Both are worth a closer look.
Now, take Gelderskade south, then turn right to the Zeedijk (Sea Dike) which once protected the city from incursions from the sea. Go left on Zeedijk and continue southerly. Next, turn right to Oudezijde Voorburgwal to get to the Oude Kerk (Old Church), on your right. This 14th century Gothic structure is notable for its gilded ceiling, great organ, and Lady Chapel.
From here, walk straight out of the church and across the canal, then slightly right into New Market Square. De Waag, the only Medieval gatehouse still remaining in the city, is now a restaurant on the square. Leave the square by heading south, on the right side of the canal just ahead, then take the first right and right after crossing the next canal to wander the streets of Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
When done ogling, turn left on Molenstgasse (at the northern end of the area), then left onto Oudezijde Voorburgwal, then right onto Damstraat which leads back to Dam Square where the walk began.