10 FREE things to do in Amsterdam
Are you planning your Amsterdam trip? And are you looking for awesome, free things to do in Amsterdam? We totally get that! As our hostels are run by an international team of volunteers, we are exploring Amsterdam on a budget ourselves. So we are experts in free things to do in Amsterdam! And of course we want to help you to become an expert too. Why spending lots of money when there are so many free things to do in Amsterdam. Get most out of your Amsterdam trip. Enjoy your time here – even when you don’t have much money to spend. So here are 10 free things to do in Amsterdam, as recommended by our volunteers!
Free things to do Amsterdam #1: Begijnhof
One of the most common free things to do in Amsterdam is to visit the Begijnhof. While the Netherlands is famous for its hofjes (a group of houses surrounded by a courtyard), there are many that you can visit. But the Begijnhof is the only one founded in the middle ages, making it more unique. This hofje in particular was frequented by a group of unmarried religious women back in the 14th century. You can still find a little chapel, which also happens to be the oldest house in Amsterdam. Full of history and interesting architecture, it would be a shame to miss out!
Begijnhofkapel, Begijnhof 30 (entrance via gate on the Spui)
Free things to do Amsterdam #2: Cheese Museum
Do you like cheese? Or are you interested in learning the history behind traditional Dutch food? If the answer is yes then why not visit the Cheese Museum. Not only is it free to enter, but it also offers free samples of specialty cheeses. It is really close to the Anne Frank House and to our Shelter Jordan hostel. A must visit when in Amsterdam!
Prinsengracht 112, 1015 EA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Free things to do Amsterdam #3: Free concerts
Amsterdam has many free concerts you can attend. The Royal Concertgebouw has free lunch concerts at 12:30 on Wednesdays, and The Dutch National Opera and Ballet has free concerts at 12:15 on Tuesdays. If you enjoy jazz music, then head over to the Bimhuis, a nice location that offers at least one free evening concert every week. You can either bring an instrument and join the workshop or alternatively just enjoy the music from the sidelines as a member of the audience. Either way it’s the perfect thing to do in Amsterdam.
The Royal Concertgebouw:
Concertgebouwplein 10, 1071 LN Amsterdam
The Dutch National Opera and Ballet:
Amstel 3, 1011 PN Amsterdam
Piet Heinkade 3, 1019 BR Amsterdam
Free things to do Amsterdam #4: Open-air markets
Another free thing to do in Amsterdam is to visit one of the open-air markets. There are loads of markets spread across Amsterdam, especially during the weekend. You can find almost anything there or you can just walk through and enjoy the atmosphere. When you go to a market in the Jordaan area on a Saturday you can see and hear an original Dutch street organ. They are well worth visiting! Check out this list of open-air markets in Amsterdam.
Free things to do Amsterdam #5: Public Library of Amsterdam
Don’t forget the famous library. Amsterdam’s library is one of the largest in Europe, being approximately 28,000 square metres. It has a café, where you can sit on the balcony, drink a coffee and admire the gorgeous view of the city.
Oosterdokskade 143, 1011 DL Amsterdam
Free things to do Amsterdam #6: Wijdesteeg – The Graffiti Street
This tourist attraction Amsterdam displays does not take long to walk through, but is definitely a great place to take pictures. Located just behind and beyond the royal palace in Dam Square, Wijdesteeg is an alleyway of colour. Pillars, walls, and the street itself have become a canvas for local graffiti artists to make their artistic mark on society. If you are looking for a new cover photo for your Facebook profile, this street is a hidden treasure waiting for you to discover.
Free things to do Amsterdam #7: Free Ferry to Amsterdam North
All public transport costs money, except the ferry to Amsterdam North. You can find the ferry behind Central Station and they run every 5-10 minutes. Taking the ferry is one of the coolest free things to do in Amsterdam and it will take you to authentic, non-touristy places, such as streets bursting with vibrant art. Take the ferry and see a completely different side of Amsterdam!
Free things to do Amsterdam #8: Rijksmuseum Gardens
The Rijksmuseum Gardens are free, although a lot of people aren’t aware that the Renaissance and Baroque Gardens are open to the public. Additionally, you can get a free printed guide that explains the history of the fountains, ponds, statues, and architectural pieces. Don’t miss out on this free opportunity!
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
Free things to do Amsterdam #9: City Archives Amsterdam
My favourite free thing to do here is to visit the city archive. You can dive into the rich history of Amsterdam without paying anything. Every month they show a different movie about the city and the unique history of Amsterdam is shown in an array of pictures, maps and drawings. It is well worth a visit!
Vijzelstraat 32, 1017 HL Amsterdam
Free things to do Amsterdam #10: Free walking or cycling tours
As well as the free Saturday morning city walk that we offer in both hostels, there are also free apps to download that allow you to explore different areas at your own pace. We as staff members recommend visitingthe scenic Jordaan or Pijp neighbourhoods but feel free to choose where you go to!
We hope all of our favourite things to do in Amsterdam will soon be your favourite things to do here too!