Ah, Amsterdam. An incredible city, with beautiful museums, luxurious hotels, and amazing restaurants. Unfortunately, though our wallet isn’t bottomless, and everyone is in need of some free fun things to do sometimes. Therefore we made this list with the 10 best, funniest free things to do in Amsterdam – You read that right, everything on this list can be done in Amsterdam 100% for FREE!
Take a free boat trip over the IJ. Behind the Central Station, there are ferry’s that will take you to different places on the other side of the IJ for free. The shortest trips are directly to the other side of the river, which will take you approximately 5 minutes. On longer trips, such as to the NDSM-Werf for example, the ferry will take you down the river too, so you can see Amsterdam from a different perspective. That trip will take you approximately 20 minutes.
2. Walking tour
Do the free walking tour during the Amsterdam Light Festival in November, December and January. The festival showcases light sculptures from international artists in the water, on houses and in the air. The walking tour is about 6 km long, and most enjoyable by night.
Visit the historic Begijnhof! If you want to get out of the busy streets, the Begijnenhof is the place to be to get a break from the busy city streets. The only thing they ask from visitors is to please keep quiet. You can enter via an arched doorway on the Spui, or via a large wooden door in the Begijnensteeg.
Party for free like a Dutchie on Kingsday (April 27). The birthday of King Willem-Alexander is a Dutch national holiday and is enthusiastically celebrated throughout the Netherlands by people of all ages. Be sure to wear something orange or red, white and blue! There are loads of free festivals that you can visit, but just wandering around the city on this national holiday is also lots of fun.
5. Vondelpark picnic
Picnic in the Vondelpark. The Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s oldest and most popular park. All you need is some food and a blanket. The entrance to the park is completely free, but keep in mind that you can’t BBQ in the park. If you do, that would make a picnic at the Vondelpark one of the worst free things to do in Amsterdam – The fine is €90!!
6. World’s narrowest house
Have a look at the narrowest house in the world! It is only slightly wider than 1 meter (3 ft 3 inch). Can you imagine living there? You can find it at Singel 7.
7. The Nine streets
Go window shopping while walking around The Nine Streets area. This is one of the loveliest areas of Amsterdam. There are lots of cool boutique shops, great secondhand shops and amazing restaurants. If you buy something, this activity obviously isn’t free, but learn from the Dutch and do as we do: “Kijken, kijken, niet kopen”, which translates to “Looking, looking, not buying”. It is one of our favorite sayings!
8. Gay pride
Celebrate love during the Gay Pride. The Amsterdam Gay Pride is one of the biggest, if not the best, Gay Pride of the world. Every July and August, various free activities are organized, with the highlight being the free Canal Parade.
9. NEMO lookout
Look out over the city from atop the NEMO museum. Although you will have to buy a ticket if you want to visit the NEMO museum itself, you can visit their rooftop terrace for free. The rooftop is open year-round, but visiting is most fun during summer when it is decorated with lounge chairs that give the terrace a beachy vibe.
10. Cannabis college
Go to the Cannabis College. The college is located in the red lights district and provides visitors with information about (the medicinal uses of) cannabis. Entrance is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.
As you can see, there are lots of free things to do in Amsterdam, even if you don’t have a lot of cash to spare. The Dutch, in general, are quite frugal, so free (or cheap) events are always a big hit with the home crowd as well as tourists. Have fun! And remember: The best things in life are free!