Amsterdam is a city without skyscrapers; instead it is a city with historic buildings. The highest building in the capital of the Netherlands, the Rembrandt tower, is only 36 floors. Most buildings in the city centre are about 4 to 5 stories high, which means stunning views when being on a 6th floor of a building. So, what are the best places to enjoy the view? This is our top 5 viewpoints of Amsterdam.
1. FREE: Nemo Science Museum and Public Library Amsterdam (OBA)
The only two free viewpoints in our top 5. The NEMO roof terrace is the perfect place to relax for a moment after a long day. On the roof you will find the open-air exhibition Energetica, a large terrace and a restaurant, all with beautiful views of the city of Amsterdam. Architect Renzo Piano designed NEMO with an aim to create a real piazza (city square). He kept interaction in mind as an important element of the piazza, with interplay between the visitors and the elements. You can find out about the sun, wind and sustainable energy, through the interactive sculptures of the Energetica open-air exhibition. Visitors can enjoy the unique views indoors or outdoors all year round, while relaxing with a delicious lunch or a good cup of coffee. Check their website for opening times, during summer time the roof terrace stays open till later.
NEMO is next to the Public Library Amsterdam (OBA) from which you will have almost the same view from the 7th floor at the La Place restaurant balcony. Since November 2017 the balcony is closed. The reason of this is unclear, but we expect they will open it again soon. The Central Library is open from 10:00am to 10:00pm. It is closed on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Kingsday, Pentecost and Christmas Day.
2. Blue Amsterdam
If you want to have a great panoramic city view in the city centre of Amsterdam, Blue Amsterdam is the place to go. This place separates itself from the rest because it’s in the middle of everything right in the centre. The cafe & bar is at the top of a shopping complex in the most famous shopping sheet of the Netherlands: de Kalverstraat. They serve delicious cheesecake with red fruit compote from a local bakery, but to go real Dutch you should try out their traditional Dutch apple pie. Opening times 10.00am-6.30pm. Thursdays till 9.00pm.
3. A’DAM LOOKOUT
The A’DAM LOOKOUT is by far the highest lookout point on our list. Take the free ferry to go to Amsterdam North, enjoy the ride, and see Europe’s highest swing. Go to floor 20 or 21 and overlook the Amsterdamse IJ with ferries and vessels passing by. The swing ‘Over the Edge’ is available for the daredevils and thrillseekers, which will give you the feeling of literally flying over Amsterdam. Entrance ticket for adults is EUR 12,5 and the swing is EUR 5. Opening times are from 10.30am to 9.00pm.
This is certainly the best viewpoint in Amsterdam East. Go to Canvas for a romantic dinner, a first date or just a cup of coffee. The place is known for their affordable and delicious cocktails, but mostly because of the stunning view of Amsterdam which, can be enjoyed from the in- or outside. Canvas regularly hosts club nights with an eclectic range of music. On Sundays from 12.00 – 6.00pm you may enjoy their hidden rooftop oasis. The ‘Badplaats’ has hot tubs, a little sauna and plenty of room to sit back and relax. Opening times of the Canvas bar are 7.00am to 1.00am, and on Friday and Saturday 7.00am to 4.00am.
5. SkyLounge Amsterdam
Last but certainly not least in our top 5 is the SkyLounge Amsterdam. This rooftop lounge bar offers you a panoramic view and is within walking distance of Amsterdam Central Station. SkyLounge Amsterdam is located on the 11th floor in the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station. Walk in and take in the panoramic views over the Amsterdamse IJ on the north side and the city centre on the south side from either indoors or outdoors. It’s a dazzling view with a spectacular overview of the historic city. They serve beer, wine and other drinks, although we recommend having one of their cocktails, so tasteful. The SkyLounge Amsterdam is open from 11.00am to 1.00am on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, 11.00am to 2.00am on Wednesday and Thursday and 11.00am to 3.00am on Friday and Saturday.
Hidden gem tip: H&M on Dam Square
To all travelers interested in hidden gems we have one give-away. When on Dam Square get up to the 5th floor of the H&M, on the right hand side of the New Church. Make sure to be on the upper floor (it’s not too obvious) and enjoy the view over Dam Square, the heart of the Netherlands. Magna Plaza (former Amsterdam Main Post Office), the New Church and Madame Tussauds can be seen well. Enjoy!
Layover, stopover, transfer, few hours in Amsterdam or on Amsterdam Schiphol Airport?
When you are having a layover of 4,5 hours in Amsterdam it’s already possible to see a big deal of Amsterdam. Make sure to optimise your time and book a LocalLayover.com tour. Together we will walk, cycle, boat around the beautiful historic city, and of course we’ll show you more hidden gems. Watch our impression video below for more information, or book here.