10 Ways to ‘go Dutch’

going dutch, how do i do that?

Going Dutch - Windmill the Bloem in Amsterdam West

1. Cycle everywhere you go – Going dutch

When thinking about going Dutch we have to start with cycling everywhere. The infrastructure for biking is excellent, cycle paths run everywhere and the country is flat. The cycle skill level is extremely high. As soon as children can walk, they will learn how to cycle.

You can see anything transported by bike: groceries, children, beer or another bike. Also tricky tram tracks and other obstacles are no problem.

More impressive is the skill of being able to cycle under influence of alcohol: 68 percent of youth cycles under influence during weekends when measured around midnight.

Cycling is embedded in the culture. When asking someone: ‘How far is the Anne Frank house?’ He’ll likely say: ‘It is 10 minutes’. He means: ‘It is 10 minutes by bike.’

Traffic jam with cyclists

Traffic jam with cyclists

2. Go boating – Going dutch

26 percent of the Dutch territory is below sea level. Many European rivers start in the Alps and end in the Netherlands, at the North Sea.

The Dutch live with water. This is why 98 percent of the Dutch has a swimming diploma. And this is why the Dutch have extremely high developed knowledge about how to protect themselves against the water.

Many people own boats and there are many houseboats.

Go boating

Go boating

3. Pay for what you use – Going dutch

‘Let’s go Dutch’ means you should pay for what you eat or drink instead of split the bill equally. Oh you had a burger which was 2 Euros more, so you should be paying 2 Euros more.

I paid the last round of drinks, could you get the next one?

You did not have any consumption at our restaurant. The toilet is 50 cents without consumption.

When you’re not a customer you often have to pay for toilet usage in Amsterdam

4. Drink tap water – Going dutch

Tap water is perfectly drinkable in the Netherlands, and everybody does so. The water is the safest and cleanest of Europe (according to the European Union). The Dutch do buy water though, and most do so to have a new bottle to refill it at home.

Public tap water can be found on many places in the centre of Amsterdam

Public tap water can be found on many places in the centre of Amsterdam

5. Love things that are free – Going dutch

A free sample of a drink? Free cheese in the supermarket? Free sunglasses at a fair? The Dutch love it!

Really cool is to visit one of the free concerts that are given at the open-air theatre from the 5th of May till the 10th of September. Most performances are given on weekends. Check the program by clicking here.

Noordermarkt, Jordaan District - Sample cheese is often available at the market

Noordermarkt, Jordaan District –
Sample cheese is often available at the market

6. Go party on the street and at free festivals – Going dutch

The most famous ones are: Kingsday (27th of April) and The Canal Pride of the Gay Pride (first Saturday of August).

The Canal Pride of the Gaypride is completely free and so much fun. Just stand on the banks of the Prinsengracht or the Amstel River and watch 80 boats with DJs, different themes, plenty of boobs, smiles and crazy stunts. In 2017 this will be on the 5th of August from 14.00-18.00h.

Kings’ day is the celebration of the birth of King Willem Alexander. The night before is called Kings’ night and most parties take place during this night. The next day on the Kings’ birthday you’ll find flea markets on the streets and funny street games everywhere.

Canal Parade 2016

7. Get ‘gezellig’ – Going dutch

What exactly is ‘gezellig?’

The word has no direct translation. It is more a concept. When group of friends get together they will often say: ‘Gezellig to be together’. The word roughly translates to cozy.



8. Eat bitterballen during the VrijMiBo – Going dutch

The Dutch often go for a beer with colleagues on Fridays (VrijMiBo). Liquid dinner is not appreciated by many, so that’s why many eat a ‘Bitterbal’. Bitterballen are round mini krokets, mini deep fried gravy bites.

Going Dutch - Friday after work drink, VrijMiBo

Friday after work drink = VrijMiBo

9. Be direct – Going dutch

Don’t be flabbergasted when the hotel porter says to you: ‘I’ll carry your luggage. I can see that you are tired and had a long flight’. Or: ‘Have you been out yesterday?’ or: ‘You look ill, are you okay?’ Some might these phrases are rude to say. In the Netherlands it is shrugged off as Dutch directness.

10. Take priority in traffic – Going dutch

By law priority should be given to anyone crossing a zebra path. In Amsterdam and other bigger cities in the Netherlands, that’s different though. Priority is only given when you are actively showing that you are going to take it.

Going Dutch - Cyclists often take priority over pedestrians in Amsterdam

Cyclists often take priority over pedestrians – while here on this crossing pedestrians have priority (even over trams)


Do you want to go real Dutch? Do a transfer tour with LocalLayover.com in Amsterdam!


How to get a Dutch boyfriend?

Dutch Boyfriend - Blog Amsterdam

Dutch boyfriend – Experiencing the manners, customs and taste of the Netherlands is best done with locals, the Dutch. The quickest and easiest way to get in touch with a local is to do a LocalLayover.com tour when having a transit in Amsterdam. When you’re planning on staying a little longer you might want to consider being hosted by a local. When you are really down to get a Dutch boyfriend, come and study at one of the Dutch Universities. Another alternative is good old Tinder. Four ways in getting a Dutch Boyfriend:

1) LocalLayover.com

2) Couchsurfing.org

3) University exchange program

4) Tinder

So okay, what’s next? What shouldn’t I say?

The Dutch are proud to live in a liberal country. Prostitution, weed, abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia are considered basic ‘rights’.  But, this doesn’t mean the Dutch all (regularly) visit prostitutes or smoke weed every day. Oh, and we are not all gay, why would we legalise abortion then anyway? Bottom line: your first question should not be: ‘How many joints a day do you smoke?’ or ‘How much did you pay for your last visit to a prostitute?’

So what should I say?

You could start off with a discussion by asking: ‘What’s your opinion about abortion or about the Dutch drugs policy?’ This will show you are genuinely interested in Dutch culture.

Another approach is trying to speak Dutch. The Dutch love it when you do. He’ll ask you to pronounce ‘Grachtengordel’, which means Canal belt, and has two fantastic Dutch ‘G’ sounds. You’ll probably be much better at it after a beer.

Another approach is praising the Dutch. Don’t start about the national football/soccer team. Start discussing the Human Development Index, Delta Works or International Criminal Court. Key here is to praise the country.


Go boating on the canals. Seeing the historical city from the water is not only the best way to see the city, but also a good way to get to know if he’s your future husband. Being together on a boat is romantic, but also a good test whether you can stay with him on a small surface.

These were our tips. What are your tips?

This blogpost is written for and edited by Kelsey (USA) & Guido (NL)

Top 50 general questions about Amsterdam

How many people are there living in Amsterdam? Why do the Dutch wear Orange? Where can I find windmills? What language do they speak in Holland? Where can I find most bars? Is it safe? That and much more in this post.



What’s the difference between Holland and The Netherlands and where is Amsterdam located?

Amsterdam is located in Holland and is the capital of the Netherlands. The Netherlands has 12 provinces, of which two are called North Holland and South-Holland. Amsterdam is in the Southeastern part of North Holland. Holland is in the west of the small country. The Netherlands is in Western Europe and its bordering countries are Belgium in the south, Germany on the East and the North Sea on the Nord and West. When you swim over the North Sea to the West side you will reach England.


What language do the locals speak in Amsterdam?

The locals in Amsterdam and the Netherlands speak Dutch. Dutch is part of the West Germanic language group. As are other languages as English, Low German and High German. While the official and native language is Dutch, most people in Amsterdam speak English very well. The city is home to 180 nationalities so you will hear English but also other languages throughout the city. Lots of second and third generation Dutch-Moroccans and Turkish are living in the Netherlands which means you will hear them speak Berber, Arabic or Turkish. You do not need to know the Dutch language in order to enjoy your visit to the Netherlands, though we encourage you to learn a few words. See here which words we would recommend learning!


How many residents are living in Amsterdam?

834.713 called Amsterdam home on 1 January 2016. Amsterdam is a big metropolitan area with many different municipalities like: Duivendrecht, Hoofddorp, Aalsmeer, Badhoevedorp, Amstelveen, Zaandam and Diemen. Altogether these municipalities represent about 2.5 million people. Amsterdam is growing with around 11.000 people per year and has never in its history grown so fast. Especially higher educated people want to live in Amsterdam for work, education, culture and for each other. Another reason most people coming to the capital are higher educated is because they can afford it to live in the expensive city.


How many bikes are there in Amsterdam?

Many! There are different figures about the exact number, but a method using the wisdom of the crowd estimated a staggering number of 881.000 bikes. That means that every household has 2 bikes on average. In 2016, 8893 people reported that their bike got stolen, the real number of stolen bikes is much higher as many do not report that their bike got stolen. Moreover, each year around 14.000 bikes are fished up from the canals.


Why is Amsterdam named Amsterdam?

The name Amsterdam is derived from the city’s origins. The city grew around the Amstel and in this River they built a Dam. Together this is AmstelDam, by many years this became Amsterdam. Some say they city may have been named after a dike built years earlier.


How many windmills are there in Amsterdam?

There are in total 6 windmills in Amsterdam.

  • Krijtmolen d’Admiraal, trass- and chalkmill (1792, North)
  • De Gooyer, a flour mill, the tallest wooden windmill and octagonal in shape (1814, East)
  • De Riekermolen, a polder windmill (1636, South)
  • The Rembrandt Sloten, a polder windmill (1847, West)
  • De 1200 Roe or De Bloem , polder mill (1632, West)
  • The Otter, a saw mill. The only one remaining of the 49 sawmills (1631, West)

Want to know more about windmills in Amsterdam and their locations? Check out our map and blog here.


How many houseboats are there in Amsterdam?

There are approximately 2500 truly unique houseboats on the canals and rivers in Amsterdam.


What are other names for Amsterdam?

Venice of the North, because Amsterdam has more canals than Venice.

Damsco, some people call Amsterdam like this because of Dam square.


What is Dam square?

Dam square is the most well-known square in the Netherlands and thus in its capital Amsterdam. The Dam is literally a Dam in the River Amstel, although you do not notice this when you are on Dam square itself. The Royal Palace is located at the Dam and national events take place here. An example is annual Remembrance Day for the Second World War (May 4th) which take place in front of the National Monument.


What does Mokum mean?

Mokum is a nickname for Amsterdam. Before the Second World War the Jewish population was enormous in Amsterdam. In Hebrew ‘makom,’ means ‘place.’, this name sticked with its inhabitants.


How is someone living in Amsterdam called?

Someone living in Amsterdam is called an Amsterdammer.


How many canals does Amsterdam have?

THe capital has 165 canals. These canals have a length 100 kilometer


Where can you swim in the canals in Amsterdam?

It’s not allowed to swim in the canals. When ‘Waternet’ will see you they will give you a warning. When you do not get out of the water they will ask the police to fine you. Of course people do swim in the canals (unwillingly or willingly). Cleanest is to swim in the Amstel River. An illegal unofficial spot is in front of the Hermitage. Here you will find a nice wooden platform on which you can chill and get out of the water with a ladder. Next to that there is an annual swim called the Amsterdam City Swim. Prior to this swim extra sanitation of the water takes place. In 2012 the current Queen Maxima swam in the canals.


How many people drown in the canals every year?

This seems to be a top secret. To protect tourism? To defend not building ladders to get out of the canals? No one knows. Reports from the Public Health Service and Police show that between 8 to 17 people drown every year in the canals. Most drowning are drunk, stoned and under the influence of certain substances. Mostly men, relieving themselves into the canals.


How many bridges does Amsterdam have?

There are 1680 bridges. This means it  has more canals than Venice and more bridges than Paris. A lot of bridges have a historic character and most of the bridges in Amsterdam can open to let boats pass. The bridges literally unite Amsterdam. In the 19th century the capital was 82 little islands. Nice fact is that 346 bridges have a name, for the other 1334 Amsterdammers may choose the names in the near future. A nice video about bridges (in Dutch) can be found here.


What is the most famous bridge in Amsterdam?

The most famous bridge is the Magere Brug, the Skinny Bridge over the Amstel River. The bridge is on the Kerkstraat between the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht.


What is the abbreviation of Amsterdam?

Some people abbreviate Amsterdam to A’dam or Adam.


What is the airport code for Amsterdam?

The only airport of Amsterdam is called Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and has code: AMS.


Why do so many canal houses tilt forward?

There are certain reasons for this. Some joke that Amsterdammer do not like to clean their windows and this will prevent rain from hitting the windows. More serious arguments are that many of these homes were once warehouses for goods. These warehouses were built slighty tilted to prevent the goods from damaging the building’s facade on the way up or down. After this was done, this approach was copied in other buildings. Another reason is that many foundations are damaged. The wood in the wet ground does not do well.


What is the tallest building in Amsterdam?

The Rembrandttoren is the highest sky scrapper of Amsterdam and is named after painter Rembrandt van Rijn. The 36-story office tower is 135 meters tall, 150 if you count the spire. That is not tall considering international standards. The average building height in the city center is around 15 meters. The Rembrandttoren is located in the East, next to Amsterdam Amstel Station.


Is there a free publicly accessible view point?

Yes there is. The Central OBA, central library between Amsterdam Central Station and Nemo is 7 floors high and is overlooking the beautiful city center.


What is a brown café?

A brown café has a dark wood interior, nicotine-stained ceiling and low-wattage lighting. You may find brown cafés everywhere in Holland, but most of them are in Amsterdam.


Is there a zoo in Amsterdam?

The zoo in Amsterdam is called ‘Artis Royal Zoo’. It was founded in 1838 and is therefore the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and Europe and the third oldest zoo in the world.

What is Queen’s and King’s day?

This is the national holiday to celebrate the birthday of the Queen or King. Since 2014 the Kingdom of the Netherlands has a King instead of a Queen. King Willem-Alexander’s Birthday is on the 27th of April. On this day you will find everyone where orange and people trying to sell everything on the street. It’s one of the most fun days in the Netherlands.


Why was Queen’s day on the 30th of April?

The birthday of Queen Beatrix was in winter time (31 January), to celebrate Queen’s day on this day would be unfortunate as all people gather on the streets to celebrate. That is why Queen Beatrix did not change the date of her mother’s birthday. Her mother Queen Juliana’s birthday was on the 30th of April. So since 2014 the date to celebrate King’s day has been set on the 27th of April.


Why is everyone wearing Orange?

During sport games and on King’s Day you’ll be finding many Dutch wearing orange. This is because of the family name of the Dutch Royal family. The name contains: ‘From Orange’. This is why the Dutch Football team / soccer team is called ‘Orange’ (Oranje in Dutch), but also during other sport games the teams are called ‘Oranje’.


Is Amsterdam a safe city?

When looking to the statistics of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is not a safe city. When looking internationally to other capitals and bigger cities it is very safe. Amsterdam is a safe city to visit. In the Safe City Index 2015 Amsterdam took on the 5th position in the list of safest cities in the world (2015). Though you can buy marijuana freely in coffee shops, smart drugs in smart shops and prostitution is legal, Amsterdam is not a dangerous city. Other popular European tourists destinations are ranked quite a bit lower: Barcelona (15), London (18), Brussels (22), Paris (23) and Rome (27).

The Area around Central Station, the Red light district are the areas with most crimes. This is very predictable as most people are living here. After this district you are ‘most unsafe’ in New-West and South-East. These areas are still safe though. See here an interactive map of criminality in Amsterdam.


Can women safely travel in and to Amsterdam?

Yes. It is a safe city for women, regardless of their age or whether travelling alone or together.


How did Amsterdam become such a tolerant city?

This has a historical reason. Amsterdam is a city where trade has always been important rather than ideology or religion. Everybody was welcome, as long as they brought trade of money with them. This made Amsterdam a traditionally immigrant city as many other cities were kicking out Protestants, Catholics or Jews. Jews from Spain and French protestants found a safe haven, between 1585 and 1630.


Why does Amsterdam and the Netherlands tolerate prostitution and the use of drugs?

First, Amsterdam is a tolerant city. Second, the Dutch know they will create an even bigger black market when banning these activities. In other words: it’s going to happen anyway. And why not make some money out of it and try to regulate it?


What is the monthly rent of an average sized (60m2) apartment in Amsterdam City CENTRE?

An averaged sized apartment of 60 m2 in for example the Jordaan district is around EUR1500 – 1750 per month. This is excluding electricity, gas and water.


What is the quality of life in Amsterdam?

Amsterdammers love their architecture, with the historic city centre, a healthy work-life balance, competitive business benefits and cultural diversity, the city has a high quality of life. Amsterdam is frequently ranked in the top 15 of Mercer’s Quality of Living index. Nowadays, concerns are raised about the availability of affordable housing and overcrowding (particularly the high number of tourists in the city center).


How much do I tip in Amsterdam?

Tipping is common in restaurants and taxi’s. A rate between 5 and 12% is considered normal. Few people tip in bars and pubs as well.


What is the most visited park in Amsterdam?

Vondelpark is the central park of Amsterdam and has around 10 million visitors per year. 9 out of 10 locals say they come in the Vondelpark at least once a year. It is conveniently located right next to entertainment area Leidseplein.


Is BARBECUING allowed in the Vondelpark?

No, that is since March 2017 not allowed anywhere in the park anymore and it is strongly enforced by law enforcers, the fine is € 90,-.


What is a coffeeshop? Can I buy coffee in a coffeeshop?

A coffeeshop in Amsterdam is a bar- or pub-looking place where you can legally buy soft drugs (marijuana or hashish), space cakes. They mostly also serve coffee, tea, sometimes freshly-squeezed juices and sandwiches.


Is it allowed to smoke marijuana or hashish on the streets in the Netherlands?

No, that is not allowed. In public and in public places it is not allowed to smoke marijuana or hashish.


How many coffeeshops are there in Amsterdam?

There are around 150 coffeeshops in Amsterdam. This is almost one third of the total coffeeshops in the Netherlands.


Do all Amsterdammers visit coffeeshops?

In the city center most coffeeshops will be packed with tourists. Outside the center most visitors will be Dutch. Most people in Amsterdam and the Netherlands do not smoke weed. It is even said that less people in the Netherlands smoke weed than in for example the USA. Around 26% of tourists visit a coffeeshop during their stay in Amsterdam and 10% of tourists mention this as a primary reason to visit the city.


Will non-Dutch be banned from buying weed and other products in coffeeshops?

Yes and no, in Amsterdam nobody will be banned from buying weed and other products in coffeeshops. This is because the political leaders from Amsterdam are against a so called ‘Weed pass’. It would hurt tourism and increase illegal drug trading on the streets.

What is a ‘Weed Pass’?

A ‘Weed Pass’ is registration at a coffeeshop where you can then buy your weed. For this registration you’ll get a pass and this makes it look like a membership. This pass is only issued to locals. Municipalities close to the borders with Germany and Belgium did enforce a so called weed pass to stop the so-called drug tourism. Many people from Germany and Belgium come to the Netherlands. Smoke and then drive back. This has caused many accidents. Municipalities may determine themselves whether or not to allow tourists into their coffeeshops. In Amsterdam the weed pass has never been introduced, and will not be imposed in the near future. Non-locals may continue to smoke.


Are they closing coffeeshops in amsterdam?

Till 1 January 2016 some 31 coffeeshops had to close because they were too close to primary and secondary schools.

How’s the weather in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is close to the sea (30 KM). This makes the weather mild. This means not super cold winters and not super warm summers. In winter it gets to zero degrees. In summer it may get 30 degrees Celsius.


What is the best time to visit Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is nicest in summer, from May to September. July and August are most popular and are considered peak season. Winters are, due to the position of the Netherlands next to the North Sea, relatively mild but can be cold (especially when wind comes from the East) and can be wet too.


What the lake / river behind Amsterdam Central Station called?

This is called ‘t IJ. The IJ is a river behind Central Station. It connects the Port of Amsterdam to the rest of the water ways in the Netherlands and Europe. It is one of Europe’s busiest marine corridors. The pronunciation of ‘IJ’ is like ‘eye’. ‘Het IJ’ is pronounced like: ‘hat eye’.


Which calendar is used in Amsterdam?

In Amsterdam the Christian Calendar is used. The Christian calendar consists of 365 or 366 days, which is divided into 12 months. The months in the calendar has no relationship with lunar cycles. A set of seven days is considered as one week in the Christian calendar.


Which currency is used in Amsterdam / the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is part of the European Union and the Euro zone. From 1 January 2002 the Euro has been in use. Until 2002 the Dutch Guilder was used. For every 2,2 Guilder the Dutch got 1 euro.


What is the best place to change my money in Amsterdam?

It’s best to use your debit card at an ATM to get cash. This will get you the best rates. Another option is not to take cash. Amsterdam is one of the most cashless cities in the world. You can use your debit or credit card almost everywhere, for any amount of money. Shops are happy not to get cash.


How many students are there in Amsterdam?

There are 113.000 students in Amsterdam of which 47.000 live in the city. There are 26 educational institutes of which the Applied University of Amsterdam (46.000 students), University of Amsterdam (31.000 students) and the VU University Amsterdm (22.000 students) are the biggest.


How many museums are there in Amsterdam?

The city has in total 52 museums. Amsterdam is famous for its beautiful museums. The most visited museums are: Rijksmuseum (2.5 million, 2016), Van Gogh Museum (2.1 million, 2016) and Anne Frank House (1.3 million, 2016).


How many bars are there in Amsterdam?

It is said that Amsterdam has over 1000 bars and pubs! Most bars per square meter can be found in the Jordaan district.


All windmills in Amsterdam

The Dutch are famous for their windmills

Most of the windmills in Amsterdam are Polder mills and were able to keep the height of the water on level. In the past lots of the country has been laid dry using wind mills. Many of the windmills have been lost throughout the years. But there are still 6 windmills to see!

Windmills Amsterdam

A. Krijtmolen d’Admiraal, trass- and chalkmill (1792, Amsterdam North)

B. The Gooyer, a flour mill, the tallest wooden windmill and octagonal in shape (1814, Amsterdam East)

C. The Riekermolen, a polder windmill (1636, Amsterdam South)

D. The Rembrandt Sloten, a polder windmill (1847, Amsterdam West)

E. The 400 Roe Amsterdam or De Bloem , polder mill (1632, Amsterdam West)

F. The Otter, a saw mill. The only one remaining of the 49 sawmills (1631, Amsterdam West)

Windmill De Gooyer

Windmill De Gooyer

You can see all these windmills in one long day. Taking central station as a starting point the trip is 50 kilometer by bike. This means it will take you around 4 hours of cycling. Including breaks it will take approximately 6 hours.

Top 10 Most Local Streets & Squares to go to in Amsterdam

Local Streets Amsterdam

Most tourist can be found on Dam, Rembrandt, Leidse or Museum square. These are beautiful places to visit, but these are not the squares the real Amsterdammers go for a drink or a walk. Here a list where the locals go.

1. Gerard Douplein and Albert Cuyp street – Local Streets Amsterdam

This small and cozy square in Neighbourhood the Pijp is famous for its young urban professional (yup) crowd. When you’re in for craft beers, this is the place to go. You’ll find yups talking about promotions and students about their dissertations. Gerard Douplein is not cheap, with cheaper craft beers starting from around EUR4. Make sure to visit the Albert Cuypmarket before or after your beer or coffee.

2.Van Woustraat – Local Streets Amsterdam

This street on the East side of the Albert Cuyp market has its charm. You will find all kinds of restaurants from Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Surinam food to Dutch, Mediterranean and Doner restaurants. In most restaurants the prices are below the Amsterdam average, with great atmospheres. Next to restaurants you will find hairdressers, supermarkets and retail shops here. A true local street.

3. Beukenplein and Oosterpark – Local Streets Amsterdam

This nice square is located in Amsterdam East, right next to the Oosterpark. When it’s raining it’s worth going to nearby bar Bukowski. Beukenplein is in ‘upcoming’ East and one of the most relaxed terrace squares in Amsterdam.

4. Noordermarkt and Westerstraat – Local Streets Amsterdam

The Noordermarkt is next to protestant church ‘Noorderkerk’. This square is in the lively Jordaan district. Markets are held here every Monday morning (in the Westerstraat) with over 150 stands. On the square and in the Westerstraat are many cafes and restaurants. Typical Dutch food specialities are served in a great cozy atmosphere. Certainly worth a visit.

5. Javaplein and Flevopark – Local Streets Amsterdam

This local square is located a bit deeper into Amsterdam East than Beukenplein. On the square you can find a former bathhouse and two monuments. The bathhouse is a relaxed café now, especially nice during summer time. Flevopark is a 15 minute walk from Javaplein which is very local as well.

6. Plein 40-45 – Local Streets Amsterdam

This square is in a newer part of Amsterdam: New-West and famous for its second and third generation Dutch-Moroccans and Turkish crowd. On this square there is a market from Tuesday to Saturday (9-16h) with around 150 stands with various goods. Make sure to visit the liberation clarion on the square.

7. Mercatorplein – Local Streets Amsterdam

This square is in Amsterdam West and has a great history. On both north and south side you will find kind of gates and on the west side you will find a gate going towards the street ‘Jan Evertsenstraat’.

8. Dapperstraat and its Dappermarkt – Local Streets Amsterdam

In this street in Amsterdam East you will find the Dappermarket from Monday to Saturday. The market has 250 stands and is famous for its local crowd. The market offers products from all over the world, yet remained local.

9. Weesperzijde and Amstel River – Local Streets Amsterdam

This street on the East bank of the Amstel River is famous for its 19th century buildings, house boats and great atmosphere. Among locals its also famous for going to Amsterdam East or Amstel Station by bike. It’s one of the busiest cycle streets. Worth visiting are Hesp or Grand Café De Ysbreeker.

10. Buikslotermeerplein – Local Streets Amsterdam

Soon we will be able to reach this destination in Amsterdam North by metro (planned opening 22 July 2018). This square will certainly get a boost from the new metro line. In the meantime it’s worth visiting the market on the East side of the shopping center on the square. The ferry ride to Amsterdam North makes it even more fun and local.

Bachelor Party Nieuwmarkt

Tourism Amsterdam

Why are some Amsterdammers starting to dislike tourists?

Tourism to Amsterdam has doubled in the last five years and is expected to grow to 23 million in 2025. There are 800,000 thousand people living in Amsterdam of which only 86,000 in the centre. Amsterdam has since the middle ages always been very open to people from outside because of trade relations. However, this enormous growth of tourism in the last few years has caused some side effects: the centre is getting more crowded. Opinion articles have criticised the policies to stimulate tourism and policy plans have been made to spread tourism over a wider area. No new hotel permits are given for the centre and renting out your house is highly regulated. What is irritating the Amsterdammers – next to a crowded centre?

1. Rental bikes, beer bikes and bike taxi’s – Tourism Amsterdam

Cycling is famous in the Netherlands. The roads are designed for it and the country is flat. This makes it easy and fast to get from A to B. The Dutch are the fastest cyclist in the world. Most Dutch learn how to cycle from the age they can walk. When leaving for a destination the Dutch tend to go away from home right in time. On these moments it frustrates the Dutch when there are ten tourists on their obvious all green or yellow rental bikes blocking the road. More annoying are the beer bikes. On sunny days starting in May these beer bikes appear from everywhere. 12 drunk guys cycling, singing and spitting on the streets while cyclist behind it can’t cross the slow moving ‘vehicle’. Bike taxi’s take a lot of space too, and when they have clients they behave as king of the roads. Tip: hire a normal looking bike in Amsterdam so people do not see immediately that you are a tourist. Cycle on the right side and on the cycle paths. These paths are mostly paved red. 

Tourism Amsterdam - Rental bikes

2. Bachelor parties – Tourism Amsterdam

Mostly British love Amsterdam as a bachelor party destination. It is fun! What’s better than a destination where they tolerate drugs & prostitution? For this reason the red light district is overcrowded and full with weird and drunk looking British. Not so bad, true, but screaming on the streets at 6 AM is not appreciated by the Dutch. More over, lots of people drawn every year in the canals. People say that most of them are drunk bachelor party celebrators releaving themselves into one of the canals. Tip: avoid the expensive fine of peeing into the canals and go to a public toilet. 

Bachelor Party Nieuwmarkt

Bachelor Party Nieuwmarkt

3. Anne Frank House queues – Tourism Amsterdam

The Anne Frank House is a must see. But to wait 5 hours for it? The queues are insane and lots of people take pictures from the queues because it is so ridiculous. Trust us, it’s really not worth waiting for 5 hours to get in. Tip: Enter without waiting. Buy an online ticket which designates you to a time slot. Do this a few weeks in advance of your holiday to Amsterdam.

Tourism Amsterdam - Queues Anne Frank House

Queue for the Anne Frank House on a normal day

4. Ice cream and WAFFLE SHOPS instead of CRAFTSMen – Tourism Amsterdam

A lot of craft and speciality shops in the centre are being taken over by ice cream and waffle shops for tourists. The Dutch love ice cream and waffles as well, but it’s a shame that these crafts man are disappearing from the authentic centre. Tip: buy your souvenirs at craft shops.

5. AirBnB nuisance – Tourism Amsterdam

When you’re in Amsterdam you smoke weed, drink alcohol and visit prostitutes. Well, that’s what many tourists think and do.  In a survey 10% of tourists  visiting Amsterdam say the drug tolerating policy is their main reason to come to Amsterdam. And yes, this crowd makes noise. For this reason the municipality has imposed regulations concerning AirBnB bookings. The maximum number of people at a time is four and the maximum residents may rent their houses a year is 60 days. Tip: come to Amsterdam to see the liberal society in so many more aspects in life.

6. Museums that are no museums – Tourism Amsterdam

Red light district museum, prostitution museum, cannabis museum, cheese museum, these aint no real museums. These are just shops where you have to pay to get in. Real tourist traps. Tip: visit real museums. Do some research before going in. 

Cheese museum on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam

Cheese museum on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam

7. Tourists do not take priority in traffic – Tourism Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a capital. Usually in capitals traffic is crazy. Well, in Amsterdam traffic isn’t as crazy as in for example Paris, but when you have priority you should take your right. When you are walking on a pedestrian crossing, cyclists will generally not give you priority unless you take it. Tip: Pedestrians are most vulnerable and have therefore most priority in traffic in the Netherlands. 

Lifelong Amsterdam experience

8. Most tourist only see the CENTRE of Amsterdam – Tourism Amsterdam

When asking tourist what they saw of Amsterdam and the Netherlands they start talking about famous names of coffee shops and the redlight district. But there is so much more to see! Tip: go and see local things. Like the Beer Brewery ‘t IJ in Amsterdam East.


LocalLayover.com is here for you to become a traveller instead of a tourist. We’ll tell you how to best enjoy the beautiful city of Amsterdam from a local perspective.

Top 10 Dutch words you have to know

Neuken in de keuken? Allemachtig prachtig! Those are probably the first words you’ll learn in the Netherlands. The Dutch are the best non-native English speakers. For this reason it is harder to learn Dutch in the Netherlands than for example Arabic in Egypt. Most people will switch to English as soon as they hear you do not speak Dutch well. Some people say its ‘useless’, ‘not worth the effort’ and ‘too time consuming’ to learn Dutch. We think you should at least learn a few words to impress your waiter, the tram conductor or the person you are in the elevator with.

1.     Lekker – Dutch Words

Translation: tasty, nice, delicious, well done, good-feeling. The word ‘lekker’ is used for everything that gives you a good feeling. Lekker is mostly used for food, but you can also say: ‘That swimming practice was really ‘lekker’. It means that it gave you a satisfying feeling. A ‘lekker-ding’ is someone real hot. ‘Lekker gedaan’ means that something is nicely done. Lekker is a word the Dutch love saying, it’s catchy and easy to say. People from the Southern province Limburg say ‘lekkor’. The waiter will love it when you tell him/her: ‘This sandwich was really lekker’.

2.     Doei – Dutch Words

Translation: Bye! Doei is a funny word in the sense that it doesn’t sound like anything. The Flemish even tell the Dutch ‘DOEI’ because they find it funny that the Dutch are screaming ‘DOEI’ to each other. You pronounce it as DO-EY. Tell the waiter ‘DOEI’ when you are leaving the restaurant (and will never come back).

3.     Gezellig – Dutch Words

Translation: cosy, intimate, sociable, homey. The Dutch say that there is no translation for the word ‘gezellig’ into English. And yes it’s hard. It’s a feeling you have when the atmosphere is good. You could say: ‘This birthday party was really gezellig’. Tell the waiter: ‘Gezellig, come sit with us.’

4.     Dankuwel – Dutch Words

Translation: Thanks. Dankuwel is a polite way of thanking someone. The U in the middle means that you are speaking to someone unknown, older, or of a higher status. When receiving your coffee from the waiter you could say ‘Dankuwel’.

5.     Alstublieft – Dutch Words

Translation: please or here you are. Here again the U in the middle means that you are speaking to someone unknown, older, or of a higher status. The waiter will tell you ‘alstublieft’ on the moment he puts your coffee on your table. But you may also say: ‘Can I have a tuna sandwich alstulieft?’

6.     Neuken in de keuken – Dutch Words

Translation: making ‘love’ in the kitchen. This phrase is widely taught to non-Dutch speakers because it rhymes and the meaning is funny. Don’t tell this to your waiter as he’ll take you to the kitchen or he’ll ask you where you have learned those bad words.

7.     Mooi – Dutch Words

Translation: nice, beautiful, pretty, fine, handsome, good-looking, fair. The waiter didn’t take you to the kitchen after telling him: ‘Neuken in de keuken’. That is mooi. That is nice. When you get a plate which is looking very nicely you may say that looks really ‘mooi’.

8.     Fiets – Dutch Words

Translation: bike, bicycle. The Netherlands has more bikes than people and that’s exactly why you should know this word. When the waiter asks you: ‘How did you get here?’ You can say: ‘by fiets’.

9.     Grachtengordel – Dutch Words

Translation: canal belt. In Amsterdam we have a lot of canals in the city center and they are beautiful. You are very privileged when living on a ‘gracht’. You could tell the waiter: ‘We are now at the grachtengordel’. Especially the ‘G’-sound is going to be hard and it might sound like a kind of gurgling.

10.   Hagelslag – Dutch Words

Translation: chocolate sprinkles. Lots of Dutch people weekly or sometimes daily have chocolate sprinkles on their bread. Hagelslag literally translated means ‘hailstorm’. You could ask the waiter: ‘I would like Hagelslag on my bread’. Take care of this hard G sound at the end of the word again.

Gracht = Canal

‘Gracht’ means Canal

What to do during an overnight layover in Amsterdam

Overnight layover Amsterdam

Are you arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport late at night and having a layover? Yes it’s certainly worth going into town! This is the list of things to do in Amsterdam. First of all, you need at least a 4,5 hour layover between your flights. Of course this depends on whether you are taking a flight to another EU (Schengen Area) country or an intercontinental flight and whether you have checked-in and have your boarding passes already. Don’t worry you do not need cash euros for your overnight layover. Amsterdam is one of the most cashless cities in the world, you can pay train tickets by card. We have put together a 3,2km / 2 mile walking tour which will take about 1-2 hour.

View from the bike flat, in front of Amsterdam Central Station

Do you want to see three times more on your layover?

We are specialized in Layover tours. Together with a local you’ll experience Amsterdam to the fullest: boating, biking and on foot. Book today, also for layovers by night. We’ll make sure you’re at the airport in time.

1. Drop your bags at Schiphol Airport or Central Station – Layover by Night Amsterdam

You do not want to stroll around with your luggage, but taking a hotel just for your luggage is really wasting your money. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has lockers in which you can store your luggage. So get to the lockers at the Airport which are located on the lower level between the arrival halls. Medium sized bag 24-hour storage will cost you EUR 8 and may be paid by card. We recommend using the luggage storage at Schiphol Airport and not the one from Central Station as the latter is closed from 1 AM to 5 AM, is further away and is the same price.

Locker Amsterdam Central Station Locker Amsterdam Central Station is closed from 1 AM to 5 AM, so you better use the lockers at Schiphol Airport

2. Take the train to Amsterdam Central Station from the Airport – overnight layover Amsterdam

The airport has a perfect train station which has a direct connection to the center of Amsterdam. Trains between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Central station run all night. Between 0.41am and 5.30am you will have a transition of trains at Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA. Between these times there are fewer trains. Trains are scheduled for 2.15am, 3.15am and 4.15am. Train run frequently and directly (up to 10 times per hour) from 5.30am again. When having a transition it will take you 29 minutes to get to the center. When having a direct train it will take you 17 minutes to get there. Check the website of Dutch Railways to plan your journey. The journey will cost you EUR 4,2 one way. Kids till 12 years old cost EUR 2,5 for two ways. The train is faster and way cheaper than a taxi to the center (EUR 32).

Trains to the airport run all night – overnight layover Amsterdam

3. Get out of the train station and look at the train stations’ building – overnight layover Amsterdam

This is already worth your trip to the centre: the train stations’ building itself. The Amsterdam Central Station building is beautiful. Partly built on the Lake behind it in 1881 on 8067 wooden piles it is a true landmark for the city. On one side you will find the IJ Lake with its ferries going to Amsterdam North and on the other side you will find the centre of Amsterdam. Sint Nicolaas Church, view from Amsterdam Central Station

4. Walk over the Damrak towards Dam Square and the Royal Palace – overnight layover Amsterdam

Walk towards the Victoria Hotel (the white, super nice building on the corner) and go into that street. This street is called the Damrak and will lead you to Dam Square. But first, look around and see the Church of Saint Nicholas and the square before the central station. On the Damrak you will cross the Sex Museum and Body Worlds and then you’ll reach Dam Square. This square is the most important square of the Netherlands. On one side of the square you’ll see the Royal Palace and on the other a pillar. This pillar is the National Monument for all fallen Dutch soldiers. On the 4th of May the square is packed with people memorialize and at 20.00h the Dutch keep two minutes of silence together with the King and Queen.

Dam Square, Royal Palace Dam Square, Amsterdam by night

5. See the old Central Post Office (now shopping mall Magna Plaza) – layover by night Amsterdam

Behind the Royal Palace you will find shopping mall Magna Plaza. It’s a magnificent building which you have to see. From Dam Square, walk towards the Royal Palace and cross it on the right side (next to the Church on the square). When you have seen the building walk back to Dam Square towards the National Monument (the white pillar).

The Former Amsterdam Main Post Office

6. Visit the famous red light district – overnight layover Amsterdam

The red light district is much nicer to see by night then during the day because there’s more activity going on and the red lights can be seen. Although you may not find girls behind windows after 4am anymore. Walk from the National Monument on Dam Square towards Hotel Krasnapolsky. Go into the street on the right side of this hotel. There you’ll find Café Zwart, Cau and Dam Apotheek. This street is called the Dam street. Walk till the first canal and turn left (street name: Oudezijds Voorburgwal). You have reached the red light district now! Look around and think about the pros and cons of tolerating prostitution.

Red light district Amsterdam - overnight layover Amsterdam Red light district Amsterdam

7. Smallest Alley of Amsterdam – overnight layover Amsterdam

The smallest alley of Amsterdam is located on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Right before you get to the Old Church on your left. The alley is called the Trompetterstreeg. It’s easy to miss. It’s next to the Gottahaves from the Bulldog Coffeeshop on street number 88.

Coffeeshop next to smallest alley way - overnight layover Amsterdam Coffeeshop next to smallest alley waySmallest alley way - overnight layover Amsterdam

Smallest alley way

8. Old Church – overnight layover Amsterdam

This is the oldest church in Amsterdam. Built in 1213 the church made money from the sins happening around it and became bigger and bigger. And sins happened a lot around it. Needy sailors set off and came back at the red light district. Make sure to walk around the church and see the ‘different kind’ of prostitutes behind the church. When you are out of time you can continue on the street ‘Oudezijds Voorburgwal’ and then you’ll reach Central Station again. When you want to see more Amsterdam we can continue to a square called the New Market (Nieuwmarkt). Want to go to the toilet? Next to the Old Church is a public toilet (men only), in Dutch we call these toilets ‘green curls’. You will find out why.

View from bridge at the Old Church

9. See the Waag on New Market – overnight layover Amsterdam

From the Old Church take the bridge next to the public toilet (the green curl). And continue into the small alleyway, you’ll be walking next to Café Pleinzicht. You are still on the red light district and the girls are going to be close to you, so be prepared for this. When taking pictures the girls will throw water at you, so do not try this. Walk further until you can’t go further anymore, at this point you have reach China Town (street name: Zeedijk). On your left side you’ll find a Buddhist temple. We are going to turn right here. Now you’ll reach Nieuwmarkt and the beautiful building ‘De Waag’. This building was built as one of the cities gates, then used to as weigh house, and then as fencing hall, furniture workshop, oil lamps workshop, fire station and city archives. Nowadays this beautiful building is a restaurant.

De Waag, Nieuwmarkt - overnight layover Amsterdam De Waag, Nieuwmarkt

9. Damrak by night

From de Waag on Nieuwmarkt go into the street ‘Geldersekade’ which is on the right side of ‘Café de Zon’. Follow this street till the end and then you’ll see the beautiful building of Central Station again. On the way, don’t forget to stop at Damrak, the most beautiful and traditonal canal houses of Amsterdam!

Damrak, the beautiful traditional canal houses in Amsterdam

10. Back to the airport by train – overnight layover Amsterdam

Take the train to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Do not buy a supplement ticket; this is not needed for Amsterdam Central Station to Schiphol Airport.

Train back to Schiphol

11. Do You want to see as much as possible of Amsterdam?

Optimising your time in Amsterdam? Hesitation whether you can make it? Want to safe time buying tickets and looking for things? We can optimise your short trip here in Amsterdam. We have the train tickets ready, bikes on central station and if you like you can drop your bags. By doing this you can see up to twice as much from Amsterdam. You can book your overnight LocalLayover.com trip here. We are happy to guide you around, also during the night!

Top 10 FREE summer things to do in Amsterdam during a short layover

Free summer things Amsterdam

Summer in Amsterdam has officially started! And guess what? Amsterdam is even more beautiful during summer for a short stopover. The canals come to life with its boats, locals chill in the famous Vondelpark and there are literally traffic jams of cyclists on the streets.

The average temperature in summer is around 20 °C with exceptional peaks of 30 °C. The Dutch can’t stop smiling when temperatures reach over 25 °C. This can be seen in parks, on city beaches and on terraces: it’s packed with Amsterdammers enjoying the sun. Here a list to take full advantage of during a short stay in Amsterdam during your stopover of a few hours. And guess what? Most suggestions are completely free. Enjoy the free summer things Amsterdam!


Vondelpark - what to do during a layover in Amsterdam

Vondelpark Amsterdam

The Vondelpark is the ‘Central Park’ of Amsterdam. It’s right next to the famous entertainment areas Leidse Square and Museum Square and connects the center with the beautiful Old-West neighborhood. Really cool is to visit one of the free concerts that are given at the open-air theater from the 5th of May till the 10th of September. Most performances are given on weekends. Check the program by clicking here.

2. GO SWIMMING AT BLIJBURG AT SEA OR STRANDZUID – Free summer things Amsterdam

Free summer things in Amsterdam - Blijburg Beach - Amsterdams' nicest beach

Blijburg at Sea beach

For the real hot days you might want to visit Amsterdam’s city beach: Blijburg at Sea. From here you’ll have a beautiful look over the IJsselmeer, the largest lake in Western Europe. Another luxurious option is: Strandzuid. This beach is better reachable by public transportation and nice for its beach beds and  sandwiches, although they start from EUR 8. Swimming at Blijburg is more pleasant and you can bring your own sandwiches bought from a supermarket for EUR 2-3.

3. TAKE THE FREE FERRY TO AMSTERDAM NORTH – Free summer things Amsterdam

Free summer things to do - Ferry to Amsterdam North

Ferry from Amsterdam Central Station to Amsterdam North

Not that much time in Amsterdam? Doing something really local? On the backside of Central Station you’ll find the ferries to Amsterdam North. All of these ferries are free. Take the ferry to Buiksloterweg (5 min) and make sure to have a spot on the side to be able to enjoy the beautiful view over ‘t Amsterdamse IJ’. Once there you can chill on fatboys in the sun at the laidback Tolhuistuin. When taking the longer ferry to NDSM werf (14 min), make sure to go to Pllek, the creative hangout or give a visit to the IJ-hallen, the biggest flea market of Europe for those vintage jeans you still missed.

4. THE AMSTERDAMSE BOS – Free summer things Amsterdam

The forest of Amsterdam is three times the size of Central Park and famous for its rowing track, art and own theater. You can do whatever you like in this park and having a beer at Grand Café Bosbaan is a must when visiting the Amsterdamse Bos. For festivities, exhibitions and information in the forest visit the Boswinkel. They will tell you all ins and outs of the forest.

5. JORDAAN DISTRICT + DRINK AT THE WATERKANT – Free summer things Amsterdam

Jordan District, Amsterdam

The Jordaan District is known as a romantic and lovely quarter. It’s famous for the people that grew up there and its songs but most of all because of the lively and small streets. The district used to be one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. Nowadays this 17th century district is one of the most famous and rich areas to live in. You will find there many artists, students and young professionals. After walking through the Jordaan District having a drink at the Waterkant is a must. This café below a parking lot is a recent hype because of its laid-back atmosphere where you can sit next to the water.


No hours to spend in Amsterdam? A five minute walk west from Central Station you’ll find the public library of Amsterdam (OBA). Open everyday from 10am to 10pm. Everybody can enter this beautiful library and it is of course: free. On the seventh floor you’ll find the view point over Amsterdam from which you overlook the canals and the whole centre of Amsterdam. This is free and you do not have to buy anything at the attached restaurant as the view point is not part of the restaurant. This is a far better and much cheaper option than the A’DAM Lookout in Amsterdam North. Another great view point is Café Blue. There you’d have to buy yourself a cheesecake though, it’s delicious.


Albert Cuyp Market - Local Market Amsterdam

Albert Cuyp Market, De Pijp Amsterdam

This is the place to find locals shopping for groceries, fabrics, clothing, textile, leather goods and jewellery. The Albert Cuyp market is open six days a week from 9am to 5pm and is located in the vibrant neighbourhood the Pijp. When visiting the market make sure to go to Gerard Douplein for a drink or go to Restaurant Bazar, located in the Albert Cuyp street. This Eastern fairy tale restaurant is located in a former church and will blow you away with its artistic colours and music.

8. WESTERPARK AND WESTERGASTERREIN – Free summer things Amsterdam

Westerpark - IAmsterdam sign

I Amsterdam Sign – Westerpark, Amsterdam

This is a nice option for when the weather may change from sun to rain and back. When it’s sunny you might want to lay down on the grass in the Westerpark and when the weather is rainy you may play crazy arcade games at TonTon Club.


Windmill next to Brouwerij 't IJ Amsterdam

Windmill next to Brouwerij ‘t IJ Amsterdam

Do you love beer? And do you want to taste a local beer from Amsterdam? Our favorite is the craft beer ‘Eiwit’, which is a goldish fresh blond beer and best on a good summer day. Next to the Brewery ‘t IJ in Amsterdam East you’ll find a Dutch Windmill. It’s not part of the brewery, but still nice to see. And looking at it is completely free. Beers start from EUR 3

10. GAYPRIDE IN AMSTERDAM – Free summer things Amsterdam

Gaypride Amsterdam

Canal Parade – Gay Pride Amsterdam 2016

Among other festivals in Amsterdam the Gaypride is completely free and so much fun. Just stand on the banks of the Prinsengracht or the Amstel river and watch 80 boats with DJs, different themes, plenty of boobs, smiles and crazy stunts. Around 350,000 spectators come to Amsterdam every year so make sure to have a good spot. The event will take place on the first Saturday of August every year. In 2017 this will be on the 5th of August from 13.00-18.00h.