Historic Landmarks in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital and the largest city in the Netherlands, and quite possibly the best known as well. If you’re headed to Amsterdam take the time to venture out of the right light district and check out some of the fabulous historic landmarks.

Anne Frank House

For those compelled by the story written by young Anne Frank, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is a stop that can’t be skipped. The home is the former hiding place where eight people hid from the Nazis during World War II and where Anne began her famous diary. The diary, among other original objects, is on display. If you are not a fan of the book or haven’t read it, this landmark is still a visit that will leave an impression that will last your whole life.

Magna Plaza

The Magna Plaza serves two purposes as it’s another landmark you can knock off your list and it’s an incredible shopping place. The building was designed in a Neo-Gothic style and looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. Originally designed as a post office, the Magna Plaza is now a shopping mall filled with top designer brands from around the world. There are souvenirs for friends and family back home and a fantastic Italian Style brasserie on the ground floor.


The Rijksmuseum was established in 1885 and housed in the very impressive building designed by Pierre Cuypers and is currently undergoing renovation. When the museum was first opened to the public it was a collection of paintings from the Nationale Konstgallerij and additional collections from Nederlandsch Museum voor Geschiedenis en Kunst and suddenly a new collection of paintings, sculptures, and applied art had come together to form one of the finest museums in the Netherlands. Visit the Rijksmuseum to get a deeper understanding of the history of Amsterdam in a new way.

Beurs van Berlage

At Beurs van Berlage you can also do double duty on a tourist location by giving you a view into the architecture of the period and giving you a glimpse into the art and music of the region. Serving as the stock exchange until 1984 the Beurs van Berlage was built between 1856 and 1934 by Hendrik Petrus Berlage. In recent time the building has been converted into conference halls, exhibition halls and home to the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, so you can do a lot of sightseeing in one location. In addition to the activities housed inside the Beurs van Berlage the building itself is an incredible architectural example of Dutch history and over 80% of the interior and building itself is original.


The Amsterdam Sexmuseum or Venustempel is the world’s oldest and first museum dedicated entirely to sex and sensual love. The extensive collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and attractions span the centuries from Greek and Roman times to modern day. A very unusual stop but perhaps one that truly speaks to Amsterdam’s reputation.

Royal Palace

Amsterdam’s Royal Palace or Koninklijk Paleis was originally built as the city hall and in the 17th century it was the largest secular building in all of Europe. Located on Dam Square, the Palace is at the Queen’s disposal and can be used at her whim, but it typically serves for official state functions and receptions. Currently the Palace is undergoing renovations so it can only be viewed from the outside by tourists.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum actually consists of two different buildings, one which was built in 1973 and the newer one which arose in 1999. The unique collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh entitled the colours of the night is the first such exhibit decided to Van Gogh’s view of night. In addition to the Van Gogh artwork the museum has acquired a large part of the Andries Bonger collection and features more than 80 artworks.

Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum is actually the home where famed artist Rembrandt lived between 1639 and 1658. When the home was built it was in an area of town favored by rich merchants and artists and this may have been the draw to Rembrandt. Originally the home was a two story house with very steep gables but in the 1620s it underwent a major reconstruction and the façade was drastically altered and another story was added. Rembrandt signed a note to purchase the home in 1639 and although he was very well known and should have been financially sound at the time, he could not or would not pay off the note. The debtors eventually came and took the house as well as the possessions within and sold them to pay Rembrandt’s debts.


Vondelpark gives you a different way to experience an Amsterdam landmark, you can do it while relaxing as it’s the largest city park in Amsterdam. Approximately 10 million visitors come to the park each year, so expect some crowds and lots of excitement. Originally established in 1864, a group of citizens purchased the land in order to create a public park. It was initially called Het Nieuwe Park but the name was later changed after a statue of writer and playwright Joost van den Vondel was placed in the park. Currently visitors in the summer can enjoy free concerts at the open air theater, play on one of the six different play areas, bike, walk, hike or run through the park, or simply sit back and enjoy the day.

Moulin Rouge AmsterdamCreative Commons License Photo credit: Cédric Puisney

Moulin Rouge Amsterdam

Red Light District

Not an official historic landmark, the Red Light District of Amsterdam is one of the city’s best known regions, whether that’s fortunate or unfortunate. Known locally as the Rossebuurt, this area is full of brothels and sex shops and is probably just a lurid as the rumors you have heard about it. If you can tear your eyes off the windows, the strip itself is one of the most beautiful and ancient parts of the city, reflecting the incredible architecture of the Dutch. This area may not be your cup of tea, but it’s definitely something you will not encounter anywhere else and should be on your list of tourist attractions.