When it comes to architecture, Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From Gothic cathedrals to iconic Dutch windmills, the city is home to some of the most famous buildings on the planet. If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, be sure to add these famous buildings in Amsterdam to your list of places to visit.
Amsterdam is home to buildings from a variety of different styles and periods, so there is something for everyone to see. Many of these buildings are iconic and have played an important role in the city’s history.
Most Famous Buildings & Architecture in Amsterdam
There are many amazing examples of architecture in Amsterdam. Given the high-density urban environment of the city, you’ll have a chance to see a variety of buildings from the old merchant houses during the Dutch Golden Age to art deco modern buildings to the tulip-lined canal bridges, it’s truly a haven for some serious eye candy.
It’s easy to cross off all these buildings during a visit to this majestic city. The amazing cycling infrastructure makes it easy to access nearly any neighborhood. Here is a list of the most famous ones (in no particular order):
1. The Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous museums in the world, and it is also likely the most famous building on this list.
The museum is home to Dutch masterpieces from the likes of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals. This Neo-Renaissance building is located on Museumplein and was designed by Pierre Cuypers, who also designed Amsterdam Centraal Station. It was opened to the public in 1885 after years of construction.
The Rijksmuseum was built to house the collection of paintings owned by King Willem I, which had been gathered during his time as governor-general of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). When he became king, he decided that an art gallery would be a fitting tribute to himself—and so The Rijksmuseum was born.
Today, it is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions, and even from outside, it’s easy to see why. The collection of paintings on display is truly breathtaking, and the architecture of the building is simply stunning.
See Related: Amsterdam Souvenirs to Buy on Your Trip
2. Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is one of the most emotionally moving places in Amsterdam. The building was where Ann Frank and her family were hidden away during the German occupation in WWII. Today, the house is a museum that preserves the story of Anne Frank and her time in hiding.
When you visit the Anne Frank House, you’ll see the shop where Anne’s father worked and the secret apartment where the family hid. You’ll also see Anne’s diary, which she wrote while she was in hiding.
The diary gives a detailed account of Anne’s life during the war and is a powerful testimony to the human spirit. The Anne Frank House is a must-see for anyone visiting Amsterdam. It’s a moving reminder of the cruelty of war and a tribute to those who suffered during the Nazi occupation and the Holocaust.
See Related: Best Amsterdam Tours
3. Royal Palace of Amsterdam
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of the most grandiose buildings in the city. It was built in 1655 to be used as a residence for the Dutch monarchs, and it has served that purpose ever since.
The palace is open to visitors year-round, although it may close during special occasions or when there are official events occurring inside. Visitors can enter through either building A or B; both offer tours that let you see every part of this beautiful structure firsthand – if you’re lucky enough to visit on a day when they’re open!
The Royal Palace is one of the best-known examples of Dutch Baroque architecture, which features ornate decorations on many surfaces (such as pillars) alongside symmetrical designs throughout each room.
You’ll also find many rooms with large windows facing out onto Dam Square itself—these windows make it easy for people outside in the Dam Square plaza below to look up into what’s happening inside.
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4. Royal Concertgebouw
Royal Concertgebouw is one of the world’s most impressive concert halls, and it’s right here in Amsterdam! Named one of the five best concert halls by National Geographic Traveler, this is a must-see for any music lover.
The Royal Concertgebouw is also home to the renowned Concertgebouworkest (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra). If you’re lucky enough to be in town when they’re performing, don’t miss it! You can also see some beautiful art while you’re there.
The building itself houses paintings, sculptures, and stained glass windows by famous artists like Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Gogh, and Renoir. For a taste of Dutch history, be sure to check out the pieces that depict moments from Dutch culture.
And of course, the iconic building itself is a work of art! Royal Concertgebouw was designed by architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt and completed in 1888. With its grand facade and stunning interior, it’s no wonder this is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
5. St. Nicholas Church (Nieuwezijds Kerk)
St. Nicholas Church is a beautiful Baroque church located in the central square of Amsterdam, opposite the Royal Palace. The church is known for its ornate 17th Century pulpit and high altar with gilded angels. St. Nicholas Church is also known for its impressive organ from 1698, which it still uses today.
The church is open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm; admission is free of charge.
Visitors can marvel at the church’s beautiful architecture and listen to a concert performed by the magnificent organ.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Amsterdam, New York
6. Amsterdam Central Station
Amsterdam Central Station is one of the busiest train stations in the Netherlands, and it is also one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in the city.
The station was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and completed in 1889. Central Station in Amsterdam is a great example of Dutch Neo-Renaissance architecture.
The building was designated a national monument in 1983, making it a popular tourist attraction for visitors who want to experience something quintessential about Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Central Station is not only an important transportation hub but also a beautiful and exciting public structure that is definitely worth a visit when you are in Amsterdam.
7. Stedelijk Museum
The Stedelijk Museum is one of Amsterdam’s most famous and iconic buildings. The museum is home to a large collection of modern art and contemporary art, as well as a number of temporary exhibitions.
The museum is also known for its distinctive design, which was created by renowned architect Willem Dudok. The Stedelijk Museum is a must-visit for art lovers, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam. You can easily spend a few hours wandering through the galleries, admiring the paintings, sculptures, and installations on display.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history and development of modern art, the Stedelijk Museum is the perfect place to start your journey.
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8. De Nieuwe Kerk (The New Church)
De Nieuwe Kerk is one of the most beautiful churches in Amsterdam. The De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is located in the heart of Amsterdam and it is popular with tourists because it is home to a number of important artworks, including a painting by Rembrandt.
The church was designed by Hendrick de Keyser and it was completed in 1615. De Keyser used a traditional Gothic style for the church, but he also incorporated some Renaissance elements.
Formerly the city hall during the Dutch Golden Age, the De Nieuwe Kerk is one of the most unique churches in Amsterdam. In addition to being a beautiful church, it is also a popular venue for concerts and other events.
9. Oude Kerk
Oude Kerk is a must-see for any traveler to Amsterdam. Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest church, and it is also one of the most famous buildings in the city. The church is located in the heart of the Red Light District and is open to visitors throughout the week.
The Oude Kerk (“Old Church”) is one of Amsterdam’s most famous landmarks. It’s also the oldest building in Amsterdam, having been built in 1213 by a wealthy merchant named Gijsbert van der Goes.
The church was originally located on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal canal, but it was rebuilt during the 15th Century and moved to its current location near Kalverstraat (a busy shopping street) when the surrounding area became too dangerous for residents to live there due to flooding issues caused by nearby sea dykes breaking down.
Today, this exceedingly old building is a popular tourist destination, and its Gothic architecture and storied history make it a must-see for anyone visiting Amsterdam for the architecture.
See Related: Best Museums in Amsterdam for Art Fanatics
10. NEMO Science Museum
NEMO Science Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam, and it is also one of the most iconic buildings in the city. The museum is located on the banks of the River IJ and is home to a number of interactive exhibits. NEMO is notable for its contemporary architecture.
The museum is housed in a former shipyard, which makes it unique and gives it a very distinct character. It is located in the Oosterdok, which means that it lies on the east side of Amsterdam.
NEMO offers interactive exhibits on science and technology, allowing visitors to experience things like electricity or gravity for themselves. It also has special exhibitions that change from time to time so you can visit again and again.
11. Museum Het Rembrandt House
The Museum Het Rembrandt House is devoted to the life of Rembrandt van Rijn, his work, and his family. This museum is located in a building that was originally built by four brothers in 1639.
The building was divided into apartments until the 17th Century when it became a warehouse for cheese and butter traders. In 1795 the commercial space was sold to merchants who used it as a new office space for their business until 1868 when they moved out and left the building empty.
In 1871, one of these merchants gave a building concept to local authorities with an interest in establishing a public library at this location; however, plans were never finalized for such a project because of a lack of funding or support from other interested parties such as publishers or writers groups who felt that this place should become another art museum instead – which just goes to shows how much Amsterdam loves art!
It wasn’t until 1877 that someone proposed turning this building into a museum dedicated solely to Dutch history—which is also partly why there are so many different museums located within close proximity here today.
See Related: How to Travel From London to Amsterdam
12. A’DAM Tower
A’DAM Tower is a tall skyscraper in Amsterdam that you should definitely visit if you want to see some impressive architecture. The A’DAM Tower is the tallest in Amsterdam and it has a hotel and conference center, so it’s also good for business travelers who are looking for something more than just sightseeing when they go on vacation.
It’s located right at the A’DAM Square, so it has easy access to public transportation and other tourist attractions. A’DAM Tower also offers an amazing view of the city from its viewing deck on the 20th floor.
Westerkerk is one of the most beautiful churches in Amsterdam, and it is also one of the most famous pieces of architecture in the city. The church is located in the heart of the Jordaan district and is home to a number of important artworks.
The Westerkerk is a church in Amsterdam, built-in 1620, making it one of the oldest churches in the city. It’s also one of the tallest, so you can see it from all over Amsterdam and beyond!
The Westerkerk has a beautiful tower that’s worth seeing if you have time to spare, as well as its own museum with religious artifacts on display.
We recommend visiting outside during normal hours to get photos without crowds of tourists around. Westerkerk’s tower offers stunning views over central Amsterdam – make sure to climb it if you can. You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the cityscape and can even see as far as Utrecht on a clear day!
See Related: Brussels vs Amsterdam: What’s the Difference?
14. Heineken Experience (Old Heineken Brewery)
The Heineken Experience is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam, and it is also one of the most iconic buildings in the city.
The building was once the home of the Heineken Brewery, and it has been converted into a museum that tells the story of the Heineken brand.
The Heineken Experience is a must-visit for any traveler to Amsterdam, and it is an excellent way to learn about the history of one of the world’s most popular beers. Visitors to the Heineken Experience can tour the old brewery, learn about the brewing process, and taste some of Heineken’s most famous beers.
15. Eye Filmmuseum
The Eye Filmmuseum, located on the Herengracht in Amsterdam’s old city center, is considered one of the most important cinematographic museums in Europe. It hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions related to film history, from silent movies to contemporary digital productions.
The permanent exhibition offers a chronological walk through the history of cinema. Visitors can see numerous props used in famous films such as one of James Bond’s Aston Martins or costumes worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The museum also hosts rotating temporary exhibitions on various topics like animated films or documentaries on specific themes such as cinema during World War II.
The museum also organizes lectures, workshops, and guided tours that explore these topics further through screenings and discussions with film experts (such as directors).
See Related: Best Military Museums in Europe
16. nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel
If you’re looking for a unique place to stay near the Amsterdam Convention Centre (Amsterdam RAI), the nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel is definitely worth considering! This hotel and conference center, located in Amsterdam’s Zuidas Business district, was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, and it’s a modern interpretation of a classic Dutch windmill.
The tall, magnificent building was completed in 2010 and has many windows that give it an open feeling, despite its height in an art deco setting. Plus, it’s one of the best examples of Dutch modern architecture in Amsterdam.
Whether you’re interested in architecture or simply looking for a unique place to stay, the nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel is definitely worth checking out.
17. Parkeergarage RAI
Not far from the nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel, on the other side of the Amsterdam RAI, is a multifunctional car park that has to be seen to be believed.
Designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects this new parking lot is famous for two enormous corkscrew towers.
This 30-meter building and its eight floors offer parking spaces for around 1,000 cars. When the RAI isn’t holding major events and doesn’t need the car park for visitors, this incredible parking lot functions as a public parking space.
Best of all the building’s assigned role oscillates between the parking lot and the gallery. The first floor is a flexible space not just for parking cars but it’s also used to host conventions and is also used as an exhibition space.
See Related: Best Museums in Europe to Visit
18. Strawinskylaan Bicycle Parking Space
A bike park? Really? The parking lot wasn’t enough?
Well, how about the largest underground bike parking lot in the city? Does that do anything for you? Well, in this case, it should!
When it comes to parking cars and bikes around Amsterdam, space is a huge issue and parking lots can be kind of ugly.
So how do you make them more bearable to look at? Hide them underground, or turn them into architectural masterpieces. In the case of the Strawinskylaan Bicycle Parking Garage, the designers (wUrck Architects) did both!
Found north of Amsterdam Zuid railway station, this incredible curving marvel is one of the most stunning examples of modern architecture in the city. The underground zone beneath this gleaming structure has room for 3,750 bikes.
Types of Architecture in Amsterdam
As you walk the streets of Amsterdam, you’ll notice that the architecture is quite varied. This is because the city has been built and rebuilt many times over the centuries but done so with practical urban planning.
As a result, there’s a mix of old and new, traditional and contemporary architecture to be found throughout Amsterdam.
Some of the most popular types of architecture in Amsterdam include:
1. Canal houses
These are the tall, narrow houses that line Amsterdam’s canals. They were built in the 17th Century during the Dutch Golden Age and are characteristic of Amsterdam’s canal belt. These old merchant houses are unlike anything else in the entire world.
2. Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is characterized by its pointed arches and ribbed vaults. In Amsterdam, you’ll find Gothic elements in several buildings, including the Old Church (Oude Kerk) and the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk).
3. Renaissance architecture
Most of Amsterdam’s Renaissance architecture dates back to the 16th Century. During this time, many of the city’s canal houses were built in this style. You can also find flares of Renaissance revival architecture in several of Amsterdam’s museums, such as the Rijksmuseum.
4. Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is characterized by its ornate and dramatic features. In Amsterdam, you’ll find several examples of Baroque architecture, including the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) and the Nieuwe Kerk.
5. Dutch Classicism
Dutch Classicism is a style of architecture that was popular in the Netherlands in the 18th Century. Several notable Amsterdam buildings were built in this style, including the Royal Palace and the National Museum (Rijksmuseum).
6. Modern architecture
In recent years, Amsterdam has seen a rise in modern architecture. This type of architecture is characterized by its clean lines and simple forms. Some of the city’s most popular modern buildings include the Zuidas business district and the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
7. Sustainable architecture
Sustainable architecture is a type of green design that focuses on using environmentally-friendly materials and energy-efficient features. Amsterdam is home to several examples of sustainable architecture, including the Bijlmermeer neighborhood and the Energiehuis.
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of architecture to be found in Amsterdam. Whether you’re interested in the city’s traditional canal houses or its modern buildings, there’s sure to be a type of architecture that you’ll enjoy.
With amazing food, great people, amazing culture, practical urban planning, and amazing cycling infrastructure, Amsterdam is a must-visit city in Europe.
But those aren’t the only reasons to visit. This city is filled with beautiful buildings that all feature something special that makes them unique, but many share one commonality: they were designed by famous architects. From modern architecture to the days of the Dutch Golden Age, and even back to the Middle Ages, most of Amsterdam’s beloved buildings were brought into the world by beloved names.
If you want to see some of the best architecture in Amsterdam, make sure to visit these famous buildings. Don’t forget your camera!
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Why are canal houses in Amsterdam crooked?
The reasons the buildings in Amsterdam are crooked is that the city was built on lands below sea level and the sinking manmade canal system waterways. The soft ground causes the buildings to sink over time, making them lean.
What is the most famous building in Amsterdam?
The most famous building in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum, which is a national museum that houses Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to the present day.
What is the largest building in Amsterdam?
The largest building in Amsterdam is the Rai Congress Centre, which was built in 1986. It’s located just outside of the city center.
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