Top historic sites in Amsterdam

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The Royal Palace is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament. The palace was built as the Town Hall of the City of Amsterdam and was opened as such on 29 July 1655 by Cornelis de Graeff, the political and social leader of Amsterdam. It is now called as the royal palace and used by the monarch for entertaining and official functions during state visits and other ...
Founded: 1655 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Nieuwe Kerk

After the Oude Kerk ('Old Church') grew too small for the expanding population of the town, the bishop of Utrecht in 1408 gave permission to build a second parish church in Amsterdam. The Nieuwe Kerk ('new church') was consecrated to St. Mary and St. Catharine. The church was damaged by the city fires of 1421 and 1452 and burned down almost entirely in 1645, after which it was rebuilt in Gothic style. ...
Founded: 1408 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000. The collection contains more than 2,000 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age by notable painters such as Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Rembrandt, and Rembra ...
Founded: 1800 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk ('old church') is Amsterdam’s oldest building, founded ca. 1213. Over time, this structure was replaced by a stone church that was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. The church stood for only a half-century before the first alterations were made; the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. Not long ...
Founded: 1213 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Van Gogh Museum

Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum maintains the world’s largest collection of the works of the world’s most popular artist - Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), his paintings, drawings and letters, completed with the art of his contemporaries. Each year, 1.6 million visitors come to the Van Gogh Museum, making it one of the 25 most popular museums in the world. The collection features the works of Vincent van Gogh – ...
Founded: | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stedelijk Museum

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for modern art, contemporary art and design. The 19th century building was designed by Adriaan Willem Weissman and the 21st century wing with the current entrance was designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. The collection comprises modern and contemporary art and design from the early 20th century up to the 21st century. It features artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kand ...
Founded: 1874 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Basilica of St. Nicholas

The Basilica of St. Nicholas is the major Catholic church in Amsterdam. Officially the church was called St. Nicholas inside the Walls, i.e. the oldest part of the Amsterdam defence works. The architect, Adrianus Bleijs (1842-1912) designed the church basing himself on a combination of several revival styles of which Neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance are the most prominent models. The facade is crowned by two towers with a ...
Founded: 1884-1887 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the building. As well as the preservation of the hiding place — known in Dutch as the Achterhuis — and an exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, the museum acts as an exhibition space to highlight all forms of persecution and discri ...
Founded: 1960 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

English Reformed Church

The English Reformed Church is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. It is home to an English-speaking congregation which is affiliated to the Church of Scotland and to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. The Begijnhof, an enclosed courtyard, was a 14th-century residence for the sisterhood of the Catholic Beguines, and the church was originally established as their chapel. It was confiscated from the Catholic la ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Westerkerk

Westerkerk ('Western church') was one of the first purposely built Protestant churches. Today the Westerkerk remains the largest church in the Netherlands that was built for Protestants. In was built in 1620-1631 after a design by the late Renaissance architect Hendrick de Keyser in the Dutch Renaissance style and in the form of a patriarchal cross. The spire, called the Westertoren ('Western tower'), ...
Founded: 1620-1631 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Waag

The Waag ('weigh house') was originally a city gate and part of the walls of Amsterdam. It is the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam. The gate, called as Sint Antoniespoort (Saint Anthony"s Gate), was part of the medieval city walls along the moat formed by the current Singel canal and the canals of the Kloveniersburgwal and the Geldersekade. These walls were constructed during the period ...
Founded: 1481–1494 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Munttoren

The Munttoren ('Coin Tower') was originally part of the Regulierspoort, one of the main gates in Amsterdam"s medieval city wall. The gate, built in the years 1480, consisted of two towers and a guard house. The name of the tower refers to the fact that it was used to mint coins in the 17th century. After the gate went up in flames in a 1618 fire, only the guard house and part of the western tower remained ...
Founded: 1620 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Zuiderkerk

The Zuiderkerk ('southern church') was the city"s first church built specifically for Protestant services. It was constructed between 1603 and 1611. The distinctive church tower, which dominates the surrounding area, was not completed until 1614 and contains a carillon of bells built by the brothers Hemony, installed in 1656. The Zuiderkerk was used for church services until 1929. During the final (1944-19 ...
Founded: 1603-1611 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum is a house in the Jodenbreestraat, where Rembrandt lived and painted for a number of years. A few years ago the house was thoroughly reconstructed on the inside to show how the house would have looked in Rembrandt"s days. Adjoining (and linked to) the house is a modern building where work of Rembrandt is on display, mainly etchings and also a part of his collection of objects from all over ...
Founded: 1911 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Canal Ring of Amsterdam

Built during the Golden Age of the 17th century, Amsterdam’s Canal Ring, known locally as the Grachtengordel, is comprised of a network of intersecting waterways. These were developed through the drainage and reclamation of land for new development. Yet what was initially a practical feature, allowing the city to grow beyond its fortified boundaries, subsequently evolved into the area’s characteristic gabled canal-sid ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hermitage Amsterdam

The Hermitage Amsterdam is the Dutch branch of the world-famous Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Hermitage Amsterdam is an exhibition space and cultural education centre with a focus on Russian history and culture. It displays rotating selections of pieces from the Hermitage collection in Russia. These include paintings, graphic works, sculptures, applied art and archaeological discoveries. Hermitage Amsterdam h ...
Founded: | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dutch Resistance Museum

The Dutch Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum) tells the story of the Dutch people in World War II. From 14 May 1940 to 5 May 1945, the Netherlands were occupied by Nazi Germany. The permanent exhibition recreates the atmosphere of the streets of Amsterdam during the German occupation of the World War II. Big photographs, old posters, objects, films and sounds from that horrible time, help to recreate the scene. The backgrou ...
Founded: | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Noorderkerk

The Noorderkerk ('northern church') was built between 1620–1623 to serve the rapidly growing population of the new Jordaan neighbourhood. The Jordaan already had a church, the Westerkerk, but the city government decided that a second church should be built to serve the northern part of the neighbourhood. The Noorderkerk became the church for the common people, while the Westerkerk was used mainly by the mi ...
Founded: 1620-1623 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Muiderslot

The Muiderslot is one of the better known castles in the Netherlands and has been featured in many television shows set in the Middle Ages. The history of castle begins with Count Floris V who built a stone castle at the mouth of the river back in 1280, when he gained command over an area that used to be part of the See of Utrecht. The River Vecht was the trade route to Utrecht, one of the most important trade towns of th ...
Founded: 1370 | Location: Muiden, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.