Dam Square Walking Tour (Self Guided), Amsterdam

This self guided walking tour takes you to and around Dam Square (New Side) in the historic center of Amsterdam whose notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most popular and important locations in the city, much as the whole of the Netherlands. The walk starts from the Centraal Station and make stops at the neoclassical Royal Palace, the 15th-century Gothic New Church, the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and the National Monument. The walk ends on one of the most popular shopping street in Amsterdam.
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Dam Square Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Dam Square Walking Tour
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam (See other walking tours in Amsterdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: clare
1
Centraal Station

1) Centraal Station (must see)

When in Amsterdam you are bound to enter the Centraal Station at least once during your visit. With over 1500 trains that ply daily through the station, it is one of the busiest places in Amsterdam. Almost 250,000 commuters go through the Central daily and in the truest sense it is the heart of the city.

The Central station began service in the late 19th century. Designed by architects P.J.H. Cuypers and A. L. van Gendt, the structure symbolized the rebirth of the once unstable financial state of the country.

An interesting fact about the Central Station is that it was built on three man-made islands and the current location of the station is not the one that was originally decided. To erect a structure as massive as the Station it took precisely 8687 wooden piles to support the building on the muddy soil. The entire project seemed like a huge mistake and was even condemned by many experts, but in the end, the architects managed to pull it off.

Today, this Neo-Gothic structure stands proudly on the banks of the river IJ and one can only gaze at the beauty and the colossal presence of this magnificent edifice built on a manmade island.

Why You Should Visit:
A mass transit and cosmopolitan fever hotspot, mixing neo-Renaissance architecture and modern technology.

Tip:
There are several (free) ferry trips through the canals that leave from here about every 5 or 15 minutes and are very worthwhile. You can get right back on the boat if you wish and cruise back to the station.
2
Sex Museum

2) Sex Museum

What started off skeptically has today turned into one of the key attractions in Amsterdam. Along with a rich past, spectacular art and breath taking architecture, Amsterdam is home to the most flamboyant sex and erotic industry and also the world’s first Sex Museum.

Opened in 1985, the Sex museum gets on an average over 500,000 visitors every year. Also known as the Venus Temple, the Sex museum, is recorded as the fourth most visited museum in Amsterdam just after Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank’s House, and likely so, the Museum provides detailed historical accounts of how civilizations sated their carnal desires. (Now, who wouldn’t want to know that).

The Museum is definitely not for everyone, only for those who are curious and definitely not children. It is filled with paintings, sculptures, vintage photographs, cartoons and other recordings having one denominator, Erotica and sensuality. The Sex Museum also has a vast collection of objects, personal belongings and recordings of personalities of the past who have played a huge role in shaping and influencing the history of sex. This includes people like Marquise de Pompadour, Marquis de Sade, Mata Hari, etc.

Another fun exhibit at the Museum is the one dedicated to the practices of the ancient Greek and Romans. Altogether, the Sex Museum is a fun experience which should not be missed at any cost.
3
Beurs van Berlage

3) Beurs van Berlage

The Beurs van Berlage will be of much interest to those who are intrigued by a city’s architecture. The structure constructed between 1898 and 1903 was built as the stock exchange of Amsterdam. Located in the center of city, the Beurs van Berlage was designed by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. Considered as one of the leading architects in Amsterdam, Berlage has contributed to the new wave of modern architectural designs in the city.

Not only is the designer of the building an important figure in the history of the city’s architecture, the Beurs van Berlage itself has influenced many modernist architects and has garnered appreciation from different art schools of Amsterdam. The most unique aspect of the building and its architecture remains its aloof yet simple patterns and designs. Set on the backdrop of vintage Gothic and Renaissance styled buildings, the Beurs van Berlage makes its own stand with its colour, structure and style. Proposed to be ahead of its time, the designs come as a refreshing change and can easily be singled out in the Amsterdam skyline.

Today the building no longer serves as a center for city’s stock exchange but is now used as an exhibition and concert hall. There are also souvenir shops and cafes in the building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Dam Square Area

4) Dam Square Area (must see)

Dam Square lies in the historical center of Amsterdam. Its notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city. The Dam derives its name from its original function: a dam on the Amstel River, hence also the name of the city. Built in approximately 1270, the dam formed the first connection between the settlements on the sides of the river.

As the dam was gradually built up it became wide enough for a town square, which remained the core of the town developing around it. Dam Square as it exists today grew out of what was originally two squares: the actual dam, called Middeldam; and Plaetse, an adjacent plaza to the west. A large fish market arose where ships moored at the dam to load and unload goods. The area became a centre not only of commercial activity but also of the government, as the site of Amsterdam's town hall.

Traditionally busy and crowded, the area around Dam Square is grand with shopping opportunities. Here, among numerous boutiques, one will easily spot the famous Dutch department store De Bijenkorf.

Why You Should Visit:
The perfect place to experience the hustle and bustle of city life, experience different cuisines, shop, enjoy music or sit by the fountain...
As it is a few steps away from the tram and bus stop and well connected to other city areas, you can walk or cycle to your next destination after strolling through it.

Tip:
Free, clean toilets on the 5th floor of the De Buenkork shop.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
National Monument

5) National Monument (must see)

Designed by the famous Dutch architect Jacobus Oud, the Dutch National Monument stands as a memorial to the Second World War. A national icon in Amsterdam, the obelisk is a place famous amongst both locals as well as tourists who visit the city.

Although the structure is popular amongst visitors, very few actually appreciate the underlying symbolism that is crafted on the pillar. Placed in a series of concentric circles, the obelisk is beautifully sculpted with figures of men, canines and birds. The front side of the monument has two male figures that represent the Dutch Resistance Movement while the left and right sides represent the intellectuals and the working class. The canines stand as a symbol of loyalty and suffering. The woman along with the child represents victory, peace and new beginnings, and the doves that ascend to the skies symbolize freedom and liberation.

The urns behind the obelisk hold the soil that was collected from the World War II cemeteries and execution grounds.

Every year, on the 4th of May, the ceremony of Remembrance of the Dead is held at the National monument. The obelisk stands as a representation of all the turmoil, suffering and lives that were lost and sacrificed during the Second World War.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the most important European symbols that recall the immense tragedy of the Second World War.

Tip:
A nice place to make a brief stop along the way to other exhibits within the area.
6
Madame Tussaud's Scenerama

6) Madame Tussaud's Scenerama (must see)

What was once a unique skill and a collection of inherited wealth is today a worldwide phenomenon. So popular has the name Madam Tussaud become today, that anyone in the world can instantly predict what he is going to encounter. A brand in its own right, the Madam Tussaud’s is the largest tourist attraction in many cities. Not surprisingly, one of the most popular destinations in Amsterdam is the Madam Tussaud’s Scenerama.

After taking a good look at the works of some noted figures in Dutch history in various museums in and around Amsterdam, how about taking a look at their life-size figurines? The experience is quite surprising and it is for this very experience that people all over the world come to Madam Tussaud’s.

The Museum is filled with life-size figurines of artists, craftsmen and famous personalities from the Dutch Golden Era. Along with the various stars of yesteryears, the highlight of the museum is the plethora of global personalities ranging from present-day movie stars, politicians, members of royal families and many more.

With each passing year, the wax models seem more like their subjects than they were before. Capturing a moment with your favorite celebrity from the present or the past is what Madam Tussaud’s strives to give to its every visitor.

Tip:
Worth climbing to the top floor for a brilliant view of Dam Square.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-8pm
7
Royal Palace

7) Royal Palace (must see)

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of four palaces in the Netherlands which is at the disposal of Queen Beatrix by Act of Parliament. The palace was built as city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The building became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal House. It is situated on the west side of Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk. The town hall was opened on 20 July 1655 by Cornelis de Graeff, the political and social leader of Amsterdam. It is now called the royal palace. It was built by Jacob van Campen. He took control of the construction project in 1648, as the Town Hall for the City of Amsterdam. It was built on 13,659 wooden piles and cost 8,5 million guldens.

Why You Should Visit:
If you love an opulent palace – especially one with loads of chandeliers and stunning ceilings, this one will not disappoint.
Also very affordable for families as those under 18 are free (plus senior and student discounts).

Tip:
Check beforehand online if the palace is open, as it is sometimes closed for Royal events.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)

8) Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) (must see)

The Nieuwe Kerk or the “New Church” is located on Dam square next to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam and was built in the 14th century. This church was built since Oude Kerk (Old Church) was unable to serve the increasing number of parishioners. After being damaged by fire several times in 1645, the Church was rebuilt in Gothic style. Dutch Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima married in this Church in 2002. It has been the National Church since 1815 and has been hosting royal weddings and inaugurations.

Even though this church is tower-less, it illustrates the original early Renaissance style features. It has beautifully decorated stained glass windows which depict events like the coronation of Queen Wilhelmina. The interior has an admirable altar, great pipe organ, sepulchral monuments with the tomb of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, a Dutch Naval hero. When this Church became a Protestant one in 1578, many of its treasures were removed and frescoes were painted over.

Now the church is a popular exhibition space and is no more used for services. However, it is still used for recitals. The themes of the exhibitions keep changing; one of the famous themes was the Buddhist art of ancient Bactria. Postcards, books and gifts are sold at a museum store in the Church. A popular café adjoining the Church, the Nieuwe Café has a large outer terrace.

Why You Should Visit:
Worth seeing if you like old buildings and history in general, but don’t expect a religious experience.

Tip:
Feel free to step inside the lobby to marvel at the beautiful giant stained glass panes.
Exhibitions can be a little overpriced but good value with the I Amsterdam Card.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Magna Plaza

9) Magna Plaza

Directly behind the Queens Palace on the Dam square an elegant 19th century building, now one of the few shopping malls in Amsterdam – Magna Plaza is found. It was built in 1895–1899 in Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance style. The building is a rijksmonument since July 9, 1974, and is part of the Top 100 Dutch heritage sites. The brick exterior is heavily and variedly decorated with dimension stone, and with framings for all windows and doors. Across the roof edges are a large number of dormers, each with their own crow-stepped gable. Due to the pear shaped crowns on top of the towers the building is colloquially named ‘Perenburg’ (English: pearburg).
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Amsterdam Museum

10) Amsterdam Museum

Set in the heart of Amsterdam is the Historical museum or more recently known as the Amsterdam Museum. The Museum relays to you the story of a small medieval town which has grown to become one of the most popular cities in the world.

Through its exhibition and artifacts, one can relive the city’s history and experience its existence, growth, downfall and revival. With compelling exhibits that shine light upon the Dutch Golden era, the Middle Ages along with other archeologically significant finds, the Museum forms a perfect collection to dive into the rich history and past of Netherlands.

The Museum took shape in 1975 and has since been housed in an orphanage that dates back to the late 16th century. The orphanage was functional till 1960, five years prior to the Museum’s taking over the building. This vintage structure was enlarged and remodeled in 1634 by renowned Dutch Golden Age architect duo Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser, who gave the structure the eternal classic look.

The Museum has exhibits spread over three floors comprising paintings, sculptures and other archeological finds. Throwing light upon the different aspects of the city like- religion, culture, folklore, prostitution etc., the Museum provides an overall perspective on the past of the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Begijnhof Chapel

11) Begijnhof Chapel (must see)

The Begijnhof Chapel, dedicated to Saint John and Saint Ursula, is a Roman Catholic chapel run by the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, in the St Nicholas Parish of Amsterdam. Here the commemoration of the Miracle of Amsterdam is maintained. The first steps in the construction of the present chapel were taken as early as 1665, after joining two houses bought for that purpose at the initiative of parish priest Van der Mije (1665-1700); his nephew laid the foundation stone on 2 July 1671. The municipality approved the building plans on condition that the building did not look like a church from the outside. The chapel was designed by the Catholic architect in Amsterdam, Philips Vingboons (1607-78), and was dedicated to St John the Evangelist and St Ursula. In its present form, it has a gallery with a left and a right section, resting on six wooden columns. The front with its leaded ogive windows dates only from the 19th century.

Why You Should Visit:
Great place to see a different side of Amsterdam; very quiet and peaceful even though you are in the middle of the city.
Can be easily combined with a visit to Amsterdam Museum.
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Kalverstraat

12) Kalverstraat

Kalverstraat, probably the busiest shopping street in Amsterdam, stretches across the city center. It is named after the kalvermarkt ("calves market") that was held here until the 17th century. It features stores like Mango, Esprit, Zara, WE, and H&M. Also on Kalverstraat there is Kalvertoren Shopping Center, a big brash mall with 45 stores, cafés, restaurants, and the department store Hema.

Walking Tours in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Create Your Own Walk in Amsterdam

Create Your Own Walk in Amsterdam

Creating your own self-guided walk in Amsterdam is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Churches Walking Tour

Churches Walking Tour

Amsterdam's numerous churches are an unique example of architectural diversity. Whether you are a keen church goer or simply interested in the architectural and historic aspects, Amsterdam will not disappoint. Take this self guided walk to visit the important religious sites in Amsterdam. The walk starts from the central station and visit eight religious sites in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Amsterdam is the capital and the largest city of the Netherlands. It is famous for its unusual life rhythm manifested in the air of cannabis, coffee shops, the Red Light District and many other elements that keep drawing in people from the whole world all year round. Here are some suggestions on the top-rated tourist attractions of this extraordinary city.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Jordaan Walking Tour

Jordaan Walking Tour

The Jordaan is a district of the city of Amsterdam. It was originally a working class neighborhood, but in recent years it has become quite upscale and home to many museums and art galleries, particularly those focused on modern art. The district is also dotted with specialty shops, markets and restaurants. This tour is a perfect opportunity to see the main attractions of the district of Jordaan.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Amsterdam without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Amsterdam, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Museum Quarter Walk

Museum Quarter Walk

The museums of Amsterdam are among the main tourist attractions of the city. Some of its museums are quite small, but nevertheless important, and some, like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are world famous and should not be missed. This tour gives you an opportunity to visit Amsterdam's most renowned museums and learn more about history, art and even the world of diamonds.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Amsterdam has been the center of the Dutch Jewish community from the 16th century up until the Second World War. Once crowded with open-air stalls, smoking factories and tenement buildings, the Old Jewish Quarter still retains several moving reminders of the Jewish community that was torn apart during the war. Follow this self-guided walk to explore several key sights in the area, which have much...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles

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