Old Center Museums Walk, Amsterdam (Self Guided)

Amsterdam is home to more than 50 museums and galleries reflecting the city's cultural diversity and appealing to a wide range of visitors. This self-guided tour is the perfect opportunity to visit some of the most attractive museums located in Amsterdam's Old Center, such as the Maritime Museum and the NEMO science center.
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Old Center Museums Walk Map

Guide Name: Old Center Museums Walk
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam (See other walking tours in Amsterdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Author: clare
1
Netherlands Maritime Museum

1) Netherlands Maritime Museum (must see)

The Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (Netherlands Maritime Museum) is housed in a former naval storehouse constructed in 1656. The museum moved to this building in 1973. The museum is dedicated to maritime history and contains many artifacts associated with shipping and sailing. The collection contains, among other things, paintings, scale models, weapons and world maps. The paintings depict Dutch naval officers such as Michiel de Ruyter and impressive historical sea battles. The map collection includes works by famed 17th-century cartographers Willem Blaeu and his son Joan Blaeu. The museum also has a surviving copy of the first edition of Maximilian Transylvanus' work, 'De Moluccis Insulis', the first to describe Ferdinand Magellan's voyage around the world.

Why You Should Visit:
Fun museum, nicely broken into 3 separate sections, each with multiple floors and nice artifacts for everyone, starting with children and ending with adults (engineers or not).

Tip:
Do not miss the free virtual reality show on the East India ship, but be careful to pre-book the tickets for it online.
The Royal Barge in the exhibit room opposite the ship is worth checking out as well.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
NEMO Science Museum

2) NEMO Science Museum (must see)

One of the most fascinating places in Amsterdam, where there is something for everyone, the NEMO is the largest science center and interactive museum in the Netherlands.

With its conception in 1923, NEMO has undergone several additions. Initially the science center was named Museum of Labor (Museum van den Arbeid), was later named New Metropolis in 1997 and finally in 2000 was christened NEMO.

This innovative science center is filled with interactive exhibits which will not only captivate your attention but will also definitely make your brain tick. Introducing young and old to the world of science and technology, you can check out for extraterrestrial activity, unravel the mysteries of the earth and space, see what is similar between you and a jellyfish, watch yourself grow old and do lots more at NEMO.

Designed by the renowned Italian architect, Renzo Piano, the structure of NEMO is a marvel in itself. Shaped like a hull, the building is sure to grab your attention at first instance. The museum and science center is well mapped and spread over 5 floors. Exhibits are specially designed for children as well as for those with a more advanced understanding of the subject. Undoubtedly, the NEMO makes for a perfect family experience.

Why You Should Visit:
A great place to have hands-on science experiences; spacious and bright.
Each floor has completely different themes and activities to offer.

Tip:
The roof terrace is a wonderful place to view Amsterdam and the waterways surrounding the building.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Museum Our Lord in the Attic

3) Museum Our Lord in the Attic

Amsterdam is a city full of surprises and sticking to its reputation is the Museum Our Lord in the Attic. It is exactly how it sounds! The lord is indeed in the attic.

The second oldest museum in Amsterdam, the Museum Our Lord in the Attic was built in the 17th century by a merchant, Jan Hartman. During those times of Reformation when practicing Catholicism was considered against the law, Jan Hartman built a secret Catholic church in the attic of the house he had just purchased. Although not completely hidden from the radar of the Protestant Authorities, the Church still managed to function and flourished unharmed. With a plain, modest exterior, it is very difficult to locate which building actually houses this beautiful church. However, the interiors of the church are quite remarkable.

Hidden in the attic of the mansion, the Church is accessed by a creaky and rather steep wooden staircase. The church interiors are filled with incredible paintings and sculptures which make you forget the simple and austere exterior. With a narrow nave, the Church has a capacity of seating almost 150 people. One of the most remarkable features of the Church of Our Lord in the Attic is the organ which is as old as the Church itself and is played to this date.

A perfect example of architecture and interiors of the Dutch Golden era, the Museum Lord in the Attic must not be missed.
4
Allard Pierson Museum

4) Allard Pierson Museum

The Allard Pierson Museum a division of the University of Amsterdam is a museum dedicated to preserving ancient antiquities and artifacts. A proud owner of some of the rarest antique collections, the Museum houses some artifacts that date back to 500 AD.

The Museum was christened after the first professor of classical archeology, Allard Pierson.

Dedication for collecting relics of the past took Pierson to the Mediterranean region. After his death, the Allard Pierson Foundation was established by his son to allow his father’s vast collection to be available for research and study. Over the years the collection grew with donations and purchases and soon the Allard Pierson Museum was established in 1934. The Museum initially occupied a building at Sarphatistraat however it soon outgrew the building.

In 1976, the Allard Pierson Museum shifted to its present location, the grand Oude Turfmarkt.

From ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire, the museum owns some of the most precious items in history. The permanent exhibits include the Near East, Greece, Cyprus, Ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire and Etruria. The temporary exhibits shed light on some of the most fascinating aspects of ancient civilizations. The exhibits are well chosen and draw attention from all over the world.
5
Museum of Bags & Purses

5) Museum of Bags & Purses (must see)

The Museum of Bags and Purses, located in Amsterdam, is a museum devoted to historic handbags, purses and suitcases. The museum's collection includes 4,000 items dating back to the 1500s. One of only three museums across the globe specializing in the field and its collection is the world's largest. While the majority of visitors to the museum are women, the most valuable item on exhibit is a 16th-century men's goat-skin belt pouch with iron clasps. The earliest handbags in the museum's collection are typically small, used to carry coins, keys and sewing kits. Such bags were carried, by both men and women, under clothing to avoid drawing the attention of thieves. The development of pants with pockets for men and the change from billowing skirts to more form-fitting dresses led to handbags becoming an item for women, often with elaborate adornment.

Why You Should Visit:
A quirky museum, set in a lovely building. Well combined with Museum Willet-Holthuysen on the same canal.

Tip:
In addition to wandering through the museum, you can make a reservation for High Tea and savor the view of the canal with delicious tea & food.

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

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.
Plantage Walking Tour

Plantage Walking Tour

Plantage is a neighborhood of Amsterdam, located in the Centrum district. It dates back to the 1600s and has been throughout the centuries a place of rest and entertainment. It is one of the greenest neighborhoods in Amsterdam, in part thanks to the fact that is home to the Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, and the Artis Zoo.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Old Center Gay Nightlife

Old Center Gay Nightlife

Amsterdam is second to none when it comes to tolerance and respect for individual uniqueness. This intimate city is an iconic gay destination and offers a wide range of gay bars and clubs. Follow this tour to visit some of the best rated gay venues in Amsterdam's Old Center.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Amsterdam has been the center of the Dutch Jewish community for the last four centuries, and although the holocaust had a dramatic effect on it, great efforts have been made to rebuild it in the years since. Wandering around the Jewish Quarter will give you an insight into the centuries-long history of the Jewish community of Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Old Side Walking Tour

Old Side Walking Tour

Amsterdam's Old Side or Oude Zijde in Dutch is a neighborhood of true contrast. On one side we have centuries old medieval buildings, churches and landmarks, and on the other hand we have the Red Light District, which is not in fact a district, but an area within the Oude Zijde of Amsterdam.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
New Side (Dam Square) Walking Tour

New Side (Dam Square) Walking Tour

This walking tour takes you to and around New Side (Dam Square) 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 tour's highlights include the Centraal Station, the neoclassical Royal Palace, the 15th-century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), the Madame...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
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: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Amsterdam for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Amsterdam has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Amsterdam's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the I Amsterdam City Card, Amsterdam City Pass, Amsterdam City Pass Plus, or Amsterdam Pass (by Stromma).

A city pass combines all or multiple Amsterdam' top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Amsterdam hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Hotel TwentySeven, Swissôtel Amsterdam.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Amsterdam, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Amsterdam typically costs from around US$25 up to US$40 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat calling at all of Amsterdam's major attractions, museums and shopping centers. En route, you can listen in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages and get on and off at any of the stops along the way as often as you like.

- Discover Amsterdam with the taste of beer on a relaxing 75-minute canal cruise gliding past beautiful bridges, buildings and houseboats, calling at the former Heineken brewery for an ultimate cultural experience and a free pint to enjoy.

- Pedal your way around Amsterdam's quirky quarters and picturesque waterways on a guided city bike tour. In the course of 3 hours you will visit the city's eclectic sights stopping at the most notable of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Take a morning walk around Amsterdam with a knowledgeable guide for an insider view of Holland's most fascinating city. This tour will take you along Amsterdam's enchanting canals to its must-see attractions away from tourist crowds. A complete overview of Amsterdam from the ground up!

- Treat yourself to some of the best Dutch and international delicacies Amsterdam has to offer on a 3-hour food journey across the city visiting, among other locations, a typical local market, beer garden, and a family-run restaurant.

- Step back in time to the dark years of the German occupation of Holland during World War II on a 2-hour historical walking tour of Amsterdam. Feel what it was like, learn the story of Anne Frank, visit the Jewish Quarter and other memorable places.

- Visit the infamous Red Light District, once the most dangerous part of Amsterdam, now synonymous with the city itself. See how the area has transformed, over the years, from the dark “gutter” with shady dens of vice to the lively district with welcoming pubs and restaurants.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Amsterdam, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Giethoorn, Bruges, Zaanse Schans, Keukenhof, and Holland’s countryside. For as little as US$50+ to US$180+ per person you will get a chance to discover “Venice of The Netherlands” and the Garden of Europe, visit one of the most captivating cities in Belgium, explore the charming Dutch villages with eye-catching windmills and picturesque canals, acquaint yourself with the traditional Dutch crafts (clog- and cheese making), taste the local pancakes and cheeses, and so much more! For any of these tours you may be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Amsterdam, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan to the destination of your choice and back again.