Western Canal Belt Walking Tour, Amsterdam (Self Guided)

The Western Canal Belt is one of the most scenic parts of Amsterdam, it is where the web of historic canals is most tranquil. Various attractions are found here, from tiny shops and cafes to churches, museums and galleries. Take this tour and see the best sites of the Western Canal Belt.
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Western Canal Belt Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Western Canal Belt Walking Tour
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam (See other walking tours in Amsterdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Author: clare
Huis Marseille

1) Huis Marseille

One of the most stunning structures in Amsterdam decorated with breathtaking photography; the Huis Marseille offers its viewers a chance to encounter art within art. The first museum in Amsterdam dedicated to photography; Huis Marseille showcases contemporary as well as historical photographs.

Located on the Keizersgracht canal the Museum is located in an elegant 17th century merchant house. Dating back to 1665, the house was custom built by a wealthy French family. The building has an immaculate façade that makes the building stand out elegantly from its surrounding. However, it was not until 1993 that the house was purchased by the De Pont Modern Art Foundation and converted into a museum. Opened to the public in 1999, it has served as a platform not only for contemporary, upcoming and budding photographers but also old school, historical and famous photographers. The Huis Marseille is very popular for its temporary exhibits that are rotated every three months.

The museum is spread in six exhibits that help the viewer appreciate the world through the photographer and the camera’s eye. Today the museum not only boasts of a fantastic collection of stunning photography but also has provides as a photographic library. Inaugurated in 2003, the Huis Marseille museum has also a vast database of photographic information viewers can browse through. Open throughout the week except on Monday, the Huis Marseille is a must visit in Amsterdam.
Biblical Museum

2) Biblical Museum

Amsterdam is filled with sights that intrigue and connect to the past. Standing on the Herengracht Canal, the Biblical Museum immediately catches ones gaze with its timeless façade and obvious age. The Biblical Museum is one of the oldest museums in Netherlands.

The Museum was first commissioned by Dutch Merchant Jacob Cromhout in 1660. It was constructed by merging two patrician houses and was designed by architect Philips Vingboons. A total of two years were taken to complete the magnificent building and the end product was a breath taking Baroque design structure, with intricate stucco decoration, painted ceiling, elliptical staircase and a grand façade.

The Biblical Museum provides its viewers with century old miniature models of events and monuments that are religiously significant. Among the most popular are the models of the Temple of Solomon and Herod as they looked in first century Jerusalem, the Tabernacle and many more. The Museum also has paintings of famous events and Biblical scenes. Apart from the models and painting, some of the most sought after exhibits are artifacts that date back several centuries- clay tablets, manuscripts on papyrus and several archeological relics from Egypt can all be seen at the Biblical Museum.
Laura Dols

3) Laura Dols

Laura Dols is a typical Nine Street's shop that offers a variety of vintage chic clothes. Most clients who visit this shop are the Jordaan locals and tourists. A special interest for visitors are hand-embroidered traditional tablecloths and linens. Hours: Monday 13:00-18:00, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 11:00-18:00, Thursday 11:00-21:00, Sunday 12:00-18:00.
De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Little Streets)

4) De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Little Streets)

Amid the canal district of Amsterdam lies the area known as Nine Little Streets. It consists of nine side streets of the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Singel in central Amsterdam which have been promoting themselves with that name since the 1990s. Together they form a sub-neighborhood within the larger western Grachtengordel ("Canal Belt"), one with many small and diverse shops and restaurants. Dotted with designer boutiques (Antonia by Yvette, Donna Fiera, Sky Fashions), cozy cafés, vintage stores and specialty shops, the hand-laid brickwork lanes of the Nine Streets will see you stroll for hours.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of Our Lady

5) Church of Our Lady

Amsterdam has many beautiful churches like Westerkerk and Noorderkerk. The Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk more commonly known as the Church of Our Lady is one among them. Built in the 11th century, run by the Opus Dei, this is a Roman oratory church founded by Redemptorist Fathers and is situated in the St. Nicholas Parish. Hearing of confessions and choral liturgy is of major importance in this church.

If you want to experience the magic of Michelangelo’s work then a visit to this church is a must. There are plenty of his sculptures which are as alluring as the “Madonna and Child”. The beauty of the church is not limited to its huge brick tower; it extends to the interior of the church which has huge paintings and poignant carvings. The stained glass windows add to the beauty of this architectural marvel. Adjoined to this church is a museum, the Gruuthuse museum which is 122 meters high. This museum exhibits the church’s treasures and also has excavated tombs underneath which can be seen on payment of a small fee.

This church has services like Vigil Eucharist, Eucharist for the Italian and Surinam community, High Mass along with Latin hymns and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Theater Museum

6) Theater Museum

Theater Museum is part of the Dutch Theater Institute and is located in two monumental buildings at the Herengracht. Its objective is to make a significant contribution to the knowledge of the Dutch theater culture in the international context. The Museum exhibitions give visitors an insight into the development of theater in the Netherlands. Hours: Monday-Friday from 11.00 to 17.00, Saturday and Sunday from 13.00 to 17.00.
Westerkerk (West Church)

7) Westerkerk (West Church)

Located near Amsterdam’s Jordaan district, in Prinsengracht canal, is the highest church- The Westerkerk. The 85 meter high structure is one of the oldest churches in the city and its tower, topped with a blue, red and golden crown is symbolic of the imperial crown of Maximilian the First of Austria. Initially, this Church was built by the city architect Hendrick de Keyser but after his death in 1621, his son Pieter took over. Built for Protestant service, this church exhibits Dutch Renaissance style along with a hint of Gothic style.

Westerkerk is not just known for being the highest church but also for its historic importance. The Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn was buried in the northern part of the church in 1699, along with Hendrickje Stoffels, his lover and Titus, his son. Other painters like Nicolaes Berchem, Gillis d’Hondecoeter and Govert Flinck are also buried in the church premises. The frequently mentioned clock tower and the chimes of the church in Anne Frank’s diary refer to the Westerkerk since the Achterhuis (Anne Frank house) is located close to the church. Princess Beatrix (present Queen of The Netherlands) and Prince Claus were married in this Church.

The Westerkerk now plays an important role in the cultural and religious life of Amsterdam. It is famous for the annual Good Friday performance of Bach’s St. John Passion by the Choir of Westerkerk and the monthly cantatas are also well- known. The ecumenical nature of the Sunday service attracts many worshippers from not only Amsterdam but from all over.
Anne Frank House

8) Anne Frank House (must see)

The name Anne Frank must have rung a bell somewhere. Just to revive your memories, Anne Frank was a 13-year-old Jewish girl residing in the Netherlands with her family. Originally residents of Germany, after the Nazis gained power in Germany and life started getting difficult for the Jews, she and her family sought shelter in the Netherlands. However, little did the family know that soon the Nazi terror would come and haunt them even in their asylum.

The Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht Canal was where the Frank family along with the Van Pel family went into hiding for over 2 years. The house was built in 1635 and throughout its existence, it served as a residence, warehouse, stable and office. In 1940, Otto Frank, Anne’s father bought the premises as an office for his spice business. Soon the office became a hideout from the German troops who were rounding up Jewish families and sending them to concentration camps. The Anne Frank House is a haunting, tragic and overwhelming experience that gives you a glimpse of how the inmates tried to live their lives in the midst of horror.

Today the premise has become a museum, which gives the viewer a peek into the lives of those in hiding. A definite recommendation whether or not you’ve read the book.

Why You Should Visit:
The museum does a beautiful job of preserving Anne and her family's memory, while also teaching the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Make sure you book early; also, be aware that there are lots of stairs and no pictures allowed in the house as it is a memorial.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-10pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
René Bruijstens Modern Art

9) René Bruijstens Modern Art

Specializing in modern mid-20th century and contemporary art, Rene Bruijstens Modern Art is located in the West Canal Ring district of Amsterdam. In its collection, you can find fine artworks by Karel Appel, George Braque, Raoul Dufy, Sonia Delaunay, etc. Every year, Rene Bruijstens Modern Art participates at the PAN Amsterdam Fair of Art, Antiques and Design.

Operation Hours Monday - Friday: 8:30 pm - 5:00 pm, or by appointment
Pancake Bakery

10) Pancake Bakery

The Pancake Bakery is housed in an old canal warehouse. The restaurant was established in 1973. It's famous for 'poffertjes' (tiny pancakes) and omelets prepared according to the in-house recipes. Don't lose your chance to try the most delicious and unusual pancakes in the city. Open daily from 12.00 to 21.30.
Nostalgia Antiques & Curiosa

11) Nostalgia Antiques & Curiosa

Located at Herenstraat in the West Canal Ring district of Amsterdam, Nostalgia Antiques & Curiosa offers antique furniture, metal art, glass and ceramics, all of which are from the Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Jugendstil periods. The antiques are mostly from Southern Europe and England, particularly from the 1880s to 1900s. The owner, Heleen den Ronden, started the business in 1990, before moving to the Herenstraat in 1998.

Operation Hours Monday: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm; Tuesday - Friday: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm; Saturday: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Antiquariaat Lont

12) Antiquariaat Lont

Located at Herenstraat in Amsterdam's West Canal Ring district, Antiquariaat Lont is a bookstore that is filled with antique books, maps, prints and many more. Over here, you can find a wide collection of antique and rare books from the 1800s and 1900s.

Operation Hours Monday - Tuesday: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm; Wednesday - Friday: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm; Saturday: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

13) Haarlemmerstraat

Haarlemmerstraat is probably the youngest of the trendiest shopping streets in Amsterdam. It is the perfect place for those who seek to grab the latest and the cheapest.

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.
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
Canal Belt Nightlife

Canal Belt Nightlife

A major cosmopolitan city with an absolutely electrifying nightlife scene, Amsterdam offers a variety of entertainment, from live music to underground house music, including ultra-chic to casual hangouts. Amsterdam is also home to variety of bars and clubs located inside historic buildings, allowing some of these former establishments to live on thematically, including the industrial chic of a...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Southern Canal Belt Walking Tour

Southern Canal Belt Walking Tour

Grachtengordel (Dutch for the Canal District) is an international icon of urban planning and architecture in Amsterdam. Still very much intact after four centuries, the area is known for its small bridges, crossing the canals, and 17th-century homes. Forming a horseshoe around the Old City Centre, the Canal Ring comprises Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht canals, built during...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 km
Old Center Museums Walk

Old Center Museums Walk

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.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 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
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

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

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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.