Amsterdam's Culture and Art You Should Know

Mar 09, 2023 By Daniel Jackson

Amsterdam is a cultural mecca for the Netherlands and the rest of the world, making it one of the most visited cities in Europe. Amsterdam is known as the "Venice of the North" because of its extensive canal system, but it also has a rich artistic and cultural heritage and is one of Europe's greenest cities. The cultural offerings of the Dutch capital are diverse and extensive, ranging from museums housing works by renowned artists to a vibrant music, film, and theater scene. Here is a list of attractions in Amsterdam that highlight the highest points of Dutch and worldwide artistic achievement. These landmarks are must-sees for business travelers that have time in Amsterdam while in the Netherlands.

Rembrandthuis Rembrandt House Museum

Have you ever heard of Rembrandt van Rijn? The museum is housed in a beautifully renovated townhouse that sheds light on the great Dutch painter Rembrandt in various ways. Rotating exhibits feature works by Rembrandt's predecessors, contemporaries, and students and the museum's almost entire collection of original etchings. Want more time to admire a work of art without interruption? At the Museum District, everything was designed with you in mind. If you're in the mood for cutting-edge art, pick up a City Card and make a beeline for the Rijks or Stedelijk Museums.

Hidden gems

If you follow the winding corridors and stairs past the historically furnished spaces and kitchens, you'll find a Catholic church tucked up in the rafters. This beautiful hall was constructed in 1663, when masses were banned officially, to tell an uplifting tale of religious tolerance in the Netherlands. Like to be surprised? This summary of museums housing hidden gardens provides excellent direction toward other undiscovered treasures in the heart of Amsterdam.


Noorderkerk, located in a picturesque section of Centrum, is a popular venue for afternoon classical music performances, drawing both seasoned listeners and those who have never experienced the genre. The spectacular Grachtenfestival brings life to many locations around the Canal Belt every August. Take up the ambiance as musicians play classical and modern tunes on various stages, some set up on a pontoon in the lake. Throughout the summer, Amsterdam has free concerts in its botanical gardens, a Red Light Jazz Festival, and other events in more of the city's old churches, all renowned for their exceptional acoustics.


For over 25 years, audiences in Chicago have been laughing out loud at Comedy Boom Chicago thanks to a unique blend of stand-up, sketch, and improv, all delivered in English. Several well-known comedians and actors started on the network, including Seth Meyers & Oscar-winner Jordan Peele, whose shows cover topics as varied as Dutch culture and American politics. Boom Chicago Comedy Festival is to be noticed. De Kleine Komedie, on the other hand, is one of the city's oldest and most beloved theaters. King Willem I & Napoleon were once regulars there, but these days, younger people are putting on fascinating variety acts.


In a former orphanage, Amsterdam Museum explains how the city came to be and has preserved its culture of innovation and free thought for millennia. There are interactive exhibits of artwork, home goods, literature, archaeological artifacts, and notebooks. And you're interested in traveling even farther back in time. In that case, the recently rebuilt Allard Pierson Museum in the Red Light District's spectacular old bank is where the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans left their mark.

Municipal history

The Amsterdam City Archives, housed in a magnificent Art Deco structure, is a cartographer's dream, containing the world's most incredible collection of municipal history. Almost 50 kilometers of artifacts and images let guests explore any era or topic that piques their interest. Another great place to learn about the history of this water-based metropolis is the Grachtenmuseum.


With its many photography-centric institutions, galleries, and exhibitions, Amsterdam quickly becomes a mecca for enthusiasts. For a few months each year, World Press Photo takes over De Nieuwe Kerk to display the finest of the year's news photography worldwide. FOAM is an internationally known photography gallery that regularly features the work of emerging artists, so there's always something new to see there. Instead, see the lavish period chambers of Huis Marseille, an exhibition space spread between two canal homes built in the seventeenth century.

Art of the Present Day

Impartial galleries & smaller exhibition venues in Amsterdam provide constant stimulation for the city's dynamic contemporary art scene. De Brakke Grond is a cultural hub promoting Flemish in the heart of the Netherlands. This one-of-a-kind venue is highly recommended due to its exciting program, charming courtyard area, and cozy café. Artist-run spaces like W139, located elsewhere in Centrum, trace their history back to the squatting movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

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