Amsterdam on a budget – free and cheap stuff to do


Amsterdam is a damn cool city, but the main sights can be just a tad expensive. The entrance ticket to the Van Gogh Museum is over €20! Think Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank Huis, canal boat tour, you can easily drop a hundred bucks on a day trip.

So here is an alternative for a fun an budget friendly day in Amsterdam:

From Amsterdam Centraal, head northbound through the Pedestrian tunnel – bonus: blue and white tiles lining the tunnel.

Pedestrian tunnel underneath the Central Station

On the other side of the tunnel, catch a free (yaaaay!) ferry to the EYE Film Instituut Nederland. Apart from the cool architecture (looks like the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart and guess what, it is by the same architect), there is a I AMSTERDAM sign right next to it and it is so much less crowded than the one at Museumsplein. You can enjoy the scenery and watch Amsterdam from the shores of the river IJ. While the some exhibitions inside the EYE cost admission, parts of the groundfloor are free and there is also a café inside.

EYE Film Museum

white and blue

architecture love

leading lines

For a bit more of a hipster vibe, there is also a free ferry from Central Station to NDSM Werft with artist spots, flea markets and urban goodness.

view from the Central Station

Also not far from the Central Station is the obaOpenbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam – the main public library with a small rooftop terrace and lots of space to lounge in.

oba public library with roof terrace

Next up and a short walk from oba is the NEMO Science Museum. While the museum is not free, the large rooftop terrace is accessible from the side and does not cost anything! Also, NEMO’s former ticket office is now ARCAM (Architectuurcentrum Amsterdam) where designs and plans are shown (it’s free!).

NEMO found!

bridge to NEMO

rooftop terrace of the NEMO museum

view from the rooftop terrace


Of course, Amsterdam is famous for it’s narrow houses and the grachts! You could go to the narrowest house in the world, or see the brug van 15 bruggen (bridge of 15 bridges) from where you can supposedly see 15 bridges around you.

brug van 15 bruggen – bridge of 15 bridges

I did end up going to the FOAM (photography museum Amsterdam) which costs a bit of money but is reasonably priced. For food, the supermarket Albert Heijn is ubiquitous and makes very good pastries (try the pecan ones!). Surinamese broodjes are also a cheap and satisfying meal which cost under €10 for three broodjes. See my previous post for food recommendations in the Netherlands.


March 30th 2018

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