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- Posted:Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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5 free things to do in Amsterdam
We love having insider knowledge for a city we’re visiting, and who better to get it from than the people who welcome hoards of travellers through their doors every week… the staff at a hostel!
We asked the lovely folks over in Cocomama hostel for their top 5 tips on what to do for free in Amsterdam and here’s what they told us…
1) Ferry over the IJ for a free boat trip
Right behind Centraal Station you can take free ferries to various parts of ‘Amsterdam Noord’. Go to NDSM Island where you will find the old ship wharf, which is now a trendy area with an urban beach, and hangouts like Pllek, IJ-kantine and Noorderlicht. Or take the shorter ferry to IJ-plein and take your bike through the forest to Nieuwendammerdijk, a gorgeous secluded part of Amsterdam that makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time.
2) Stroll beside the canals of the Jordaan
Once the home of Rembrandt, this lively neighborhood is now the place to find many of Amsterdam's most interesting shops, galleries, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and of course the famous ‘brown cafes’ (Not brownie cafes! Find coffee shops in a different guide; we are talking about pubs here. With beer. No smokes!). It's a labyrinth of small alleys and canals where it’s best not to try and find a specific place, but get lost and discover your own favourites!
3) Friday Night Skate
Show off and make new friends at the Friday Night Skate. It's on every Friday in Vondelpark, next to “the round bench”, close to the Film Museum. Bring your own skates or hire them on the spot. Meeting time is 8 pm.
Amsterdam's Bloemenmarkt is the worlds only floating flower market - the flower stalls are all on houseboats. Besides the fresh blooms, there are bulbs and sacks of seeds available for export directly to your home garden or terrace. Fragrances float along the Singel Canal from 9am - 5pm.
Or, maybe the Waterlooplein flea market is your thing. A site primarily for clothing and furniture sales; it can be reached via the 9, 14 or 20 trams. Another good place to witness Amsterdam commerce in action is the Albert Cuypstraat daily market. It provides a more general selection including food, flowers and cosmetics. The Noordermarkt is an organic market on Saturdays and a flea market on Mondays. The Dappertjes Market, open daily, is a little further out of the city centre, which only means more cheap deals!
5) Spend some time in or on top of the beautiful new Amsterdam Public Library - Europe's largest public library
The public library (OBA) is right next to Central Station. It’s a brand new and a beautiful building, with seven floors and 600 computers with free internet, free wireless, an auditorium, an exhibition room, the Library Museum, the Gerard Reve Museum and of course, 2000 parking spaces for bicycles. Head to the top floor where café La Place is located, and outside you’ll find a roof terrace with a magnificent view of the entire city. Open daily from 10 am - 10 pm.
Some more money-saving tips:
- Free coffee
Some Albert Hein grocery stores have a coffee machine dispensing freshly-ground cups for shoppers; follow your nose!
- The Museum Jaarkaart (MJK)
The perfect investment for anyone planning to take advantage of 'Museumland' is The Museum Jaarkaart (MJK). This discount pass allows free admission to museum greats including the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The card is good for one year. The cost is €35 so you will earn your money back in 3 museum visits. The card can be purchased at any of the participating museums.
- Discounts card
Before going into the Albert Heijn grocery store pick up a 'bonus' card at the cigarette counter to enjoy discounts in the store.
Thanks to Lotje at Cocomama for these great free tips for Amsterdam! Cocomama is one of Amsterdam's most popular hostels and in a great location.