Photo Credit: Alexander Pieri
Photo Credit: Alexander Pieri

The city of Amsterdam has many amazing sites to offer, but some of the best sites are known only to the locals. Included in this list are some of Amsterdam’s top attractions, which the floods of tourists often miss. Read on to be sure that what you see is truly authentic in Amsterdam.

The Begijnhof

Filled with a rich history dating back to the year 1307, Begijnhof has been consumed by two different city fires and rebuilt to be bigger and better. The inner courtyard is gorgeous and the perfect spot for a relaxing picnic or leisurely break. If you would like to attend mass, the chapel hosts two every day. You can find them next to Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal.

Café Americain

Technically a hot spot for locals, this café doesn’t seem to get much traffic from tourists. This spot often draws in writers, artists, and actors searching for an enriching meal and drink. The café serves an excellent selection of wine and food in a cozy environment, and the first Sunday of every month features live jazz music. You can find this spot on Leidsekade.

The Proverbs of the Oude Kerk

Old and new art forms come to life before your eyes in the Oude Kerk church. The church not only has the title of being Amsterdam’s oldest church, but it is also the cities oldest standing structure. It is also home to 2,500 ancient hand carved gravestones as well as multiple monuments. Visitors can find the Oude Kerk on Oudekerksplein, next door to many great Amsterdam hotels.

Pianola Museum

If you’re wondering what a pianola is, it’s a piano that plays automatically. Instruments like this may have amazed you as a kid when you walked through the mall during Christmas time, and they will continue to amaze you today. This small museum is dedicated solely to these unique instruments. The pianolas are displayed under dim light in a room decorated with old furniture, giving it a turn of the century feel. Find the Pianola Museum on Westerstraat.

Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder

In English, the name of this museum means “Our Lord in the Attic,” so it only makes sense that this sight is in an old bourgeois house in an attic that hides a Catholic church. The church was built in 1663, a time when Catholics were not allowed to worship openly in the Netherlands. Inside visitors can see many artifacts or take a guided tour for only a few euros. You’ll find this museum on Oudezijds Voorburgwal.

Artplein Spui

If you’re in Spui Square on a Sunday, you can catch an open ArtMarket. For the last 25 years the Stichting Amsterdam International Artists (SAIA) has organized this outdoor market. All of the works are recent, and visitors can buy them directly from the artists themselves. The market has about 25 participants that rotate each week.

When you visit Amsterdam, don’t spend all your time at the overcrowded tourist spots. Instead, visit some of these attractions off the beaten path, and get to know the real Amsterdam.

This article is one of my contributions to the “Hipmunk City Love Project,” which is a project to build a large network of guides for cities around the world. To check out one of my articles on Hipmunk.com, here is an article I wrote on wedding hotels.

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