From the Anne Frank House to Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam has no shortage of world-class, crowd-pleasing attractions. But, in case you’ve already seen the city’s main highlights, or simply want to escape the tourist crush, we’ve put together a list of the best off-the-beaten-path offerings in the city.
With so many excellent attractions packed into Amsterdam Centrum, few tourists find the time to explore farther afield. Just a short and free ferry ride away from Central Station, the hip waterfront district of Noord flies under the average traveler’s radar. Ride Europe’s highest swing at the A’DAM tower, go shopping in Pekmarkt street market, and admire traditional wooden houses at Nieuwendammerdijk.
Museum Our Lord in the Attic (Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder)
Hidden in a canal house attic lies this unexpected gem: a fully fitted-out church complete with lavish marble and gilt decoration. Built in the 17th century during a time of Catholic persecution, this clandestine church—accessible through a hidden door—would have been the setting for secret masses performed in front of up to 150 worshippers.
Museum of Bags and Purses
This museum pays homage to an item many consider to be the ultimate fashion accessory: the handbag. With examples of quirky designs dating from the Middle Ages to present day, including many from Netherlandish designers, it is a must for fashion-conscious travelers.
A gift to the city from Mrs. Willet-Holthuysen in the late 19th century, this little-known museum is set inside a 17th-century canal house and is filled with period furnishings and artwork. The beautifully kept interiors show how wealthy Amsterdam inhabitants would have lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Dutch Costume Museum
Though small and niche in its focus, the Dutch Costume Museum proves fascinating. Displays center on folk costumes, with outfits and handicrafts from different regions exhibited throughout. Guests also have the opportunity to dress up in traditional Volendam dress for a memorable, only-in-the-Netherlands photo op.