Guide to the Binnenstad district in Amsterdam

Guide to the Binnenstad district in Amsterdam

Would you like to visit the capital of the Netherlands? Find out everything there is to know about the fantastic Binnenstad district in Amsterdam!

Binnenstad is a district of Amsterdam whose geographical definition corresponds to the historic old town of the Dutch capital. Yes, the pictures of canals, colourful bicycles and scarlet shop windows in the Red Quarter were taken here! But Binnenstad isn't just a haven for partygoers and magic cigarette lovers. There is also the famous Dam Square, the city's emblematic flower market and museums. Historic monuments and buildings can also be admired when visiting Binnenstad. For example, did you know that you can take a guided tour through the Royal Palace or discover the fabulous Anne Franck Museum?

Young and old, tourists or not, everyone will find something for everyone when they come to visit the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam. Winter and summer alike, it knows how to unveil its crazy charm: what are you waiting for to explore it?

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The Binnenstad district in a few words

When you come to visit the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam, you are always amazed to learn that it was originally a small fishing village. The city has grown steadily over the centuries, relying on the development of maritime trade. But it was during the Golden Century that it established itself as a major European city. Indeed, it was during the 17th century that the colonial traffic managed by the country spread over half the planet. Yes, at that time Binnenstad was home to the headquarters of the East India Company, whose power defied Spain, Portugal and England! During the cultural revolution, the city industrialized, concentrating on diamond cutting and then financial services.

The Dutch capital, which had become rich, made the Binnenstad district its tourist symbol! It has changed little since then.

What to see and what to do in Binnenstad?

The old town centre

Visiting the Binnenstad district in Amsterdam means having the chance to wander through the city's emblematic monuments. At the bend in each of the pretty cobbled streets is a marvel of the city's heritage. Almost all of Amsterdam's (mainly religious) monuments: the Oudekerk, the Royal Palace, Den Waag or the Beguinage, to name but a few, are a must in the city. There are also trendy shopping streets such as Warmoesstraat and Kalverstraat, ideal for shopping.

Are you looking for a cultural outing? Amsterdam is known for its museums, which are particularly concentrated in Binnenstad. The Amsterdam History Museum, the Tussauds Museum, but also... the Museum of Eroticism or Torture are famous addresses. Before you leave, we advise you to visit the amazing floating flower market on the Singel. It is an unmissable tourist reference!

The Quartier Rouge

The Red Lights District is the hottest place in the city. Tourists from all over Europe come here to enjoy the warmth of the Red Lights District. Prostitution is indeed legal on the spot, and visitors can also enjoy the free circulation of cannabis, sold in the famous coffee-shops. These include the Jolly Joker, Baba and Greenhouse, which will delight amateurs. The Quartier Rouge has a sulphurous reputation, but is safe day and night thanks to a substantial police presence. It's also the place to party in pubs and nightclubs and enjoy a snack at any time of the day.

No matter what you think of the place, it would be a shame to go and visit the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam without taking a trip to the Red Light district. And to find out all about the area, visit the exciting Red Light District Secrets Museum.

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That's a pretty amazing recommendation, don't you think? And yet, Chinatown is a very nice neighborhood located in Binnenstad. The city has seen a massive influx of Asian people, sometimes from its former colonies, who now live peacefully in Chinatown. When visiting the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam, it is easy to recognize the area.

In addition to the colourful, typically Asian shops, there is the famous He Hua Buddhist temple, located on the Zeedjik, a famous street in the city. The Asian presence here is so strong that the street names are written in Dutch and... Chinese!

Guided tours in the Binnenstad district

Guided walking tour of the Binnenstad neighbourhood

The ideal way to visit the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam is obviously on foot. Its modest size makes it possible to explore the old city centre, and the guides have understood this well.
For example, you can take advantage of two-hour guided tours to discover the main monuments of the neighbourhood. You will walk along the picturesque canals of Binnenstad listening to your guide's explanations, from the Royal Palace to the New Church. Every canal, bridge and lock has a story to tell! Several guided tours are available, and you can also choose to discover the gastronomic Binnenstad, for example. The icing on the cake: given the number of French people on site, many of the guides speak the language of Molière.

Guided boat tour of the Binnenstad district

Why not enjoy a boat trip on the city's canals? It's the relaxing and romantic solution par excellence! During a one and a half hour guided tour, you will take a seat on a comfortable and clean boat (electric motor) to see the city in a different way. An aperitif will be served on board and you will be able to admire the district of Binnenstad in peace and quiet. An English speaking guide will be happy to show you the most unusual anecdotes and historical facts about Binnenstad.

The price is very reasonable: count about thirty euros per adult, and half less for children. This makes it a fun and ideal option when you come to visit the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam with your family.

Guided bike tour of the Binnenstad district

When you think of the sublime city of Amsterdam, you automatically think of the city's iconic bicycles. This silent, clean and simple means of urban transport is a reflection of Dutch culture, and the tour guides were not mistaken. In addition to the Dam, the Jordaan area and Anne Frank's house are also major cultural sites in the country. For a small fee, the Little Queen is an ideal way to visit the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam without getting overwhelmed.

Our tip: enjoy a cold beer at the end of the visit, the city is famous for its breweries!

The best hotels to stay in Binnenstad district

The Binnenstad district is very touristy, easily accessible and has many cultural points of interest. The hotel sector has not been spared this financial windfall: many establishments offer overnight accommodation, whatever your budget. St Christopher's Inn in the Red Light district is undoubtedly one of the best typical inns in the area. With its pretty rooftop terrace, it is the logical choice for partygoers of all stripes, who enjoy good value for money.

Quieter, classy, the Hotel V Nesplein is a four-star hotel with a refined design, offering spacious rooms in the heart of the old town centre. Not far away, the Manikomio is a small, unpretentious B&B, but ideally located and run by a team of friendly staff.

Winter and summer alike, it is very easy to find accommodation on site, considering the offer provided!

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Where to eat in Binnenstad?

This is not well known when visiting the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam but the city is famous for its gastronomy. From street-food stalls to conventional restaurants, you'll easily find something to eat on the spot!

We particularly recommend Mr Crab, a restaurant that we no longer present, serving tasty fish and ultra-fresh seafood. We are very close to the North Sea, let's not forget it!
The Bougainville Restaurant is also an institution, as is the Olivar Restaurant, provided you book well in advance. Then why not let yourself be tempted by the Asian restaurants of Chinatown? Some, like the Hoi Tin or the Nam Kee, are references in the matter!

How to get to the Binnenstad district?

It's very easy to get to the area and then visit the Binnenstad district of Amsterdam. It is very close to the train station!

  • The subways 53 and 54 stop at Nieuwmarkt, the nearest stop.
  • For trams, the 4-9-16-24-25 all stop at Dam-Nieuwmarkt.
  • Buses 359 and 361 also serve the area.

But what we especially recommend is to use the bicycle! The city is of reasonable size and it is much cleaner and more pleasant to ride a bicycle.

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