Get to know Amsterdam through Literature: 7 Books for Travelers

Amsterdam is a city with picturesque canals, historic architecture, vibrant culture, and a liberal atmosphere. It has for a long time been a magnet for travelers seeking unique experiences. So, whether you’re strolling along the cobblestone streets, admiring world-class art in the Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum, or if decide to taste the city’s famous culinary delights, Amsterdam offers something for everyone. But, you can bring even more richness to your trip if you read some inspiring books before you arrive.

This article wants to give you suggestions for seven books worth reading before you come to Amsterdam. Some of them are tourist literature, while other books are historical novels that will let you see Amsterdam in the old days with your inner eye. You don’t need to read all the books, but we are quite convinced that you will be inspired to read at least one or two of the books on the list if you are a book lover!

Seven books that will make Amsterdam even more interesting as you come to explore the city!

1. “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

Anne Frank’s diary is a poignant and intimate account of life during the Holocaust, offering a profound insight into Amsterdam’s history during World War II. Visitors can explore the Anne Frank House, where Anne and her family hid from Nazi persecution, providing a powerful connection to the city’s past.

This might be the most famous book of them all, and it is a good read both for teenagers and adults.

2. “The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton

the miniaturist

“The Miniaturist” is a book about a young woman named Nella who moves to Amsterdam in the 17th century to start a new life. She marries a wealthy merchant named Johannes Brandt, but she soon discovers that her new home holds many secrets.

Johannes gives Nella a dollhouse as a wedding gift, and Nella hires a mysterious miniaturist to furnish it. However, the miniatures that arrive are exact replicas of things happening in Nella’s real life, leading her to question how the miniaturist knows so much about her.

As Nella navigates her new life in Amsterdam, she uncovers secrets about her husband, his sister, and the household staff. The book explores themes of love, betrayal, and the power dynamics of 17th-century Dutch society.

3. “Tulip Fever” by Deborah Moggach

“Tulip Fever” is a story set in Amsterdam during a time when people were crazy about tulips, which are pretty flowers. It tells the tale of a young woman named Sophia who gets married to a much older man, Cornelis Sandvoort, because her family is poor.

Sophia feels lonely in her marriage, and she falls in love with Jan, a painter hired to paint her and her husband’s portrait. Jan and Sophia start a secret affair, and they hatch a plan to buy tulip bulbs and sell them for a lot of money so they can run away together.

But things get complicated when Sophia’s maid gets involved in their plan, and the tulip market crashes, causing chaos. The story is full of love, lies, and unexpected twists.

4. “Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City” by Russell Shorto

amsterdam the worlds most liberal city

“Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City” is a book that talks about how Amsterdam became a very open-minded place. It tells the story of the city from long ago until now.

The book shows how Amsterdam started as a small fishing village and grew into a big city. It talks about how people from different countries came to live there, bringing their ideas and cultures. This made Amsterdam a diverse and interesting place.

The author, Russell Shorto, explains how Amsterdam became known for being very liberal. This means that people there are accepting of different lifestyles and beliefs. He talks about how this openness has shaped the city’s history and made it unique.

5. “The Coffee Shop Book Club: The Best of Amsterdam’s Underground Coffee Shops” by Carroll Van West

“The Coffee Shop Book Club: The Best of Amsterdam’s Underground Coffee Shops” is a book that talks about the cool places in Amsterdam where people can go to relax, have a drink, and maybe smoke a little bit of cannabis, which is a plant that some people use for fun.

The book tells you about different coffee shops in Amsterdam and what makes each one special. It talks about the atmosphere, the drinks they serve, and the kinds of people you might meet there. It’s like a guidebook that helps you find the coolest places to hang out in the city.

Carroll Van West, the author, gives you tips and advice on how to enjoy your time in these coffee shops safely and responsibly. It’s a fun book for anyone who wants to explore Amsterdam’s laid-back vibe and experience something a little different.

6. “Lonely Planet Amsterdam”

For practical travel advice and essential tips, Lonely Planet’s guide to Amsterdam is an invaluable companion. Packed with insider recommendations, detailed maps, and up-to-date information on attractions, dining, and accommodations, this guide ensures you make the most of your time in the city.

If you are looking for a book that gives you basic information useful and interesting to a tourist, this might be the best solution.

7. “Amsterdam: A Novel” by Ian McEwan

“Amsterdam: A Novel” by Ian McEwan is a story about two friends named Clive and Vernon who live in Amsterdam. The book tells us about their friendship and the choices they make. Clive and Vernon are both successful men, but they have different views on life. One day, they make a pact, which is like a promise, to help each other if something bad happens to them.

But things get complicated when they both fall in love with the same woman, and they find themselves in a difficult situation. The story explores themes like friendship, love, and morality.

Which book(s) will you read?

Whether you’re drawn to Amsterdam’s rich history, its cultural vibrancy, or its laid-back atmosphere, these seven books offer diverse perspectives that will enhance your travel experience. From gripping historical dramas to insightful travel guides, each book provides a unique lens through which to explore and appreciate the many facets of this enchanting city.

These books will bring Amsterdam to life before you arrive, and you will see, hear, and feel so much more as you walk up and down the actual streets and along the canals of Amsterdam.

Do you have other book recommendations for those coming to Amsterdam? Write a comment and let us hear from you!

Eight important events in the history of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis with a rich and fascinating history that spans over 800 years. Here are eight important events that have shaped and defined the city of Amsterdam throughout its colorful past:

The founding of Amsterdam

Amsterdam was founded as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, with the first written mention of the settlement dating back to 1275. The name was received as a dam was built to protect the village from the floods of the Amstel River. The dam was named “Amstelredamme” or “Amsterdam” in Dutch, which is how the city received its name. The dam facilitated the creation of a harbor, which helped Amsterdam grow as a trading center.

The growth of Amsterdam as a trading center

Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, Amsterdam became one of the most important trading cities in the world, thanks to the establishment of the Dutch East India Company and its monopoly on trade with Asia. Its geographical location close to the sea and in the center of Europe boosted the cities status as a center for trading in Europe.

The construction of the canals

In the 17th century, Amsterdam undertook an enormous building project that transformed the city, creating the canal network that is still admired today. The first major canal that was constructed was the Signal Canal, followed by Herengracht (Gentlemen’s Canal), Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal), and Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal).

canal construction in amsterdam

The Golden Age of Dutch art

The Golden Age of Dutch art refers to a period of remarkable artistic and cultural achievements in the Netherlands, particularly in the 17th century. Amsterdam played a central role during this age due to various factors that contributed to its significance as an important artistic hub.

During the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam experienced unprecedented economic prosperity, political stability, and a flourishing middle class. These favorable conditions fostered a climate that supported and patronized the arts, leading to a remarkable artistic outpouring in the city.

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was the most famous painter from this period. He is considered one of the greatest painters in the history of art. Besides Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) and Frans Hals (1582-1666) were the most important figures of the Dutch Golden Age of art.

The Siege of Amsterdam in 1573

Amsterdam played a critical role in the Eighty Years’ War between the Dutch Republic and Spain. In 1573, the Spanish forces, under the command of General Francisco de Valdez, laid siege to the city in an attempt to regain control over it and suppress the rebellion. The Spanish army surrounded Amsterdam and cut off its supply lines to starve the city into submission. The defenders of Amsterdam, led by a merchant named Jan van der Does, prepared for the siege by fortifying the city walls and organizing a defense force. The Siege of Amsterdam was a turning point in the struggle for Dutch independence.

the siege of amsterdam in 1573

The successful defense of the city boosted morale among the Dutch rebels and strengthened their resolve to fight against Spanish rule. Amsterdam remained a stronghold for the Dutch resistance, contributing to the eventual establishment of the independent Dutch Republic in the following decades. The siege also had a lasting impact on the city itself. The experience of the siege and the resilience displayed by its inhabitants helped shape Amsterdam’s identity as a city that values freedom, independence, and resistance against oppression.

The annexation of Jewish citizens during the Holocaust

Prior to the war, Amsterdam had a vibrant and thriving Jewish community. Jews had been living in the city for centuries, and by the early 20th century, Amsterdam had one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe. Many Jewish families were integrated into Dutch society, contributing to various aspects of culture, business, and intellectual life.

However, with the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany and the subsequent occupation of the Netherlands in 1940, the Jewish population faced increasingly severe restrictions and persecution. Anti-Jewish laws were implemented, targeting Jews with discriminatory measures and stripping them of their rights. Jews were gradually marginalized and isolated from the rest of society, Jewish-owned businesses were forced to close, and Jewish students were expelled from schools and universities.

Systematic deportation and extermination of Jews in Amsterdam began in 1942. The Nazis, assisted by Dutch collaborators, organized raids on Jewish homes and neighborhoods. Jews were rounded up and sent to transit camps, such as Westerbork, before being transported to extermination camps, primarily Auschwitz and Sobibor in Eastern Europe. The vast majority of the city’s Jewish population, estimated at around 80,000 people, were deported and murdered during the Holocaust. Only a small fraction survived.

The legalization of same-sex marriage

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, with Amsterdam playing a central role in advocating for and embracing this landmark legislation.

The construction of Schiphol Airport

The airport was constructed in the 20th century to meet the growing demand for air travel and serve as the Netherlands’ primary international airport. The origins can be traced back to 1916 when a military airfield called Schiphol Fort was established in the Haarlemmermeer polder, southwest of Amsterdam. Initially, it served as a military base during World War I. In 1920, the Dutch government designated Schiphol as a civilian airport to meet the increasing need for air transportation. The site’s favorable location made it suitable for airport development. The first official passenger flight left the airport in 1920.

These are some of the most important events in the history of Amsterdam. If you want to learn even more about Amsterdam, it might be smart to join a guided tour in Amsterdam or visit one of the many historical museums in the city.

Bitcoin in Amsterdam

Would you like to spend Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Amsterdam? It ain’t gonna be easy, but there are a few places that can help you get rid of some digital currency.

Bitcoin payment in Amsterdam
Bitcoin payment in Amsterdam

There are quite a lot of articles on the Internet presenting places in Amsterdam accepting Bitcoin. We have, of course, read through those articles, and then contacted the places mentioned in those articles to see if they still accept Bitcoin as a payment method. It is a well-known fact that Bitcoin is expensive to use and it is slow, and for that reason, it isn’t really working well as a payment method if you want to buy two cups of coffee. One year ago it was quicker and cheaper, now it is slower and more expensive, and thus we had a feeling that places that once accepted Bitcoin, might have stopped since then.

We sent out emails to quite a lot of places that once accepted Bitcoin in Amsterdam, and these are the answers we got.

Cocomama Hostel: “We used to accept bitcoin payments, although not anymore. Now we only accept card payments.”

Labeled with Trust:No, unfortunately, we no longer accept Bitcoin as there was no demand for it. “

Filmhuis Cavia:Yes, we still accept Bitcoin.

We are still waiting for answers from more places, and we will update this article as soon as we receive them.

Places accepting Bitcoin in Amsterdam

  • Filmhuis Cavia – website
    Watch interesting movies that you cannot see in a standard theater.
  • Bitcoin Embassy – website
    A place to learn about Bitcoin, drink a cup of coffee, buy crypto-gadgets, eat a steak, and to spend your Bitcoin.

Do you want to know more about Bitcoin while in Amsterdam? There is a monthly meetup in Amsterdam named “Bitcoin Wednesday” and it has been going on for years. Find out more about these meetups at

Do you know more places accepting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in Amsterdam?

Do you know a place in Amsterdam that accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, please write a comment beneath. We will update this article regularly, and hopefully, it will become an up to date list presenting locations in Amsterdam accepting different cryptocurrencies as payments methods.

We thank you already for your help!


UEFA EURO 2017 in Holland

The Netherlands will arrange the UEFA Euro 2017 in the period between July 16th and August 6th. The matches will be played at venues in seven different cities, but unfortunately Amsterdam isn’t one of those.

Female football has for a long time been despised and looked down at, but things might be changing. When the Dutch team will enter the field to play their group stage matches, all tickets have already been sold out, about a week before it will even start.

The dutch team and their matches

Their first match will be played in Utrecht (which is less than 30 minutes from Amsterdam), and the stadium which is named Stadion Galgenwaard, has space for more than 23,000 people. The opening match will be against Norway on July 16th. It will start at 18.00.

The second match will be played on July 20th in Rotterdam at the Sparta Stadion Het Kasteel. This stadium only has space for a bit more than 10,000 people.

The last group stage match for the Dutch ladies will be at July 24th at the Koning Willem II Stadion in Tilburg. This stadium has capacity for almost 15,000 people.

Uefa Euro 2017 in Holland

No matter what you say, it will be a fantastic experience for these ladies to play matches in front of packed stadiums and lots of people cheering.

The final of the very tournament will be played in Entschede at the stadium De Grolsch Veste. This has capacity for 30,000 people… so whoever will play in that match, will for sure have a fantastic time.

Do you want to watch some of the matches?

It is very easy to travel around the Netherlands using the railway, so read more about that here in our Amsterdam Guide. If you want to buy tickets for any of the matches, you can do so at The group stage matches of Netherlands are already sold out, but you can still find tickets for all the matches of the other teams.

Would you rather just stream the event on your tablet, laptop, computer or maybe watch it on TV instead? You can find out more about how and where to watch the event online in this article.

Can the Dutch ladies win?

The bookmakers keep Germany as their big favorites before the start of the tournament. The Netherlands only come as the fifth most likely team to win the tournament, but one should not forget about the advantage of playing at home. We believe that Holland might get all the way to the final, but we must say that they will for sure have a hard time beating Germany!

Watch Star Wars: Rogue One in an Amsterdam cinema

The newest addition to the Star Wars series has been released and you can now watch it lots of cinemas all across Amsterdam and in all of the Netherlands.

Star Wars fans have been waiting for Rogue One to be released for a long time, at least since the arrival of the last Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.

If you do not know much about Star Wars than watching this movie might be a brilliant way to start your relationship with the Star Wars series. If you have seen a whole lot of Star Wars movies earlier, then this is a brilliant movie that will make your knowledge of the Star Wars series even greater.

And to make everything even better, make sure to visit Netflix as well while in the Netherlands. A common consequence of watching this movie is that you will long to watch Star Wars: A New Hope later (that is the first Star Wars movie in chronological order dealing with year of creation, but looking at the story it is the 4th in the Star Wars series).

Watch Star Wars: Rogue One on a cinema in Amsterdam

Now Rogue One has arrived to cinemas in Amsterdam and if one would try to place this movie in the historical order then this could be counted as Star Wars 3 1/2 as the story is coming in just between the third and the fourth movie. And guess what? Since you are located in the Netherlands you can visit and watch Star Wars: A New Hope and all the other Star Wars movies on Netflix (including The Force Awakens).

What are you waiting for? Go and find a cinema somewhere in Amsterdam, watch Star Wars: Rogue One, and then go home to your hotel-room afterwards to visit and watch all the other Star Wars movies as well!

Have a great time in Amsterdam and enjoy watching Star Wars: Rogue One.

Netherlands with a tough World Cup qualification ahead

Most people in the Netherlands had a nice summer and a long holiday. Since they did not even participate in Euro 2016 people could do something else. But, it can’t happen that Holland will not qualify for two big tournaments in a row.

But, it won’t necessarily be easy to get to the World Cup 2018 which is to be organized in Russia. On the paper group A in which Netherlands will play is among the toughest of them all. Together with them in group A we can find the runners-up from the Euro 2016 final France. That is for sure among the best teams in Europe, so not easy at all. Then we have Sweden, a nation for which Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said he won’t be playing anymore. That is of course good news for the Netherlands, but Sweden can be a tough nut to crack still.

Besides Sweden and France the Netherlands will also play against Belarus, Bulgaria and Luxembourg. Bulgaria is not an easy opponent, while Luxembourg is a team that the Netherlands should be able to beat easily. Belarus should be beaten, but on a bad day Belarus can surprise as well.

When will the Netherlands play?

The first match for Holland will be played on September 6th against Sweden (in Sweden). Then in October they will get the chance to play against Luxembourg and France. The first match will be played on October 7th against Belarus at De Kuip in Rotterdam, and on October 10th against France at Amsterdam Arena.

If you will come to Amsterdam to watch the match against France, do not forget to visit the beautiful attractions of the city as well while in town.

If you want to watch the different qualification matches online, then you can find lots of information and news related to this at

Where to watch Euro 2016 in Amsterdam

It is almost incredible, but Euro 2016 will be arranged without the Netherlands actually playing. But a football nation like the Netherlands will still follow the event and these are some places where you can watch the Euro 2016 matches in Amsterdam.

If you are still depressed because Holland did not make it to Euro 2016 and want to watch the matches all by yourself in your hotel room, then you can watch them on your TV screen as NOS will broadcast the matches in the Netherlands. You can also watch the matches online on the NOS website, but be aware of the fact that if you are outside Holland and want to watch the same stream then it can’t be done because of your geographical location. More information on how to fix this can be found here and here (last article is in Dutch).

But, let us say that you want to be more social and watch the European Championship at more crowded spots with more people, then these are some of the places we can recommend!

Watch euro 2016 in amsterdam
Euro 2016 is still worth watching, even though Holland will not play!

Places where you can watch Euro 2016 in Amsterdam


This is a fantastic square in Amsterdam and here you will be able to watch the Euro 2016 matches together with thousands of other people.  This is an outdoor place to watch, quite similar to the Rathausplatz in Vienna where you also can watch Euro 2016.

Satellite Sportscafe, Leidesplein 11

Let us say that it is really hot outside and you decide not to watch the matches at the Leidseplein. Well, then you can just enter Satellite Sportscafe instead which is located by the same square. This is a very popular sportsbar and in addition to bear and TV screen they also have lots of pancakes!


This is a square just by the Heineken Experience, and it has a very high density of bars and pubs, so just walk to this area and you will have no problem finding a spot where you can watch Euro 2016.

O’Donnell’s Irish Pub, Ferdinand Bolstraat 5

If you want to visit a traditional Irish pub, maybe to watch the opening match for Ireland as they play against Sweden on Stade de France in Paris or maybe to watch any other match during Euro 2016, this is a perfect place in Amsterdam.

No need to worry!

If you don’t feel like visiting any of these places you do not need to worry, because Euro 2016 will be broadcasted almost anywhere, so just walk around and you will find places where you can watch all the matches. A full Euro 2016 schedule can be found here.

Christmas Market in Amsterdam 2015

Christmas in AmsterdamFrom the end of November and the beginning of December the festive time officially starts in Europe and Amsterdam is not an exception either. What can be more fun than getting your Christmas presents for your loved ones at one of the best Christmas markets in whole Europe?

In Amsterdam the Christmas fairs not only offer the best and most unique Christmas gifts but the good mood and the Christmas spirit are also guaranteed for all the visitors.

In Amsterdam the visitors can choose from several Christmas fairs. One of the best one in the city is the Pure Winter Market which will take place at Beatrixpark on 13th December 2015 and at Park Frankendeal on 20th December 2015. The market offers high quality hand made Christmas goodies alongside with loads of fun.

Another popular one in the city is the Funky Xmas Market which will open its gates on 13th December 2015 and it will take place at Haarlemmerweg. From the middle of December Museumplein transforms into a huge Christmas Village with loads of fun, ice rink, the best foods and drinks, the fair will be open from 18th December 2015 until 27th December 2015.

The last market we would like to mention is the Local Goods Christmas Market which is a design market offering all the unique presents you can imagine, the market will take place at the De Hallen on 19th December 2015 from 12.00 to 17.30 and on 20th December 2015 from 12.00 to 17.30.

As you can understand these are not like most Christmas markets in other cities opening in the middle of November and lasting all the way until January, but these are more temporary, but that does not mean that they are not as good as the other ones. Check out one of these markets and enjoy Amsterdam!

If you get tired of freezing and want to watch a good film on your laptop in your hotel room in between sightseeing and shopping, then you can watch Netflix films in all sorts of regions while in Amsterdam, and you can read more about how it works here.

Watch Amsterdam in films online

Are you in love with Amsterdam and would love to see a film recorded in Amsterdam? Then you have the chance right now as we will tell you about two films in which you can see some of the beauties in Amsterdam.

The first film recommended for you to watch as you want to see a film recorded in Amsterdam is Turkisk Delight, a film from 1973. In this film you can see recordings from locations in Amsterdam such as Dam and Damrak ,
Oudezijds Voorburgwal and the MacBike Centraal Station.

Another film recommended is Amsterdamned from 1988, also a Dutch production in which you can follow the murderer who hides in the canals of Amsterdam only to climb out and catch his victims in the darkness. Here you can see shots from the Rijksmuseum, the City Hall at the Waterlooplein and more.

If you want a more Hollywood production then the right film for you is Oceans Twelve from 2004 where the group of stars made up by George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon pull of a major theft. You can see scenes from Koningsplein and also the Kalverstraat in this film. If you want to see it you can buy it at Amazon Instant Video. For more information about how you can watch Amazon Instant Videos from abroad, read this article.

One more film is Amsterdam Heavy. It looks really bad in the trailer (you can see it beneath), but if you feel like watching it, then you can do so as well.

King’s Day 2015

Kings DayThe King’s Day in Amsterdam is one of the most popular events in the life of the city and in Holland as well. The annual King’s Day also known as Koningsdag is held every year on the 27th April.

Each year on this special day the whole country and especially Amsterdam celebrates the king’s birthday and on this occasion multiple various programs, events and other fun activities are waiting for everyone on the streets, parks and canals of Amsterdam. On this day the city hosts several programs from street markets and children’s activities to different parties. As the King’s Day is a public holiday lots of parties will take place on the streets of Amsterdam and on the various public squares in the city DJs will take care of the good mood. Each house in the city, the streets and the canals will be all decorated to honour this day.

The King’s Day in Amsterdam takes place on 27th April in 2015. The entrance to the festival is free for every visitors.

If you want to know more details on what is happening in Amsterdam, visit the following article.