Which are the best programs for tourists in Amsterdam in May?

So you are planning a trip to Amsterdam in May? Which are the coolest and best activities for tourists coming to visit the city in the last month of spring? There are lots of places worth visiting, and you should be prepared for frequent occasional showers, so you better put both indoor and outdoor activities on your list. Here we will give you a few recommendations for awesome activities in Amsterdam in May.

Once again, Amsterdam has very unstable weather, and there are almost never a week passing by without rain showers a couple of times. But, the best advice is still to look at the weather forecast before you come to get an estimate about what kind of weather you can expect. And even though it is raining quite a lot, it is still fantastic to know that when it isn’t raining in May, Amsterdam is a city with temperatures between 15 and 25 Celsius, making it fantastic for those who want to be outdoor and explore the city.

Now that you have some basic information, let us give you some recommendations for great programs in Amsterdam in May!

Fantastic May activities in and around Amsterdam.

Learn more about Dutch culture at Zaanse Schans.

It is strange to think about it, but a large part of the Netherlands is below the sea-level. As a result, the country is built on piles. An important part in protecting the country against the water was building dams (thereof Amster-dam), and then to use wind-mills, or water-mills, to protect the land and to send the water back to where it came from so that the soil could be used for agriculture or building houses. If you travel to Zaanse Schans which is just outside Amsterdam you can see mills and walk around inside of them, you can see how they make the typical Dutch clogs, and you can even visit a cheese-farm. In other words, a perfect place to visit for tourists who want to learn more about the Dutch culture.

Explore the city on a bicycle (only if you have experience)!

For someone visiting Amsterdam and the Netherlands for the first time it feels extreme to see thousands of bikes parked next to one another next to the big railway stations and elsewhere in the bigger cities. The Dutch people love their bikes, and as a result, it is a biker-friendly country. That is why you will find lots of places where you can rent a bike in the city of Amsterdam, which means that you can later explore the city on your own. There are few activities nicer than a bicycle trip around the canals and through the parks of Amsterdam on a nice day in May.

But, you should also be warned… the people of Amsterdam, the tram-drivers, and the cars, are used to the fact that Dutch people know how to behave in traffic with bicycles. If you come with no experience and little practice, it can actually be dangerous to travel around Amsterdam on a bicycle, because you are way more likely to make a mistake than the experienced locals. In other words, be careful, practice a little bit before you arrive to Amsterdam, and maybe join a guided tour on bicycle in Amsterdam as the local guide will help you get a good start and get used to the traffic before you go out to explore the city on your own.

Which museums do you want to visit?

It is raining, the wind is blowing, and you are looking for an indoor program. Which museum should you visit? Amsterdam has more museums per inhabitant than any other city in Europe, so you have a lot to choose from, but which is the right place to go for you and those you are traveling with?

Do you travel with kids who want to experience and see something fun? “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” is a museum in which you can see very strange objects, some real, others totally made up. What you see will amuse you and make you stand in awe and maybe even laugh. A great place to go for families on a rainy day in May in Amsterdam.

What if you want to educate yourself on the topic of the history of Amsterdam? You have already studied and learnt about the wind-mills of the Netherlands, now it is time for some more general history. You should visit the “Amsterdam Museum“. Here you can learn about how the city evolved into the capital of the fantastic country, and also about the history of the Dutch colonies.

Would you like to learn more about the sex industry in Amsterdam? How did it all start? Why did it become legal to work as a prostitute in Amsterdam? What is life like as a prostitute in Amsterdam? You can learn much more about these and other topics in the “Sexmuseum Amsterdam” and also in the “Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.

Most people who come to Amsterdam comes with the Van Gogh Museum or the Anne Frank House in mind. Those are great places to go, but do not forget to buy your tickets in advance, because it is almost impossible to buy tickets directly, especially for the Anne Frank House.

Keukenhof is a must!

Have you read our article about what you should do in Amsterdam in April? One of the most important places to go in April is to Keukenhof, the beautiful garden with millions of flowers blooming at that time of the year. We have some more good news for you! Keukenhof is normally open in the first weeks of May as well, so if you come in the start of May, find out if Keukenhof is open and if it is, buy your tickets and join a trip to the park as soon as possible.

Keukenhof is only open for approximately 2 months in total per year, so your chances of visiting the place is limited. As a result, you should definitely visit Keukenhof if you are lucky enough to visit Amsterdam and the Netherlands during the time of the year in which it is possible to visit this area.

keukenhof day-trip from Amsterdam

If you decide to rent a car, then the travel time from Amsterdam to Keukenhof by car is about 45 minutes.

Check out our calendar to find out about concerts, exhibitions, or other temporary programs in Amsterdam!

There are lots of concerts in Amsterdam all year around. It is hard to feature those in an article with general information and advice about what to do in Amsterdam in May. So, instead of trying to write about those here, we’d rather recommend that you look at our article about “what’s happening in Amsterdam” to find out more about upcoming temporary programs such as concerts, running competitions, exhibitions, sports events, and other things going on.

These are some thoughts and ideas for awesome programs in Amsterdam in May. But, do not forget that we could have written about lots of other programs as well. No matter when you come to Amsterdam, it is recommended to buy tickets for a canal cruise of some sort. Maybe you should go on a normal sightseeing trip, or you can buy tickets for a cheese and wine tasting trip on the canals of Amsterdam, or maybe a pizza trip?

The fantastic museums of Amsterdam are worth visiting all year around, and the most famous of them all is Rijksmuseum. Here you have the biggest collection of Dutch painters, but also lots of international artists featured. If you want a smaller museums, then the Rembrandt House is a gem you will be happy to take a closer look at.

All in all, Amsterdam is a fantastic city and you have a lot to look forward to.

If you have further comments, questions, or ideas, write them in the comment field below!

Seven Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a destination that attracts millions of visitors each year. From its picturesque canals and historic architecture to its liberal atmosphere and cultural treasures, Amsterdam offers a unique and unforgettable experience. However, tourists can make some common mistakes. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, here are seven mistakes you shouldn’t make in Amsterdam.

Seven mistakes you shouldn’t make in Amsterdam

Ignoring Bicycle Etiquette.

Amsterdam is renowned for being a bike-friendly city, and you’ll quickly notice that locals rely heavily on their bicycles to get around. As a visitor, it’s essential to respect bicycle lanes and signals, as they have the right of way. Avoid walking in the designated bike paths and be cautious when crossing the roads. Familiarize yourself with bicycle hand signals to understand the cyclists’ intentions and prevent accidents.

If you ever drive a car, it is also imperative to always pay attention to the bicycles surrounding you, as they often show up next to your car without much warning.

bicycles amsterdam

Many tourists rent a bicycle themselves. That is awesome, but pay close attention to the traffic, especially trams, as you use your bicycle in Amsterdam. Another important thing is to park your bicycle only where it is allowed. There are dedicated areas where you can park your bike and many locations where you cannot leave your bike. If you still park your bicycle in such a location, it will quickly be removed and you will need to spend a lot of time and pay a certain fee to have it returned.

Underestimating Walking Distances.

While Amsterdam is relatively compact and walkable, some travelers may need to pay more attention to the distances between attractions. The best way to explore Amsterdam is on foot as you will see lots of details impossible to discover from canal boats, cars, or as you ride a bike.

Even though Amsterdam might look small on the map, the distances are still worth considering. If you live near Amsterdam Centraal (the railway station), you must walk 3km to reach the famous Van Gogh Museum at the Museumplein. If you’d rather visit the zoo (Artis Zoo), the distance between the railway station and the zoo is 2km.

van gogh museum
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

What is the conclusion? Bring good shoes, and if you worry about the distances, consider buying a day pass for public transportation or renting a bike instead.

Don’t be rude. Behave nicely!

Politeness and good manners are highly regarded in Dutch culture. Always greet locals with a friendly “Hallo” or “Goedemorgen” (good morning) and thank them with a “Dank je wel” (thank you) after receiving assistance. Being courteous will undoubtedly create a more positive experience during your visit.

Nobody expects you to learn Dutch, but learning a few words will make life so much easier, and you will make a good impression on the locals.

You can read more about it further down in this article, but a part of following the Dutch manners also deals with behaving nicely in the street and trying to make life for locals as quiet and peaceful as possible.

Disregarding Cannabis Laws.

Amsterdam is famous for its coffee shops, where you can legally purchase and consume cannabis products. However, remember that some rules and regulations apply.

For instance, you must be 18 or older to enter a coffee shop and consume Cannabis in designated areas only. Public smoking of Cannabis is illegal and can lead to fines, so be mindful of where you’re allowed to partake.

cannabis plant
Source: Pixabay

In other words, don’t expect to see people smoking Cannabis on every corner of the city. That is not what you will see because smoking on the street is illegal, meaning you shouldn’t do it, nor should anyone else.

Don’t expect Wild Parties Everywhere.

Amsterdam has a reputation of being a party city. It is partly true, but the town itself is fighting this reputation. Why is that?

Amsterdam has for years struggled with tourists causing more harm than good. Many tourists come to the Dutch capital to party. As a result, they drink a lot of beer, smoke Marihuana, and sometimes combine it with other drugs. Ultimately, they are stoned and in no control of their behavior. The story often ends up causing harm to the interior of restaurants and bars or with visits to hospitals nearby.

Not only is it destructive for the economy and the city, but it disturbs the locals who want to have tourism banned from the city due to crowds of tourists behaving in this manner.

Amsterdam is trying to protect the locals from the extreme behavior of tourists. If you behave nicely, the city will more likely welcome you with open arms in the future!

Behave with respect in the Red Light District.

People come to Amsterdam with very different imaginations about the Red Light District. No matter what you expect, behaving with respect as you walk in the area is important. First of all, the Red Light District is not all of Amsterdam, but instead certain areas in the center of Amsterdam. You can easily end up walking around the Red Light District without looking for it. No matter how you end up in the Red Light District, here are some mistakes you shouldn’t make while walking around the area.

  1. The people working in the Red Light District is doing so legally. Just like you expect to be treated with respect for your job, these people deserve your respect (and not disgust or condemnation).
  2. Don’t take photographs of people working in the area, nor of the windows where girls offer their services, without permission.
  3. Even though it is a party area, you should walk the streets quietly, respecting the locals and the people working there.
  4. Don’t be tricked into scams. People try to fool tourists everywhere, including in the Red Light District. At the same time, watch out for your belonging and your own safety, especially at night.

Would you like to learn more about the Red Light District? Many walking tours give you insight, tips, and information you will not find elsewhere. You can read more about different Red Light District tours here.

red light secrets
Red Light Secrets – A museum about prostitution in the Red Light District.

Plan your trip, and book your tickets beforehand!

Amsterdam is a city full of cultural delights. Take the time to visit museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Anne Frank House. Attend a classical concert at the Concertgebouw or experience contemporary art at the Stedelijk Museum. But, do not forget to plan ahead!

The Anne Frank House is one of the most popular places to visit in Amsterdam. Many people plan to visit the museum/house, only to discover that no tickets are available.

If you don’t really care about whether or not you can visit a museum or exhibition, then you don’t need to pay attention to this. But, if an essential part of your stay is a visit to the Anne Frank House, a guided tour to a special location, or a temporary exhibition in the Rijksmuseum, you should definitely do your planning and buy your tickets in advance.

Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House

No tickets left for the Anne Frank House during your stay? Do you want to learn more about the girl, the neighborhood, and about the destiny of thousands of Jews in Amsterdam during the Second World War? Several tours are available dealing with Anne Frank and the Jewish history in Amsterdam. You can read more about Anne Frank-related tours in Amsterdam here.

In conclusion, Amsterdam is a city of surprises, and avoiding these common mistakes will help you make the most of your time in this captivating destination. By respecting local customs, being mindful of your surroundings, and embracing the cultural experiences available, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, research, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam the most bicycle friendly city in the world

If you have ever been to Amsterdam you have for sure noticed all the bicycles around. They are everywhere, parked on the most strange places. As you walk around you need to watch out not to crash with any of them, and you might have joined in on a guided tour using bicycle if you have been on a guided tour in Amsterdam. They are everywhere, and the city does a lot to make it easy to use the bicycle to get around. Exactly therefore Amsterdam was recently awarded as the “Most Bicycle Friendly city in the World” by the Copenhagenize Index.

If you want to read more about the criterias and the entire contest, check out this page.