Updated: May 24
Amsterdam has changed a lot over the years. But it has always remained near the top of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. This is largely thanks to the fact that it’s a city with an incredible number of well-known, beloved attractions and activities.
Many of these attractions and activities were covered in our post on how to spend ‘72 Hours In Amsterdam’. Travellers visit the Rijksmuseum, stay at the Lloyd Hotel, enjoy decadent brunches, tour the flower markets, and of course, hit the Red Light District. Alongside these popular hits though, Amsterdam is also home to a lot of quirky or lesser-known activities that you might end up enjoying just as much as the classics. To that point, we want to highlight a few fun things you may never have considered doing in Amsterdam. 1. Fish for Plastic You’ve heard all about Amsterdam’s famous canal network, and you’ve likely seen beautiful pictures of boats crisscrossing these canals. Indeed, if you’re planning a trip to this one-of-a-kind city, you’ve probably daydreamed of being on one of those boats. But what if while you were on one of those boats, you were also fishing? And what if the fishing was for plastic, in an effort to clean up the waterways? This may sound bizarre, but it actually represents a very real attraction in Amsterdam these days. It’s called the Plastic Whale, and a write-up at The National News describes it as a way of “cleaning up Amsterdam’s canals through Eco-fishing.” Basically, tourists (and locals for that matter) are taken out in a boat with nets to quite literally fish for plastic. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the fun of the canals and the beauty of the surroundings while doing something good for the city.
2. Learn Pottery It’s quite possible that you’ve never once thought about learning pottery before. But this isn’t as rare a hobby as you may think! There are pottery classes available today in cities and even at universities all around the world. And going by a Poker.org article on famous actors’ hobbies, there are even some A-list Hollywood stars who count pottery as a regular hobby — Brad Pitt, most notably! The actor is apparently so interested in this artistic hobby that he now has his own kiln, which he got Leonardo DiCaprio to try during the shooting of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. At any rate, you can certainly count Amsterdam as one of the aforementioned cities where pottery classes are available. And there’s just something nice about seizing the opportunity to try it out in the middle of a city that’s so widely recognised for its art and museums. Look to Amsterdam Ceramics Centre or Ceramics Studio for a class and you may just develop a new beloved hobby. 3. Go on a Friday Night Skate You’re probably well aware of Amsterdam’s reputation for bicycles. Locals bike about constantly whenever the weather allows for it; minor bike accidents are entirely normal; and at this point the city’s bike-sharing program is the envy of many other developed cities in Europe and around the world. Seemingly everyone who visits the city wants to spend some time cycling about. Several years back, Hello! Magazine even posted about Beyoncé, Jay Z, and their daughter Blue Ivy getting in on the action! In short, there probably isn’t an association between a physical activity and a particular city anywhere in the world quite like cycling and Amsterdam. But here’s the secret: They go skating too! Every Friday night, a full-fledged crowd of locals (and tourists) gather near the Vondelpark in the evening and simply take off skating for multiple hours. It’s a bizarre but lovely cultural event, and one that’s a lot of fun for visitors to take part in.
4. Taste the Cheeses Finally, you’ve heard about the waffles, the pies, the weed, and the beer. You may have honed in on some other sweet treats and local delicacies to seek out as well. But when it comes to eating, drinking, and otherwise indulging in Amsterdam, don’t overlook the cheese! It’s one of the better cheese cities in Europe (which is saying something), and a tasting should absolutely be on your agenda. There’s an excellent, detailed write-up of some of your tasting experience options at Travelmag.com, and it’s worth a look. But let us save you the trouble of singling out the best option: It’s the Reypenaer tasting room. You’ll taste incredible cheese, you’ll learn a little bit about it as you go, and you can have a bit of wine if you like. And at the end, of course, you get some of that incredible cheese to take home! The real truth is that Amsterdam is simply bursting with fun things to do. Whether or not you opt to explore these specific recommendations though, do try to look beyond the most common recommendations. There’s no end to the hidden gems in this city.
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