Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands, is a very special city with lots of hidden gems. The first time you visit the city you have to see the most important sights and art galleries and world-class museums.

But after that, it’s time to explore the non-touristy things.

To make sure I don’t miss the top ones off the beaten path, I’ve asked Amsterdam expert, Valentina Djordjevic from Valentina’s Destinations, to give us her list of hidden gems, secret places, and lesser-known attractions in one of her favorite cities.

Looking for more than just your average Amsterdam tourist attractions? You’re in the right place! We’ll show you our favorite hidden gems in Amsterdam. Ditch the crowds & explore Amsterdam like a local.


Diamond Factory

Amsterdam has always had a rich history in diamonds (no pun intended)! During the 17th century, Amsterdam was called “The City of Diamonds.”

Amsterdam’s diamond industry was substantially reduced after WWII. Although, a few legendary companies remain. This is one of the hidden gems in Amsterdam (pun intended).

Exterior of Coster Diamonds in Amsterdam - One of the Hidden Gems in Amsterdam
Coster Diamond House

Royal Coster Diamonds is the oldest Dutch diamond polishing company that’s still in operation today near the city center.

They famously fashioned diamonds for Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria, King Willem III of the Netherlands and King Rama V of Siam.

Coster offers a special €12.50 tour called “The Royal Experience” where you can learn more about the royal families from around the world that bought Coster Diamonds.

Royal Coster Diamonds also offers a free tour of its diamond polishing factory. You’ll learn more about where diamonds come from, how diamonds are evaluated and how they are refined.

Also, you’ll get to visit their spectacular collection of unset diamonds. Finally, you’ll be privy to some tax-free shopping.

Reserve your spot online today! It is worth visiting, a great place to learn about Amsterdam’s history and one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

Cat Boat

This is one of the hidden gems of Amsterdam’s for cat lovers. The “Cat Boat” is literally a floating sanctuary for feline friends.

Catboat was originally started by a concerned citizen who wanted to take care of a mother cat and her kittens. It’s since blossomed into an official charity. Up to 50 cats can live on Cat Boat at one time, and 14 of them are permanent residents.

We passed by the Cat Boat on our canal cruise of Amsterdam. It’s located on the Singel Canal just south of Brouwersgracht Canal. You can also visit the Cat Boat in person and on foot. It’s open to visitors 1 to 3 pm on most days.

Find Cat Boat and other Amsterdam attractions on this Amsterdam Sightseeing Map.

Tiny Hidden Houses

The tiny hidden houses are one of the lesser-known hidden gems of Amsterdam. It’s quite an unusual find! On Westerstraat, just west of Eerste Boomdwarsstrat is where you’ll find them.

You’ll notice that on the north side of Westerstraat, the addresses skip from 54 to 70. What happened to all the missing numbers? Look closely at the space between the two buildings, and you’ll find seven tiny houses.

In the past, there was a door to a courtyard where actual houses once stood. After many renovations, the courtyard was removed and land consolidated.

These tiny houses were an advertising company’s solution to the mishap of the nonsensical numbers.

The Brewery Windmill

Windmill in Amsterdam
The Brewery Windmill

Most Amsterdam tourists visit the Heineken Brewery. Heineken is one of Europe’s most popular beers with strong Dutch roots, especially to the city of Amsterdam.

They offer a reasonably affordable tour of their brewery that includes two beers.

However, there’s another incredible Amsterdam Brewery that barely gets any attention at all —Brouwerij ‘t IJ.

This brewery is especially Dutch because it offers scenic windmill views right from their outdoor taproom–not just any windmill views, but a view of De Gooyer (this is the windmill’s name). How cute is it that the windmill has a name?

De Gooyer is Amsterdam’s biggest wooden windmill! While this massive windmill sits adjacent to the brewery, it bears no other connection to the brewery besides location.

It certainly gives Brouwerij ‘t IJ an element of Dutch charm and makes it one of the hidden gems of Amsterdam.

Where to stay in Amsterdam

Brouwerij ‘t IJ also offers brewery tours. It’s a very short but fun tour. It’s also cheaper and shorter than the Heineken tour, so it might be a good option for those who don’t have all day. This is also a perfect Amsterdam couples activity!

Our Lord in the Attic Museum

Our Lord in the Attic Museum in Amsterdam
Museum Façade

Our Lord in the Attic has become a nickname for a secret Catholic church. It’s tucked away in one of Amsterdam’s canal houses.

The museum displays the uniquely preserved 17th-century canal home and church. You’ll see some original decor and relics from the famous Dutch Golden Age.

The church in the attic of this canal home was kept secret during the Protestant Reformation. It’s a symbol of Holland’s longstanding history for religious tolerance.

At that time, Catholics were prohibited to celebrate mass. However, the authorities allowed practice as long as it was done privately. It was essentially “decriminalized” like marijuana use is today.


Prinseneland - A Hidden Gem in Amsterdam

You can get to Prinseneiland in about 25 minutes walking from Dam Square. Prinseneiland is known as a tiny and charming island community, regarded for its local vibes and tourist-free streets.

Once you get to Prinseneiland, you’ll notice a scenic bridge and many quaint homes with dramatic red shutters. Walk around this quiet artist neighborhood to get a good feel for one of the hidden gems of Amsterdam.

Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple

Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple Exterior - One of the Hidden Gems in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s Chinatown might itself be a hidden gem. If you’re walking aimlessly through the Red Light district, you might even miss this! Take the time to find the He Hua Buddhist temple.

It’s the largest Buddhist temple in Europe, and it serves an important religious and cultural purpose. You’ll notice it’s nestled in Amsterdam’s little Chinatown.

The He Hua Temple is free for all to visit. There are two types of free guided tours offered on Saturdays. The first includes an introduction to Buddhism and an overview of the temple’s symbolic features.

The second type of tour includes a guided meditation.

There are also unique cultural experiences offered at the temple. That includes Chinese Dharma courses and calligraphy workshops.

He Hua means lotus flower. It is a symbol of enlightenment in Buddhist culture. However, He can also be found in Helen meaning Holland. Therefore, He Hue has a second meaning, the “Dutch flower in Buddhism.”

The Cuypers Library at Rijksmuseum

Interior of the Cuypers Library at Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum isn’t exactly a hidden gem! It’s one of the most visited museums in Amsterdam, if not the world. 

It’s a big museum and it might be easy to miss the Cuypers Library, a unique treasure inside.

The Cuypers Library is one of the best-hidden gems in Amsterdam. It’s a journey into another time –immense, historic and awe-inspiring. It holds the largest and oldest collections of art history texts in the Netherlands.

You can find the Cuypers Library just off of the 1.13 section in Rijksmuseum.

De Pijp neighbourhood

Nestled south of Amsterdam’s city centre lies the De Pijp district.

This delightful neighbourhood remains one of the hidden gems of Amsterdam providing an atmosphere away from the bustling tourist crowds along the main canals.

With a history dating back to the 1800s, De Pijp was initially constructed as an area for workers and immigrants during Amsterdam’s rapid expansion.

Today it has become a part of the city often referred to as Amsterdam’s “Latin Quarter.”

The area has a young, artsy vibe with colourful buildings, cosy cafés, unique shops, and many immigrant-owned restaurants.

Some of the best things to do in De Pijp include simply wandering its narrow streets and soaking up the atmosphere.

Be sure to weave through the Albert Cuyp market, Amsterdam’s largest and busiest street bazaar.

An artsy shop in the De Pijp neighborhood.
An artsy shop in the De Pijp neighborhood.

On Albert Cuypstraat, vendors sell everything from fresh flowers to spices, fabrics, and Dutch snacks.

The Heineken Experience is also located on the edge of De Pijp, where visitors can tour the original brewery and taste the iconic beer. 

But the real charm of De Pijp lies in its small neighbourhood joints like authentic brown cafés, trendy concept stores, and tiny speciality shops.

With its culture and character, De Pijp offers a perfect peek into daily life in Amsterdam away from the main tourist sights.


A hidden place in the heart of Amsterdam’s canal belt is the serene Begijnhof, one of the city’s most charming secret spots.

Dating back to the 14th century, this secluded courtyard was initially built to house the Beguine nuns, a Catholic sisterhood devoted to serving the poor.

Today, the Begijnhof remains an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the bustling city centre.

As you step through the unassuming wooden door off Spui Street, you’ll feel transported back in time.

The Begijnhof contains Amsterdam’s oldest remaining non-religious buildings, tiny houses also referred to as mini houses, with lining two courtyards surrounded by gardens.

A building in Begijnhof

Make sure to visit the hidden Catholic church, an atmospheric building from 1665 where the Beguines used to worship in secret.

There is also a small sculpture garden with a figure of one of the Begijns.

Sitting on a bench is worth soaking up the beauty of this special part of Amsterdam’s rich history.

With its Middle Age character and magical atmosphere, the Begijnhof is one of Amsterdam’s most delightful hidden gems.

This secret sanctuary is the perfect place to take a quiet break from the busier city centre streets.

Electric Ladyland Museum

Tucked away in Amsterdam’s charming Jordaan neighbourhood is the tiny yet trippy Electric Ladyland Museum, one of the city’s unique hidden gems.

Dedicated to the art of fluorescence, this quirky museum offers an out-of-this-world experience like no other attraction in the Dutch capital.

Stepping inside the Electric Ladyland feels like entering a psychedelic wonderland. Under the ultraviolet lighting, the gallery space glows with mind-bending neon artworks.

Local artist and founder Nick Padalino converted his fluorescent-painted house into a public museum in 1999 to showcase this lesser-known art form.

The vivid colours vibrate under the black light, and invisible details emerge under standard lighting.

Every room houses Padalino’s trippy installations and UV paintings, sculptures and objects by various artists.

It’s a small museum but makes a big impression, genuinely delighting the senses.

Nestled on the tranquil Prinsengracht canal, the Electric Ladyland provides a one-of-a-kind escape from Amsterdam’s main tourist sights.

This hidden gem is a must-visit off-the-beaten-path attraction for anyone looking to discover the city’s quirkier side. Don’t miss the chance to enter this eye-popping fluorescent wonderland on your next visit to the Dutch capital.

Rembrandt House Museum

Tucked away on the tranquil Jordaan canal is the former home of one of the Netherlands’ most renowned painters, Rembrandt van Rijn.

The 17th-century Rembrandt House Museum provides a remarkable glimpse into the Dutch Golden Age and the life of this old master.

Stepping inside the canal house that was Rembrandt’s residence for over 20 years feels like stepping back in time.

The historic rooms are furnished in original Dutch furnishings, offering an intimate look at Rembrandt’s everyday life.

Visitors can see the studio where he produced many renowned works, flooded with natural light perfect for painting.

The museum displays a collection of Rembrandt’s sketches, etchings and printing plates, providing incredible insight into his artistic process and technical mastery.

The diverse assemblage of portraits, landscapes and biblical scenes showcases the range of this prolific painter’s talents.

Immersing oneself in Rembrandt’s world here gives deeper meaning to his iconic paintings in Amsterdam’s top art museums.

For art and history buffs alike, the Rembrandt House Museum is one of Amsterdam’s finest off-the-beaten-path attractions.

This hidden gem provides a uniquely personal look at one of the most renowned figures of the Dutch Golden Age, a perfect place to gain insight into the artist’s world.

It’s the perfect spot to escape the crowds and gain inspiring insight into Rembrandt’s art and legacy.

After being transported back to Rembrandt’s time, visitors can head upstairs to view an impressive collection of over 250 of Rembrandt’s etchings.

This assemblage provides captivating insight into Rembrandt’s skills as a prolific printmaker.

The diverse subjects he captured showcase his mastery of portraiture, along with imaginative biblical narratives and detailed landscapes.

Examining the etchings up close, one can appreciate Rembrandt’s meticulous technique and signature use of lighting and shadows to create almost photographic effects.

It’s fascinating to see partially finished copper plates and printing tools to understand the intricate printmaking process behind these detailed works.

Seeing Rembrandt’s studio, living spaces, and expansive etching collection in one place provides a comprehensive look at the environment that shaped this renowned Dutch Golden Age artist.

The Rembrandt House Museum offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse oneself in the world of one of history’s most revered painters and printmakers.


Floating on the Singel Canal right in Amsterdam’s city centre is the colourful Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market.

Strolling along this bustling flower bazaar, you can shop for tulip bulbs and cut flowers from boats bobbing on the canal.

Vibrant blossoms spill onto the walkways, filling the air with floral scents. You can find common and rare bulbs, including tulips of every colour, that you can take home as a unique souvenir.

Shops also sell houseplants, garden tools, wooden clogs, and other Dutch souvenirs catering to tourists and locals alike.

The market’s history stretches back to 1862 when flower sellers first shopped on the Singel canal boats.

Today this photogenic spot has become an iconic Amsterdam scene, incredibly stunning in spring when tulips and hyacinths bloom.

Flowers in Amsterdam's Bloemenmarkt

While the Bloemenmarkt is firmly planted on the tourist trail, it’s still a worthwhile stop to experience floating flower shopping – a concept you won’t find anywhere else in the world!

Breathing in the fragrant air feels like a botanical escape in Amsterdam’s bustling city centre.

Beyond tulips, the Bloemenmarkt features cut flowers and houseplants worldwide, thanks to Amsterdam’s historical prominence as an international trading hub.

You’ll find exotic orchids, anthuriums, and rare tropical varieties alongside Dutch classics like cheery gerbera daisies.

Visiting the market’s shops along the Singel Canal feels like stepping into little greenhouses with a sweet fragrance wafting through the air.

Florists are happy to answer questions and provide care tips to ensure your floral purchases thrive once home. You can also pick up pre-potted bulbs to grow a taste of Dutch spring in your garden.

The Bloemenmarkt is at its most postcard-perfect in April and May when countless vibrant tulips in every colour are displayed.

You can also take a canal tour to appreciate Bloemenmarkt from the water, but no matter when you visit, this unique floating flower market is a scenic spot to savour a bit of beauty and still life in the midst of Amsterdam’s lively city centre.

Watch for photographers snapping shots of the picture-perfect flower stall scenes.

Museum Van Loon

Step back into the lavish world of Amsterdam’s elite in the 17th century at Museum Van Loon, located in a historic canal house along Prinsengracht.

This hidden gem provides an intimate glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of a wealthy Dutch family during the city’s prosperous Golden Age.

As you wander through the beautifully preserved rooms filled with paintings, furniture and objects d’art, it feels as if the Van Loon family has just stepped out.

Elegant living areas give way to a formal dining room for entertaining. Delft blue tiles line the kitchen hearth where servants prepare meals.

Opulent bedrooms have been decorated in the style of various family members.

The building itself encapsulates the Golden Age with its ornate facade, 17th-century centuries interior details like ceilings painted by Dutch masters, and an atmospheric rear garden.

The Van Loons were a prominent family who accumulated great wealth as merchants, co-founding the Dutch East India Company.

Their lavish canal house was the setting for society gatherings when Amsterdam was an important hub of world trade.

While the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum house Dutch masterworks, Museum Van Loon provides a more intimate portrait of elite life back in Amsterdam’s heyday.

Wandering its rooms offers a vivid glimpse through the eyes of a regal family who lived here centuries ago.

It’s one of Amsterdam’s most atmospheric and transportive museums away from the tourist crowds.


Just north of Amsterdam’s city centre lies the vibrant cultural park Westergasfabriek, a former gasworks transformed into one of the city’s hottest creative hubs.

As you wander through the repurposed industrial buildings, you’ll find a dynamic mix of restaurants, bars, exhibits, small shops and event spaces unlike anywhere else in Amsterdam.

The coal gas plant operated from 1885 to 1967 as part of the imperial Dutch gas industry.

After closing, it sat abandoned for years before the Dutch government renovated the red brick structures in the early 2000s.

Today, Westergasfabriek has been reborn as a bustling destination for locals and visitors alike.

One of the best ways to experience this unique urban park is to explore its pedestrian walkways while soaking up the post-industrial vibe.

Pop into the various independent shops and art galleries in the old factory spaces.

There’s always something new to discover, like works by up-and-coming creators at PiiiL gallery or handmade Dutch crafts at Neef Louis Design.

Don’t miss the action at the spacious outdoor courtyard filled with bars, food stalls, and event spaces.

On Sundays, explore the bustling Westergasfabriek market with everything from the flea market, fresh oysters to vintage clothes and antiques.

Live music, plays, and film screenings regularly occur in the former machine halls.

Westergasfabriek is one of those multi-faceted venues that locals love and visitors often miss, tucked away from Amsterdam’s main tourist arteries.

Come here to eat, shop, wander, people watch, or just soak up the lively atmosphere in a historical industrial setting.

It’s the perfect spot to experience Amsterdam’s vibrant creative scene. It also host special events like markets and concerts.

Cheese Museum

For a uniquely Dutch experience in Amsterdam, visit the Cheese Museum, dedicated to the nation’s favourite food – cheese!

This charming little museum in the heart of the city centre brings the history and craftsmanship of cheesemaking to life.

As you explore the exhibits, you’ll learn how cheese has been produced in the Netherlands for centuries.

Historic tools, moulds, cheese carriers and other artefacts illustrate traditional production methods. Fun displays trace the evolution of cheese shops over the years.

You can even view live demonstrations of how raw milk transforms into rounds of gouda.

One of the highlights is peering into the museum’s viewing windows to see cheesemakers crafting wheels of edam and gouda just as they have for generations.

Balls of cheese at the cheese museum

You’ll learn how flavours develop based on the cattle’s diet and the ageing process. Friendly experts are on hand to answer all your cheese-related questions.

After learning about Dutch cheese history, visitors can sample a scrumptious selection of local cheeses in the tasting room. Savour everything from aged goat cheeses to peppery Leyden to the creamy Netherlands icon – Gouda.

There are always rare and seasonal varieties to try as well. It’s a cheese lover’s dream!

The Cheese Museum offers an immersive experience that lets you understand Amsterdam’s deliciously cheesy side.

Located off the main tourist trail in a quaint 16th-century building, it’s one of the city’s unique hidden gems.

For anyone looking to dive into Dutch culture and cuisine, learning the history and craft behind one of the country’s tastiest traditions is not to be skipped!

Cline Museum

Tucked away on the Lijnbaansgracht canal, the Cline Museum is one of the quirkiest hidden gems in Amsterdam.

Housed in an aristocratic mansion from 1660, this private residence turned quirky museum displays an eccentric collection of rare books, paintings, globes, and oddities from the past centuries.

As you explore the historic rooms, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into a cabinet of curiosities from Amsterdam’s early days as a powerful trading hub.

The museum was founded by eccentric collector Louis Cline who acquired artefacts, artworks, and objects mainly from the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age.

Walking through the salons filled with still-life paintings and marble busts, you’ll gain insight into what intrigued and inspired the Amsterdam elite centuries ago.

Rare globes and maps illustrate Dutch navigation and the world as it was charted back then. Anatomical drawings and celestial charts reveal early scientific pursuits.

The diverse artefacts include oddities like turtle shells embellished in silver and nautilus cups to highlight the exotic treasures Dutch traders encountered abroad.

Delftware, clocks, jewellery boxes and classical sculptures round out the diverse collection.

With its mishmash of rare books, paintings, oddities and decorative arts, the Cline Museum offers a window into what captivated and motivated Amsterdam’s inhabitants during the city’s illustrious past.

It makes for an intriguing and educational stop for history buffs that get you away from the standard museum circuit.

If you are looking to experience Amsterdam beyond the crowded canal cruises and Van Gogh selfies?

Venture into some of the city’s favorite hidden gems for a more authentic taste of local culture. These are some of the most delightfully non-touristy things worth visiting in Amsterdam.

Wander the vibrant De Pijp neighborhood for a lively scene away from the tourist masses.

Find serenity amidst Begijnhof’s mini houses and gardens dating back to the Middle Ages.

View mind-bending fluorescent art installations at the one-of-a-kind Electric Ladyland Museum.

Trace Rembrandt’s footsteps through the 17th century canal home where he lived and worked.

And peruse blooms and bulbs floating on the scenic Singel canal at the Bloemenmarkt flower market.

Amsterdam rewards those who take the path less traveled. By stepping into these hidden treasures, you’ll experience the city far from the crowds, like a local.

For non-touristy activities and quintessential Dutch charm, be sure to explore Amsterdam’s favorite hidden gems on your next visit.

Honorable mention goes to the Muiderslot Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A bike in an Amsterdam street
A bike in an Amsterdam street

Amsterdam’s hidden gems are wonderful discoveries!  Learn more about this fascinating city with these handy reference and history books.

To learn more about European cities with hidden gems, check out Barcelona and Madrid.

Is Amsterdam on your bucket list?

A Street in Amsterdam with bikes and a windmill

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This blog was created to inspire your travels and to explore experiences in fascinating locations. What you will find are thoughts on how to immerse yourself in local culture, food, history and people. On your way to these adventures I hope to provide you with useful information to help you get there. Come see the world with me!

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