5 Unique Things to Do In Amsterdam

Everyone knows the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, Heineken, Adam Tower and the Hop On Hop Off tours. During my last month in here, I wanted to experience something unusual, something that would make the experience in Amsterdam more immersive.

1. Kayaking in Amsterdamse Bos

Have you ever thought of Amsterdam as an outdoor destination? Well me neither before I found out the big green area in the south of the city. The huge forest is full of different kinds of activities for children and adults – running, zip-lines, stand-up paddling, swimming, kayaking and many more. The activity that caught my eye was kayaking!

The first time I tried kayaking was in Thailand, so I had some doubts how it would be in a city holiday destination, I mean kayaking is not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Amsterdam, but it was definitely worth it. There are 3 different kayak routes you can take around the forest. The route I chose was 1,5 hours and very relaxing – I didn’t have to exert myself at all, instead I could smoothly go forward and enjoy the quietness and green surroundings.

2. Plastic Fishing

How to combine helping the environment and getting the most out of the extra-ordinary canals of Amsterdam? Try the Plastic Fishing from Plastic Whale!

Plastic Fishing was my third canal cruising experience and for sure the best one! It starts from the Westerkerk with an introduction (I missed it though, because I was late, so I recommend being on time!). After you are provided with the nets and the plastic picking adventure begins!

It was surprising and shocking how much we actually pulled out of the water: dozens of full and empty beer cans, cups, glasses, a lot of condoms, packages of food and tons of plastic waste. From the plastic we collect, Plastic Whale creates furniture – which is pretty amazing.

While helping Amsterdam to stay clean, I had the chance to do sightseeing, learn about the surroundings and see the beautiful canal area!

“–The more people join, the more positive impact we create –”

3. Electric Ladyland

Amsterdam is a city of culture – a lot of museums. You can choose from the huge Van Gogh and Rijksmuseums or immerse yourself into history while visiting the Anne Frank House; or if these don’t interest you, you can do what I did and try something completely different.

Electric Ladyland is a small art gallery and museum located in the pretty Jordaan area of Amsterdam. It’s all about fluorescent art. In the right light, I was able to see minerals, rocks and other things I wouldn’t have known to be fluorescent, to turn into amazing bright colors.Also, it was my first experience with participatory art – you could really be part of the art piece in the museum: walk into it, touch it and see every tiny little detail – which is something different from all of the other museums.

In addition to the cool visual aspects of the museum and the fact that you could even be part of it, I loved the personal touch of the visit. You could talk with the people behind the whole experience, hear their story and really sense that your questions are answered with passion and real knowledge.

4. Mystery of A Secret Sender

Exploration, puzzle solving and little-known stories from history to transform the way you explore the city.”

If you are interested in getting to know the city you’re traveling to a bit better in a fun way, this is definitely the activity to choose!

Puzzle by puzzle, the whole (true) story of the Mystery of a Secret Sender takes you around the city immersing you into the Golden Age of Amsterdam. It starts from the Dam Square where you are provided with a map, which(when used properly) will take you to some interesting sights and buildings around the city center. The story you are now a part of is easy to follow and really well put together. This activity can give you a really nice insight into Amsterdam by doing, learning, seeing and exploring! You’re not just walking aimlessly around but instead solving a true mystery happening in Amsterdam.

I liked how you can do it at your own pace and how the puzzles you’ll need to solve during the game are related to Amsterdam. However, if you want to speed it up – you can compete against the time limit!

5. Eat With A Local – Delicious Dutch Dinner Overlooking the Canals

I had heard previously about home restaurants and thought this would be a cool addition to the list – interesting thing to do in Amsterdam from a food-related perspective. After some research I found a really good one and tried my luck with it.

From the moment I booked the I felt really welcome: Martine and Olav, the hosts of the dinner, sent me a message with their suggestions of their personal highlights in the city – bars, cafes and restaurants.

When I was going to the location of the dinner, I really had no idea what to expect. Who were the people going to be, what will the place be like, and what kind of atmosphere would there be. But in the end, I was so happy with how the whole experience turned out. Martine and Olav were not just great with their cooking (all of their Dutch dishes from organic and local products, from appetizers to desserts were delicious!) but they were also great hosts. They explained the courses, answered all of the questions you could possibly ask about Amsterdam and also shared their stories about living in Amsterdam as a local. The atmosphere at the dinner was very homely and it was also fun to get to know to other guests in this kind of environment – sharing stories over dinner in somebody’s home. Last but not least, the view was incredible – from the window I overlooked the beautiful canals of Amsterdam.

I would definitely recommend this to everyone and specially the dinner with Martine and Olav!

How to book?

It is actually pretty easy to find all of these activities – most of them are in the center of the city. Kayaking is in the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest) and it is possible to go there without any bookings or reservations beforehand.

Plastic Fishing you can find here You can also read interesting info about their sustainable mission!

For the participatory art in Electric Ladyland, you canmakean appointment for yourself here ontheir website:

Bookings for the Mystery of The Secret Sender can be found here:

And all of the immersive food experiences can be bookedfrom the website!

What’s Behind the Symbols of Amsterdam?


No, we’re not starting the story about the symbols of Amsterdam with the sign for x-rated entertainment that associates with the Red Light District. Instead we would be happy to explain you the origin of the three crosses that can be seen all over the city-its buildings, flags, poles, manholes and souvenirs. You might have guessed that the XXX symbol officially serves as a part of the coat of arms of Amsterdam, but what does it stand for? It represents three vertical St. Andrew’s Crosses named after the apostle that was tormented on a cross of the X-shape in the 1st century AD. There’s no exact explanation what meaning those crosses have for Amsterdam, but one of the thoughts is that they originate from the Persian crusader family who owned lots of land in Amsterdam. Another version has to do with the connection between St. Andrew being a fisherman and Amsterdam stemming from a fishing town with its fishermen going under the flag with XXX. The crosses can also possibly stand for the three threats of the medieval city: floods, fire and the black plague.

The unknown history leads us to known present, where these three white crosses are depicted on a black band in the middle of a red shield. This combination is also known as the flag of Amsterdam and part of the coat of arms. The latter is decorated with the Imperial Crown of Austria and two golden lions carrying the shield. The motto of the city follows below with “Heroic, Resolute and Merciful”, although some people jokingly believe it should be “Stubborn, Defiant and Extremely Tolerant.” Have you already picked a few souvenirs with the XXX symbol of Amsterdam1

Why is everything so orange?

It’s easy to notice that the Dutch like orange, or at least that’s what they sell to tourists on the markets-and we’re not talking about the fruit, but rather that super bright color everywhere around the souvenir shops. And if you’ve ever visited Amsterdam on King’s Day or during the football championships, you’ve seen the most of it, and we bet it was orange! On special occasions the whole city turns orange, but why would that happen counting the fact that colors of the Dutch flag (red, blue, white) have nothing to do with it? The secret lies within the Dutch Royal Family that originates from the House of Oranje-Nassau with the ancestry of the current king of the country Willem-Alexander going back to William of Orange (Willem van Oranje). They also call the national football team Oranje and most of the Dutch sporting teams wear orange uniform. This way the color unites the whole nation and becomes the symbol of Amsterdam.

orange amsterdam

I AMsterdam

Does it even count that you’ve been to Amsterdam, if you don’t have a picture in front of the world famous I AMSTERDAM letters? This symbol has become so present in branding of the city that it can easily be one of the most visited sightseeings in Amsterdam. What started as a marketing campaign, has truly become the catch of the town and everybody wants to bring a piece of it home. The huge letters are located at the back of the majestic  Rijksmuseum, and lots of people try to climb them and get the best shot. Here comes just a small tip: if you want to avoid lots of other tourists on your exclusive picture with I AMSTERDAM sign, then come late in the evening- you will be surprised how empty it gets.

iamsterdam sign

When you happen to be at the right place at the right time, you can also spot another set of the magic letters at other locations such as festivals, fairs, fashion shows and important events of the city. Sometimes you can even see it in rainbow colors, especially when Amsterdam celebrates love, freedom and diversity. The city constantly plays around with the location, and this week (until 7 August) you will find the travelling letters close to the Amstel River in front of the Hermitage due to the Canal Parade there. And for those who want to have it all, take a seat on a red handmade I Amsterdam mosaic sofa right outside of the reception of City Hall at Amstel 1. You can also have a moment with the symbol sign at Amsterdam Airport Schipol right before finishing your amazing trip.

The Most Unusual Experiences in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is high on many people’s bucket list, just as it is, with all the craziness, special atmosphere and free spirit. It’s a quite unique city, so some of the things you can do only here and nowhere else. But in addition to those ones, there are some specialties that are not too ordinary even for this city. The unusual experiences can be so diverse in Amsterdam, that everybody will find something to their taste.

Flirting Workshops

There is hardly any workshops that you won’t be able to find in Amsterdam, but we’re not going to recommend you any of the boring stuff. How about learning all about the flirting science in a fun and interactive way? What could be a better place than Amsterdam for applying your freshly acquired skills and testing yourself after hilarious flirting workshops? It will be as crazy as you allow it to be and the best part is that you can bring your Flirt Diploma home as a souvenir from the Netherlands.

Real Human Bodies

Some people think it’s creepy, others find it exciting, but for sure nobody is indifferent towards Body Worlds of Amsterdam. The original exhibition of real, plastinated human bodies will allow you to look inside the human flesh and discover its mysteries. And of course, since Amsterdam is your happy destination, even this frightening museum has the Happiness Project theme. Quite an unusual place for revealing the secrets of happiness and its effects on your health, but why not! Special events and activities are waiting for you at Body Worlds this summer.


Sex Museum

Continuing the topic of the most unique museums, let us ask you whether you’ve ever been to the Sex Museum before? Well, you have a great opportunity to visit one in the most liberal and free city in Europe. Besides, it’s right next door to Body Worlds, so make it into “a weird museums day.” The Sex Museum will surprise you with the amount of sculptures, shapes, pictures and even sounds related to one particular theme that might make your mum uncomfortable. Unique objects will scream for your attention, while the overall atmosphere will make you more curious about the human sexuality.


Xtracold Icebar

The coldest bar of Amsterdam will provide you with an unusual drinking experience among the 60 tons of natural ice with -10 degrees Celsius. Do you think you will be able to last long or would you need a few of body warming shots? Well, be prepared as they will be served in glasses made of ice! But no worries, any outfit would do, as you will be given a thermal coat and gloves upon arrival to keep you warm throughout the night. An epic place for cool pictures, and nobody would guess there are shot in Amsterdam.


Escape Rooms

There are quite a few escape rooms in Amsterdam, and probably your vacation won’t be enough for discovering all of them. So let’s have a look at the most exciting ones! Sherlocked is ready to surprise you with two escapes room (and the third one is launching on June 10th-maybe you want to be the first guest there?). The Vault allows you to feel like a thief who needs to break in the most secure safe in Amsterdam, but you can also get caught, so be aware! The Architect presents a mysterious room to you that has been used by the secret Society of the Crossed Keys, except it’s not too easy to get inside it. If you’re more into something scarier, then how about Zombie Escape with a high-tech lab, hungry zombies and the dark room? In case you feel for something both history-related and fun, then Escape through Time is the best for you! Time travel is possible now, and you’re heading right to Boom Chicago with actors and humor during the World World II to solve some puzzles and search for special clues. We hope that you’re not claustrophobic, as Claustrophobia is an awesome escape room (and to be honest, not even so tiny). It’s full of mysteries,  illusions and fantasies that might remind you of one of the creepy movies, where you have to save a tangled small girl.