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How to Pretend You’re in Amsterdam

You don’t have to travel to visit Amsterdam. Enjoy this virtual visit to Amsterdam.

Your virtual visit can last hours, but estimated reading time is 8 minutes

How to pretend you are in Amsterdam. A virtual visit to Amsterdam
You don’t have to travel to Amsterdam in order to enjoy its sights and sounds. These photos and videos will take you there | Photo by Korneel Luth

So you’d like to visit Amsterdam, but you cannot do so right now?

Whatever the reason: the coronavirus pandemic [See the Amsterdam Coronavirus Travel FAQ], travel restrictions, a lack of money, or perhaps a boss who insists you show up at work.

No problem. If you can point and click you can take a virtual Amsterdam trip. You’ll enjoy many of the sights and sounds you’d experience during an in-person visit. It’s the ultimate in sustainable travel.

So grab something to drink and a bite to eat, and enjoy the ride.

How about a quick, two-minute highlights overview to start:

Amsterdam Highlights — Short Film

A gorgeous film by Amsterdam-based Dutch photographer Albert Dros

Doesn’t that make you want to visit right away?

Amsterdam is a place that’s best discovered serendipitously. Instead of following the masses, go wherever you want to go. You’ll see the unexpected around every corner.

Let’s continue our virtual visit to Amsterdam.

Virtual Walk Through Amsterdam

A walk in the center of Amsterdam, filmed by Kees Colijn

One of the best ways to discover Amsterdam is simply to walk. The center of Amsterdam is immensely walkable. In fact, so are many of the suburbs. While the bicycle is a popular mode of transportation, Amsterdammers love to walk, stroll, or saunter around the city.

In the above video you walk along with Dutch globetrotter Kees Colijn. He has recorded similar walking videos in more than 20 countries around the world.

In this walk along video, you will see many places in the center of Amsterdam. The walk starts out on Haarlemmerplein. Colijn shows us Haarlemmerdijk and Haarlemmerstraat — both popular shopping streets with many restaurants and eateries. Oh, and coffeeshops.

Via Prins Hendrikkade, across from Amsterdam Central Station, he heads for Oudezijds Voorburgwal. That is one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals. |

Among other places you will also visit Nieuwmarkt, Jodenbreestraat, the Waterlooplein flea market, and various canals and streets in the Red Light District.

Take a Google Street View Walk Through Amsterdam

Of course you can also walk through Amsterdam yourself with Google Street View. Start anywhere you wish. Then move on down the right, explore the canals, side streets, and squares. You can skip to other parts of town at will.

Here you are walking down the Prinsengracht canal. Across the street is the Noorderkerk church in the popular Jordaan district. [Click your left mouse button on the image and move it to look around. Click a white arrow to move to a different spot]

Or how about this spot [opens in a new tab] further along the canal. That’s the iconic Westerkerk church. Pan left to see the Anne Frank House. Behind you is the picturesque Bloemgracht canal.

Google Canal View: Sail Through the Canals of Amsterdam

Taking a canal cruise is the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam. So why not take a boat ride with Google Canal View. Here’s the Westerkerk as seen from the water, as you’re sailing down the Prinsengracht.

And now your boat glides through the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, in the Red Light District.

A Car Ride Through Amsterdam

Sooner rather than later this will be a ‘nostalgic’ video, as increasingly the use of cars is discouraged in Amsterdam. Check out EmreDrives on YouTube and on Instagram

Amsterdam is not well suited to cars. Generally, it’s not fun to drive a car within the city. Also: if you’re lucky enough the find a parking place, expect to pay dearly for it.

The municipality of Amsterdam actively discourages the ownership and use of cars. Currently there is a plan to enforce a city-wide 30 km/hour (18.64 mph) by 2023.

You can’t ban cars entirely, of course. But in Amsterdam bicycles have the priority, and increasingly so.

Car enthousiast Emre says, “It is becoming increasingly difficult to get into the centre by car. Every year more and more roads are closed for cars in Amsterdam Centre. That is one of the reasons why we have recorded this unforgettable video for you in 2019.”

Amsterdam As Seen From Aboard A Tram

Amsterdam as seen from a tram. In this case the viewer rides on board an old-fashioned tram maintained by the Amsterdam Museum Tramway.

Who needs a car anyway? Amsterdam has a fantastic, fine-mazed public transport system. It includes buses, trams, metro lines, and ferries.

Trams crisscross the entire city, except for Amsterdam-Noord. That suburb lies across from the river IJ. You can cross the river with any of the free ferries, and then continue your journey by bus. That said, most tourists prefer to rent a bike, so they can explore Amsterdam-Noord at will. Highly recommended!

As for trams, they’re a wonderful way to see the city. Amsterdam tramline 2 is even listed in National Geographic’s Top 10 Trolley Rides. If you ask us, trams 5, 14 and 24 are also good candidates for a hop-on, hop off tourist tour of the city.

By the way, when you visit Amsterdam for real, get yourself a Public Transport Day Ticket. Multiple-day passes are available as well. They allow you to hop-on and hop-off all GVB operated tram, buses, and metro lines in the city. (Ferry rides are free, remember?) [Eco-friendly, Sustainable]

See Amsterdam By Bike

Riding a bike in Amsterdam is on the bucket list of many tourists

Amsterdam is the City of Bikes. With more bikes than people, Amsterdam is a cyclist’s paradise. The city has many dedicated bike paths. There are also ‘shared space’ streets where bikes take priority over cars.

Even a virtual visit to Amsterdam is not complete without taking a bike ride.

Experience Amsterdam Through The Eyes of Thomas Schlijper

Street photographer Thomas Schlijper documents Amsterdam

If you want to keep a finger on the pulse of Amsterdam, follow urban photographer Thomas Schlijper. He posts a daily photo on his blog (over 50.000 entries, thus far), as well on Twitter. Frequently, videos like the one above are posted to his YouTube channel.

Admirers see in Thomas Schlijper a worthy successor of iconic street photographer Ed van der Elsken.

By the way, check the perspective on many of Schlijper’s photos. Police at one time accused him of flying a drone (which is illegal in Amsterdam). But no. He uses a very tall monopod.

Peter Eijking’s Amsterdam

Chaos and fun on the canals of Amsterdam. Video by Peter Eijking.

Peter Eijking, known on YouTube as Taxi1108, is one of Amsterdam’s most prolific amateur photographers.

Peter criss-crosses Amsterdam as a driver for disabled people. Meanwhile, nothing escapes his camera.

Old cars? Check. Interesting people? Check. Sunday sailors (nearly) crashing into each other on the canals of Amsterdam? Check. Street art? Of course. Pimped-up bicycles? What else? You name it, Peter’s got it. True Amsterdam slice of life stuff!

Amsterdam by Drone

Even when you visit Amsterdam in person, you seldom get to see the city the way it is depicted here. This stunning 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) video, by Go Places Pro combines superb aerial views of Amsterdam with on-the-ground film.

Mind you: using drones is forbidden in Amsterdam. If you do so anyway, your drone can be confiscated, and you may have to pay a fine (think: thousands of euros). According to this Drones in the Netherlands information on the website of the Dutch Government, repeat offenders can even be sentenced to prison.

How Go Places Pro did it, we don’t know. But we sure love their video!

Amsterdam webcams
Amsterdam live webcam streams

Live Amsterdam Webcams

Surprisingly there are not all that many Amsterdam webcams online. But we’ve selected a few cams you will enjoy.

See Amsterdam’s iconic Dam square (site of the dam that gave Amsterdam its name), the River IJ, Singel canal, an even some windmills at Zaanse Schans, an open air museum just outside Amsterdam.

More Armchair Travelling Through Amsterdam

Daydream about your next trip to Amsterdam with these books (links go to Amazon.com). It’s the old-fashioned way to take a virtual trip to Amsterdam.

People Visiting Amsterdam Wonder…

We’re Amsterdam locals

This article was first posted on June 30, 2021. It was written and edited by Amsterdam locals Anton and Janet. We expect to expand it over time.

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