by Lilly Andrews
Amsterdam’s tree-lined canals, unique Renaissance architecture, notoriously exciting nightlife, and fascinating museums are all alluring draws for travelers. But as students, budgets are often tight, and travel can overwhelm a bank account in only a couple of days of sightseeing and adventure. To remedy this ailment, here’s a helpful guide to potential outings in Amsterdam, all for five euros or less.
1. Explore the Amsterdam Museum
Be sure to bring your student card along to Amsterdam Museum for free admission. It’s a great idea to visit on your first or second day, as it gives an extensive history of the city, allowing you to understand the Venice of the North better for the rest of your trip. The Amsterdam Museum exhibits artifacts from the ancient inhabitants of the region, paintings of the Dutch masters, and the Netherlands’ relationship with its colonies and monarchy.
2. Have a hot chocolate at Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Bar
Tony’s Chocolonely is an iconic Dutch brand dedicated to selling delicious, ethically produced chocolate. It is only a few blocks away from Amsterdam’s central station, at the heart of the city. The chocolate “bar” has many options, some including chocolate and some without, but the best option is to sit down and have decadent, fair-trade hot chocolate. White, milk, or dark hot chocolate are available, fitting anyone’s personal preferences. The bar has a fun and unique style as well, including massive windows, chocolate bar chandeliers, and candy-colored seating.
3. Visit Vondelpark and Museumplein
Amsterdam has beautiful parks to visit with Vondelpark and Museumplein as notable standouts. Vondelpark is the biggest park in Amsterdam and is dotted with beautiful ponds and streams. It is perfect for a stroll or a bike ride and has plenty of benches and free space to sit and enjoy. If you do feel like spending a bit of money (the park is obviously free), the pavilion, “Proeflokaal ‘t Blauwe Theehuis,” in the middle of the park is a great place to relax with a coffee or a beer.
Museumplein is nearby and surrounded by some of Amsterdam’s most iconic museums: Van Gogh museum, Moco museum, and the massive Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam. These can be expensive, though, even for students: all three museums are over ten euros. If you adore art it might be a good choice to visit one, but if you prefer enjoying the fresh Amsterdam air you can sit in the grass, and tour the Rijksmuseum gardens for free. Buy a postcard and a stamp at the gift shop to send some memories home, or pack some sandwiches and a drink to have a picnic in Museumplein’s open spaces.
4. Take the ferries
Amsterdam is the city of canals, so you’ll find boats and canal tours abound within the extensive waterways. These tours can be a little out of budget for the average student; taking Amsterdam’s ferries is the perfect alternative. These ferries start at Amsterdam central station: the first route, from Central station to IJplein, is very short and completely free. The A’DAM lookout is across the water here, along with many cafes, restaurants, and parks.
Take the ferry from Central Station to NDSM, which is about twenty minutes and gives a beautiful view of both sides of the city. It’s especially beautiful during sunset, as Amsterdam’s sky turns pink and orange and spots of blue peek out from the blanket of clouds. In this area, you will find the Graffiti museum, cafes, and restaurants. If you do not want to pay 12.50 euros for a student ticket, you can walk around the area and see street art everywhere.
5. Read or Study at the Amsterdam Public Library (OBA)
The OBA is stunning because of the building’s internal and external architecture. It’s a public library and free unless you would like to pay 2.40 euros per hour of wifi. The library is massive, with many options for studying, including study “pods,” which shelter you from outside distraction for better focus and productivity. If you would prefer to read a good book instead, you can sit at the library cafe or next to one of the building’s massive windows.
Amsterdam is one of the most gorgeous and unique cities of Europe, with rich history, delicious food, and unique architecture; thankfully, a student traveler doesn’t have to break the bank to be able to enjoy the gem of the Netherlands. Some other inexpensive options for visiting Amsterdam are seeing the Amsterdam Tulip Museum (€3.00 for students), taking beautiful pictures on top of the NEMO Museum, which has a stunning and unique terrace area with free access, and visiting Dam square and stand in awe at the massive palace. If you wander Amsterdam’s beautiful streets, you are sure to stumble upon even more inexpensive delights on your voyage.