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Jump on one of the free blue and white GVB ferries which operate from the back of Amsterdam Central station. No tickets are required. Hop across the IJ river to Buiksloterweg (Amsterdam North) where you will find EYE Film and the A’DAM Toren building. Better still take the 15 minute trip to the quirky NDSM-wharf area (see 30).
This is a small gallery passageway at Amsterdam Museum on Kalverstraat / St Luciensteeg which is freely accessible to the public. Here one can take in a few old Dutch Masters portrait paintings as well as some more modern artwork. The gallery is open daily 1000-1700.
The renowned Royal Concertgebouw holds a free classical lunchtime concert on occasional Wednesdays at 1230 in either its small hall (kleine zaal) or large hall (grote zaal) between September and June. For small hall concerts, free tickets must be collected from the ticket desk in advance. See our what’s on in Amsterdam section for concert dates. Address is Concertgebouwplein 10.
A hidden inner garden courtyard in the centre of Amsterdam, originally a sanctuary for the Beguines sisterhood. It features a chapel, a 15th century English church, the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam and some beautiful gable stones. Free admission is via the door on Spui or via the Gedempte Beginensloot side street. Silence is requested.
Libraries are great places to hangout, especially for cheapskate connoisseurs. Amsterdam Central Library is Europe’s 2nd biggest and is located in the docklands development east of Central Station. Spread over 9 levels, you can browse books, international newspapers and magazines, visit the children’s library, see exhibitions, chill out in a comfy chair or visit the top floor café and terrace (see 49). Address is Oosterdokskade 143, open daily 1000-2200.
The gated Rijksmuseum Gardens are freely accessible to the public daily between 0900-1800, you don’t need a Rijksmuseum ticket to enter. The gardens are a pleasant haven in the summer months with the shady spots under the big tree particularly in demand. The pristine manicured gardens have seats, benches and a playful water fountain. Each year (normally June to October) there is a temporary sculpture exhibition from a noted artist.
The Amsterdam city archives holds an impressive collection of historic documents. It regularly holds free exhibitions in its main hall or exhibition rooms. It also hosts a free information point which details all UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Netherlands. The building dates from the 1920s. Located at Vijzelstraat 32, open Tue-Fri 1000-1700, weekends 1200-1700.
The NEMO Science Museum has a panorama terrace on its roof with seating, café-restaurant and interactive installations. Admission is free – climb up the stairs on the right-hand side or take the lift from the museum’s central hall. It’s a pleasant spot to lounge around on a warm day and enjoy views of Museum Haven (50), the eastern docklands area and surrounds. Address is Oosterdok 2, open Tue-Sun 1000-1730.
Artisplein is a public space at Royal Artis Zoo which is freely open to the public, accessible daily 0700-2330. With moveable chairs, beautiful trees, a water table fountain and views of the flamingo pond and Dutch polder aviary, it is a lovely place to sit.
Melkweg is a popular music and arts venue located near Leidseplein. Around the corner, the Melkweg Café at Marnixstraat 409 has a gallery open to the public which hosts an interesting monthly photo exhibition. Entrance is free and the opening hours are Wed-Sun 1200-2100.