1. Rent a bike
Amsterdam famously has more bikes than people. It’s also one of the only places in the world where bicycle fishing is a job: between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles are removed from the city’s canals every year. Make sure your bike isn’t one of them!
2. Dress appropriately
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
3. Get high
Amsterdam is home to Europe’s highest swing, which sits on top of the A’Dam Tower. (Whatever did you think we meant?)
4. Order Stroopwafel
Amsterdam is heaven for the sweet-toothed. Treat yourself to some poffertjes, little puffs of heaven doused in syrup. But save room for the king of cookies, the stroopwafel. A double helping of thin waffles glued together with caramel? Yes please!
5. See the art
Yes, the Rijksmuseum is the repository of some of the world’s greatest masterworks by the likes of Rembrandt and Vermeer. Yes, you can see Warhols and Picassos in the Stedelijk. And yes, it is true that the Van Gogh museum is chock-a-block with Sunflowers. But…where else but Amsterdam would you see forty brass iguanas crawling through the grass? Or spot a tiny statue of a man sawing off the branch he’s standing on? (He’s in the Leideseboje park, near Leidseplein, if you want to check him out.)
6. Drink beer
Whether you want to try craft beers in a restored windmill or sample the house brew at the Heineken Experience attraction, you need to drink beer in Amsterdam.
7. Fail a breathalyser test
(A follow-on from the above note.) Get drunk enough to fail the breathalyser test and thus gain entry into the world’s only hangover bar. Here, you can fall into bed, watch a movie, fuel up at the oxygen bar, and order your hangover food of choice.
8. Adopt a cat
Amsterdam is home to the world’s only floating cat sanctuary, De Poezenboot. It’s been going for 50 years, and, even if you can’t take a feline friend home with you, you can support the charity by buying a t-shirt or postcard from the little shop.
9. Check out the microbes.
No, not the ones from that kid coughing over you in the plane. The microbes at Micropia – the only museum of its kind – are cool.
10. Hang out with the locals
Amsterdammers are famously liberal and easy-going. Just remember that Ajax is the best football team in the world.