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A Student's Guide To Amsterdam

Caitlin Hamill August 5, 2022

While Amsterdam is extremely expensive, it is also a student’s dream. There is so much to see and do in the city, and it is breathtakingly beautiful.

A trip to the capital shouldn’t have to break the bank, so here are some great things to get up to that won’t leave a dent in your wallet.

A’Dam Lookout Swing

Head to the A’DAM lookout observation deck for 360 degree views of the city and, if you’re feeling brave, have a go on the swing. Here, daredevils can get their adrenaline fix on Europe’s highest swing, which hangs 100 metres over the city. A member of staff also photographs your experience on a QR code, which you get to take home for free.

Tickets cost €24 and include access to the lookout, a go on the swing, and a ticket to the Amsterdam VR ride in the building. However, if you don’t fancy the swing, access to just the lookout is €14.50.


Mama Pancake

This little pancake joint is tucked away in a bustling street in between the Nine Streets and The Red Light District. It serves delicious traditional pancakes as well as waffles and cold drinks. Their Dutch baby pancakes come with a serving of butter and sprinkled with icing sugar – they were so good we ended up ordering three portions.

Souvenir shopping

Now bear with me a moment here. I know it sounds bizarre, but the souvenir shops in Amsterdam are truly one of a kind. They sell such hilarious gadgets and gizmos that are just so truly Amsterdam. We spent a morning wandering round them, admiring the strange keychains, mini ceramic houses, and all of the things that the city is well known for.

They’re such a laugh, and will cost you nothing (if you leave empty handed that is!).

Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Canal Cruise

Explore the city’s endless beautiful canals by cruise when you’re in Amsterdam – it’s a must. We booked ours with The Blue Boat Company and tickets for the 75-minute excursion cost £13, which includes an audio guide in a glass top boat. The cruise passes landmarks such as the Anne Frank house, Westerkerk and City hall.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – 2020/07/05: Tourists take a boat tour through the canals of Amsterdam. Amsterdams Canal Cruises have officially opened to welcome all visitors. However, strict guidelines have been advised by the authorities in order to provide a safe and seamless experience. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Walk The Red Light District

Sex work is legal in The Netherlands, and the area ‘De Wallen‘ known as ‘The Red Light District’ is the most popular for it. The district is known for its live sex shows, brothels, strip clubs and sex shops, and sex workers offer their services through windows. The area is now fairly safe to visit, but you are not allowed to take photos of sex workers.

There is also a museum which tells the history of the area and how it came to be. Guests also have the chance to stand in their own red-lit window. Tickets start at €14.50.

Photo by Claudia Beretta\Archivio Claudia Beretta\Mondadori via Getty Images

Good To Know

My one piece of advice to students travelling to Amsterdam would be to take cash, as Mastercard and Visa are not accepted at a majority of places in The Netherlands.

Each day we struggled to find restaurants that would accept our cards. Public toilets didn’t accept them either.

Lastly – enjoy your trip! Amsterdam is such a walkable, scenic city and you see something so beautiful every time you leave your hotel. So ensure you make some space in your camera roll.

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Hi I’m Caitlin and I am a journalism student at Kingston University. I love all things music, TV and film.