Six Great Reasons to Visit Amsterdam in 2013

PP32051-tulips-from-amsterdamThe year-end holidays are upon us—time to party, wrap presents and make resolutions that will turn 2013 into a banner year. It promises to be one for Amsterdam, as the city pumps itself up to celebrate 400 years of artsy, cultural and architectural achievements. For residents and visitors, this translates into festivities, special exhibitions and canal parades throughout the year, commemorating four centuries of innovation, world-changing art and global trade.

Amsterdam's iconic Canal Ring will celebrate its 400-year anniversary in 2013.
Amsterdam’s iconic Canal Ring will celebrate its 400-year anniversary in 2013.

If you’re making vacation plans for 2013, here are six reasons why Amsterdam should be on your list:

1. 400 Years of Amsterdam Canals: Anyone who’s ever been to Amsterdam knows the canals are a gift for the senses. Spanned by illuminated bridges and lined by merchant houses with facades that hark back to the Golden Age, the four main canals are a watery passageway for local boaters, tourist canal boats and utilitarian vessels.

Whether 17th century merchants looked beyond a clever solution for A’dam’s explosive growth to creating an architectural masterpiece when they began constructing the Canal Ring in 1613 is anyone’s guess. In 2010, UNESCO added it to the World Heritage List as an achievement that both harnessed the power of water and provided viable options for economic growth and cultural development.

Since 1888, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw has welcomed music lovers to performances by world-renowned artists.

2. 125th Anniversary of The Concertgebouw and Royal Concertgebouw OrchestraIn April 1888, Amsterdam’s renowned concert hall first opened its doors. In the 125 years since, internationally-acclaimed soloists and orchestras have performed, including classical, jazz and pop talents. The Digital Concertgebouw will broaden exposure in 2013 with live concert broadcasts throughout Amsterdam.

As part of The Jubilee Program, concerts in the Main and Recital Halls will feature such stars as Angela Gheorghiu, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Leonidas Kavakos, Menahem Pressler, Christianne Stotijn and Eva-Maria Westbroek. Each month, a different historical period will be showcased in music, words and images, charting the evolution of The Concertgebouw from the late 19th century through the Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, two World Wars, the peace-loving ’60s, and the contemporary jazz and rock eras. 

Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw is acclaimed world-wide for its outstanding acoustics.

On April 10, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will perform at a Jubilee of World-Class Stars. On August 24, the 120-musician ensemble will star at the outdoor Prinsengracht Concert. Throughout the year, Free Lunch Concerts will be presented Wednesdays at 12.30. The hour-long programs range from open rehearsals by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to ancient, classical and contemporary music. Arrive early, as the free concerts are very popular.

On April 13, The Rijksmuseum will unveil its refurbished facilities.

3. Reopening of the Rijksmuseum: After a decade of remodeling, The Netherlands’ largest museum will reopen on April 13, unveiling a refurbished building, revamped garden and new Asian Pavilion. The 80-hall interior will exhibit 8,000 works of art that open a window to Dutch history and culture, from The Middle Ages to today. Only The Nightwatch, Rembrandt’s most celebrated painting, will resume its former position. Through March 17, 400 masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age will continue to be on view in the Philips Wing including doll houses, silverware, Delftware and such iconic works as Vermeer’s Kitchen Maid.

After extensive renovations, the Van Gogh Museum will reopen in 2013.

4. Reopening + 40th anniversary of the Van Gogh Museum: After months of renovation, one of Amsterdam’s most popular museums will reopen on May 1, 160 years after Van Gogh’s birth and 40 years after it opened. Van Gogh at Work, an exhibit exploring how the master went about his art, will be on display through the year. After its 2013 reopening, The Rijksmuseum will become the world’s first national museum to be open 365 days a year. Entrance is €15; children under 19 are free.

More than 900 animal species call Artis Royal Zoo home.

5. Artis Zoo Celebrates 175 Years:More than 900 species of animals and 200 species of trees make Artis Royal Zoo a nature-lover’s delight. In addition to flora and fauna, the oldest zoo in The Netherlands features an Aquarium, Planetarium and Zoological Museum, surrounded by flowering gardens and stunning 19th century architecture. Opened 175 years ago, the zoo is a great place to experience strolling giraffes wildebeest, zebras, springbok and oryx. From March 15 through December, the Sea of Flowers exhibit will run. 

A 2013 exhibit at the Hermitage Amsterdam will highlight the life of Peter the Great .

6. The Russians are Coming!: The special relationship between Russia and The Netherlands will be commemorated with numerous activities in 2013. From March 9¬September 13, a major exhibit, Peter the Great, An Inspired Tsar will run at the Hermitage Amsterdam. The exhibition will showcase the Tzar’s visits to The Netherlands in 1887 and 1717 and his life as an innovator who modernized Russia and strengthened it into a superpower. His visit to Amsterdam provided inspiration for his new capital, St. Petersburg and served as a source for art purchases, including Rembrandt, that laid a foundation for the collection of The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.



  1. Amsterdam seems really amazing this time of year! I would love to visit the Van Gogh museum, when I am in Amsterdam – 12&13th of December 🙂
    Thanks for all this tips! They are really helpful 🙂


  2. Strolling by the channels, enjoying the unusual atmosphere of the city and observing the greatest cultural mix ever! And that’s all in one week! I’ve been in Amsterdam two times already and I will always come back there!! Love this city!


  3. These six reasons are why i love this country, it has an amazing traditional culture and also can accept modern art, it’s open、comprehensive for everything that exist in this world with love. In my mind, people come here can feel love and the power of life as little Anne Frank. So, i’m coming!


  4. The text is excellent! These are more than enough reasons to visit Amsterdam in 2013. I hope to have the opportunity to visit at beginning of the year Amsterdam.


  5. Alas! I will miss most of these wonderful 2013 events, but I look forward to exploring the canals during my visit – braving the winter chill is justified! Also, I will definitely make my way to view some Van Gogh pieces at its temporary home in the Hermitage. Thanks Melissa! You give plenty of reasons to make multiple visits to Amsterdam. 🙂


  6. Amsterdam is till now the biggest chalenge of the Civilization against the seas, but because of the sea level coming up it could be over soon so… 2013 is definitly (like for Venise) one of the last year to visit this monument of Science and Progress made in a city


  7. Wow!!! I can’t wait to get there and see those beautiful canals lit up an night. I’ll be coming after Christmas, and thanks to this blog I know exactly what I’ll go to see. Thank you so much for the information.


  8. Its really awesome to find here a little clue about the city, specially for a forgeiner that comes from very far like me. I hope to discover all the great places you talk about and actually fall in love with Amsterdam like you did.


  9. Thank you for reminding Rijksmuseum re-opens (finally!!) fully in April, and about the Russian who are “coming” from St Petersburg – one more reason to be back to Amsterdam once again this spring!


  10. Excellent! So many reasons to go to this fantastic city… Rembrandt, Vang Gogh… the spirit of art’ magicians wait between the lights of the city of a thousand channels.


  11. So glad I saw this before coming to Amsterdam- too bad I’ll miss out on the art museums opening back up! After some research I saw it’s still possible to visit parts of the museum (at least the Rijksmuseum), is that right? Either way, I guess I’ll just have to be back soon to see the new parts. Thank you for your wonderful blog to highlight some “must-sees” in Amsterdam. I will at least be sure to head out to “tenth street”, that seems like a place right up my alley! Melissa, you do a wonderful job keeping people up to date with the goings on and in so much detail! A truly wonderful blog- keep it up!


  12. This is a great read! Summarising the allure of any city is always difficult and limiting yourself to 6 reasons to visit is downright impossible. However, the amazing amount of art heritage and culture you’ve pointed out, definitely helps the city speak for itself. I am particularly excited to visit the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum on my first ever visit in March. I cannot wait to get to A’dam and zoom around on a bicycle! My only regret is missing the museum’s re-opening – it sounds like its going to be really exciting!


  13. Wow, I didn’t realise that so many things were lined up in 2013 here in amsterdam! I’m glad that I’m here till june at least to participate in as many of these cultural events as possible and will be really fortunate to bring back all these great memories. The reopening of the Rijksmuseum and the exhibit of Peter the Great, An Inspired Tsar seem most interesting to me at the moment, this has increased my excitement to visit amsterdam in march and now i know that visiting a’dam once will certainly not be enough! I’m also looking forward to experiencing the wonder of the Amsterdam Canals 🙂


  14. Wow, Melissa I am so glad that you sent me to this blog. I am even more eager to get to Amsterdam and visit all the beautiful sights! The Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum sound like a definite must! Thank you.


  15. Hi, I didn’t get an email address and hence I am posting this as a comment: Would you be interested in publishing a guest post from me?

    I live in India and I happened to visit a place called Pulicat which has a heavy Dutch influence. It was a major Dutch port in the 16,17th Centuries. There is a beautiful 17th Century cemetery constructed in this place and I would like to share some pictures and a brief write-up on the history of the place, as a guest post on your blog. Let me know (via email presented on this form) if you are interested. Thanks…


    • Hi,
      I’d be happy to run a guest post on my blog so long as it relates to Dutch culture. My blog is mainly devoted to Amsterdam, but your topic sounds interesting, as it may be a place where Dutchies will feel at home. My personal email is I look forward to hearing from you and reading your post (which is, of course, subject to my editing). Thanks for your interest in my blog! ~Melissa


  16. hi Melissa,
    though i just knew and read about the Six Great Reasons to Visit Amsterdam in 2013 but one thing for sure is Amsterdam must be visited as its magnet and attraction can not be denied. thats why i will come this March. Amsterdam’s calling lead me there. great post for everyone who planning to visit Netherland generally. Two thumbs up!


  17. I love that you said Amsterdam Canals are a gift for the senses, I am so going to visit and sit beside the canal. 🙂 I love London canal, and used to meet a lot of colorful boats and boatchers (who lived on the boat) on that canal, I am looking forward to find the Amsterdam canal amazing in a different way. And, I just realize the Van Gogh Museum isn’t opened yet… thank god I read this….:P I have to make some change of my travelling plan..

    Thank you again for sharing. It is very helpful, shared!


  18. Wow, Amsterdam has so much to celebrate this year! I wish I had more time to explore and experience the city, but I am definitely looking forward to wandering alongside the canals and visiting the museums. It is great to hear about the zoo as well– I did not realize it was the oldest, nor did I know it also had an aquarium and planetarium! I always try to visit one in every new place I go! What exactly is the Sea of Flowers exhibit?


  19. Amsterdam is always on my list of travelling. I am so happy that I decide to visit it in spring of 2013. Not only for the tulip, but also for the Van Gogh Museum! Can’t wait for the visit to Amsterdam!!!


  20. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.
    I will always bookmark your blog and will often come back
    from now on. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great job, have a
    nice weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s