The Dutch capital, already famous for its exuberant and varied socio-cultural diversity and historic legacy, has a lot to boast about when it comes to its architectural outlooks. From exquisite civic structures and 17th-century canals of the Dutch golden age to the Amsterdam school movement to modern masterpieces by renowned architects, Amsterdam has always been the best thing since sliced bread—a cradle for architectural wonders. 

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Here are the top 15 phenomenal places in Amsterdam which might leave you astounded!

1. The canal belt of Amsterdam

Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, this heritage belt of Amsterdam was a remedy for its increasing population during the Dutch golden age. Beautiful 17th-century houses lining on each side of the canal with charming cafes and endless bridges is proof of a large scale urban planning, which is why it is also called ‘The Venice of the North’!

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2. The Architecture Centre Amsterdam by René van Zuuk

The office of the Architecture Centre Amsterdam has to be unique! Covered all over in coated aluminium, the peculiar sculptural shape of the pavilion provides just enough attention in the monumental setting of the historic area.

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3. Stedelijk Museum by Benthem Crouwel Architects

How can a museum holding works of Picasso, Appel, Monet, Cezanne be predictable and ordinary! With only 26 m² of floor area, the museum boldly states future contemplation – a seamless structure made of reinforced fiber making it look like a bathtub, lifting the entire volume above ground and sinking the rest underground. The uniqueness of the structure makes it one of the most prestigious projects of contemporary architecture!

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4. Silodam by MVRDV

Though it is not a popular tourist destination, the Silodam mixed-use residential project should be a must-visit haven for every architect. A popular example of critical regionalism, ‘the Silodam apartments differ vastly in size, price and organization, which appeals to changing demography and the desire for individuality’. Who could have imagined real estate on waters; a new neighborhood set on a former dam!

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5. Amsterdam university college

A popular example of sustainable architecture, AMU plays an inspirational element for all architects. Using thermal energy storage and concrete core activation its Greencalc + score is set at a building index of 200 and ‘its striking facade is made of corten steel which furnishes the building with a warm yet formal presence’!

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6. NEMO Science Center by Renzo Piano

Architects know how much importance and grandeur lies in the works of Renzo Piano, which makes this fascinating museum one of the most popular architectural destinations of Amsterdam. ‘NEMO means ‘nobody’ in Latin, but this great green building is anything but a no one land’. The concept behind the structure is again critical regionalism; shaped like a ship, the pre-oxidized copper-clad facades give a clear hint to the port surrounding the area, boosting the natural environment of Amsterdam.

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7. Tennis club Ijburg by MVRDV

This structure should be in the visiting list for anyone traveling to Amsterdam – ‘a meeting place for the young and the old’, the structure defines parametricism on a whole new level! The clubhouse is a long open volume of space below while the roof functions as an informal tribune for the club with a tennis court in the center. ‘Here we celebrate the talent of the amateur players who are challenged to excel in front of the public’ – Architect Winny Mass of MVRDV.

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8. Van Gogh Museum Exposition Wing by Kisho Kurokawa

Implementing traditional Japanese ideas of abstraction, Kurakawa made most of the structure underground, minimizing the space the structure could have taken if built on the surface, respecting nature and landscaping. ‘Through highly abstract simple geometric shapes made complex and further, through careful manipulation, the abstract symbolism of the new wing strikes a balance between the international and the local’ making this a must-visit destination for anyone coming on a trip to Amsterdam.

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9. Het Oosten Pavilion by Steven Holl

The extraordinary facade of the building makes it one of the most visited places in Amsterdam. Once a former federal warehouse of medical supplies, the facade of the newly renovated building is made of perforated copper imbibed from the concept of the music of Morton Feldman’s “Patterns in a Chromatic Field”. ‘These screens developed in three dimensions are analogous to the Menger sponge principle of openings continuously cut in planes approaching zero volume’ making the structure not only visually, but also mentally intriguing!

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10. Ernst & Young Tower by Foster & Partners

Internationally known for its famous steel diagrid construction, the towers are column-free with open, flexible floor plates providing a modern improvised Art Deco feeling to the 24 storeyed building. This exuberant masterpiece by Norman Foster is one to experience on a walking spree in Amsterdam.

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11. The Whale

Even though it is a multi-unit residential project, it is a classic example of large scale suburban planning – a large building standing up inside a sea of low-rise buildings, just like a whale, making it intriguing to architects. The most prominent feature of the building is that the line of the roof corresponds to the movement of the sun and the lower floors receive light from under the building making it a design worth appreciating!

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12. Strawinskylaan Bicycle Parking

Now many of you might wonder why shall I visit a bicycle parking ground leaving behind all the magnificent structures of Amsterdam! Located under the former Vijfhoek park, with a capacity of 3750 spaces, it is the largest underground bike parking in the entire country. The most striking feature is that both the ceilings and two extensive glass walls are outfitted with fixtures that simulate daylight filling a person with optimism!

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13. Centraal Station by Benthem Crouwel Architects

Global travelers know that many countries have beautiful and advanced metro stations that they boast about and the Dutch capital is no different. Originally built in the 1880s, this highly debated project, finally completed in 2018 is a part of the city’s legacy; the interiors bring in the vibes of 1920s Europe which makes it appealing to the visitors.

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14. Python Bridge by West 8

Although a lot of interesting and unusual bridges can be seen in Amsterdam, the Python bridge spanning over the canal between Sporenburg and Borneo island is particularly different because of its wavy and undulating serpentine form. The color of the bridge is a vibrant red, equipped with beautiful railings with a lot of scarlet threads, making the structure even more attractive and exceptional.

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15. Lex van Delden Bridge by Dok Architecten

 Can a bridge become a city’s square? The architect made it possible; being inspired by the Torensluis bridge across the Singel, the architect not only came up with a bridge crossing the Boele canal, but the gentle slope and the wide span of the bridge make it a city center to the suburb!

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Nederland 25 februari 2014,project brug gershwinplein amsterdam, foto: arjen schmitz
Author

Having a multifarious personality and being a philomath, Debashrita wants to break the stereotypical boundaries of contemporary architecture. Participating in over 50 plus sketchwalks, she finds solace in traveling, sketching and writing which also happen to be her aspired profession.

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