Weird things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, known for its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and cultural richness, also hides a playful side that caters to those in search of out-of-the-ordinary activities. While it’s great to explore some of the city’s mainstream activities, incorporating a bit of the unusual into your schedule can be quite entertaining, no?
About the author: Laura Danielle is co-founder of Comedy Walks: comedy walking tours with a professional stand-up comedian as guide! Amsterdam – Utrecht – Eindhoven
Weird things in amsterdam
If you’re the type of traveller seeking weird things to do in Amsterdam, this city has a treasure trove of quirky and unconventional delights waiting for you to explore. From peculiar activities to eccentric shops, and weird places in Amsterdam, you’re in for a fun adventure as I present a comprehensive compilation of my personal favourite weird things in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam weird things to do
#1 Midget golf in the dark
Glow-in-the-dark mini-golf definitely deserves its spot on this list of weird things to do in amsterdam. Midget golf in the dark, also referred to as “glow-in-the-dark mini-golf” or “blacklight mini-golf,” offers a fresh and unique twist on the traditional daytime version. The use of blacklights and fluorescent elements creates a weird and otherworldly atmosphere that makes it the most fun game of miniature golf that you ever played. It introduces an additional element of challenge as it is much harder to predict the ball’s trajectory. And if this is not enough for you, try to play midget golf in the dark with 3D glasses that you can purchase at the premises!
#2 Comedy Walks
This may sound a little weird, but have you ever thought about taking a walking tour of Amsterdam with a local stand-up comedian as your guide? Imagine a stand-up comedian cleverly blending fun anecdotes and captivating stories about Amsterdam with their extensive knowledge of the city’s history and cultural background. Comedy Walks© promises valuable insights into the city and its people, all delivered in a highly enjoyable manner. A perfect mix of history and humour. The cherry on top is when, during the Museum Quarter tour, you get to explore two of the weird places in Amsterdam mentioned below!
#3 Red light secrets museum
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to stand behind a red light window in the Amsterdam Red Light District! Well, dressed of course, if you prefer. The Red Light Secrets Museum, in the old centre, is housed in a former brothel and offers you a chance to peek around, learn about the work of prostitutes and actually sit behind a prostitution window with the typical red lights on. That meets all the criteria for weird things in Amsterdam, no? It is a fascinating experience, particularly for those who have never been inside a brothel. Hear the voice of a sex worker on the audio tour as she shares insights into her profession. You can freely walk through the basic and luxury finishing rooms and even the SM room is open for exploration. During the audio tour, you’ll also learn about instances of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, and the Red Light District is no exception in this regard.
#4 Walking or ice-skating on the frozen canals
For all of you coming from a mild or even tropical climate this might sound a bit weird, but one of the most awesome things to do in Amsterdam is walking or ice-skating on the frozen canals. There’s hardly a more authentically Dutch activity than venturing out onto these frozen waterways. The chances of the canals in Amsterdam freezing over largely depend on the prevailing weather conditions. Amsterdam has a temperate maritime climate, and while winters can be cold, it doesn’t always guarantee that the canals will freeze. In recent years, due to climate change and milder winters, it has become less common for the canals to freeze over.
Skating on the frozen canals offers a truly distinctive perspective of the city, allowing you to gracefully (or not so gracefully if you are at beginners level) pass by renowned landmarks like the Anne Frank House and the historical canal houses. Be careful when skating under bridges as the ice is usually thinner here.
#5 Swing Amsterdam
Does riding a swing at a staggering 100 metres above the ground sound weird enough to you? The Swing at A’dam Tower promises an unparalleled perspective. Suspended high above the city, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of Amsterdam, complete with its iconic canals, historic landmarks, and the meandering river IJ (pronounced as Eye). This remarkable swing claims the title of the highest in all of Europe. Make sure to add it to your “Amsterdam weird things to do”- list. You can catch a free ferry behind Amsterdam Central Station that will take you across the River IJ.
H2: Weird places in Amsterdam
Apart from weird things to do, Amsterdam is also home to a multitude of weird places. Below, you’ll find my recommendations for the most intriguing weird places in Amsterdam. Believe me or not, but visits to Amsterdam’s most peculiar places will leave a lasting memory of your stay in Amsterdam. You should pick at least two of them!
#6 Museum Vrolik
Museum Vrolik is not for the faint of heart, featuring an extensive collection of approximately 2,000 preserved human bodies, body parts, and animals sealed in glass jars filled with formaldehyde. This alone creates an eerie and surreal atmosphere. To intensify the experience, a significant portion of these individuals grappled with various anatomical abnormalities. It was simultaneously one of the most captivating and disconcerting encounters for me. Out of respect for the deceased individuals on display, photography and filming are strictly prohibited within the museum. It’s worth noting that many of the deceased children were acquired from Parisian children’s homes, adding even more intensity to the museum. The Museum is located inside the AMC Hospital in South-East Amsterdam.
#7 Electric ladyland
If you are into exploring Amsterdam’s wild side or simply interested in a psychedelic experience without taking any drugs, don’t forget to include Electric Ladyland on your list of really weird things to do in Amsterdam. It’s no ordinary museum; it stands as the ultimate hub for fluorescent art, and guess where it’s hidden? Not in some grand hall but snugly nestled in a basement! You got it right. This fluorescent wonderland was born from the passion of artist and owner Nick Padalino, which started as a simple hobby but soon grew into something truly extraordinary. Step into a parallel universe filled with meticulously crafted neon, surreal sculptures, and a treasure trove of rocks and curiosities that come alive under the spell of UV-light.
The Condomerie is undoubtedly one of Amsterdam’s most unusual stores, easily earning its spot on my list of weird places in Amsterdam. It’s a place entirely dedicated to condoms, and this novelty alone can make your visit interesting and entertaining. The store has an extensive selection of condoms in various shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. The funky ones are hand-painting! One of my favourite ones was a condom with Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 racing car on top of it. It is a fun place to look around but know that the Condomerie also offers insights into safe sex, sexual health, and the history of condoms. Their condoms are displayed like ornaments in the window. So even if you don’t go inside, I would definitely recommend taking a stroll past their window. It’s conveniently situated right by Dam Square.
The Vondelbunker in Amsterdam is one of the city’s weirdest and most unconventional spots. First of all, many locals are still unaware of its existence, let alone its precise location. This former atomic bomb shelter lies hidden within the iconic Vondelpark, concealed beneath the renowned Vondelbridge. Constructed in 1947, its intriguing history took an unexpected turn in the late 60s when it was repurposed as a petite concert hall, even hosting a legendary performance by Pink Floyd. However, due to financial constraints, it shuttered, leading to periods of vacancy and diverse uses. Since 2011, this intriguing shelter has been named the ‘Vondelbunker,’ becoming a hub for art exhibitions, comedy nights, and various creative projects. While the door may occasionally be found open, the precise schedule remains shrouded in mystery. You’re welcome to venture inside and explore this fascinating and above all weird place in Amsterdam.
In the heart of Amsterdam, there lies an ancient unpaved polder path, and the weirdest thing is that no one knows about it! This intriguing path, known as the Schapenburgerpad, has its origins dating back long before the year 1734 when it was first documented in an official record. Interestingly, in 1782, the legal ownership of the Schapenburgerpad was not established as “each owner owning a portion” but rather as “belonging in its entirety to all owners.” This complex legal status is the very reason this historic polder path has endured throughout the years.
As Amsterdam expanded beyond its fortified city walls, the construction of Hobbemastraat directly over the Schapenburgerpad posed a significant challenge. The city made various attempts to pressure for the path’s expropriation, but without success. In 1890, when a horse-drawn tram service initiated the installation of tram tracks along Hobbemastraat/Schapenburgerpad, the property owners took a bold step. They erected a wooden barrier, effectively obstructing not only the tram but also all other forms of traffic. The Schapenburgerpad is definitely one of my favourite weird things in Amsterdam.
On my blogpost “Crazy things to do in Amsterdam” you may find some additional items for your “Amsterdam weird things to do”- wish list.
Other people also search for: