In the past, many travelers visited Amsterdam in the Netherlands for the "wrong" reason. The city’s cannabis culture, plus the fascinating Red Light District were top of their itinerary. However, with recent changes in the city, these two options are out of reach to international travelers. Coffee shops will be unable to sell to anyone other than locals and the Red Light District is moving into a purpose-built center.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam has many more fascinating locations to visit, including its museums, art galleries and so much more. The following are three unique locations to visit in Amsterdam on your next visit.
Electric Ladyland: The Museum of Fluorescent Art
Located close to the famous Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, this small museum is devoted to the magic of fluorescent light. The museum is owned and operated by local artist Nick Padalino and can be found beneath a similarly named art gallery, Electric Lady.Electric Ladyland is the world’s first museum focusing solely on colorful fluorescent light.
When entering the basement museum, visitors will immediately be surrounded by otherworldly shapes and light.
Visitors are recommended to take their time exploring this fully-immersive environment in what the owner dubs “participatory art.” As the black light comes on, all kinds of shapes come to life, with every surface lit by neon phosphorescence.
The exhibits include various items related to fluorescence, including vintage black light play sets and informative displays. For instance, a glass case full of seemingly dull stones explodes under the black light into vibrant electric color.
Visitors should bear in mind that it is necessary to book in advance to visit Electric Ladyland. Head to the museum’s website for hours, directions and information. Take an online view of the museum and interview with the artist in the video below..
2. De Poezenboot – Floating Cat Sanctuary
This unique animal sanctuary was founded by Henriette van Weelde in 1966 as a home for stray, abandoned and sick cats and has since become an official charity. While felines aren’t fond of water, these cats are perfectly happy to float in a boat on an Amsterdam canal.
The kitty houseboat can house up to 50 cats at a time, while 14 of them are permanent residents here. Human visitors are welcome on the houseboat and many choose a cat for adoption. However, those who want to visit and give a kitty some love are welcome too.
The boat sanctuary stays afloat thanks to donations left by visitors. All money raised goes towards helping as many of the city’s cats as possible. The Cat Boat Foundation also pays for neutering of cats, whose owners cannot afford the veterinary bill, along with the strays. Meanwhile, all cats are cared for by volunteers.
De Poezenboot is located in central Amsterdam and is a 10-minute walk from the main station. Opening hours are from 1 pm until 3 pm daily, except for Wednesdays and Sundays when the boat is closed. Find out more about the Cat Boat from its official website here.
2. A’Dam Tower entertainment hub
The A’Dam Tower was originally home to the oil company Royal Dutch Shell. However, in 2016, after a huge refit, A’Dam Toren (as it is known locally) became one of Amsterdam’s most exciting nightlife and creative hubs.
The building also has the city’s first public observation deck.
The Skydeck is at the top of the 22-floor tower and offers an incredible 360-degree view over the center of Amsterdam. For those not interested in the nightlife offers in the building, they can enjoy "Over the Edge," the highest swing in Europe.