© Koen Smilde Photography

Amsterdam’s squares

Amsterdam has a number of special squares, each with its own character. Where will you find the best terraces and where to go for the sparkling nightlife? Read more about what you can find on each square and visit Waterlooplein, Museumplein or Leidseplein.

  • Explore art and culture at Museumplein.
  • Dive into nightlife on Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein.
  • Stroll past the market stalls on Waterlooplein.

Dam Square

This is probably the best known square in Amsterdam. Here you’ll find the Royal Palace, which welcomes visitors. Take a look at how the royals used to live. Another must is Madame Tussauds, the world-famous wax statue museum. Several living statues can be found on the square itself. Take a picture with them for a few coins. The National Monument commemorating the victims of WWII is located on the other side of the Square. The National Commemorative Ceremony occurs on 4 May every year, remembering all the victims of WWII as well as those of wars around the world. The King and Queen place flowers and wreaths here together with other authorities and living relatives. Two minutes’ silence honor the dead at 8pm.


Rembrandtplein is the place to go for cafés and clubs that welcome you until deep into the night. The Escape has been a byword in Amsterdam for years now but Café de Kroon is also well worth a visit. Café de Schiller with its Jugendstil interior takes you back to the roarineg twenties.

Rembrandtplein was named after the famous painter Rembrandt. His statue has a prominent place in the center of the square. Around him, you will see the characters from his most famous work: The Nightwatch.

From Rembrandplein you can walk to Thorbeckeplein, where you will find more cafés.


This square is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s nightlife. In the streets around the square, you will find popular clubs like Jimmy Woo and De Kring. You can also visit the theater here, at the Stadsschouwburg or DeLaMar Theater. If you want to spend an afternoon enjoying a stylish high tea, go to Cafe Americain at Hotel Americain. Since its opening in 1902, Amsterdam’s Beau Monde has been visiting this ample space built and decorated in Art Deco style.  

There are countless hotels near Leidseplein. Spending the night here means you will be near the square as well as several great shopping streets and the popular Vondelpark.


As the name suggests, this square is well known for its many museums. Museums with ringing names, too: Rijksmuseum, Van Goghmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, they can all be found around this square. Good to know: Now you can also store your baggage or bags in a big locker here, avoiding trouble at the door when you are visiting a museum.

Did you know Museumplein is also the biggest square in Amsterdam? It is likely to make you think of a park: its biggest surface is given over to a field of grass where people have picnics in summer. It is equally attractive in winter, when the pond is transformed into an ice-skating rink. You can rent ice skates but it is just as nice to watch the skaters whilst enjoying a hot drink and typically Dutch poffertjes.  

The Museumplein is an excellent location to book a hotel. You will be close to the museums, not far from the city center, upscale shopping street PC Hooftstraat, and Vondelpark.


Do you like markets, bargains, and brocante? Waterlooplein is the palce for you. Second-hand clothing, albums, crockery, shoes, bicycles - you can find it all here. The market is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 9:30 to 18:00. Nearby you can visit the Stopera opera house, where the National Ballet performs on a regular basis, Joods Historisch Museum and the Portuguese Synagoge. Another must see is the Hermitage museum, a branch of the famous Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


There is always lots to do on Nieuwmarkt. There is a market during the day and the many cafés ensure that there is plenty to do in the evening. Events are held here on a regular basis and in summer, there is an antiques and curiosity market in the weekends.

Nieuwmarkt rubs shoulders with the Chinese district, where you can enjoy lovely Chinese food in restaurants and go shopping, and the Lastage district with its canals and authentic little houses. Did you know there was a period in Holland in which Catholics were not allowed to openly practise their faith? They were allowed to gather in ‘hidden’ churches, buildings that did not show on the outside that they were churches. Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder is one of them. Today it is a museum well worth a visit if you are near Nieuwmarkt.

If you are spending the night near Nieuwmarkt, you will be in the city center and an excellent starting point for a great urban walk to visit beautiful squares and canals. You will also be close to Amsterdam’s Central Station.

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