tours in amsterdam

Amsterdam counts more than 8,500 lis­ted monu­ments. Its 17th cen­tury canal ring attracts mil­lions of vis­it­ors from all over the world every year.


But Amsterdam also has a wealth of mod­ern archi­tec­ture to offer – from 1920s brick expres­sion­ism to con­tem­por­ary har­bour con­ver­sions and newly cre­ated arti­fi­cial archipela­gos. It’s also one of the European cit­ies fam­ous for their Smart City approach, innov­at­ive sus­tain­ab­il­ity ideas and high qual­ity of life.

After Amsterdam turned its back against the water for nearly a cen­tury, the city plan­ners redis­covered its water­front in the early 1990s. 


New hous­ing areas were cre­ated on the former Dock­lands around the year 2000, with Borneo-Sporen­burg as the most exper­i­ment­al neigh­bour­hood. Over the next years the entire south­ern shore, from the dock­lands in the east to the wood ship­ping har­bour in the west, was re-developed.


But this was only the start of the new devel­op­ments along the banks of the river IJ. To the east of the Cent­ral Sta­tion, Oos­t­er­dok­sei­l­and has been turned into a high-dens­ity city dis­trict, and to the west of the sta­tion, hous­ing area Wes­t­er­dok­sei­l­and and arti­fi­cial pen­in­sula IJdock were cre­ated.

On the oth­er side of the water, in Amsterdam-Noord, artists and media com­pan­ies give the former NDSM wharf a second lease of life. Former indus­tri­al area Buik­sloter­ham is being redeveloped as a new dis­trict with self-built hous­ing pro­jects, and at De Ceuvel house boats on dry land serve as office for cre­at­ive com­pan­ies, while plants puri­fy the heav­ily pol­luted ground around them.

The latest addi­tion is the Houthaven, a former har­bour area which is being turned into an energy neut­ral neigh­bour­hood.

The biggest recent land reclam­a­tion pro­ject in Amsterdam is IJburg, a new archipelago on 7 arti­fi­cial islands, where 45,000 people will live and work one day. It fea­tures a wide vari­ety of hous­ing typo­lo­gies, includ­ing float­ing homes. 

Con­sid­er­ing the growth of the city, how­ever, even these areas won’t suf­fice. Accord­ingly, the muni­cip­al­ity has made plans to turn parts of the cur­rent har­bour into Haven­Stad, while at the same time office parks in the South­east of the city are also being trans­formed into new hous­ing dis­tricts.

If everything goes accord­ing to plan, the met­ro­pol­it­an region of Amsterdam will grow from 2,8 mil­lion inhab­it­ants in 2017 to 3,2 mil­lion in 2040 – while main­tain­ing the cur­rent qual­ity of life.

Amsterdam Key Top­ics

  • (afford­able) hous­ing
  • har­bour con­ver­sions
  • trans­form­a­tion
  • dens­ity
  • reclaimed land
  • sus­tain­ab­il­ity
  • liv­ing on water
  • self-build
  • mobil­ity
  • urb­an renew­al
IJburg: individual floating houses on Steigereiland


IJburg is Ams­ter­dam’s largest hous­ing exten­sion and will even­tu­ally count 18.000 homes. It con­sists of 7 arti­fi­cial islands in lake IJmeer, which are being developed

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Bike Lane in Amsterdam

Bike Mobil­ity

Amsterdam is undis­putedly the European bike cap­it­al. The mod­al split for cyc­ling reaches around 50% in the city as a whole and even 62% in

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Urban Renewal in West: WoZoCo old people's housing by MVRDV in Amsterdam-West

Urb­an Renew­al in West

In the 1950s and 1960s, Amsterdam grew bey­ond its former bor­der, the motor­way ringroad. Extens­ive new res­id­en­tial areas were cre­ated in the west of the

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CIRCL pavillion Zuidas

Cli­mate Resi­li­ent Amsterdam

Resi­li­ence is a big issue in the Neth­er­lands. Accord­ingly, the muni­cip­al­ity of Amsterdam stim­u­lates rain­wa­ter reten­tion pro­jects and the de-seal­ing of urb­an sur­faces, but also

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“I par­tic­u­larly liked the folders the guide car­ried with her with the pic­tures and maps, because it really helped her present­a­tion and helped us to fol­low along. I know many stu­dents are still talk­ing about Houthavens and what they learned dur­ing the tour, so it was a suc­cess.”
Ekta Thawani, Coun­cil on Inter­na­tion­al Edu­ca­tion­al Exchange, Amsterdam
“The guides were great, and so was the pro­gramme. It has been a pleas­ure to work with you.
Hans Staudinger, Überbau Akademie, Vienna, Aus­tria