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This Christmas, give the gift of Amsterdam

The best Christmas gift? An adventure in Amsterdam

From art aficionados to craft-beer connoisseurs, this city has something for everyone.

Looking for a Christmas present with a difference? Forget chocolate boxes and classic jumpers: when it comes to making an impression, shared experiences often make the most touching gifts. Our advice? You can’t go wrong with a Channel-hopping adventure to Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is closer than you’d think, and full of memorable adventures. From world-class museums to Michelin-starred eats, this city has it all – and however many times you’ve visited, there’s always something new to discover. We’ve found five experiences that would make the perfect present, from a taster of the city’s craft beer scene to an evening at the opera.

  • Spend an arty afternoon at Foam

    Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS

    Set in the centre of the city, on the tree-lined Keizersgracht canal, this boldly curated photography museum punches well above its weight. It often hosts multiple exhibitions, with a focus on rising talents, though big-name retrospectives tend to take over all three floors. Afterwards, browse the shop for posters, prints and books, or hit the laid-back café for apple pie and fresh mint tea.

  • Cosy up for a film at Pathé Tuschinski

    Reguliersbreestraat 26-34, 1017 CN

    The soulless modern multiplex has nothing on this place – a show-stopping movie theatre, which opened in 1921. Behind a domed, art-deco façade, it’s a vision of decorative excess, from its swirling, kaleidoscopic lobby to its gilded screening room. Impress the cinephile in your life with a pair of top-tier tickets, which will score you a two-seater sofa, along with drinks and a snack.

  • Catch a gig at Melkweg

    Lijnbaansgracht 234A, 1017 PH
    Melkweg (which translates as ‘Milky Way’) was once an abandoned dairy, before being reinvented in the 70s as a freewheeling cultural hub. Now, it’s one of the city’s most atmospheric music venues, with a line-up that runs from reggae to rock, punk to electronica. The buzzy, banquette-lined café’s perfect for a pre-gig drink; big-ticket upcoming acts include DJ Shadow and La Roux.
  • Listen up at the Concertgebouw

    Concertgebouwplein 10, 1071 LN
    A gilded lyre perches on the roof of this neoclassical concert hall, set on Museumplein, opposite the Rijksmuseum. Built in the 1880s, it’s famed for its astonishing acoustics, even though its architect was said to be ‘as musical as a cow’. Get in quick to score tickets for next year’s highlights, which run from the Mahler Festival in May to a thrilling operatic take on Hamlet.
  • Go beer tasting under a windmill at Brouwerij ’t IJ

    Funenkade 7, 1018 AL
    This cult craft brewery’s tap room couldn’t be easier to find: just look out for its neighbour, Amsterdam’s largest wooden windmill. The crew here brews some of the city’s finest beers, from punchy, Belgian-style tripels to seasonal stouts and malty bokbiers. It’s open from 2pm to 8pm but doesn’t take reservations – on sunny afternoons, arrive early for a coveted terrace spot.

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Image credits: © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © Sophia Van Den Hoek