Amstel River



The Amstel is the great river that runs through Amsterdam and whose water was diverted into the city’s famous canals. The city was first built around the river, giving it the name Amstel Dam, and today the waterway is flows past modern buildings and charming houseboats before winding its way into the Dutch countryside.

The Basics
Follow the path along the Amstel to find a number of city landmarks including the Hermitage Museum, the Royal Theater Carre, and the iconic Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug). Once you get to Amsterdam South, the river makes way for a beautiful path along which locals cycle, sail, and enjoy a stroll before turning into bucolic meadows and rural villages.

Most tours in Amsterdam include a stop along the Amstel. If you want to explore like a local, hop on a bike tour to explore the city’s highlights, including the Amstel path. Numerous river cruise options are also available to see the city via the Amstel and numerous canals. To save on admission fees, combine attractions such as the Rembrandt House Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and Keukenhof Gardens (in the spring) with a city tour of Amsterdam.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Amstel is a must-visit for all visitors to Amsterdam, as it is the city’s main watery artery.
  • Don comfortable walking shoes to enjoy strolling along the riverside path.
  • Boat tours of Amsterdam make it easy for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility to see the Amstel and the city’s main attractions.

How to Get There
The Amstel is easily accessible from many points in Amsterdam. The best way to experience it, and many city landmarks, is on a river and canal cruise. If you prefer to stay on land, head to the Hermitage Museum and the Skinny Bridge to walk along the riverbank without leaving the city.

When to Get There

Amsterdam sees huge crowds of travelers during the summer months. Try to visit during spring or autumn, when there are fewer people and less chance for rain. The city really comes alive when the tulips are in bloom, generally between the end of March and the end of May.

The Lifeblood of Amsterdam
The Amstel is more than just a transportation waterway in Amsterdam. Since the days of early settlers, the river has provided the most vital irrigation resource and was even diverted to the Amstel Brewery to keep its stock of beer chilled. The river was also an inspiration for many artists, including Rembrandt and Mondrian. The dams, which wind their way through Amsterdam and the Netherlands, are a feat of engineering and provide water and transportation for thousands of Dutch citizens.


Amstel River
Amsterdam, North Holland


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