8 Architectural Highlights In Amsterdam

by | 10. Jul 2014


The romantic canals of Amsterdam. Photo by Moyan Brenn/CC

Like a northern Venice, the city’s primary tourist draw is its canals and quaint, narrow, 17th century UNESCO-listed houses. But don’t be fooled, the city has heaps more to offer its visitors architecturally than merely charm and atmosphere.

Given the colonial history of the Netherlands, one of the absolute architectural must-sees in Amsterdam is the centrally located Van Gogh Museum and the surrounding Museumsplein – a very interesting piece of east-meets-west Modernism. The museum, which opened in 1973, was originally designed by Dutch De Stijl designer Gerrit Rietveld, but an expansion has been added by Japanese modernist Kisho Kurokawa in 1999.

Aside from the architecture, the museum also features an exceptional collection of works from the Dutch master painter.

The Van Gogh Museum. The original Rietveld building on the right and the added Kurokawa Wing on the left. Photo by Dave Sag/CC

Other modern landmarks

The issue of density is one that the Netherlands in general – and Amsterdam in particular – has been struggling with for decades. This explains why one of today’s most well-known Dutch studios, MVRDV, have always been so preoccupied with ways of dealing with the issue. The Silodam project is very illustrative of their characteristically pragmatic and provocative approach: a floating apartment block of what appears to be stacked shipping containers.

Elsewhere in the city, a number of new landmark buildings are adding contrast to the general homogenity of the historic city, for instance Steven Holl’s Sarphatistraat Offices and Benthem Crouwel’s New Stedelijk Museum in the central part of the city, UNStudio’s Tower in the suburban periphery as well as 3XN’s BIMhuis on the harborfront.

Sarphatistraat Offices
Steven Holl Architects

New Stedelijk Museum
Benthem Crouwel Architekten


Arcam by René van Zuuk Architekten in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Exterior waterfront Photo: arcspace
René van Zuuk Architekten



Bijlmer ArenA Station by Grimshaw Architects in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Rail tracks. Photo: Mark Humpreys
Bijlmer ArenA Station
Grimshaw Architects


American Hotel is one of the foremost examples of the Dutch Art Nouveau in Amsterdam. While the hotel may not suit the budget of many travellers, those who can afford to spend a bit extra should most definately consider it.