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Bucket list experience:

External view of the striking green building shaped like the prow of a ship

Photo by DigiDaan

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Jennifer Ceaser

This copper-encased science centre – designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano to resemble the hull of a giant ship – has become one of Amsterdam’s landmark buildings. Inside, you’ll find four floors of fun (but educational) hands-on exhibits that let children experiment with water, sound, light and weight. Calmer sections on the upper floors deal with subjects suitable for older children. A must for kids, but fun for adults too.

While you’re there

At the time of construction, architect Renzo Piano noted that there was no public space in Amsterdam offering raised city views. The result was this superb, sloping roof terrace/garden, with miniature waterfalls and views across the Canal Ring.

There’s a café and plenty of seating, making it a welcome oasis of calm for time out from sightseeing (or the kid madness going on inside) – and even some sunbathing. You can access the terrace independently of the museum too.

Price from: £15
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 3+
When: All year around

When to do it

The science centre is open all year round, from Tuesday to Sunday. During the official school holidays, the museum is open on Mondays too. There’s not really a quiet time – it always seems to be full of kids, but first thing in the morning or end of the day the crowds tail off.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Kimpton de Witt Amsterdam

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[1.2 miles]

A stylish yet unpretentious design hotel, housed in three 17th-century buildings, in a great city centre location.

Official star rating:

De L’Europe Amsterdam

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[1.4 miles]

Ultra-plush five-star luxury in a landmark hotel. Perfectly located on the southern of the character-filled Canal Ring, walking distance to the big art museums.

Official star rating:

W Amsterdam

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[1.5 miles]

Swanky design hotel in the picturesque heart of the city, offering an array of bars and restaurants, plus the city’s largest rooftop pool.

Official star rating:

Hoxton Amsterdam

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[1.7 miles]

A cool, retro design complements the historical character of this wonderful, affordable canal-side bolthole.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Amsterdam

North Holland, Netherlands

Picturesque Golden Age canals, premier league art, cosy cafés, and liberal urban living combine to make Amsterdam one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

National Maritime Museum

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[0.3 miles]

The second-largest maritime collection in the world charts the golden age of Dutch seafaring, with interactive exhibits and memorabilia including a replica 18th-century sailing ship.

Best for ages: 13+ | £12

Hermitage Amsterdam

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[1.2 miles]

A 17th-century old people’s that is now the overseas outpost for St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum. Lavish, must-see exhibitions of exquisite treasures selected from the Hermitage’s vast collections.

Best for ages: 18+ | £22

The Nine Streets

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[1.9 miles]

Stroll the city’s most stylish streets, packed with independent boutiques and vintage fashion stores, the latest Dutch and Flemish brands, and locally-made soaps and luxe toiletries.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Anne Frank House

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[1.9 miles]

The canal-house annexe – now a moving museum – is where Anne Frank hid and wrote her world-famous diary.

Best for ages: 8+ | £12

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Exterior view of the Hortus Botanicus and a lake in the front
Experience

Hortus Botanicus

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[0.8 miles]

The unheralded but delightful Hortus Botanicus is one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens – founded in 1638. It’s just east of the city centre and well worth a visit.

Best for ages: 4+ | £10

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interior view of the synagogue during the daytime
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Portuguese Synagogue

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[0.8 miles]

One of Europe’s largest synagogues, this magnificent building has been in continuous use since its founding in 1675 and is still lit entirely by candlelight. 

Best for ages: 18+ | £17

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interior view of the small chapel, hidden within 3 townhouses
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Our Lord in the Attic

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[0.9 miles]

One of the few remaining ‘clandestine churches’ of the 17th century, when Catholics were forced to worship in secret, this Baroque-style jewel is tucked inside the attic of a stately Red Light District canal house.

Best for ages: 18+ | £12

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Exterior view of the museum during daytime
Experience

Rembrandt House Museum

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands[0.9 miles]

From 1639 to 1656, Rembrandt lived and worked in this graceful townhouse, which features a recreation of his studio and period furnishings from the Golden Age; a modern addition displays his prints and lesser paintings.

Best for ages: 18+ | £13

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