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3 Weird & Wonderful Attractions In Amsterdam For Curious Travelers

Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands
Amsterdam [Image by djedj from Pixabay]
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and is known for its canal system and 17th-century Golden Age architecture. The city is also well known for its artistic heritage and its Museum District hosts the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk. Meanwhile, cycling is the best way to explore the city, which has plenty of bike paths. However, for those who have already seen all the major sights of Amsterdam, there are a number of truly weird and wonderful attractions well worth visiting. These include tiny, hidden houses, a swing over a dizzying drop, and a street filled with mysterious antique shops.

1. Westerstraat and the tiny hidden houses

The tiny hidden houses of Westerstraat, Amsterdam
Tiny houses [Image by Greger Ravik/Flickr]
Anyone looking for a certain address in Westerstraat in Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood might notice something strange. The street is lined with the typical narrow gabled houses of Amsterdam, but some house numbers are missing. In fact, anyone looking closely will see the house numbers from 54 to 70 don’t exist. What on earth happened to the seven missing addresses?

It turns out the seven missing numbers used to be in a small courtyard accessible from the street. However, the entrance to the courtyard was closed when some of the houses were merged, making the seven numbers disappear. However, it turns out they are no longer missing. If you look closely at a tiny crack between the houses, you will see seven miniature houses, stacked on top of each other within the four-inch space between the buildings.

Close up of one of the tiny hidden houses of Westerstraat
Close up of a tiny house [Image by Greger Ravik/Flickr]
It turns out a local advertising agency came up with the idea of replacing the missing numbers from 54 to 70. They created tiny, wonderfully detailed and colorful model houses, built in the same architectural style as those lining the street. While the tiny houses are easy to miss, if you take the time to stroll slowly down Westerstraat you will spot them. However, if you can’t find them, Google map link will take you to the exact spot.

2. A’DAM Lookout and Over The Edge Swing, Amsterdam

A'DAM Lookout and Over The Edge Swing, Amsterdam
A’DAM Lookout and Over The Edge Swing [Image Wikimedia Commons]
This next weird and wonderful Amsterdam attraction is only for those with nerves of steel and no fear of heights. The A’DAM Tower was opened in 1971 as the home of the oil company Royal Dutch Shell. However, following a more recent multi-million euro renovation, the tower became one of the most popular options for local nightlife and creative hubs.

Meanwhile, looming over the Amsterdam North skyline on the 22nd floor is the Skydeck, a viewpoint offering 360-degree views of the city center. While the views are great on the deck itself, daring visitors can climb onboard the highest swing in Europe. Strapped in with a safety harness, they can swing backward and forward at around 330 feet above the streets of Amsterdam. If you are scared of heights, just don’t look down!

3. Nieuwe Spiegelstraat and its antique shops

Nieuwe Spiegelstraat, Amsterdam,
Thom & Lenny Nelkis Antiques [Image by Valerie Lam/Flickr]
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat in Amsterdam is a holdover from Holland’s past. This fascinating street is lined with antique shops, each a museum to an obscure part of the city’s history. Meanwhile, for those who love window shopping, the street is truly unique. One is Staetshuys Antiquairs, where globes, telescopes, planetariums, sextants, telluriums and all kinds of scientific and nautical instruments can be seen.

Another particularly fascinating shop is Thom & Lenny Nelkis Antiques, pictured above. It houses a collection of medical instruments, dental tools, dissection kits and apothecary jars. Meanwhile, a dinosaur-sized plaster tooth is on display that was previously hung in a dentist’s surgery. Find out more about these unique antique shops here.

Enjoy the weird and wonderful side of Amsterdam on your next visit to the Netherlands, where you can visit these and many more unique attractions.

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Anne Sewell

Freelance writer and travel writer who has lived in Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa, now living happily on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.

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