Things to Do in Amsterdam

The City of Amsterdam is filled with wheelchair accessible things to do. Take your wheelchair travel selfie with the “I Amsterdam” sign, then delve into the many museums of history and art. Continue your tour with a canal cruise and admire the unique architecture that is on display throughout the city. Enjoy local cuisine like the stroopwafel and Dutch new herring, then wash it down with a pilsner beer at the Heineken Experience.

Nearly all of the city’s popular attractions are wheelchair accessible, with the exception of the Anne Frank House. Due to the absence of an elevator or lift, wheelchair users won’t be able to access Anne Frank’s hidden loft without climbing the staircase. Still, the city has a great deal to offer and is one of Europe’s greatest treasures.

“I Amsterdam” Sign

Every tourist takes a photo with the iconic “I Amsterdam” letters, located behind the Rijksmuseum on the beautiful Museumplein. It would surprise many visitors to the city (and even some locals!) to know that the letters pictured above are not entirely unique – two other installations are in the city.

I Amsterdam Sign

One is located outside Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and the other is moved around the city. To find out where the rotating letters currently call home, visit The letters are installed permanently on the Museumplein and at Schiphol Airport.

The letters first came to be as a marketing campaign for the city, local businesses and the tourism industry. The letters on the Museumplein have now become a landmark and a representation of the city’s willingness to accept everyone, regardless of race, sex, nationality and physical ability. Wheelchair users should proudly pose in front of the letters and snap a photo. Be sure to tag it for inclusion in my Wheelchair Travel Selfie Project!
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1.7 km from Weesperplein, lines 51, 53, 54.

Royal Concertgebouw

The Royal Concert Hall, or Concertgebouw, is one of the world’s premier concert venues. Constructed between 1883 and 1886, the structure is located adjacent to the Museumplein. On its 125th anniversary, in 2013, Queen Beatrix honored the venue with the Royal Title “Koninklijk.”

Royal Concert Hall Amsterdam

The Concertgebouw hosts some 900 yearly concerts and events. Performances are typically focused on opera or orchestra music, but the venue has also welcomed jazz and world musicians. The hall is wheelchair accessible, but there are only two wheelchair seating locations in both the Main and Recital Halls. Wheelchairs gain access to the halls via elevator, and accessible restrooms are available. For more information, or to see a schedule of performances, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  2.3 km from Weesperplein, lines 51, 53, 54.


With 2.45 million visitors in 2014, the Rijksmuseum was the most visited museum in Amsterdam. Originally opened in 1800, it moved to its current building in 1885 on the Museumplein. The museum’s focus is on arts, crafts and history. Approximately 8,000 pieces are on display at any given time, pulled from a collection of more than one million. The collection spans the country’s history from 1200 to the year 2000. Among the most treasured pieces of the collection are paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, with many of the works produced by masters including Rembrandt and Vermeer.

The museum re-opened in 2013 after an extensive, decade-long renovation. Special attention was paid to making the museum accessible to all, including wheelchair users. All Rijksmuseum galleries are wheelchair accessible, with elevators located throughout the building. Accessible restrooms are also available. Tickets to the museum are € 17,50 for adults. Patrons with a disability who cannot navigate the museum unaided, may bring one companion for free. more information can be found on the Rijksmuseum website.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1.6 km from Weesperplein, lines 51, 53, 54.

Van Gogh Museum

First opened in 1973, the Van Gogh Museum is a national museum of The Netherlands and houses the world’s largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s works. Among the most popular pieces on display are The Potato Eaters (1885), Self-Portrait As A Painter (1887-1888), The Bedroom (1888), Sunflowers (1889), and Wheatfield With Crows (1890).

Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

The museum is located on the Museumplein and is fully wheelchair accessible. Access is provided via elevators, and restrooms designed for wheelchair users are available inside. Admission for adults is € 17,00. One companion may accompany wheelchair users free of charge. As of September 2015, the museum has a new class facade and entry hall (pictured above). For more information on the museum and its collection, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  2.2 km from Weesperplein, lines 51, 53, 54.


The Museum Square, or Museumplein, is a public square located in close proximity to the Rijksmuseum. It is the home of the I Amsterdam letters/sign. The square is crossed by multiple wheelchair accessible pathways, and is used as a venue for art and cultural events, demonstrations and other public gatherings. Within walking distance of the square are the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, and Diamond Museum. The United States Consulate sits along the Museumplein’s Eastern border.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1.6 km from Weesperplein, lines 51, 53, 54.

Canal Cruise

Amsterdam may not be Venice, but it is still a city of canals. The waterways have been so important in the city’s development, they have been granted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taking a sightseeing cruise on the canals is an incredible way to experience Amsterdam, and it won’t deplete your wheelchair battery!

Amsterdam Canal Cruise Wheelchair Access

In June 2015, I took a cruise offered by Blue Boat Company. Many of their cruise boats are wheelchair accessible via a ramp and onboard lift. The lift easily handled my heavy power wheelchair, and the 75-minute cruise was a great deal of fun. I’ve written a detailed review of the cruise, with pictures. You can find it here:  Review: Blue Boat Amsterdam Canal Cruise in a Wheelchair.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1.3 km from Waterlooplein, lines 51, 53, 54.

Amsterdam Museum

Amsterdam Museum DNA TourI studied history at university and in graduate school. I’m a history buff, on steroids. The typical history museum contains a few artifacts, along with an excessive amount of text that visitors will need to read. I’m okay with that, but it doesn’t seem like a “fun” thing to do on vacation.

The Amsterdam Museum may be a history museum, but it’s incredibly innovative. The museum presents the city’s history in ways that are actually engaging. Interactive exhibits steal the show and are complemented by a large number of audio/video displays. Less reading and standing (or sitting) still! The 2-3 hours you spend in the Amsterdam Museum will be worth it. I hope history museums around the world take a close look at this one. Since I was so excited by what I saw, I wrote a very detailed review of Amsterdam Museum wheelchair accessibility. Check it out!
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1 km from Waterlooplein, lines 51, 53, 54.


The 120-acre Vondelpark is a public park in the Amsterdam-Zuid district, within walking distance of Museumplein. The park is a center for community activity. The open-air theatre, or Openluchttheater, hosts free music performances of numerous genres in the summer months of June, July and August. Pathways exist throughout the park, which are utilized by bicyclists and pedestrians alike. Wheelchair users can roll about as well. Fans of the works of Pablo Picasso might wish to check out his sculpture, The Fish, which is located inside the park.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1.9 km from Waterlooplein, lines 51, 53, 54.

Dam Square and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

At the center of Amsterdam, within walking distance of the Centraal train station, sits Dam Square. The square is one of the most popular in Amsterdam, largely because the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is adjacent to it. The Dam also contains a National Monument, dedicated to the victims of World War II. The square’s cobblestones are difficult to navigate by wheelchair, but not impossible. I have reviewed other cities in Europe with areas far more difficult cobblestone pavements.

Dam Square Royal Palace Amsterdam

The Royal Palace, originally built in 1655 as the city’s Town Hall, is the square’s primary tourist attraction. The building was turned into a royal residence in 1808, when King Louis I of Holland, Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, took control of the republic. Today, the palace is used by the Dutch Royal family, but primarily for ceremonies and special events. The palace is open to the public many days throughout the year, with an admission fee of € 10,00.

Self-guided tours, with a complimentary audio guide, are wheelchair accessible. Access to upper floors is provided by an elevator, and I was able to access the same rooms as other tourists. A wheelchair accessible toilet is available inside. Loaner wheelchairs are available to guests who have not brought one of their own. More information can be found on the palace’s official website.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.7 km from Nieuwmarkt, lines 51, 53, 54.

Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House was, just that – Rembrant Harmenszoon van Rijn’s home, and a place where he worked/painted. The building recently underwent a renovation, restoring it to 17th-century, period style. Unfortunately, that makes the home itself inaccessible to wheelchairs. The building directly next to, and connected to Rembrandt’s house, holds the exhibition galleries and restrooms of the Rembrandt House Museum. This building is wheelchair accessible. Unfortunately, without access to the historic property, you may wish to write off a stop here. More information, including details of the current exhibition, are available on the museum’s official website.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.4 km from Waterlooplein, lines 51, 53, 54.

Basilica of St. Nicholas

Built between 1884 and 1887, the Basilica of St. Nicholas is the city’s primary Roman Catholic Church, and the most recognized. Located in the city center, it is only a short walk from Central train station. The Church was named for the patron saint of Amsterdam, St. Nicholas, and was originally referred to as St. Nicholas Inside the Walls (of the city’s innermost district). In celebration of its 125th anniversary in 2012, the Church was designated a minor Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.

Basilica of St. Nicholas, Amsterdam

Wheelchair access to the Church and sanctuary is fairly good. A lift allows wheelchair users and those who have difficulty with steps to avoid them altogether. You may need assistance with some of the doors, as I did, but other visitors and parish staff will be happy to help. For a complete listing of the sacraments and parish schedule, visit (Dutch only).
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.7 km from Nieuwmarkt, lines 51, 53, 54.

Heineken Experience

Heineken Experience Museum EntranceThe Heineken Experience is an interactive, self-guided tour through the historic brewery of the Dutch pilsner beer, Heineken. The building, located in Amsterdam, was built as the first Heineken brewery in 1867. It remained the company’s primary brewing facility until 1988. In 1991, it was transformed into the company’s official visitors’ center. The experience consists of a museum showcasing the history of the Heineken beer and brand, interactive exhibits that explain the brewing process, and an opportunity to sample and enjoy the beer itself.

Due to the popularity of the Heineken Experience, I’ve put together an expanded review of the tour. There are many photos! Check it out at: Touring Amsterdam’s Heineken Experience in a Wheelchair.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1.3 km from Weesperplein, lines 51, 53, 54.