5 Buildings You Don’t Want to Miss when Exploring Amsterdam

Our food tours are about much more than just the food. You also get to explore the architecture, history, and culture of Amsterdam. And since many of our tour guides have their own areas of expertise in addition to food, they each have fascinating stories to tell you about the city, as well as interesting tips to share with you.

One of our tour guides, Jelte, is an architecture historian who also works for his own architecture tour company Cityloop. And according to him, there are at least five buildings you absolutely have to see while you’re in Amsterdam!

Fortunately, some of these gems are conveniently located along our tour routes, while others are close by.

1. Café Papeneiland, Prinsengracht 2

This house with a café on the ground floor dates back to 1641, with a stepped Renaissance gable on top. Because it is a corner house, both facades lean out, which makes it look rather impressive over the canals. It is best seen from the bridge across the way.

Cafe 't Papeneiland - Amsterdam

While you’re at it, also take a look inside: you’ll see a 19th-century stove and tiles that reflect the heat back into the room.

Oh, and Café Papeneiland has the best apple pie in Amsterdam, which is why the Grand Dutch Food & History Tour starts here!

2. Towerhouse, Willemsstraat 2

A triangular plot was vacant for a long time, since no one was able to build a viable house on such an oddly shaped piece of land. Other restrictions, such as the neighbors’ windows, made it even more complicated! But Studio Lada pulled it off, and the Towerhouse was completed in 2020.

There is a staircase that winds from floor to floor, and each floor is a different room. The windows are placed so that you always have a view of the surrounding streets, the canal, or the other houses.

You can join one of Jelte’s Cityloop tours to delve deeper into the fascinating facade and interior of this architectural marvel.

3. Claes Claeszhofje, Eerste Egelantiersdwarsstraat 1

Hidden in the street facade is a door that gives access to the backyard of an housing block. And from there you will find a second courtyard, built in the early 17th century. It has now been restored and is currently rented out to students. A visit to Claes Claeszhofje gives you a glimpse of a different world behind the facades.

4. Patisserie Holtkamp, Vijzelgracht 15

This small shop, tucked away on a busy street, has a beautiful 1928 interior in a style called the Amsterdam School. It is reminiscent of Art Nouveau or Art Deco. And since they have the most delicious selection of baked goods and pastries, it’s hard not to buy the whole place while you’re there!

5. Green Gastrobar, Beethovenstraat 305, 26th floor

The Valley is one of the newest additions to the Zuidas district. The exterior looks like an ordinary office tower, but inside you will find a valley carved out of the rock. Also, don’t forget to go into the grotto and explore the roof above.

The Valley Zuidas

At the top of the North Tower, the Green Gastrobar offers a stunning view of the building and the city.

Want to know more about exploring Amsterdam’s beautiful buildings? Check out the architecture tours at