Seeing Amsterdam with the I Amsterdam City Card

Updated April 5, 2024

While I prefer to travel like a local, I have to admit certain tourist tools make a trip better. When I visited San Francisco a year ago, I had my first experience using an all-inclusive pass that got me access to public transportation and entry into attractions. 

So when I started planning my side trip to Amsterdam after spending two weeks in Provence, I was thrilled when I was offered a comped I amsterdam City Card.

i amsterdam city card

Explore Amsterdam Art & Culture for a Fraction of the Price

The most appealing thing about the i Amsterdam card is how many museums you get access to. There are 45 museums in Amsterdam proper that you get into free with your card, as well as an additional 20 or so on the outskirts of the city. Please note that since this first writing in 2017, the Van Gogh Museum is no longer included with the card. It’s still worth a visit, in my opinion.

What museums can you see in Amsterdam? It depends on how much time you have in this part of The Netherlands and how well you do your advance planning. On our 2024 visit to Holland, we skipped the crowded Ann Frank House. Instead, we reserved our time slots online, in advance of our visit to Rijksmuseum, with over 8,000 works of art, including Hal’s Rembrandt and Vermeer. Next we visited Moco Museum with Andy Warhol, Bansky and Keith Haring. We didn’t see all 200 of Van Gogh’s paintings and 500 of his drawings at the Van Gogh Museum, but we tried. Another favorite was seeing the traditional Dutch costumes from all over the country at the Klederdracht Museum (Dutch Costume Museum.. Lastly, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world Hortus Botanicus (Botanical Gardens) is included with the card.

The cultural benefits of the i Amsterdam city card go on and on.

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On our second visit to the Netherlands, we had 72 hours in Amsterdam. Still, we had to pick and choose what we did during our 3-day visit. We had a brief tour of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which houses the largest collection of modern art and design in the Netherlands. We wished we’d had more time!

See Amsterdam from Another Perspective

What we were most excited about with the I amsterdam City Card was the free canal cruise. I’d been to Amsterdam many times but had never cruised its canals. There are actually several cruise options and they typically do not need a reservation.

  • Blue Boat Company: 75-minute cruise
  • Canal Company Canal Cruise: Hop on, hop off tour
  • Amsterdam Circle Line: 1 hour cruise
  • Lovers Canal Cruises: 1 hour cruise
  • Stromma: 1 hour cruise
  • Amsterdam Boat Cruises: I hour cruise
amsterdam canal

I opted for the hop on, hop off tour. There’s an embark point near the Rijksmuseum (which, by the way, isn’t free with the card, but is discounted €2.50 with the card), as well as throughout the city. I was so tired from exploring that I didn’t hop off at all, and rode back to Centraal Station, enjoying the views of the tall, stacked houses that lined the canals.

When You’re Tired, Put Your Feet Up

Another major perk of the card is the free public transportation. Amsterdam is a highly walkable city, but trust me: after eight hours of meandering, you’ll be ready to take a bus, or tram, back to your hotel. In my case, I stayed at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam Airport, and couldn’t have walked back anyway. By the way, my hotel stay wasn’t comped, but I highly recommend this hotel for its low price (about €80 (2017 pricing) and convenience to the airport.)

Centraal Station

All in all, having the I amsterdam City Card enhanced my visit in the Netherlands. It felt great to know I could walk into any of dozens of attractions and not have to pay! If you’re in the city for several days and plan to hit a lot of museums, you’ll save a lot with the card.

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Nancy D. Brown received a complimentary I amsterdam City Card, however her opinions are her own.