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How to spend a day in Amsterdam with only €25


We gave four people 25 Euros each and told them to entertain themselves in Amsterdam between the hours of 12pm and 12am.

The gang are...

Zahra, 25 – a fashion graduate from the UK, studying in Rotterdam.
Kamani, 23 – a business student from the Netherlands.
Isya, 21 – a hairdresser who works in Amsterdam.
Jack, 26 – DJ and promoter from London who lives and works in Amsterdam.

Zahra and Kamani begin at Amsterdam Centraal (Stationsplein, 1012 AB Amsterdam), which is the city’s central transport hub. It’s a hive of activity and a good introduction (by fire) to Amsterdam’s crazy trams and bicycle system, which will have them constantly on guard about being hit.

Most locals say that when it does happen it’s “embarrassing”, but Zahra and Kamani aren’t sure whether this should make them reassured or extra scared. They decided to meet at the station so they could walk through the city to the first destination, Amsterdam City Archives (Vijzelstraat 32, 1017 HL). 

It’s here they meet Jack and Isya – the crew is assembled. Amsterdam City Archives is the historical documentation of the city: a sprawling collection of maps, drawings, prints, sounds, film and photographs.

It’s a great way to start the 12 hour/€25 challenge. It’s also free! They wander through the beautiful building taking in the really nicely presented archive material then take a timeout on these cool map-cum-chairs. 

After the history lesson the guys are a little hungry so they stop at a small food truck that serves the Dutch delicacy of soused fish and herring. It’s prepared in a couple different ways, either pickled raw or battered and deep-fried. The food trucks seem to be a real local favourite and a national dish (the Dutch flag skewers are a give-away). They’re also everywhere and are an essential purchase.

Dutch Delicacies
Kamani €2.50
Zahra €2.50
Isya €2.50

A great way to enjoy the city for free is to wander down Spuistraat and take in the amazing array of street art. The area used to be popular with squatters. In recent years the city council has been demolishing these run-down buildings to make way for new ones so before they do the guys pay a visit and see some amazing artwork.

Just off the Spuistraat is PhotoQ Bookshop where the gang checks out its great range of photography books with a special emphasis on local talent. Also on the Spuistraat is Concrete – one of Amsterdam’s finest men retail outlets.

Everyone knows that part of going away is boasting about it online on social media. The guys discover that Rembrandt Square is brilliant for this. There is troupe of bronze statues from Rembrandt's ‘Nightwatch’ who are just waiting for them to photobomb and upload for likes.

Just across the road on the Signel Canal between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein is Amsterdam’s unique floating flower market (Bloemenmarkt). It’s a real burst of colour and a great place to buy a tulip – real or wooden.

Bloemenmarkt - Flower Market
Kamani €2
Zahra €1.50

Amsterdam is structured around its famous canal system. Boats line these canals and it’s a great place to hang out and watch the day go by without spending a penny. The guys pass the time by waving at the boats – turns out boat people love that!

Then it’s time for a game of pool at Belushi’s, which doubles up as an excuse to watch the football. Arsenal loses, which makes some of the gang visibly upset.

Pool at Belushi’s
€2 (€1 per game)

At the back of central station, they catch a free ferry to NDSM docklands, an industrial island that has recently become a cultural hub with multiple cafés and galleries. There are some great views from the boat and the island is a perfect place to grab some cheap beers from the shop and sit on the waterfront.

Shop Bought Beers

It’s all about bicycles in Amsterdam. If the guys weren’t on one, they were dodging one. Save money by not renting one each but by sharing between 2 or 3. Or, better yet, ask a friend in advance whom you know to borrow a bike and then share. It’s very cute and fun and makes them feel all whimsical and European.

To feel even more European, the guys buy a cheap padlock, write their names on and lock it to one of the many canal bridges. Memories last for eternity so that’s some good value right there.


Then, they take their bikes to Q-Park, which is close to the city centre (Bleisfijkstraat 8), for a scenic bike ride around the Fabrique des Lumières – a cultural centre that hosts a range of activities all year round. It has a great café called Pacific Amsterdam which has really good hot drinks and free Wi-Fi so they can finally post the Rembrandt ‘Nightwatch’ squad pics. They also came across a fun fair that visits the city several times throughout the year.

Fun Fair
€8 on hot drinks.
€12 on the ride as a group
€6 range of fair games

As the sun goes down the guys head for a warmer and more substantial indoor activity. Glow MiniGolf (Prins Hendrikkade 194) feels a little sketchy when they arrive. They’re hurried down some stairs in the back room of a pub where they give you a glow in the dark ball and club. What lies beneath is a huge labyrinth of ultra-violet mini-golf. Turns out it’s very weird and very fun.

Glow MiniGolf
€26 (€6.50 each)

Hot food vending machines. Yes, hot food vending machines – they had to give it a go.

Vending Machine Food
Isya €2.60
Kamani €3.80
Jack €0 – didn’t fancy it
Zahra €2.60

Amsterdam has a plethora of night time activities to get into. The centre of town is bustling at night with a range of things to do for all budgets.

Fluorescent shots
€10 for 12 shots

Midnight is approaching, so the guys decide their night is best suited to one of the numerous bars offering lots of shots for not much money. That comes to a 12-hour total of €100 as a team.

Mission accomplished.

Photos: Cieron Magat

Tempted by the €25 challenge?