Amsterdam through British eyes

How to Maximise Your Money Saving in Amsterdam

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Did you know that there is more than one way to save money when you are visiting Amsterdam? I’ve used all of these different methods, and wanted to pass them on so you can save as much money as possible during your visit.

Figure out what it is that you want to do while you’re in Amsterdam. Are you more interested in museums, or attractions, or a bit of both? Will you be self-catering, eating out or eating at a friends place? Then you need to work out what will save you the most amount of cash.

Look at getting a Museum CardThey cost €44.95 and get you free entrance or discounted rates for museums in Amsterdam (and the rest of the Netherlands). They last for a whole year, so if you’re planning on coming here a few times this year it could be a good option. Crucially, they offer free entry into the Rijksmuseum,  the Anne Frank House, the Palace on Dam Square and the Olympic Stadium, where the Iamsterdam city card doesn’t. Maybe you have a Dutch friend who can lend you their card while you’re here (it’s not recommended if their name is really very Dutch, and you don’t speak a word). I have yet to hear from Museum Card on whether you can register it to a foreign address.

The better alternative is to get an Iamsterdam City Card: It comes in three different denominations. 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour at varying prices, and currently there is a 5% discount on 72 hour card on the Iamsterdam website if you buy it for dates up to the 16th June 2013, taking it down to €58.90. Transport is included, as is entry to several of the top museums including the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt Museum,
Amsterdam Museum and the Hermitage. They have a number of freebies which are worth getting. They also offer a number of discounts for different attractions. The down side is that you can’t get into the Anne Frank House, or the Rijksmuseum for free, although there is a €2.50 discount on the Rijksmuseum. While this might not be for everyone, in my opinion it is one of the best ways to see Amsterdam.


Use the Last Minute Ticket Shop:
 You can buy last minute tickets for concerts, comedy and theatre. Very often it will have deals that will undercut any of the discounts that you can get on the Iamsterdam city card, and it covers all of the venues listed on the Iamsterdam city card Music and Stage discounts. Generally you will get a 50% discount, and then you pay a small admin fee. Every day at 10am they release tickets for the same evening and although it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get to go to the exact theatre or exact play that you want, you’ll probably find something you’ll like.

Use Minicards to supplement your Amsterdam City Card or museum card. I got several free postcards (from Artis, the Rembrandthuis and the Resistance Museum), and it is possible to use minicards for other things too – if you go to the Concertgebouw and you have a ticket for a performance, with a minicard you can get a free glass of champagne. You’re most likely to find them in Hotel lobbies.

Check the attraction website for reduced rates. For example, the House of Bols offers you a discounted rate if you go on a Friday after 5pm. It normally costs €14.50, on their website you get a 10% discount, with an Iamsterdam city card you get 25% discount, BUT if you go on Friday after 5pm it costs only €9.50 per person, and it’s open until 10pm. You can’t buy tickets online, you just turn up on the Friday evening.

Get all of the freebies on the city card: You can get two free cups of tea (or one cup of tea and a coffee), a free liqueur or genever, free gifts at the Bijenkorf, the Heineken brand store and a free surprise at Gassan Diamonds. The free tea, and free croquette will save you about €6-7 in itself.

Use deal sites: There are regularly huge savings to be made on food. My favourites are groupon.nl, nudeal.nl and socialdeal.nl. Just a small warning though. These sites are only in Dutch. You are not guaranteed to get a table, and with some of these sites booking 72 hours in advance is the only way to get a table. What we usually do is buy something that’s valid for three months and go towards the middle of the deal. We book well in advance to ensure we’re not dissapointed. Make sure you read the small print – use google translate, and call or e-mail the restaurant if you need more clarification. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this just use the restaurants with discounts on your city card, or use mincards.

I will be sharing my top tips on how I used the Iamsterdam 72-Hour city card later on this week, and how I combined it with these other methods to maximise my saving.

Do you have any other money saving tips for when you are in Amsterdam? Please share them in the comments below.

A special thanks to Amsterdam Marketing who gave me the free use of a 72-Hour city card.

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