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A Green Guide to Amsterdam

Photo: BitBoy via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: BitBoy via Wikimedia Commons

Amsterdam is heaven for eco-tourists.

Nominated for the European Green Capital 2010 award, the city takes care of the environment very seriously. The 400 km of bike paths, the array of sustainable hotels, and the very organized public transport network say much about the city, where responsible tourism is something that comes naturally.

How to Get Around: Eco-Friendly Transportation Tips

Your first step on Dutch territory is in an eco-friendly environment: Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport has installed 9500 m² of solar panels and has committed to become a Bioport by 2017. The Dutch airline KLM is promoting the CO2ZERO program which allows passengers to neutralize their environmental impact by supporting sustainability projects.

What is the first image that comes to mind when you think about Amsterdam? Bikes. It’s the favourite means of transportation for locals, as it’s fast, pleasant, and eco-friendly.
You really can’t leave Amsterdam without renting a bike in one of the many rental shops scattered around the city. Not everyone, though, will feel confident in biking around alone — let’s be honest, you must know what you’re doing because there are many bikes on the streets, causing crowded conditions. In this case, taking a bike guided tour might be a good idea.

Don’t want to bike? No worries. Amsterdam is small enough for you to walk around, and walking along the canals will allow you to discover lively neighborhoods such as the Jordaan and off-the-beaten-path spots.
There are free guided walks offered around the city. Ask the efficient tourism office for information.

Amsterdam is known as the “Venice of the North,” so exploring its canals is always a good idea. Visitors can either hire a pedal boat at Leidseplein quays and go at their own pace, or jump on one of the 200 electric boats offering tours.

The public transportation network, which includes trams, metro, bus, ferries, and trains, is convenient and easy to navigate. Tourists can buy 1-day to 7-day tickets or the iAMsterdam City Card which gives visitors unlimited rides.

Where to Eat: Amsterdam Green Restaurants

In Amsterdam it is easy to find restaurants and cafés offering organic products. If you just walk along De Negen Straatjes and the Jordaan district, you’ll find plenty of them.

On a sunny Saturday, head to the farmers market at Noordermarkt Square to buy fresh products for a picnic in Vondelpark; during the week an alternative is Kaaskamer, an organic bread and cheese shop.

For a fancier night out head to Umoja, an upscale ecological restaurant that uses organic and fair trade sourced products.

Where to Sleep: Amsterdam Green Hotels

There is no shortage of options for tourists when it comes to places to stay in Amsterdam, and any hotels in the city are becoming more energy-efficient and implementing saving measures.

Conscious Hotels are eco design hotels in two central locations (near Vondelpark and Museum Square) offering a 100% sustainable experience and modern features with design touches. More classic choices could be  the central NH Amsterdam Schiller or NH Carlton Amsterdam, which is also Green Keys certified.

Wondering what to do in Amsterdam? Check out the best places for art lovers in Amsterdam.

Do you have other green tips for Amsterdam?

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.

Aleksei Maide

Tuesday 12th of May 2015

Hey! No, you can really leave Amsterdam without renting a bike :) In 2010 I spent 3 days in Amsterdam, without having a single cent, so no bicycle rentals for me and the places I stayed were definitely eco friendly, as I slept outside :)