Now the five-star Grand Hotel Amrath, the grand 1916 Scheepvaarthuis is a neo-Gothic art deco beauty, the first and finest example of the expressionist Amsterdam School of architecture. The exterior resembles a ship's bow, awash with nautical detailing; look for figures of Neptune, his wife and four females who represent the compass points. Staff are happy for tourists to look around: head up to the 3rd floor to see the Great Hall with its leaded glass designed by Willem Bogtman.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Amsterdam attractions

1. Schreierstoren

0.16 MILES

Built around 1480 as part of the city’s defences, this tower is where Henry Hudson set sail for the New World in 1609; a plaque outside marks the spot. It…

2. Kuan Yin Shrine

0.17 MILES

Europe's largest Chinese Imperial–style Buddhist temple, built in 2000, is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Enter through the side…

3. Montelbaanstoren

0.18 MILES

This graceful tower looks monumental rather than functional, but it was originally built to strengthen Amsterdam's eastern defences in 1512. Positioned on…

4. St Nicolaaskerk

0.18 MILES

In plain view from Centraal Station, the magnificent cupola and neo-Renaissance towers belong to the city's main Catholic church, the first to be built …

5. Zeedijk

0.19 MILES

This is one of Amsterdam's oldest streets. Initially a shipping district, it was a respectable place to be until the 17th century. Then the rich folk…

6. Brouwerij De Prael


Brouwerij De Prael offers engaging behind-the-scenes tours of its brewery. Tours depart on the hour and last 40 minutes, followed by a sample (or four)…

7. Waag


The multi-turreted Waag was built as a gate in the city walls in 1488. In 1601 the walls were destroyed to allow the city to expand, and the building was…

8. Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder


Within what looks like an ordinary canal house is an entire Catholic church. Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Dear Lord in the Attic) was built in the mid…