Amsterdam is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, filled with leafy canals, charming bridges and historic buildings. It’s nothing short of movie-ready, so it’s no wonder that directors often turn to the most famous capital of the Netherlands to shoot their films. From blockbusters like Ocean’s Twelve and Diamonds Are Forever, to stirring films like The Fault in Our Stars and Black Book, here are 11 of the best movies filmed in Amsterdam.
1. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
After warming the hearts of thousands on the big screen, The Fault in Our Stars continues to inspire tourists to visit Amsterdam. The film tells the story of Hazel and Gus (Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort), two terminally ill teenagers. They travel to Amsterdam to find an author and learn the unfinished ending of his book.
Based on John Green’s bestselling novel, this movie was so popular that the bench overlooking Leidsegracht 4, where Hazel and Gus professed their love for each other, was stolen. It’s since been replaced by a replica and is covered in fan graffiti. You can visit the famous bench and imagine the romantic scene, or see the arches of the Rijksmuseum where Hazel and Augustus walked hand in hand. If you’re a really big fan, you can even spend the night at Sandton Hotel De Filosoof, where Hazel and Augustus stayed.
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2. Black Book (2006)
This renowned film tells the story of Rachel Stein, a Jewish singer who is part of the Dutch resistance. She returns to Amsterdam to infiltrate the inner circles of the Gestapo headquarters during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. Directed by Dutch native Paul Verhoeven, you’ll spot the streets and canals of Amsterdam in a few big scenes in this moving film.
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3. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Of all seven of Sean Connery’s James Bond movies, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ was the only one partly filmed in Amsterdam. It’s also famed as the last official time Sean Connery played the legendary James Bond, and he infiltrates a global diamond smuggling ring to save the world from a giant laser weapon. Keep your eyes peeled in the first part of the film to see the gorgeous Canal Ring of Amsterdam and the famous white-painted Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) on the river Amstel. You can also spot other filming locations like the Brouwersgracht in the Jordaan, and the Reguliersgracht 36. That’s the canal-side apartment where Bond Girl Tiffany Case lived.
4. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015)
This thrilling movie was filmed in Amsterdam and tells the true story of the most famous crime in Dutch history. It’s all about the 1983 attempt by a group of local criminals to kidnap one of the richest men in the country, beer tycoon Freddy Heineken. The criminals demand a huge ransom, but their plans begin to fall apart thanks to their inexperience. While you watch the famous kidnapping play out, you’ll also get to admire the pretty sights of Amsterdam in some scenes.
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5. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
The story of Anne Frank has been immortalised in countless documentaries, films, books and of course, Anne’s famous diary, but this 1959 film directed by George Stevens is one of the most memorable. It tells the incredible story of Anne, a young Jewish girl, who is forced into hiding with her family and another family in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of World War II. She keeps a diary, penning down her thoughts and experiences, from the threat of Nazi discovery to the everyday antics of two families brought together. You’ll see glimpses of Amsterdam in some scenes as Anne longs for freedom, and it’s a truly moving, must-watch film.
6. Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)
While Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth are the stars of this fantastic film, it’s also worth a watch to see the gorgeous scenery of Amsterdam and Delft. The film is about Griet, the girl with the pearl earring painted by the legendary real-life Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Most of the film is shot in Delft, but you’ll also spot some Amsterdam highlights, including the Royal Palace on Dam Square.
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7. Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
While Ocean’s Eleven was all about casinos and California, the sequel takes you to the canals and coffee shops of Amsterdam. First, you’ll get to admire the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones as they stop in Amsterdam to pull off some major heist action… But look a little closer and you’ll spot the Dampkring Coffeeshop on the Handboogstraat and the Pulitzer Hotel on Prinsengracht. There’s also the ‘golden bend’ of the Herengracht canal and the streets of Heiligeweg and Kalverstraat. If you aren’t already dreaming of Amsterdam, this movie will make you want to pack your bags ASAP.
8. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)
If you love comedy, action and shots of Amsterdam, we’ve got the perfect movie for you. The Hitman’s Bodyguard stars the hilarious Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek, and keeps you on your toes with gunfights and high-speed chases. But instead of the usual fast cars, you’ll get boats racing through the stunning canals of the Dutch capital. You’ll even spot the iconic Rijksmuseum.
9. The Discovery of Heaven (2001)
Based on the legendary novel by Dutch writer Harry Mulisch, this whirlwind film starring Stephen Fry jumps from Italy and Israel to Spain, Cuba and Poland, and finally to the Netherlands. That’s when you’ll get to spot some of the beautiful scenery of Amsterdam. The movie tells the story of a disappointed God who sends an angel to earth to get his stone tablets back from the humans. Watch out for scenes with the Rijksmuseum, Hotel The Grand at the Vijzelgracht and Bloemgracht in the Jordaan.
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10. Alice in the Cities (1974)
This acclaimed film by director Wim Wenders was the first in the ‘Road Movie trilogy’. It’s a series of films depicting drifters wandering around Europe – and it all begins in Amsterdam. Alice in the Cities tells the story of Philip, a struggling German writer who wants to return home. On his travels, he meets a German woman, Lisa, who then disappears and leaves her daughter Alice in Philip’s care. Philip and Alice fly to Amsterdam to meet Lisa, only she never shows up. Philip decides to try and find Alice’s grandmother in Germany and their bond grows as they travel through Europe. Filmed in black and white with gorgeous shots of Amsterdam and Germany, it’s hard not to fall in love with this movie.
11. Layer Cake (2004)
Starring a pre-Bond Daniel Craig as a drug dealer hired to move two million pounds worth of pills, this thriller is mostly filmed in London, but you’ll spot a few scenes in Amsterdam too. The pretty historic centre features once again, and the infamous Red Light District also makes an appearance. Fast-paced and unpredictable, this is one of the most underrated movies filmed in Amsterdam.
Have you watched any movies filmed in Amsterdam? Let us know your favourites in the comments below!