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Complete Amsterdam packing list: what to pack for Amsterdam in all seasons

Amsterdam packing list: complete packing list for Amsterdam in all seasons, with Amsterdam travel essentials and packing tips for comfort and style.

Packing for Amsterdam is probably the hardest part of Amsterdam trip planning.

Amsterdam’s weather is incredibly changeable, you literally do not know in the morning what the evening is going to be like. Therefore, even a short trip to Amsterdam required a bit of effort in terms of what to put in your bag.

I am a light packer and I believe that, no matter what the weather throws at you, it is possible to have a reasonable packing list that doesn’t force you to lug around oversized bags.

Amsterdam helps too: in this city, you can be as dressed up or down as you want, so you are unlikely to need extra outfits for dinners out, etc ( you are going to an event and top-end restaurants, that may of course be different).

Today, I share my tried and tested packing list for Amsterdam.

I have the first section with Amsterdam travel essentials, then a section on what to pack for Amsterdam in each season.

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Photo of woman in casual attire and bag standing along Amsterdam canal, with text: Amsterdam packing list for all seasons

Amsterdam packing list: travel essentials

Ten essential things to pack for Amsterdam are:

Travel documents and vax card

Travel documents, ID and vaccine record card are a must to visit Amsterdam.

It is important to have them on you when entering the country and it is also important to have them on you as you visit the city.

Having ID on you is a law requirement in Amsterdam and the vaccination card can be required to enter attractions and restaurants.

Rules about current restrictions change all the time so I recommend you keep an eye on the official Dutch Government Website Here.

Face covering

Currently, face coverings are mandatory indoors and on public transport in Amsterdam. You can easily get new ones in Amsterdam pharmacies and supermarkets; however, make sure you have your own so you are not caught out.

Comfortable shoes

In Amsterdam, you will walk a lot and many streets are cobbled so comfortably walking shoes with good support are a must!

In all seasons, I recommend you opt for shoes with a rubber sole and good arch support.

In summer, I like Teva sandals or proper walking sneakers such as Sketchers Go Walk or Adidas fashion sneakers.

In fall and spring, I recommend ankle boots with rubber soles and in a rainproof material.

In the winter, ankle boots work well for men while, for women, I usually opt for tall boots with rubber soles and are able to take the rain.

If it snows in Amsterdam, you can usually deal with it with good winter shoes and do not need to pack snow boots.

It is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast a couple of days before your trip as, especially lately, foreseen what’ it going to be like in moody Amsterdam is exceptionally hard!

Me along Amsterdam canals in spring with short winter jacket and big scarf

Crossbody bag

I highly recommend carrying a medium-size crossbody bag as your day bag of choice while visiting Amsterdam.

This will be a safe and comfortable item to have with you all your daily essentials, it will be easy to keep safe when on public transport and you will be able to keep with you when visiting Amsterdam museums.

Amsterdam is a very safe city so you do not need to get an anti-theft bag, unless it gives you extra peace of mind.

Travel umbrella

In Amsterdam, it rains a lot!

While the city gets fantastic sunny days, it is very common to find yourself under the rain in Amsterdam in pretty much any season.

In many cases, the rain comes in the form of showers and will start and stop several times during the day, but it may last for quite a while and you will need the shelter of an umbrella.

A lightweight travel umbrella is usually enough unless the wind picks up. I usually have a lightweight travel umbrella in my day bag any time I see grey sky in the morning!

Scarf or pashmina

You may not need a scarf or pashmina in the height of summer; however, I find this to be a very useful item pretty much all year round in Amsterdam.

I love those that are large enough that you can wrap them around your shoulders and have an extra layer should the temperature suddenly drop.

Cash and card

In Amsterdam, you should carry both cash and card.

Some purchases are card only (public transport tickets on the tram are a good example. Read here >>> my Amsterdam public transport guide for visitors) but cash will be handy on several occasions.

Amsterdam is still very much cash-oriented: big hotels and restaurants accept credit cards but you want to have cash or card with a PIN for purchases in shops, cafes, etc.

You can find ATM machines to withdraw cash in several locations around town.

International travel adaptor

If you are traveling from overseas, I recommend you pack an international travel adaptor. In Amsterdam, you have two-pin sockets: for the best value and versatility, I recommend you get hold of an international travel adaptor that you can then use again and again on all your travels.

Extra battery pack for your phone

If you are anything like me, you will have your phone in use pretty much constantly while in Amsterdam, for maps and photos!

I always pack an extra battery: opt for one with several ports if you have several devices.

Toiletries and medications

To help you pack, this is a list of toiletries to pack for your trip:

  • Face wash
  • Face cream day/night – opt for one with sun and wind protection if you can
  • Body wash / shampoo / conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Brush / Comb
  • Hair ties
  • Shaving essentials
  • Feminine products
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste / floss
  • Tweezers
  • Make up and make up remover if using
  • Perfume if using
  • Hands cream – useful on cold days especially
  • Essential medications and prescription: make sure you have the generic name of whatever medication you use at home: this will speed up any refill you may need to get while in Amsterdam

What to pack for Amsterdam in winter – clothing essentials

In winter, I recommend you wrap up well and dress in layers and a rainproof coat/jacket.

Bicycles covered in snow in Amsterdam in winter

In particular, to visit Amsterdam in winter you need:

  • Underwear
  • Warm socks / tights
  • Thermal top – this may not be necessary if you are used to very cold weather but I find it essential for long hours sightseeing
  • Long sleeve top
  • Short sleeve top for layering
  • Long pants/ trousers / woolen skirt / dress
  • Warm woolen sweater / hoodie
  • Warm jacket
  • Scarf, gloves, hat
  • Travel umbrella
  • Warm pajama for the night
  • Comfortable, rain proof boots
  • If traveling with small kids, I recommend a winter suite, footmuff and rain cover for the stroller

In Amsterdam in winter snow is possible. While usually, it doesn’t fall enough to require full-on snow gear, it is essential to have a jacket and shoes that can take it.

What to pack for Amsterdam in spring – clothing essentials

  • Underwear
  • Socks / tights
  • Long sleeve top
  • Short sleeve top
  • Long pants/ trousers (jeans work well) / mid season skirt / dress
  • Sweater / hoodie
  • Jacket – I recommend a proper coat for March and a mid-season jacket like a short puffy one for later in the season
  • Scarf
  • Travel umbrella
  • Pajama for the night
  • Comfortable, rain proof shoes – I find sneakers work well in this season or ankle boots for dressier occasions
  • If traveling with small kids, I recommend footmuff and rain cover for the stroller.

What to pack for Amsterdam in summer

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Short sleeve top
  • Long pants/ trousers (jeans work well) / skirt / dress – summer dresses, if you have an extra layer for the colder hours, are perfect
  • Cardigan
  • Jacket – you may or may not need a jacket in Amsterdam in summer but you won’t know in advance. I recommend you pack a light jacket just in case: denim or faux leather can be stylish as well as helpful
  • Bathing suit if planning on being on the water
  • Comfortable walking shoes such as sneakers and waling sandals. I recommend always having with you closed shoes: while sandals will be great for hot days, they are unlikely to keep you warm enough shuold the weather turn on you
  • If you are traveling with kids, I recommend you pack shorts, t-shirts and sandals that can take the water: Amsterdam has lovely splash parks!

What to pack for Amsterdam in the fall

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Tights
  • Long sleeve top
  • Short sleeve top for layering
  • Long pants/ trousers (jeans work well) / mid season skirt / dress
  • Sweater / hoodie
  • Jacket – I recommend a short puffy one for early in the season but to opt for a proper winter coat from mid-October on
  • Scarf
  • Travel umbrella
  • Pajama for the night
  • Comfortable, rain proof shoes – I find sneakers work well in this season or ankle boots for dressier occasions
  • If traveling with small kids, I recommend footmuff and rain cover for the stroller

Family packing list: what to pack for visiting Amsterdam with kids

If you are visiting Amsterdam with kids, I recommend you also pack:

  • Stroller – if you are traveling by train, I recommend an all-terrain one, perfect for Amsterdam’s cobbled streets!
  • Baby carrier – perfect for museums especially
  • Teddy / comforter
  • Teether
  • Stroller rain cover
  • Daily baby bag, well stocked
  • Baby food and diapers for the first couple days, just in case you don’t find your favorite brand straight away
  • Baby cot if using
  • I usually do not find necessary to pack a high chair as most Amsterdam restaurants are equipped with them (this is, however, not a rule)
  • Baby toiletries, detangler, baby wipes

How to pack for Amsterdam: style tips

Amsterdam is a laid-back city with a casual, hipster style.

Long pants and a polo shirt or shirt for men and a nice top for ladies are perfect in most situations: opt for good jeans/ trousers / skirt /dress and neat, clean attire.

Sneakers/trainers are acceptable evening attire even in locations such as Amsterdam Opera House. If you prefer to dress up, you can! Amsterdam has something for everyone and you won’t be out of place if dressed up for a dinner out.

What to pack for cycling in Amsterdam

If you are a tourist, the best clothing to wear for bikes in Amsterdam is runners and comfortable pants/trousers. Locals are well able to cycle in all sorts of attires; however, the demands of Amsterdam city bicycle traffic are rather intense so comfort is king!

It is a good idea to have with you a rain jacket/windbreaker and a helmet for your child if renting a bike with a baby seat.

What to pack for Amsterdam’s Opera House

The dress code for Amsterdam Opera House is casual: jeans and sneakers are perfectly acceptable although you can also dress up and not feel out of place.

Gala nights may have special dress codes: this would be specified on the info page of the specific event you are booking.

I hope you found this Amsterdam packing list helpful and it helped you decide what to pack for your Amsterdam trip. Safe travel planning!

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