It’s happening. It’s really happening! After two long years off, IBC is officially back in Amsterdam this September. And it’s all anyone can talk about.
Veterans are itching to get their hands on some bitterballen, while newbies like me ask too many questions about the Red Light District.
You read that right: IBC2022 will be my first time in Amsterdam. I asked my colleagues (and consulted my Rick Steves’ Amsterdam guidebook) about what to expect, which led me to this amazing list of travel tips that are just too good to keep to myself.
So, whether you’re an IBC first-timer or first-time-in-a-whiler, here’s your guide to the amazing city of Amsterdam in September 2022.
Get your free IBC2022 exhibitor pass here (use company code IBC3611 at checkout).
Getting Around Amsterdam
When it’s time to visit Amsterdam for IBC2022, do as the Dutch do and rent a bicycle. It’s a great way to commute to the conference and explore the city.
You can rent a bike—complete with a sturdy bike lock—at one of many local shops, including at RAI Amsterdam when you pick up your IBC badge. Helmets are neither necessary nor popular, though you are riding at your own risk.
While thousands of bicycles on the road lower the city’s carbon footprint, it adds a whole new dimension to traffic. Amsterdam has three layers of traffic—foot, bike, and vehicular—each with their own lane. It’s important to stay in yours, or you could find yourself on the pavement before you can yell “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!”
Off the beaten bike path, public transportation is the best way to get around Amsterdam. The tram is super convenient, and a quaint little experience to boot. The Amsterdam Travel Ticket offers unlimited tram, metro, bus, and ferry rides during your stay, which is great because I like my travel the way I like my shared storage servers: with everything I need included.
Best Places To Stay In Amsterdam For IBC
From cozy bed-and-breakfasts to lavish suites worth the splurge, and pretty much everything in between, there are tons of lodging options for your week- or weekend-long stay in Amsterdam.
IBC2022 negotiates discounted rates at many hotels around RAI Amsterdam and throughout the city, but don’t be afraid to check out options that aren’t on the official IBC hotel list.
For a truly authentic experience, try renting a flat and blending in with the locals. Better yet, rent a houseboat and enjoy your evenings people-watching from your deck on the Amstel River. You won’t regret it.
Things To Do In Amsterdam At IBC2022
I know, I know. It’s a work trip. But that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a little fun, right? If you have time to fit a few tourist attractions into your itinerary, here are some top-rated things to do in Amsterdam in September 2022.
For the record, we aren’t getting any kickbacks from these events and attractions. Just sharing some fan-favorites from the SNS crew based on years of experience visiting Amsterdam for IBC.
For Foodies: Heineken Experience
This is on the top of everyone’s list. I’m not even a beer drinker (gasp!) and I’m dying to go. Check out the Heineken Experience to tour the very first Heineken brewery and learn the history behind the world’s most famous beer. Proost!
I’ve also heard great things about Restaurant Luna, SkyLounge Amsterdam, and CAU Steak Restaurant. And the french fries, or pommes frites, put even the best American potatoes to shame. (Go native and dip your fries in mayonnaise for the full experience.) Also, if you see the opportunity to wrap something in a waffle, do it.
No matter where you’re staying, you’re practically guaranteed to have a few local pubs within walking distance from your hotel at IBC2022. Stop in for a bite, a drink, and some good company. Locals are very friendly and interested in finding out about you.
For Adventurers: Canal Cruise
Venice of the north, the city of canals—Amsterdam is known for its web of waterways. An hour-long canal cruise can give you a whole new perspective on the city, and it’s a great way to decompress from a long day (or night) of networking.
There are many beautiful parks to explore and open air events in Amsterdam. For sports enthusiasts who don’t mind skipping out on IBC for a day, pack an orange shirt. Ajax plays Heerenveen at Johan Cruijff ArenA on Saturday, 10 September.
For Creatives: Van Gogh Museum
Why go to Van Gogh? One of Amsterdam’s most popular museums, the Van Gogh Museum hosts the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s finest works. It’s well worth an hour or so if you have time to wander the exhibits.
Other fantastic sights for art buffs and creatives include Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Rembrandt’s House, and the EYE Film Institute Netherlands. Or just explore the city with your camera in hand, letting inspiration lead the way.
For History Buffs: Anne Frank House
This Jordaan neighborhood staple is another can’t-miss for Amsterdam newbies. A tour through the Anne Frank House will take you back to another time—a history that’s hard to face told through the uplifting diary of the young and spirited Anne Frank.
Amsterdam is littered with high-quality museums, like the Amsterdam Museum, Netherlands Maritime Museum, and Hermitage Amsterdam, to name a few. There are 40 or so in the area, so pick a couple to see this year and save the rest for IBC2023 and beyond.
For Partiers: Red Light District
If you’re looking for permission to check out Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District, here it is. Just, be careful and make good decisions (said in my most mom voice, ever).
Amsterdam leaves little to the imagination once you get there. If you plan on visiting the “coffee shops” or dabbling in other NSFW activities, know your limits. And if you’re new to all that stuff, take it easy and enjoy the ride.
I’m also hyped for Boom Chicago, live music venues like Bourbon Street, and Amsterdam’s bustling nightlife. And, of course, all the IBC happy hours and parties.
Staying Healthy At IBC2022
IBC is a 4-day marathon of industry networking set in the middle of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. It’s natural to want to soak in all the city has to offer in one trip, but it’s more important to keep yourself in good health. Sometimes, that means slowing down and taking time for you.
Run-down bodies are more prone to illness, and that’s the last thing any of us need at IBC2022. Take breaks to relax and recuperate when you need to. Book a pre- or post-flight massage at the hotel, snag a quick nap between happy hours, and kick your feet up for a few minutes at a comfortable booth (like Studio Network Solutions at 7.A26).
Have a place you love that’s not on this list? More travel tips for Amsterdam in September 2022? Drop us a note @snstweets and follow along for more recommendations.