Amsterdam: a cat or dog city?

The Netherlands is generally very fond of its pets, but is its capital more suited to cat people or dog people?

Here are some special attractions in Amsterdam, for people who love cats or dogs!

Cat people

Cat-friendly Amsterdam is mainly indoors, with various special facilities for lovers of furry felines and their pets:

Cat boat

A world famous attraction in Amsterdam is the Cat Boat, a floating animal shelter that offers refuge for stray and abandoned cats.

Located in Amsterdam’s canal belt, the Cat Boat is one of the many house boats on the city’s waters, repurposed for making the water a blessing rather than a curse for those who have already gone through some of their nine lives.

Cat cafe

Cat café Kopjes in Amsterdam West charges visitors three euros entry to spend two hours of quality time with the cafe’s cats. The toms and tabbies were lovingly rescued from two local pounds, and the seating area is fully equipped for their convenience.

Those who visit them can drink a "catuccino" and eat various pastries while inhaling some essential purrs.

Window sills

Cats can be spotted everywhere in Amsterdam, not only outside, but in their houses as well. Dutch houses are famous for their low windows with open curtains, giving passers-by a choice view into their interiors.

Although looking in is considered rude, one can hardly overlook the interested little eyes that look out at you from right behind the glass. Cats love sitting at the window sills, looking out at everything that happens outside.

A walk in Amsterdam with a cat lover could be seriously delayed due to the amount of cats that will have to be greeted and flirted with through the windows.

Cat Museum

The Cat Cabinet (Kattenkabinet) is a small museum dedicated solely to cats. Their collection offers a wide look at the role of the cat in art and culture throughout the ages.

The Cat Cabinet was founded in the memory of a ginger tom called John Piermont Morgan, by its owner.

Bar cats

The most beloved bars in Amsterdam are the ones that have their own cat. This critter will be the favourite of all the locals.

If you go for a pint in your local bar, there is a chance that you will get familiar with the Bar Cat, who will be lounging wherever he pleases and is completely used to adoration from slightly intoxicated worshipers.

Dog people

Dog people can find various outdoor attractions where they can spend time with their pooch:

Loose in the park

The most famous parks in Amsterdam have special areas where dogs can run loose and play to their hearts’ content. Parks with losloopgebieden (leashless areas) include:
- Westerpark
- Beatrixpark
- Vondelpark
- Sarphatipark
- Oosterpark

Dog beach

Is your best friend a fan of splashing around? Take him to the little dog beach at Het Stenen Hoofd. This leashless area is an old pier close to Amsterdam Central Station. The pier lies in the IJ waters. The entrance has a high fence, so dogs can’t run onto the road, and the sides of the pier are elevated, so they can’t fall into the water.

At the end of the pier is a small sand beach, where dogs and their owners can play in a closed-off, concrete section of the IJ. The Flevopark also has a small beach where dogs can make a splash, and on a sunny day you might find quite a few other waters in which happy hounds are paddling to retrieve a floating stick.

Dogs welcome

Although it’s better to avoid the busier, more touristic areas, as dogs will get stressed in the crowds, a canine can have a jolly good time in many areas of Amsterdam. Unless specified by a "No Dogs Allowed" sticker, many restaurants let you bring your dog inside with you.

The city’s beloved terraces are great for dogs too, and there are even hotels that don’t mind at all if you bring Fido along.

Public transport can also be very doable with a four-legged companion. Trams and buses don’t charge a fee for pets, and trains only charge extra if the dog is too big to carry.

Pick up after your dog

The large amount of dogs in Amsterdam does make for a rather odorous problem at times. The law states that owners must pick up after their dogs, but this rule gets neglected at times.

In fact, there is even a special song about dog poo in Amsterdam:

For both whiskers and wags

Amsterdam can be a great place for both people who love whiskered kitties, and people who love wagging mutts. Whether the city meets your personal pet needs, is something you can only find out for yourself.

Do you think Amsterdam is more suited for cat people or dog people? Let us know in the comments below!

Alexandra van Kampen


Alexandra van Kampen

English and Japanese theatre and culture are my forte. My mother was raised in England, and my grandmother in Japan. I studied Japanese Language and Culture, and Film and Photographic...

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