A Cat-Lover’s Guide to Amsterdam

When I first moved to the Netherlands I was struck by how many cats there are here. Coming from Australia (where the rate of dog-ownership is higher than the rate of cat-ownership) it seemed to me that the Dutch really loved their cats. I’ve since realised that probably since the country is so small and densely populated – most people live in apartments – it’s just easier for people to have a cat if they want a pet.

But, I do also think that Dutch people are generally just big fans of cats (this is especially apparent in my boyfriend’s family). This may be why there are some great cat-themed attractions in Amsterdam.

If you are living in the Netherlands or even just visiting, and looking to get a fix of some feline companionship, then these three attractions are the perfect way to spend some time with cats.

#1 De Poezenboot

Where: Singel 38G, 1015 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Timings: Open everyday from 1 pm to 3 pm, and closed on Sunday and Wednesday
Entrance fee: Free

De Poezenboot. (1)
Image: De Poezenboot

Located a short stroll from Amsterdam Centraal Station is De Poezenboot, translation: “The Catboat”! This is a shelter for cats situated on a converted house-boat on canal Singel 38-G.

This is the only animal sanctuary that actually floats and is home to some 17 or so permanent cat residents as well as temporary residents that are then re-homed. The permanent residents are made up of cats that were either born outside or lived on the streets for a long time and are never going to be ‘normal’ house-cats.

They are often quite afraid of humans and won’t allow anyone to pick them up but sometimes they can be sweet and allow you to pat them. Mostly if they do not want to be bothered they will simply walk away; there are two that may ‘hit’ you if patted when they don’t want it, but the Catboat has signs that warn you who to watch out for!

They have a good life on the boat, interacting with other cats, watching birds and being cared for by volunteers.

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Image: Supplied

De Poezenboot is a non-profit organisation, so it runs entirely on donations. Taking in and caring for abandoned and stray cats is no cheap feat, and all cats they receive are also health-checked, vaccinated, neutered or spayed and micro-chipped before they are re-homed or permanently settled on the boat.

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Image: Supplied

For more information on the Catboat, its resident cats and even merchandise you can purchase (and support needy kitties!) visit the website here.

#2 Katten Kabinet

Where: Herengracht 497, 1017 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Timings: Open from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, and 12 pm to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday
Entrance fee: 7 euros

cat museum
Image: Supplied

After you have visited some cats on a boat, why not walk further into the city (past the floating flower market) to see the Katten Kabinet, a museum devoted entirely to art featuring cats?

Housed in a lovely old canal house, the museum features a large collection of paintings, sculptures, photos, prints, fans, crockery, furniture and all sorts of other items featuring cats as the artistic muse.

The building itself is gorgeous, with a lovely old piano, beautiful chandeliers and stunning restored 17th-century art-work on the ceiling (the only art that doesn’t include a cat!). Some of my favourite pieces included a lucky cat pinball machine and a costume from the musical ‘Cats’.

cat costume
Image: Supplied

There are also some real-life resident cats, who often walk about on top of the furniture and displays! The Katten Kabinet shop features lots of postcards, posters and other souvenirs featuring artworks of cats (in case you want to keep some cat reminders with you). If you would like more information (and a virtual tour!) check out the website here.

#3 Kopjes Cat Café

Where: Marco Polostraat 211, 1057 WK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Timings: Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm, and closed on Monday and Tuesday
Entrance fee: 3 euros

cat cafe
Image: Kopjes

What better way to end your day of ‘cat-sightseeing’ than with a coffee, some cake and a visit with the cats of Amsterdam’s cat café ‘Kopjes’?! ‘Cat Cafés’ originated in Taiwan and became very popular in Japan before the idea spread to the Western World.

Kopjes (meaning ‘cups’) is Amsterdam’s only cat café and opened in 2015 after an online crowd-funding campaign. It is home to eight cats (3 males and 5 females) which you can visit (you need to book ahead of time) to have a cuddle, play and some cat-time.

The café also offers hot and cold drinks, cakes, sandwiches and breakfast food. You don’t have to eat or drink; the entrance fee is 3 euros to simply spend some time with the cats in the cosy café; but who could turn down that divine looking red velvet cake?!

cat cafe
Image: Kopjes

The set-up for the cats is designed completely for their well-being and there are rules for entry in order to make sure the cats don’t become stressed out. But with all those toys, cosy nooks, cat-shelves, a ‘cats-only’ area and plenty of love, the characters at this café seem like pretty contented cats! If you are looking to drop in for a cuddle with a purring friend then have a look at their website here.

There you have it, your guide to the best spots for cat-lovers to visit while in Amsterdam! Make sure you comment if there are any other great spots for cat-lovers to visit that I may not know about!

Feature Image: Sara Moran/Unsplash 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated in August 2020 for your reading pleasure.

Kristy Atkinson
Originally from Tasmania (Australia), Kristy was living in London when she unexpectedly met a Dutch bloke and ended up moving to the Netherlands to be with him. Now she can be found taking numerous photos of their four weird cats and blogging at Tassie Devil Abroad.

4 COMMENTS

  1. “Kopjes” would translate both to little cups and head butts the way cats like to give them. It’s a play on words.

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