Almost everybody who visits Amsterdam will give you the same advice: don’t drive in Amsterdam if you can avoid it. The city center is made up of small streets full of bicycles and pedestrians, available parking places are rare and expensive and fuel costs a lot. This doesn’t mean it is impossible to use a car in the Dutch city, but you need to be patient and ready to pay for parking.
Free parking is something that doesn’t exist in the city center. On the contrary, both street parking and parking garages are very expensive. You will need to pay €5 or even more per hour in the most crowded places. Even if you are ready to pay, it will be very difficult to find an empty spot. The more you stay away from the center, the less you have to pay. However, many places where parking is paid are actually free on Sunday or public holidays. If you insist on parking your car for free, you may find available spots farther away from the city center, in areas which are not that busy, especially in the northern part of the city.
The parking meters accept coins, so make sure you have enough of them. Some new parking meters may accept credit cards instead of cash, so be prepared for both. Not paying is definitely a bad idea that will result in at least a fine or even your car being towed.
Amsterdam has several park and ride facilities, situated at important public transportation hubs. Such facilities can be found at Zeeburg, Gaasperplas, Amsterdam Arena, Olympisch Stadion, World Fashion Center, Bos en Lommer and Sloterdijk. When you come by car to the city, look for the P+R signs and you will find them. It costs €8 per day and this includes public transportation for up to five people to the city and back, so it is definitely more convenient than paying €20 or more per day in a city center garage. P+R parkings currently have a limit of maximum 4 days, and after this it becomes more expensive. There is no problem however if you drive out and then in again, starting a new 4 day period.
You can read here more about driving in Netherlands.