A Quick Guide to Amsterdam

5 months ago — 4 min read — No Comments
By Sam Wood

Eating out in the Netherlands can be reasonably pricey, but in Amsterdam at least, there are definitely places where it is worth it for the high quality food, ambiance and overall experience.

Sightseeing

Amsterdam is home to some world-famous museums, including the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House to name just a few. If you’re visiting the city for a short break, pick one and dedicate a couple of hours to it. Visit the Rijksmuseum for an unrivalled collection of paintings, prints and photography inside a beautifully modernised 18th century building. The Van Gogh Museum is of course the place to go if you’re interested in learning more about this famed artist while the Anne Frank House shouldn’t be missed by history buffs.

Be sure to pay a quick visit to the Homomonument, the first monument of its kind in the world to commemorate those persecuted for being homosexual. Interestingly, it was also the first monument to explicitly recognise and pay homage to gay men and lesbians who were killed under Nazism.

For a cultural experience in a repurposed gasworks factory, check out the Westergasfabriek. Now a collection of art galleries, cinema, wine bars, shops and cafés in the former grounds of this 19th century gas plant, it’s the perfect place to get away from some of the crowds of central Amsterdam and find something unique and a bit less touristy.

Eating

Eating out in the Netherlands can be reasonably pricey, but in Amsterdam at least, there are definitely places where it is worth it for the high quality food, ambiance and overall experience. For breakfast, head to Koffie ende Koeck, which serves up delicious and filling porridge dishes, hearty sandwiches and excellent coffee in a cosy atmosphere with a nice view over the canal towards the Westergasfabriek.

For a healthy lunch, try the fixed macrobiotic menu at Deshima for a satisfying meal in a calm and well designed location. For dinner, don’t miss the TerraZen Center, with an extensive menu of Caribbean and Japanese fusion dishes. The place itself is very laid back and homely, and there’s even a resident cat that may let you pet it while you wait for your food.

Shopping

The Jordaan District, just to the west of central Amsterdam between the fourth and fifth canal rings is an excellent place to find some unique shops. Unicorn Amsterdam has a range of cute and unusual items from clothing to cards and trinkets that make great gifts while Chocolátl is the place to go for some high quality, single origin chocolate as well as some coffees, teas and drinking chocolates. For one-of-a-kind t-shirts, stop by Universe on a T-shirt which makes their own cool, witty and whimsical prints for t-shirts of all sizes.

Just beyond Prisengracht towards the center is the area known as De 9 Straatjes, or The 9 Streets. Covering an area of roughly ten blocks separated only by canals, another large concentration of independent boutiques. Peruse Asian art at Galerie Geluk, rummage for the best vintage finds at Bij Ons Vintage or get your hair done surrounded by sculpture, paintings and other works of art at Artshop de Salon.

Partying

Famous for its dance music scene, Amsterdam is certainly not short on places to party the night away. De School, set up by the team that created the legendary but now defunkt Trouw club, is a huge venue located in a former school that offers a quintessential Amsterdam clubbing experience. As well as all-night parties, it also hosts cultural events, art spaces, concerts and restaurants meaning you can turn up at any time of day and find something happening.

Club NYX is a straight-friendly gay club set over three floors with something for everyone. From hiphop to disco, Afrobeats to pop and everything in between, this place hosts some of the funnest, most joyful parties in Amsterdam and also occasionally presents drag acts. For something a bit more underground, try Club Church, a gay cruising club which features such colourful events as leather parties, slave auctions, oil wrestling and a variety of other naked parties to cater for every kind of gay man.

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