The World's First Collaborative "Visual Encyclopedia"
The city may be infamous for its green substances and lingerie-clad women, but there is so much more to the beautifully historic city of Amsterdam. Spend some time in Amsterdam and you are sure to fall in love with the architecture, food, and fashion in this bustling European city.
Add more to this storybook
www.infoplease.com • Aug. 01
The Netherlands, on the coast of the North Sea, is twice the size of New Jersey. Part of the great plain of north and west Europe, the Netherlands has maximum dimensions of 190 by 160 mi (360 by 257 km) and is low and flat except in Limburg in the southeast, where some hills rise up to 322 m (1056 ft). About half the country's area is below sea level, making the famous Dutch dikes a requisite for efficient land use. Reclamation of land from the sea through dikes has continued through recent times. All drainage reaches the North Sea, and the principal rivers—Rhine, Maas (Meuse), and Schelde—have their sources outside the country.
Julius Caesar found the low-lying Netherlands inhabited by Germanic tribes—the Nervii, Frisii, and Batavi. The Batavi on the Roman frontier did not submit to Rome's rule until 13 B.C. , and then only as allies.
The Franks controlled the region from the 4th to the 8th century, and it became part of Charlemagne's empire in the 8th and 9th centuries. The area later passed into the hands of Burgundy and the Austrian Hapsburgs and finally, in the 16th century, came under Spanish rule.
When Philip II of Spain suppressed political liberties and the growing Protestant movement in the Netherlands, a revolt led by William of Orange broke out in 1568. Under the Union of Utrecht (1579), the seven northern provinces became the United Provinces of the Netherlands. War between the United Provinces and Spain continued into the 17th century but in 1648 Spain finally recognized Dutch independence.
The Dutch East India Company was established in 1602, and by the end of the 17th century, Holland was one of the great sea and colonial powers of Europe.
The nation's independence was not completely established until after the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), when the country's rise as a commercial and maritime power began. In 1688, the English Parliament invited William of Orange, stadtholder, and his wife, Mary Stuart, to rule England as William III and Mary II. William then used the combined resources of England and the Netherlands to wage war on Louis XIV's France. In 1814, all the provinces of Holland and Belgium were merged into one kingdom, but in 1830 the southern provinces broke away to form the kingdom of Belgium. A liberal constitution was adopted by the Netherlands in 1848. The country remained neutral during World War I.
WWII and the Aftermath
In spite of its neutrality in World War I, the Netherlands was invaded by the Nazis in May 1940, and the Dutch East Indies were later taken by the Japanese. The nation was liberated in May 1945. In 1948, after a reign of 50 years, Queen Wilhelmina abdicated and was succeeded by her daughter Juliana.
In 1949, after a four-year war, the Netherlands granted independence to the Dutch East Indies, which became the Republic of Indonesia. The Netherlands also joined NATO that year. The Netherlands joined the European Economic Community (later, the EU) in 1958. In 1999, it adopted the single European currency, the euro.
The Government Is Rocked by Resignation and Assassination
Wim Kok's government resigned in April 2002 after a report concluded that Dutch UN troops failed to prevent a massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in a UN safe haven near Srebrenica in 1995. Explaining his action, the popular prime minister said, “The international community is big and anonymous. We are taking the consequences of the international community's failure in Srebrenica.”
The country's normally bland political scene was further rocked with the May 2002 assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a right-wing anti-immigrant politician. Days later, his party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, placed second in national elections, behind Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats. Leading the country into a marked shift to the right, Balkenende formed a three-way center-right coalition government with his Christian Democrats, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. Balkenende became prime minister in July 2002.
In November 2004, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who had recently released a controversial film that was critical of Islam and highlighted the abuse of Muslim women, was killed by a militant Muslim. Van Gogh's murder sent shockwaves throughout the country and increased the ethnic tension fomenting throughout the country.
In 2005, just days after French voters rejected the EU constitution in a referendum, the voters in the Netherlands followed suit.
Karst Tates, a 38-year-old Dutch national, drove his car into a crowd of people at a Queen's Day parade in May 2009 in Apeldoorn. He narrowly missed hitting a bus that was carrying Queen Beatrix and other members of the royal family. Five people died in the crash. Tates, who later died of injuries sustained in the crash, admitted he was attempting to assassinate the royal family.
Government Divided Over Country's Role in Afghanistan
Balkenende's coalition fell apart in Feb. 2010 in a contentious row over the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Troops were scheduled to return home in 2010, but at the urging of the U.S., Balkenende agreed to extend the deployment of a reduced force. His governing partner, the Labor Party, however, had demanded full withdrawal and pulled out of the government in protest.
The economy, rather than Afghanistan and immigration, was the main issue during the campaign season for June's parliamentary elections. The election proved inconclusive; the Liberal Party (VVD) took 31 of 150 seats, one ahead of the center-left Labor Party. The VVD entered into coalition talks with the Christian Democrats and the far-right Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders, a controversial figure known for his anti-Islam and anti-immigration fervor. The Freedom Party increased its number of seats from 9 to 24. After months of negotiations, the Liberal and Christian Democrat parties agreed in October to form a minority government with support from the Freedom Party. Mark Rutte, a businessman and the leader of the Liberal Party, became prime minister and the head of the minority government.
Three-party budget talks between the Liberal party (VVD), the Christian Democrats, and the Freedom Party–meant to bring the Netherlands in line with the new economic guidelines of the EU–collapsed in April when Geert Wilders refused to accept the proposed austerity measures. On April 23, 2012, Prime Minister Mark Rutte tendered his resignation to Queen Beatrix. Early parliamentary elections are scheduled for Sept. 12, 2012.
September election results were a surprise victory for centrists. A coalition government of the liberal VVD party and the Labour Party was the outcome of polling that reflected popular opinion firmly seated in the center-right and center-left. Prime Minister Mark Rutte remained in office.
Queen Beatrix Announces Abdication
On January 28, 2013, Queen Beatrix announced on television that she would leave the throne on April 30, 2013, which is Queen's Day or Koninginnedag, a national holiday in the Netherlands. At age 75, Queen Beatrix was the oldest reigning monarch of the Netherlands.
Queen Beatrix announced that her son Willem-Alexander, age 45, would succeed her to the throne. On April 30, 2013, he became the first king the Netherlands has had in 123 years. The last king was his great-great-grandfather, William III, in 1890.
See also Dutch dependencies.
See also Encyclopedia: The Netherlands
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Netherlands
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) www.cbs.nl/en .
Information Please® Database, © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
What to Do With 48 Hours in Amsterdam
www.huffingtonpost.com • Aug. 02 www.huffingtonpost.com • June 5, 2013 • What to Do With 48 Hours in Amsterdam- As the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a hot spot for weekend travelers. There are hundreds of things to do in Amsterdam , from sightseeing at historic sites and museums, smoking in coffeeshops, and 'window-shopping' ...
Urban Insider: Exploring Amsterdam’s ‘Nine Streets’
intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com • Aug. 01
www.intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com • Apr 9, 2013 • Exploring Amsterdam's 'Nine Streets'-
I’m not a big souvenir person. My souvenirs have always been the pictures I take or the occasional piece of jewelry or cool scarf.
It’s harder than ever to find a product unique to its country these days — and I don’t want to end up with something I can find on junk-clogged Canal Street in Manhattan.
To be sure, that doesn’t mean I don’t like to shop. Since my last visit to “the Venice of the North,” many of the unique antique shops in the Spiegelkwartier , with soon-to-reopen Rijksmuseum as a backdrop, had closed. Still, the area is lovely, with cool art galleries, a cute toy shop, and cozy cafes. You can also walk to nearby Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat for that Fifth-Avenue feel, with high-end shops like Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
But for that true taste of A’dam, head to “ De 9 Straatjes .” Three major canals (Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht) divide the Central Canal district into nine little streets that are big on personality. While the more casual shopper may breeze through in an hour or two, serious shoppers can spend an entire day (or more) exploring the quaint boutiques and eateries — all with signature Dutch style – down each lane. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, be sure to bring your camera because the views are phenomenal.
Here’s my guide to must-sees along Amsterdam’s “De 9 Straatjes”:
1. Reestraat: Noa Lifestyle carries a beautifully curated collection of clothes and jewelry from one of my favorite designers, gorjana . For a great hot or cold sandwich, pick from among five dozen choices at Hartenkaas . If you’re looking for something different, try Nooch for a great al fresco meal or stop by Tin Pan Alley for quality coffee and live music.
2. Hartenstraat: At Eddy’s Prints (Hartenstraat 30), you’ll find colorful lino prints at great prices, while Dutch designer Hester van Eeghen sells a different kind of art: bright, intriguing handbags and accessories (she also has a second boutique that sells shoes with her signature geometric flair right down the street). Browse books on graphic design, photography, and contemporary art at Joot , take an espresso break at Screaming Beans , and satisfy your craving for Indian cuisine in a sophisticated space at Purna .
3. Gasthuismolensteeg: You can pick up perfect baby booties as a gift at Antonia by Yvette , but don’t forget to nab a pair of colorful pumps or leather boots for yourself. The housemade pastrami at ‘t Kuyltje rivals what you’d find at the best New York delis, as does the smoked salmon and bacon. It’s a cabinet of curiosities at Nic Nic , with vintage clothing (think lace collars and flowery dresses) and a variety of pottery and art deco items.
4. Oude Spiegelstraat: On this very short street, you can pop into Simone to give your hair a boost or stop by Rika to pick up a chic studded handbag or a sexy leather jacket. But for a true taste of local living, book one of the two rooms above the shop .
5. Wolvenstraat: A great casual breakfast (and fantastic people-watching) can be had at Cafe Wheels . After that, dress up in sleek Scandinavian clothes at Filippa K and pay a visit to Scotch & Soda for a glimpse of the brand’s unique line for kids.
6. Berenstraat: If I had to pick a favorite street based on looks alone, Berenstraat would be it. Find fab books on fashion and architecture at Mendo , get wrapped up in noodle heaven at Thai Fusion , or try Mokka for an afternoon snack (it’s only open during the day).
7. Runstraat: While I will never lug a lamp home from Amsterdam, I was tempted at ‘t Runnertje . The street also boasts double-decker beauty emporium Skins Cosmetics (Runstraat 11), a shop dedicated to all things dental care , and De Kaaskamer , one of the greatest cheese shops in the world (they’ll shrink wrap for the plane ride home!). If you’re pressed for time, find coffee, cupcakes, and clothes in one-stop-shop The Darling .
8. Huidenstraat: Stop by Cafe de Pels to soak up some of their creative spirit and take in the walls full of funky art. Head to Pompadour Bakery just down the street to enjoy a mid-afternoon sweet treat in a dreamy space or create your own personalized jewelry at Beadies .
9. Wijde Heisteeg: On the shortest street of them all, you’ll find the goldsmith Wigmans , Lef , a tiny cafe that sells smoothies and sandwiches, and, last but not least, Emaille.nl , which has been making original signs for more than 40 years.
Annie Fitzsimmons is Intelligent Travel’s Urban Insider , giving you the dish on the best things to see and do in cities all over the world. Follow her on Twitter @anniefitz .
Amsterdam City Guide: Why I love Amsterdam, the greatest little city in world
meltingbutter.com • Aug. 02
www.meltingbutter.com • July 14, 2012 • Amsterdam City Guide: Why I love Amsterdam, the greatest little city in world-
We finally did it. We moved to New York City! I’ve been so caught up in the excitement of the big move in the past months that it wasn’t till our last week in Amsterdam that I got to really reflect on what an amazing little city it really is and more importantly, what an inspiring bunch of people from all over the world live there – we are missing both madly and will always have endless fond memories of our time there.
So what’s the best thing about Amsterdam? Hands down, it’s got to be riding your bike along the canals with a bunch of your friends – no matter how old you are, riding a bike in a group will always make you feel part of a kids BMX bike gang.
So I also made a list of our best of Amsterdam! Same deal as the other city guides really, a bunch of our Amsterdam favourites in this blog entry and a whole bunch more when you click through to the Google Map . Except this city guide is a bit of a bumper guide given that we had three years to research it!
Oh and this one goes out to all our Amsterdam peeps – I know you’ve spent many a night trying to think of a place to eat at or where to go – hopefully you get some good use out of this!
AMSTERDAM HIT LIST
ULIVETO TRAITUER & CATERING
A beautiful light-filled lunch spot with a communal table. When you arrive just ask them to put together an antipasto plate to share with the group.
Best bit: Eat you lunch and do your Italian grocery shopping at the same time.
If you’ve been to Amsterdam you’ve probably been stuck for good lunch options. Foodware fills that gap well with their great selection of fresh and well-cooked dishes. The owners and chefs have good taste and it shows in both the food and the space.
Best bit: Hopefully it’s sunny and you can enjoy your food on the bench right outside overlooking the canals.
Be prepared to line up for yum cha on the weekends at Oriental City. You’ll line up amidst a sea of black hair so you know your safe here. Best dim sum in Amsterdam hands down.
Best bit: They have these chili and sesame oil infused cucumbers – order them.
FOAM FOTOGRAFIE MUSEUM
A great small photography museum to stop past whilst you’re touring the canals of Amsterdam. Foam is located on the Keizersgracht and has a varied programme of exhibitions that include world-class photographers and young undiscovered talent.
Best bit: They sell our good photographer friend’s amazing work on cityscapes – check it out: Marcus Koppen Foam Editions . Interestingly, the feature image of this blog entry was taken by Marcus looking out of his apartment during one of Amsterdam’s snowy eves.
LOCKSTOCK & BARREL
A multi-label boutique situated in the nine streets of Amsterdam. LockStock & Barrel has an eclectic mix of styles from easy-chic Parisian to minimalistic Scandinavian. Shop for brands like Filippa K, Current Elliot, Sessun and Whyred.
Best bit: Cos recently opened right across the street from LockStock & Barrel, which makes for an easy day of shopping J
Sometimes Amsterdam shopping can start getting to you in a bad way – too many frumpy florals and chunky boots for my liking. That’s when I head to the Acne store for my fix of Scandinavian fashion.
Best bit: It’s small but somehow I always walk out with a pink shopping bag in my hand!
COWBOYS 2 CATWALK
A men’s boutique that carries labels such as Viktor & Rolf, ACNE, Prps, Comme des Garcons, Damir Doma and Folk. The guys that work there are truly passionate about men’s fashion so you’re in good hands.
Best bit: If your man gets caught in a long conversation about denim with the guys in the store, just follow your nose to Patisserie Kuyt next store and pick up some Dutch apple pie.
THE CITY STREET SPA
City Street Spa is a beautiful light-filled sanctuary on the canals of Amsterdam where you can truly indulge yourself with a massage, mani, pedi or facial – bliss.
Best bit: You won’t feel rushed to leave right after your treatment – who wants to jump straight onto a bike after a full body massage? Not me…
OH YOU PRETTY THINGS
I think everyone I know in Amsterdam goes to Oh you pretty things for a haircut – probably because they’re the best salon in the city and its always such a joy sit and admire the whimsical art-filled salon.
Best bit: They always block out an hour to do your hair, which means no one’s rushed and you’re getting your money’s worth. And you can book your appointments online.
Restaurant RED only does 2 things – steak and lobster – and they do it well and more importantly consistently well. I have no fear in recommending this restaurant to you because I know they will do it just as well for you.
Best bit: If you can’t choose between steak and lobster just get both (surf & turf). Good wine list too.
A passionate foodie couple runs this charming little restaurant tucked away off the canals of Amsterdam. Each course served uses the freshest and most interesting ingredients in a truly creative way.
Best bit: Remember to spoil yourself with some matched wines.
Megnha serves up the freshest, cleanest and tastiest Indian food in Amsterdam. Do yourself a favour and order the amazingly tender chicken tikka.
Best bit: The tiny restaurant is always busy but somehow, never requires a reservation – this almost never happens in Amsterdam!
NYONYA MALAYSIA EXPRESS
The best Malaysian food you’ll get in the whole of Amsterdam. Take my advice and don’t go anywhere else for chicken rice, char kuay teow or nasi lemak.
Best bit: Always share the sambal okra (lady fingers) with the table – trust me, no one will complain!
Ph: (020) 422 24 47
There are few bars in Amsterdam with this much character. Cafe Brecht is two parts Berlin and one part Melbourne with its quirky vintage interior and young bar-loving crowd.
Best bit: Make yourself at home in this living room style bar. They’ll even provide you with knitting needles and board games!
A truly world class music venue. If you’re in Amsterdam even for the weekend check their schedule for any acts you want to see. Make sure walk up to the top floors and enjoy the impressive view of the stage and the sea of fans.
Best bit: The acoustic quality in this venue makes the music sound just amazing
A supposed pop-up bar that has been around for quite a while now and hopefully a lot longer to come. Bar Basis is a refreshing addition to the Amsterdam bar scene and although a little student-y, it’s definitely still cool.
Best bit: You can get food delivered to the bar and eat with their supplied cutlery and crockery!
This prohibition style bar makes artisanal cocktails. The bar staff know their drinks and can make anything you want – except sadly, my favourite, an espresso martini.
Best bit: It’s across from Duivel, a great hip-hop bar. If that gets too rough for your liking, simply ring the doorbell at number 74 and enter a completely different world.
Grocery shopping in Amsterdam normally means multiple stops at multiple specialty shops. This specialty shop is of the organic variety and the large selection of fresh and pantry products generally means you get to cut down the number of stops you have to make.
Best bit: You can feel assured that everything in the store is certified organic.
Marqt is the most stylish supermarket you’ll ever go to. It’s a farmers-market-cum-supermarket, similar to that of Wholefoods Market in the US and UK. I adored shopping at Marqt when it first opened on Utrechtsestraat. It’s such a joy shopping in a cool industrial style warehouse reminiscent of an art gallery with some jazz music playing in the background.
Best bit: The spelt bread loaves from Brood are my favourite.
Amsterdam’s most popular organic farmer’s market. Go on a Monday for the vintage flea market or on a Saturday to pick up your week’s worth of fresh organic veggies.
Best bit: On a sunny day, get a picnic spread of olives, tapenade and baguette then enjoy on a canal bench.
G&T’S REALLY REALLY NICE PLACE
G&T’s brings proper weekend brunches to Amsterdam in true expat style. They’re also constantly hosting loads of fun parties, events and pop-ups in their adorable little ex-brown cafe.
Best bit: George & Tanya are doing a really nice job of keeping the expats of Amsterdam entertained and tipsy with their famous selection of bloody marys.
SPRMRKT & SPR+
Amsterdam’s best proper concept store. 420m2 of vintage, design classics, TopShop and brands like Rick Owens, Acne and Margiela.
Best bit: It’s a store you can spend a good ½ hour perusing in even if you don’t end up buying anything.
The best pizza in Amsterdam.
Best bit: Hopefully the night is warm enough for you and your friends to order a bunch and sit outside on the bench chatting, eating and people watching. If not, hopefully you have a friend living in the Jordaan willing host pizza night – limited seating is the only downside of this place.
Mikee’s pick for the best Italian in Amsterdam. He’s a trustworthy source since he lived in Italy for 6 years, but I think the fact you can’t get a table unless you book at least a week in advance says something too.
Best bit: Open kitchen and New York vibe
Owned and operated by an Englishman and New Yorker, this restaurant was bound to be a crowd pleaser for the expat community. Then they upped the ante with a weekly brunch specialising in your favourite English fry-ups but also traditional American breakfasts.
Best bit: The ever-changing and super-fresh dinner menu.
An Italian wine bar that Mikee and I happened to stumble across when it had just opened a few years back – and what a find! The perfect cozy spot for a simple Italian dinner with friends in the wintertime.
Best bit: There’s no real menu, the chef makes what he’s feeling for the day but you can always bet on having a nice bowl of pasta.
A kitchen emporium, everything you need for the kitchen from baking supplies, tea towels and crockery to full kitchens and stovetops. All good brands are available and the staff is very knowledgeable.
Best bit: They practically take over the whole street with lots of little Duikelman’s next door to each other.
A small Italian takeaway and food store that also caters and holds private dinners. Very cute.
Best bit: Probably that only place in Amsterdam that sells Faella pasta, which is not only beautiful to have in the home, but also to eat
This place opened the week we left Amsterdam. There was plenty of buzz going on – everyone was excited to see a new all night gourmet burger joint open with a secret invite only cocktail bar behind a nondescript door. I wonder how long it’ll stay “invite only” in little ol’ Amsterdam
Best bit: One of the very few places serving fish and chips – and it’s decent!
Really really good gelato. And if you ever wondered how ice-cream shops make any money in cooler climate cites like Amsterdam, the answer is in the winter months they turn into a Stampot takeaway – genius!
Best bit: Super creamy nut flavours – my favourite is hazelnut and pistachio.
I lived in De Pijp for 3 years, walked past this restaurant countless times but never knew it existed – that’s how hidden it is! This tiny Michelin starred restaurant will impress you with its creative use of ingredients in each course.
Best bit: The restaurant is set in an apartment so it really feels like you’re having dinner (and a special one at that) in a friend’s living room.
HOTEL DE GOUDFAZANT
A restaurant set in a huge industrial space that can accommodate vintage sports cars and an enormous modern chandelier. The kitchen works to a high standard and serves Amsterdam locals with unpretentious but consistently good food. Get the spring chicken.
Best bit: Have a round of pool and a drink in the restaurant after dinner.
Proef is one of those restaurants you can count on for bad service. But the organic food they serve is so fresh, delicious and creatively styled that you can turn a blind eye to it.
Best bit: Enjoy lunch or dinner in the garden alongside the free-range chickens
290 SQUARE METERS
A well-curated men’s and ladies selection of brands like Henrik Vibskov, A.P.C, Our Legacy, Mini Market, Surface to Air and Wood Wood.
Best bit: The store has a nice mix of heritage and Scandinavian contemporary brands.
On a sunny day this is the place to go and hang out with all those sun-loving Dutchies. Boats moor up to Hannekes Boom to enjoy a drink and the vibe, it’s sunny and everyone’s happy
Best bit: You can end up spending the entire day there drinking and laughing with friends.
A cozy restaurant on a quiet corner of Prinseneiland, which dedicates itself to simple dishes, cooked with creativity and an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, focusing on seafood.
Best bit: After dinner, have a leisurely bike ride around the very pretty Prinseneiland – it’ll help you digest too
A proper Japanese supermarket in Amsterdam! I’ve always thought it was strange for a Japanese supermarket chain to open its doors in Amsterdam of all cities, but here it is and I was not complaining!
Best bit: They sell the hand-rolls that are packaged in a way where you have to roll the seaweed yourself – crunchy delicious seaweed every time J
Top Amsterdam Restaurants
www.travelandleisure.com • Aug. 01
www.travelandleisure.com • May 2013 • Top Amsterdam Restaurants-
Have you booked your Amsterdam trip yet?
The canals just turned 400 this year, and the city is celebrating. Two of Europe’s greatest museums—the venerable Rijks and the modern-art Stedelijk—are back after nearly a decade of closures, both with jaw-dropping starchitect makeovers. Beyond the Museum Quarter and the central Canal Ring, futuristic architecture is creating a waterfront wonderland on both banks of the IJ River. And did we mention Europe’s most exciting marriage of design and dining?
This last development might come as a shock to an Amsterdam regular. Sure, the Dutch have a knack for edgy design. But their cuisine—ouch! The butt of European jokes (with hash brownies as the unfortunate punch line), Amsterdam at table just couldn’t shake off that enveloping Protestant plainness, which is why, perhaps, local cooks have historically shunned their own roots. For as long as I can remember, blah Continental and generic fusion passed for “fine dining” here. On the casual end, sandwiches on squishy brown rolls were to be endured along with salads shaggy with hippie alfalfa sprouts. Having spent my summers in Amsterdam for almost a decade, I’d long resigned myself to DIY picnics canal-side.
Until a recent dine-a-thon changed my mind, that is. Lo and behold, the city’s younger generation of chefs are at last embracing their Dutchness, to say nothing of luminous homegrown ingredients. Amsterdam’s almost militant eco-commitment assures that bio (organic) is the new dining buzzword. Local butchers, bakers, distillers, brewers, and cheese makers are finally getting their due. Amsterdam, in short, is catching up with the world. And the settings—those transfixing settings! Whether a stupendous goat crépinette at a sleek glass house that seems to float on the water, or terrific oysters at a former oil rig with breathtaking harbor views, or a picture-pretty salad in a dreamy restored park manor, or wood-fired bread at a monastic chapel turned locavore shrine—some of Europe’s most singular urban eating experiences lie just a quick tram (ferry? bike?) ride beyond the central canal zone. Don’t wait another nanosecond. Start making reservations right now.
The Museum Restaurants
A demi-hop on the iconic blue-and-white ferry docked behind Central Station whisks you into the Future, to the reclaimed industrial waterfront of Amsterdam’s Noord (North), poised to become the city’s answer to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Noord’s Guggenheim Bilbao effect kicked in last April with the opening of the breathtaking Eye Film Institute, designed by the Austrian firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (DMAA). Looming over the IJ, the building evokes a giant white Cubist panther waiting to leap. Inside the creamy-tile-and-glass fantasia await film exhibits and interactive 360-degree “image storms”—plus the Eye Bar-Restaurant , with a terrace that overlooks the zany silhouette of the IJ-Dock complex, another new architectural showstopper. The museum’s curatorial spirit carries over to the simple menu at lunch. A baguette from famous organic bakery Vanmenno joins with silky salmon smoked over beech and oak wood by the boutique Baykow smokehouse. The elegant veal kroketten hail from Holtkamp, Queen Beatrix’s favorite patisserie. For dessert try Holtkamp’s creamy lemon-meringue tart and the fruit-studded apple cake from rival bakery Kuyt. Which wins? Ponder the question on your return ride to the 17th-century Amsterdam of gabled roofs and narrow canals. Or better, compare it with the crumbly, house- baked apple pie served with Medellín Secret brand coffee at Restaurant Stedelijk , inside the renovated museum. A bold design statement of tactile concrete, stainless steel, and tomato-red rubber seating, the glass-walled restaurant is just as eye-popping as the museum’s stunning Malevich canvases. Overseen by Ron Blaauw, a local celebrity toque, the kitchen delivers pleasing renditions of cosmopolitan classics, from crab tempura to vitello tonnato . But it’s the Dutch beef—whether as rich, hand-cut tartare seasoned at table, or the awesome burger with truffle mayo served on a feathery brioche bun—that commands the attention.
The Hotel to Watch
Just next door to the Stedelijk, a late-19th-century neo-Gothic bank building turned music conservatory has been revamped into the dramatic Conservatorium Hotel by Milanese designer Piero Lissoni. Its two restaurants, the casual Brasserie & Lounge and the high-concept Tunes , celebrate the triumphant homecoming of local culinary hero Schilo van Coevorden. The unstoppably creative chef (born right in the neighborhood) worked in Japan and Dubai, perfected fusion at Amsterdam’s Blakes Hotel, then cooked up a storm in Marbella, Spain. Now le tout Amsterdam is clamoring to taste his nuevo-Spanish bravura applied to local ingredients. Farmhouse goat yogurt? It’s dolloped with Adriaesque beet sorbet and gilded with Dutch caviar in a fetching play of earthy, salty, and sweet. Gado gado ? Amsterdam’s Indonesian favorite gets reinterpreted as a witty collage of tiny fried eggs, shrimp crackers, schmears of peanut sauce, and pickles accenting the crisp-creamy fried sweetbreads. Lissoni’s austere lofty interiors—repurposed industrial lights; chiaroscuro displays of Royal Delft porcelain—are warmed by the open kitchen and the perpetual celebrity buzz of the room. Madonna recently swept in. Here’s Dutch design wunderkind Marcel Wanders, chuckling over the chef’s cheeky “nostalgia to Andalusia” dessert: a craggy-branched chocolate tree on a soil of pistachio crumbs and olive-oil jelly. And how not to smile at the award-winning gin-and-tonic menu? Don’t miss the No 3. Gin, with elderflower tonic and mint.
The Urban Gardener
Leave time before your dinner at Bolenius to gawk at the lofty zigzags and madcap asymmetries of the post-postmodern skyscrapers of Zuidas, the futuristic business district in Amsterdam’s south. This architectural eye candy provides the perfect backdrop for the artistic amuse-bouche ahead: a jagged disk of Sardinian cracker bread protruding from a white stone; black-olive choux strikingly set in a garland of actual rope. All blond birchwood, concrete, and tented white sail fabric, the two-year- old restaurant was a labor of love for the thirtysomething chef Luc Kusters and his partner Xavier Giesen, your dapper host in the dining room. A bit Spanish deconstructionist, somewhat new-Nordic naturalist, ravishingly pretty, and refreshingly personal, Kuster’s “New Amsterdam” dishes are inspired by his urban kitchen garden—improbably planted right under the skyscrapers. Borage and tarragon flowers decorate a shocking-green cube of lettuce gelée. Cauliflower is bewitched into a trompe l’oeil risotto highlighted with herring roe. Even pickled onion—an Amsterdam tavern classic—gets a conceptual makeover as a liquid-nitrogenated sorbet in a cone infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. To close: a Willy Wonka extravaganza of Dutch caramels, waffles, and marshmallows.
The High Flier
Even in this city of boffo waterside settings, REM Eiland turns heads. Back in the mid sixties this former oil rig of cubical steel, rising on stilts 80 feet above the IJ, was repurposed into a pirate TV broadcasting station—with its own helipad. Promptly shut down by authorities, it was dismantled and only recently saved from the scrapyard and reassembled into the ultimate dining attraction in the emerging Houthaven port district. Time your arrival for sunset and behold the sweeping harbor views from REM Eiland’s wraparound walkways and decks. Barges chug along below toward the North Sea, while cranes tower over Amsterdam’s last remaining working ship-repair wharf. Indoors, under exposed ductwork at tables refashioned from scaffolding wood, pretty young things order charcuterie platters and seafood plateaux from the crowd-pleasing brasserie menu. The kitchen can’t always keep up with the mad dinnertime crush—but you’ll do just fine with some briny fines de claire oysters, crisp brain-and-veal croquettes, and, from the cool, affordable wine list, a Barbera from Walter Massa, Piedmont’s eccentric-genius vintner. Next in Amsterdam’s woolly reclamation department: a luxury three-suite hotel is set to open soon inside a 1958 industrial crane.
The Locavore Temple
The fabulously round concrete Brutalist building on the edge of Beatrix Park once housed a monastery chapel. Now at Restaurant As , stylish, rough-hewn oak tables in former prayer nooks host blond hipsters worshipping the slow-leavened breads baked in chef Sander Overeinder’s outdoor Tuscan oven. An Alice Waters disciple and high priest of the locavore faith, Overeinder romances Dutch produce in his short, Mediterranean-inflected prix fixe menus recited by servers. Tonight’s inspiration might be a gorgeous salad of shaved zucchini with curry crumbs and heartbreakingly tender North Sea squid flash-fried in a crunchy coating of cornmeal. Delicate favas braised in a basil butter add a fresh jolt to the veal shoulder slow-cooked in a stove inherited from the good brothers. Outside, puzzling totem poles and colorful lights strung over a rusting fence give the overgrown grounds an air of an arty-boho summer camp. As darkness descends, votives glint, pearwood smoke tickles the nostrils, and you realize that bliss rhymes with Van Wees, the cult distiller of that profoundly complex malty genever you can’t stop sipping.
The Corner Café, Reinvented
In Amsterdam, “coffee shop” still connotes cannabis, while a “brown café” is a pub. And an eet (eating) café? It’s a neighborhood joint dishing up bitterballen (meatballs) and sandwiches on hippie brown rolls for a nosh while you booze. On a multiculti street in southern De Pijp district, Café Reuring redefines the genre so brilliantly that a recent rave from a powerful local restaurant critic caused a stampede. Book ahead for your plastic chair at this no-frills corner storefront across from a graffitied Turkish grocery store. The ultra-brief seasonal menu might kick off with a pretty still life of mozzarella, figs, and rhubarb- jus marshmallows, progress to an epic steak tartare with a clever panko -fried egg, and crescendo with an unimpeachable North Sea plaice, roasted on the bone and served in nutty brown butter. Come dessert, the chef might pop out with news that the cherry-size blueberries for the yogurt bavaroise were picked by his wine guy. And this being Amsterdam, architectural epiphany awaits a mere minute away. Cross Lumastraat walking south and there’s De Dageraad, the visionary 1920’s Amsterdam School housing development. Who knew that brick masonry could curve and billow like fabric?
The Manor Life
To escape the clutter and stench canal-side, wealthy 17th-century burghers built summer residences in idyllic Frankendael Park, east of the city center. Now the only period buiten (garden manor) remaining is the stately Huize Frankendael, where since 2008 the terrific restaurant Merkelbach has occupied the coach house. A glass of rosé at a patio table. Sunlight dappling the extravagant patches of daisies and heathers in the restored 18th-century garden. On your plate: a picture-perfect salad of pink and yellow heirloom beets assembled by Slow-Foodie chef Geert Burema. The spicy shaved aged cheese in the salad? That’s clove-studded nagelkass (“nail cheese”), the chatty server explains. Today’s zucchini? From a garden plot run by the local elementary school. Up next: ravioli filled with velvety cauliflower purée, dressed with dusky chanterelles and rich Dutch country butter. Walk off the calories exploring the park’s narrow allées fringed by private gardens. Citizens diligently prune peony bushes outside their brightly painted dollhouse-scaled cottages. Here’s hoping someone invites you in for tea.
The Riverside Idyll
Booking a hot table outside the Canal Ring is a great chance to discover untouristed neighborhoods you’d otherwise miss. Who knew that the residential district around Amstel Station harbored such a lovely riverside path? Who knew the path led straight to Riva , a panoramic new brasserie with such a jazzy design and swoon-inducing location you’d happily come here to eat a boiled clog? Outside the huge windows, willow trees bend low over the Amstel River, and fat swans glide past giant luxury houseboats. Inside, burnt-orange leather banquettes are arranged under cool ceiling panels evoking a river current, and a fantastical chandelier chimes with porcelain fish. In this setting, Riva’s chef, a young, worldly Australian, fries up a peppery soft-shell crab, dishes up a sassy hoisin-glazed quail, and slow-cooks a seriously soulful goat-meat crépinette . Take your croissant-and-butter pudding out to the deck and watch as the lighting gets moodier, the river grows glossier, and Riva’s regulars unmoor their boats and sail home.
The Design Atelier
Marjolein Wintjes (social scientist/textile artist) and Eric Meursing (industrial designer/chef) weren’t interested in a conventional restaurant. Instead the pair, known for such provocations as a wedding dress fashioned from edible rhubarb paper, call their De Culinaire Werkplaats “eat’inspirations.” Book one of their themed dinners—say, “Eat the City” or “Postcard from Shanghai”—take the tram to the emerging Westerpark neighborhood, and prepare to bus your own plates from a long table shared with regulars. It all feels like crashing a dinner party at the airy design atelier of a hip, arty friend with food that’s surprising, provocative, and shot through with that Dutch eco-idealism. The walnut pesto is pounded from nuts grown in Amsterdam’s sports park. A starkly beautiful dish called “guerrilla garden” pairs black quinoa with strawberry-infused cherries—the imagined result of throwing a seed bomb. From a faux earth of black lentils, tender green pea tendrils sprout—a poetic evocation of greenery shooting through urban pavements. The bill? You’ll be charged for the wine and asked to contribute what you find “fair” for the five-course tasting menu. Be generous—won’t you?
The Ultimate Rijsttafel
Rijsttafel (literally, “rice table”)—a feast of rice with myriad trimmings—is the colonial Dutch vision of an Indonesian banquet, more authentic to Amsterdam than it is to Jakarta or Bali. The current favorite is the new-school Restaurant Blauw , near the Vondelpark, which keeps its spicing just right while steering refreshingly clear of saggy “ethnic” clichés—no gamelan music; no sarong-wrapped servers. In a modern space decorated in Mondrianesque reds and a nostalgic portrait of the owner’s Javanese forebears, order the rice feast, and soon enough a slew of spicy stews and spicier condiments will land on your table. Here’s an intriguing egg dish with a chile-spiked sambal; a mini-stick of caramelized goat satay; pork-belly nuggets in a dark, syrupy ketjap manis sauce. Eat them with helpings of fragrant rice, dabs of vinegary-sweet cucumber atjar, roasted coconut sprinkles, and crunchy forkfuls of sambal goreng kentang, the addictive caramel-fried shoestring potatoes. After five minutes your mouth vibrates with turmeric and galangal, and throbs with chiles. Thank heaven for the soothing-sweet bite of plush pisang goreng (fried banana) that comes to the rescue.
The Italian Dream
Trends come and go, riverfronts and skylines transform, but scoring an 8 p.m. reservation at Toscanini , the urban-rustic trattoria of everyone’s dreams in the hip Jordaan district, never gets any easier. Start dialing now for the night when you’ll find yourself—hallelujah!—in the sprawling whitewashed, skylit dining room, draping petals of Friuli’s prized di Oswaldo prosciutto around skinny grissini or drizzling chestnut honey over slices of young pecorino. Here, regulars stroll from table to table double-kissing one another, pastas are always faultlessly elegant (grab the spaghetti pungent with lemon and bottarga di Orbetello ), and the slender chops of Dutch lamb are a red-meat Platonic ideal. With a conspiratorial wink the waiter might pour you an edgy off-the-menu Nebbiolo. So who needs Venice, when after dunking biscotti del Prato into a sweet aromatic passito you can roam along Prinsengracht, the city’s most gorgeous canal? Seventeenth-century gables reflect in the moonlit water, lovers embrace on dark benches, and only the crazy bicyclists whizzing past at ungodly speeds threaten your happiness.
A spin through a world where bicycles rule streets
articles.latimes.com • Aug. 01
www.articles.latimes.com • Apr 25, 2013 • A spin through a world where bicycles rule streets-
In bike-unfriendly cities such as Los Angeles, people who love cycling speak in wistful tones about a faraway place where the bike reigns supreme.
Go to Amsterdam, they say. In that mecca of the bike, you will find special roads set apart for cyclists, protected from the dangerous automobile by concrete barriers. But more than that, you will find a city where biking is part of everyday life. A city where executives, working stiffs and hand-holding lovers all pedal side by side.
Pete Jordan, a native Californian, went to Amsterdam several years ago on a biking pilgrimage. He's still there. And his new book, "In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist," is a funny, engaging and exhaustively researched tribute to Amsterdam's unique biking history.
But more than that, "In the City of Bikes" is a portrait of one man's obsession.
To live in biking heaven, Jordan, the author of the memoir "Dishwasher," takes a series of menial jobs in Amsterdam. He studies Dutch and rides from one end of Amsterdam to the other, day and night. When the locals ask him why he, an educated American, is scrubbing floors in Holland, he revels in giving this cryptic answer: "So I can be stuck in a bicycle traffic jam at midnight."
The Dutch don't quite get Jordan. Bikes are just part of who they are. "To them, bicycles were as a natural as air or water — and hardly anything special," he writes. But Jordan has always thought bikes were special. He begins his book by telling us, briefly, about his San Francisco childhood, and a rite of passage many a Californian will find familiar: the acquisition of his first, prized bike, a "puke-green" affair from a toy store that bears the name "Dill Pickle."
In adulthood, Jordan's love of bikes only grows. Sadly, most Americans don't share his fixation. The most bikes he sees in the U.S. on an ordinary workday is in Portland, Ore.: 19 bikes at one intersection in a half-hour. In Amsterdam, it's almost impossible to count all the bikes he sees. "Ha!" he writes. "Now I was seeing 19 cyclists just about every thirty seconds."
Jordan is an honest, self-effacing narrator, and there's much that's lovably comic about his inauguration into Amsterdam cyclo-culture. Not everything about the Dutch bike scene is rosy. He learns the swear words bikers shout at one another. Paying the bike tax is a pain. He discovers there's a brisk trade in stolen bikes. And hardly any cyclist bothers to obey the traffic laws.
None of this deters Jordan's rampant cyclophilia. Yet he can't find many books about Dutch biking history, so he starts to research the subject himself. Most of the nearly 400 pages of "In the City of Bikes," in fact, concern themselves with a breezy, highly detailed account of the origins and history of Dutch bicycle culture.
Once upon a time, Americans actually biked more than the Dutch. But then the automobile was invented. Cars chased most bicycles off U.S. streets. The Dutch, living in a small country with little free space, never quite allowed that to happen.
As he recounts this history, Jordan is relentless in his pursuit of Dutch biking trivia. It seems just about any and every famous person who ever rode a bike in Amsterdam or who wrote about the city's cycling scene earns a cameo, including Audrey Hepburn, Albert Camus and Virginia Woolf. In 1935, Woolf wrote in her diary that "the cyclists go in flocks like starlings, gathering together, skimming in & out."
In that passage, and others, Jordan's cyclomania makes for engaging reading. But in his lengthy discussion of the fate of Amsterdam's bicycles during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, he starts to lose a bit of perspective.
When the Nazis banned most Dutch Jews from owning bicycles, Anne Frank's mother gave hers away to a non-Jewish friend for safekeeping. After the Frank family is hauled off to a concentration camp, one of the people who helped hide them is arrested — we learn in "In the City of Bikes" that he was sent to a labor camp where he was forced to use parts from Dutch bikes to keep German bikes rolling. It seems a bit tone-deaf to seek details of Dutch biking history in one of the defining stories of the Holocaust. But for an author who's decided to thoroughly lose himself in cycling history, the Frank family's bicycle connections were clearly impossible to ignore.
Jordan eventually makes the bike the center of nearly every aspect of his life. When his girlfriend, Amy Joy, moves to Amsterdam, she becomes a bike mechanic. As the couple settle down in their new home, many of the cycles of family life (forgive the pun) play themselves out on a bicycle too: Jordan and the pregnant Joy ride a bike to the hospital when she goes into labor.
In Jordan's account of the recent history of the Amsterdam biking scene, there are lessons for Angelenos and residents of other bike-unfriendly cities. If you want a cycling paradise, you're going to have to fight for it. The Dutch did, especially in the counterculture 1970s, in protests and policy fights with cycling's universal enemy, the automobile. Nor will bike culture ever lose its detractors: plenty of Dutch people still equate bikes with chaos.
"In the City of Bikes" is an insightful book. And it's an especially enjoyable one for anyone who's ever thought the world would be a better place if more people rode bikes to work — and if they rode them to the hospital to deliver their babies too.
10 of the best high-end shops in Amsterdam
www.theguardian.com • Aug. 01
www.theguardian.com • June 22, 2011 • 10 of the best high-end shops in Amsterdam-
Florian Duijsens of city guide amsterdam.unlike.net picks the top spots for designer fashion and cutting-edge Dutch design
These Dutch godfathers of pragmatic, funny design use their Amsterdam flagship store (they also own a store in Las Vegas) to showcase their greatest and latest (re)inventions. Having achieved world renown for works like Tejo Remy's loosely bundled set of found drawers or his chair made out of strapped-together rags, Droog delivers dry commentary on the too-often all-surface/no-substance world of design by using discarded or unlikely materials to style familiar objects anew. A typical, recent addition to their collection is Heleen Klopper's Woolfiller , a revolutionary invention to fill holes (or hide stains) in woollen garments using nothing more than raw wool and Klopper's special needle.
• Staalstraat 7b, +31 20 523 5059, droog.com . Open Tues-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12am-5pm
Maison de Bonneterie
The less obvious of Amsterdam's two turn-of-the-century department stores (the other being the Bijenkorf , or "beehive", on Dam Square) started by 19th-century entrepreneurs from Amsterdam's then-flourishing Jewish community, this gorgeously skylit building presents a luxurious alternative to its gaudy and chaotic neighbours on nearby Kalverstraat. A pleasant refuge from the busy streets outside, it's worth a visit to just to bask in the atrium's brightness. With three floors of brand-name clothing (Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Polo) in a familiar store-in-store layout, the Bonneterie has served the preppier sections of Dutch society since 1911. A small plaque along the monumental staircase commemorates the 68 Jewish staff members killed during the occupation.
• Rokin 140-142, +31 20 531 3400, debonneterie.nl . Open Mon 11am-6pm, Tues, Wed 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-9pm, Fri, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun noon-7pm
LockStock & Barrel
A pleasant warren of streets (and canals) clustered west of the Dam Square heart of Amsterdam, the so-called Nine Streets shopping district hosts some of the city's trendier restaurants (such as Envy and its sibling wine bar Vyne ) and many independently owned businesses. On these busy byways, aside from the marvellous vintage finds at Laura Dols on Wolvenstraat, LockStock & Barrel is the place to go for eclectic but well-curated clothing and accessories sourced from as far away as Japan (jewellery by Noguchi), Finland ( Ivana Helsinki 's womenswear) and the US ( Current/Elliott jeans). Now there's a great way to preserve the spirit of the explorer merchants of the Dutch golden age!
• Hartenstraat 26, +31 20 421 3348, lockstockbarrel.nl . Open Sun, Mon noon-6pm, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 11am-6pm, Thurs 11am-9pm
The Jordaan neighbourhood just west of the Nine Streets is famous for being the most "authentic" part of Amsterdam (read: having preserved a nostalgic sheen of Dutch working-class culture). These streets have long been taken over by the chattering classes, which blessedly means there's more to do than just crowd into tiny brown cafes and be deafened by execrable Polderpop. Moooi (which roughly translates as "beooootiful") boasts 700 stark white square metres of joyous design products from world-class design fairs such as Milan. Aside from modern classics such as Freshwest or Ingo Maurer 's high-concept lighting, the space beautifully showcases the work of Dutch star designers Marcel Wanders , Studio Job and Bertjan Pot .
• Westerstraat 187, +31 20 528 7760, moooi-gallery.com . Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, 1st Sunday of the month noon-6pm
Not to be confused with Marqt , the high-end organic market on Overtoom 21, ex-supermarket SPRMRKT (and its outlet sibling SPR+ next door) has replaced the dairy and veggie aisles with vintage Eames and Panton furnishings, as well as racks of hipster couture. Though trendy and colourful in their dress, the Dutch aren't known for bold fashion choices – as they say, "being normal is crazy enough". But now Amsterdam's international allure and growing fashion industry have created a pocket cosmopolitan enough to allow even the more outrageous designs of Rick Owens , Henrik Vibskov and Martin Margiela to find favour with the young graphic design and public relations sets.
• Rozengracht 191-193, +31 20 330 5601, sprmrkt.nl . Open Sun, Mon noon-6pm, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm
The American Book Center
Started in 1972 as an underground soft-core porn emporium, the American Book Center has long since grown out of those humble beginnings and become Amsterdam's default English-language bookshop. After its 2006 redesign, ABC's Spui location (a literary hub steps away from Waterstone's and Athenaeum ) matches its dedication to fringe genres like sci-fi, crime and gay fiction with a clear, double-helix design that spirals shoppers past its well-stocked shelves as they wind up towards the fiction section. The enthusiastic staff offer great advice (and discounts to seniors and teachers). The benches outside are great for people-watching, and there's an alfresco book market here every Friday (10am-6pm).
• Spui 12, +31 20 625 5537, abc.nl . Open Mon 11am-8pm, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-8pm, Thurs 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-6.30pm
No matter their political bent or fashion stripe, all Dutch people are united in their abiding love for HEMA, a chain of department stores with tentacles in each city in the Netherlands . Like Muji, HEMA designs and produces everything it sells, making for an astonishingly coherent shopping experience, whether you're in the market for a bicycle, a rookworst (smoked sausage, served hot with spicy mustard), or some boxer briefs. For reasonably priced gifts, head to the kids' clothing section for cute but not cutesy cotton babygrows, or dip into the lower-priced end of Dutch design with HEMA's colourful napkins and tableware.
• Nieuwendijk 174-176, +31 20 623 4176, hema.nl . Open Mon-Wed, Fri 9am-7pm, Thurs 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun noon-6pm
The Frozen Fountain
Incongruously located on one the city's stodgier canals, the Frozen Fountain presents an up-to-the-second snapshot of Dutch design. Through their close contacts with art schools around the country, this longstanding institution (founded in 1985) and its proprietors, Cok de Rooy and Dick Dankers have built a collection that artfully balances the world of art and design, as evidenced by the contemporary photographers (like Inez van Lamsweerde) gracing the walls. Aside from seminal works by Piet Hein Eek and Hella Jongerius , we recommend their textiles, standouts of which are Scholten & Baijings stripy neon blankets and Leendert Masselink's uber-cute gnome towels.
• Prinsengracht 645, +31 20 622 9375, frozenfountain.nl . Open Mon 1pm-6pm, Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
It's not entirely clear how the Dutch became such design lovers, though some suggest their efforts at winning land back from the sea have made them a tad hubristic about shaping the world around them. Still, all that quirky, pragmatic design can start to feel samey, and Dutch consumers have recently taken to Finnish glass and tableware masters iittala. With their modern lines and exceedingly high quality standards, the Fins are firmly entrenching themselves in the dishwashers of families or young professionals upgrading from their lighter, identikit HEMA or Ikea plates and glasses. The uncluttered displays showcase iittala's sturdy but never inelegant designs (let's disregard their cultish glass bird section).
• Leidsestraat 30, +31 20 626 5473, iittala.com . Open Sun-Mon noon-6pm, Tues-Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-9pm
Amsterdam's "Old South", just below the Vondelpark, is home to the city's richest property developers and inside-traders, a natural luxury shopping destination. This kind of crowd means it should mostly be avoided, with PC Hooftstraat the axis on which wealthy Lowlanders congregate to air-kiss (three times, FYI) and gently bump SUVs. The one exception to this rule is Ennu ("now what?"), the only address for high-end men's and women's fashion in Amsterdam. Its smoky glass window hides the shop's moody, stark interior by architects Doepel Strijkers . Here you will find Michelle Obama favourite Rick Owens , Flemish designer Ann Demeulemeester , the ever-alluring Alaïa, and Japanese stalwarts Comme des Garçons and Junya Watanabe.
• Cornelis Schuytstraat 15, +31 20 673 5265, ennu.nl . Open Mon 1pm-6pm, Tues-Sat 10am-6pm
Amsterdam with Vogue's Karin
www.afterdrk.com • Aug. 01
www.afterdrk.com • May 4, 2013 • Amsterdam with Vogue's Karin
To say that it is an honor to share Karin Swerink’s – editor in chief of Dutch Vogue – favorite spots in Amsterdam, might be an understatement. Knowing that she has the ability to instantly turn a new magazine one of the most popular ones (which she did from the very first edition at Glamour) and now helming Dutch Vogue made me sweat like a mad woman when I thought I was going to be late for our meeting in her favorite street, the Utrechtsestraat.
Bless me for the fact that she walked in right after I properly recovered my breath, to tell me that – apart from a little extravaganza here and there – she also likes sausages and fries.
Acne , Oude Spiegelstraat 8
COS , multiple locations
Every once in a while I just have to go there, for the basics and all.
Paul Warmer , Leidsestraat 41
I am addicted to their shoe collection.
All Saints , Heiligeweg 49-51
They will soon open the doors of their first Dutch store and it is the perfect location for beautiful leather pants and the ultimate biker boot.
De Bijenkorf , Dam 1
For everything you could not find in the stores mentioned above… It is good for browsing because they have everything, even though it is more fun to buy items from luxury brands in the actual store – because of the service and packaging.
Marius/Worst , Barentszstraat 173
For the best sausages and the best wine. The perfect place when you are not going out for a ‘real’ dinner, but still want to eat something small.
Baut , Wibautstraat 125
Deliciously underground with small but great dishes from all around the world!
Rijssel , Marcusstraat 52
Rijssel is situated in a ‘residence’ and it feels very French. As if you are in Paris for a bit.
Goudfazant , Aambeeldstraat 10H
When the sun is out, my love and I like to hop in our little boat to go to this classic restaurant.
Fier , De Clercqstraat 79
For the best fries.
Lobster House , Frederiksplein 6-8
The place to go when you do not feel like cooking, but the Chinese takeaway around the corner is just a step too far.
Anna+Nina , Gerard Doustraat 94
This is where I buy my gifts for birthdays.
Hotel Droog , Staalstraat 7
Beautiful goods, tasty brunches and shopping at Het Kabinet (which is the shopping part of the ‘Hotel’).
Lucie’s Kralen Enzo , St Luciensteeg 22
For random browsing.
De Posthumuswinkel , St Luciensteeg 22
This is where I go for graphic and typeface inspiration.