It is the hardest thing to write about the city where I have lived so long, but which isn’t my home town any more. I still have some of my best friends there though, and I count on them keeping me posted on what is hip and happening. I reckon there will be more than one ‘Amsterdam my gems’ blogs, but lets just kick it off with this one.
For shopping I suggest to go to the ‘De negen straatjes – The 9 streets‘, which is a bit like the seven dials in London. Across nine streets crossing canals, shops are located in typical Amsterdam houses. You will find flag-ship stores for the big brands, unique boutique stores, and lovely places to snack, drink coffee or have dinner. While in the weekends it will get busy here, try to book this one for a weekday. Another one of the beaten track is ‘De Schuytstraat‘ or fully ‘De Cornelis Schuytstraat‘. De Cornelis Schuytstraat is famous for its unique and diverse offer of high-end stores., from fabulous food to sophisticated fashion.
While it will be hard to find a restaurant with typical Dutch food, you can’t leave Amsterdam without having tried the ‘bitterballen‘ or some pancakes. This doesn’t meant that we lack some wonderful restaurants. From one and the same entrepreneur – Casper Reinders – restaurants like Chow, BoCinq, Lion Noir (with terrace) will give you a great experience. His latest brainchild is Nacional which opened over a year ago. Some other ones I never can get enough of are The Lobby restaurant at Hotel V, Cafe George (there is one close to De Schuytstraat) or Wilde Zwijnen. And there are loads more…..I feel a top 20 list coming up!
But I can’t leave this first one to you, without some bars to recommend. When in the Jordaan area do check Vesper bar, who will serve you the latest experiences for cocktails. And when close to Leidseplan Njoy is a good one for cocktails or Jimmy Woo if you want to make it a late night with some dancing. When in the Red Light district – when you accidentally happened to get there;-) – check Mata Hari which is a place attended by lots of students with a nice relaxed vibe. Pretty close to Mata Hari is 5&33 (referring to the two entrances one at nr 5 and one at nr 33) which is a really great hangout place closer to the station.
For accommodation I normally stay with friends, but I do have some recommendations for you. If you want to go budget, but still hip go to Citizen M. It is a little bit further from the center, but a wonderful concept hotel. This was the first one for the group while meanwhile they have expanded to Glasgow, London, Paris, Rotterdam and New York. If you have more budget to spare check Hotel V, or Conscious Hotel which claims to be 100% sustainable.