I hopped on tram 17 heading towards Amsterdam Central Station, and while staring out the window it suddenly hit me again: this city is so insanely beautiful. When you’ve been living in the same city for a long time, you start taking it for granted. But Amsterdam never fails to surprise me, over and over again. Of course the Lonely Planet can give you some great standard tips on what to do in Amsterdam, but I’d like to share my personal favorite things to do in the Dutch capital.
The mesmerizing canals
Whether it is on a hot summer day, during the rainy fall or when it’s snowing, the canals are always a good idea. Go out there, grab your camera and get lost in these 17th century wonders of Amsterdam. I’d recommend walking through the Jordaan area. Why? The Jordaan is a typical Amsterdam-like neighborhood, where you’ll not only find the most beautiful canals, but also cosy bars to have a beer or coffee.
The Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market is an outdoor market located in the Pijp area. This market is the biggest daily market in Europe, and known for being a typical Amsterdam market. The vendors are always up for a nice ‘Dunglish’ (Dutch-English) conversation, have a great sense of humor, and love what they are doing. You will find over 300 stands at the Albert Cuyp Market; fish, fruit, clothing, accessoires – you want it, they got it. For more info visit Albert Cuyp Amsterdam
The many, many bars to have coffee or a great lunch
There’s nothing I’d rather do on a Sunday afternoon, than having lunch with my friends at one of Amsterdam’s many, many bars or restaurants. Whether it is at Bar Baarsch, Kostverloren or Bar Spek, they all make a mean sandwich and a delicious cup of coffee. At Sundays like these you can really feel the laid-back vibe of Amsterdammers enjoying their Sunday before heading off to a busy week at work the next day.
The vibrant Vondelpark
The Vondelpark is, next to the canals, my second favorite part of Amsterdam. This park is a nice escape from the crowded city center, and is actually bigger than you’d think. In the winter you can take a long walk through this pretty citypark, but it’s the summer when the park is at its absolute best. People from all over the city gather around in the Vondelpark, bringing a picknick blanket, some snacks and a few six-packs of beers. Some people play frisbee, others play a game of football, but most of them just sit back, relax, and enjoy the feeling of and endless summer.
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of museums. I don’t like standing in the big lines to get in, I don’t like pushing people away in order to catch a glimpse of ‘that one special painting, and I’m just not that much of an art fan. But there are a few museums in Amsterdam I have visited more than once, and they are definitely worth your while. Go to the Anne Frank Huis to learn about the story of one our biggest inspirations of the Second World War, visit the FOAM to admire the current exposition and go to the Rijksmuseum to see the Nachtwacht (Night Watch) in all its glory.
A night out in town
My ideal night out in Amsterdam starts with dinner at the Golden Brown. After having finished a delicious Thai meal, it’s time for special beers at Cafe Gollem or at the Lux. And when the beers kick in and make me believe I’m a great dancer, I end up dancing the night away in the Chicago Social Club, Cafe CoX or Club Up. Tip: if you’re in Amsterdam at the last Friday of the month, go to EdelWise. EdelWise is located at the cafeteria of former school, where the night starts with casual drinks and ends up dancing to the beats of the DJ’s.
In short, Amsterdam is awesome. I have visited many great cities in the past, and I plan to visit many new cities in 2016, but I doubt there will ever be a city which will make me feel the way Amsterdam does. Iamsterdam.