Category Archives: Amsterdam

Amsterdam In Pictures: A Playground Of Pleasure

Ams

shutterstock_169969088

A City Of Sin?

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear ‘Amsterdam’? Tulips, canals, drugs, naked girls in shop windows or none of the above?

The capital and most populous city of The Netherlands, Amsterdam’s vibe hit me round the face like a breath of fresh air. A bit like Madrid in energy varieties, it’s buzzy and relaxed all at once, but it feels quite a lot kookier.

A Different Kind Of World…

alice_in_wonderland17

I’d previously put Amsterdam in a weird sub-category of topsy turviness quite apart from the rest of Europe - an ethereal, alternative world filed away with the likes of Alice In Wonderland and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. And though it certainly has an other-earthly feel about it with its distinctive and slightly wonky canal-side apartments, it’s the best kind of unique.

A Cool Kind Of Kooky…

20130815-165610

A bit like stepping into a pop-up story book like Hansel and Grettel, it has a quirky visual layout which I simply haven’t found in other European cities bar Venice, with its plentiful canals giving it a peace and spaciousness which is quite sublime. Yet at the same time, it’s also seriously civilised, housing the headquarters of some major international brands such as Nike, Heineken and ING, with bars, shops and markets befitting a major European hub. So whether you’re a shopaholic, culture vulture or a lover of illicit substances, there really is something for everyone here.

Amsterdam’s Best Bits

1. Artistic Aesthetic

IMG_8672

IMG_8675

IMG_8703

IMG_8704

IMG_8705

IMG_8762

IMG_8763

IMG_8766

IMG_8768

IMG_8765

The shop windows are a sight to behold, with an artistry to most facades which is truly striking. With bespoke, boutiquey appearances, the shops are often small and quaint with detail befitting mini museums. The insides are pretty cool too – check out the urban-chic lamp above! #want #one

2. Canals Everywhere

IMG_8551

IMG_8552

IMG_8553

IMG_8724

IMG_8728

IMG_8761

IMG_8670

IMG_8681

The canals are plentiful, giving the city a wonderful sense of space and peace. If you’re seriously lucky, you may even have a riverside view from your home, otherwise it’s not hard to find a cafe or bar with a view. You can even take a tour of the city on a canal boat if you have good water legs.

3. Bikes, Bikes And More Bikes

IMG_8725

IMG_8732

IMG_8748

IMG_8751

IMG_8752

IMG_8760

IMG_8677

IMG_8680

Forget four wheels, bikes are how everyone rolls here. Creating a wonderful calm and classlessness which unites prince and pauper, I’m a particular fan of the Minty number above. If I was a bike, I’d be that ;)

4. Tulips

IMG_8729

IMG_8662

IMG_8686

IMG_8689

Whether in florists or markets street side, tulips are never far away, adding a touch of purity to the seedier parts of certain suburbs…

5. Shops

IMG_8671

IMG_8747

IMG_8749

IMG_8755

IMG_8792

IMG_8795

Whether mainstream or vintage is your thing, there’s a great array of shops here from treasure chests stacked full of old jewels to modern gems like Nike.

6. Cafés

IMG_8731

IMG_8740

IMG_8744

IMG_8745

IMG_8708

Cafés bedeck the streets in Amsterdam with cakes and drinks galore to pour over of an afternoon. Amsterdam coffee shops, not to be confused with cafés, have been a part of the city since the 1970s, when the Dutch government made a clear distinction in the law between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ drugs. So if you fancy more than afternoon tea, find yourself a “coffee shop”.

7. Markets

IMG_8721

IMG_8685

IMG_8692

IMG_8693

IMG_8694

IMG_8696

IMG_8697

524262_10152528924201831_9035659177515518201_n

Whether it’s cheese, flowers, silly hats or sumptuous fabric you’re after, the markets in Amsterdam are amazing! And if sausages are your thing, you’ll find more here than in a brothel at midnight.

8. Gastronomy

IMG_8738

IMG_8800

IMG_8799

IMG_8788

IMG_8822

IMG_8790

IMG_8791

IMG_8823

IMG_8780

IMG_8781

IMG_8782

Whether sampling the cracking eggs benedict at Scandinavian Embassy, Amsterdam’s speciality apple and cinnamon cake or a range of treats from De Food Hallen, (an incredible indoor market with the likes of sushi, burgers and pretty much every type of food your heart could desire), Amsterdam is a greedy girl’s paradise. There’s even a gin and tonic bar with every kind of gin and fruit accompaniment you could imagine in the latter! Words fail me…

If that’s not enough, swing by the Grand Cafe at De Balie, a cool, kitchy café adjoining a theatre and centre for politics, culture and media and try the traditional, battered balls which go by the name of ‘bitterballen’. These are a savoury Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal, beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper. Or as my egg-obsessed friend put it, Amsterdam’s version of the scotch egg. They go really well with a pint of Heineken (I’ve heard) - one of the best Amsterdam products going.

9. Bars 

IMG_8756

IMG_8722

IMG_8707

IMG_8778

IMG_8656

IMG_8657

IMG_8659

I stumbled upon this magical little bar escaping from a snowy blizzard (which put Chamonix snowfall to shame). A bit like stepping into an animal’s grotto in Narnia betwixt a tree trunk, I’m sure you can see why I loved Papeneiland so much. A cosy lover’s paradise :)

10. Culture

IMG_8801

IMG_8802

anne-frank-museum-in-berlin-5-2

IMG_8737

If you like Van Gogh, you’re in for a treat. Amsterdam houses his largest collection of works at the Van Gogh Museum, featuring masterpieces such as Almond Blossom and The Bedroom.

You can also visit The Anne Frank Museum where you can see the place where Anne went into hiding and wrote her diary.

If you prefer chilled live music or concerts, there are plenty of treasures to unearth come nightfall.

11. Street Art

IMG_8673

IMG_8785

IMG_8733

IMG_8734

IMG_8735

You’ll often stumble across vibrant displays of colour which betray Amsterdam’s zany undertones. A feast for the senses if, like me, you like a bit of rainbow :)

18212e0ca601148bcfda123cb9296aad