Amsterdam city guide from the locals

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Dal Kikin
November 2, 2018

Photo: iStock/dennisvdw

Tip number 1. Take a walk in Jordaan

Jordaan - perhaps the most comfortable area of ??Amsterdam. On a warm, sunny morning, its inhabitants are still settling on the porches with a cup of coffee and a newspaper - look at the world and show themselves. And in the evening on the same porches receive guests. The Jordanians have a special community with their folklore, “national” character, traditions and a special sense of humor. For centuries in this quarter were noisy workshops and hazardous production, and later - really slums. And now at every step of the shop with antiques, design and art galleries. The owner of MAR decor (mardecor.net) worldwide collects the best examples of ceramics, porcelain, glass and creates stunning installations from them. Two steps away - Moooi (moooi.com), a gallery of one of the most influential and provocative designers of our time, Marcel Wanders, where you can easily meet him. In the nearby Pianola Museum (pianola.nl) great concerts take place. To list everything that can be found in Jordan is meaningless. It is better to walk slowly through the alleys, looking in galleries, courtyards or cafes and enjoying interesting discoveries. If you come with children, visit the Mouse House (themousemansion.com), the children will be delighted. And on Saturday farmer's market near the church Norderkerk it is necessary to go. This place is probably one of the best in the city.

Tip number 2. Go for flowers

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One of my favorite places is the flower market on Amstelveld near Rembrandt Square. It appears on Mondays at Amstelkirk, a beautiful wooden church of the 17th century on Prinsengracht canal. The market turns an already cozy square into an unparalleled flowering meadow. Here there are saplings of trees, bushes, flowers of all varieties and species. A real green paradise in the heart of Amsterdam.

Tip number 3. To gain freedom

Photo: iStock/Mirrorimage-NL

Under the pressure of gentrification, commercialization, and tourism, the truly underground spots of Amsterdam are disappearing, but a number of informal institutions still exist. One of these places is the Pacific Parc Bar (pacificparc.nl), which has been blowing up Amsterdam nights with rock and roll for 13 years. Each weekend the hall is filled with a dancing crowd, generating wild, but positively charged energy. Your status, color, sex do not play a role here, openness and love reign here. Music - from punk rock, hip-hop to cumbia. I first got here at 18, and even after so many years I still can't get bored here.

Tip number 4. To go North

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Everyone has heard about North Amsterdam (Amsterdam Noord), but no one really knows anything. For example, the fact that there are many houses of the XVI century - wooden, with painted shutters, lace curtains on the windows, as if from paintings of small Dutch. Officially recognized as the oldest buildings in the Begijnhof and on Zeedijk Street always have crowds of tourists, and here there is no one. Is that the birds singing in all voices. Maybe that's why in one of the local neighborhoods the streets are called bird names. Immediately - the shipyards of the XVII – XVIII centuries and the old gateway, which houses one of my favorite brown bars (the old pubs in Amsterdam are called, they got the name "brown" for the color of the walls and furniture. - Approx. NGT) with the old photos of the walls and sea lanterns. In North Amsterdam, at every step, not only history, but also fantastic projects and innovations. Here they print houses on a 3D printer, there is a mini-village with offices, cafes and beds, living on full energy self-sufficiency and in a waste-free cycle. Around is full of graffiti, raiting and unexpected installations. Anyone can play a multi-colored piano on the street or dance salsa on the beach. And once a month, the largest flea market in Europe, IJ-Hallen (ijhallen.nl), opens on the north bank, in which I almost always find not only props for filming, but also truly unique and valuable things.

Tip number 5. Become engrossed in reading

Every Friday morning, a pretty book market gathers on Spuiplein Square. Here you can find ancient atlases and engravings, books on history and philosophy, modern fiction and novels of the last century. And this is only the first stop in the book walk through the city. After visiting the Oudemanhuispoort daily book market (Kloveniersburgwal, 72) and the Book Exchange shop next to it, you can go to the botanical garden Hortus Botanicus (entrance - € 9,5). This is a great place to enjoy trophies, glancing over the book either at the butterflies garden or rushing past cyclists. Carrot cake in the garden cafe is beyond praise.

Tip number 6. Taste dishes

Tip number 7. To see Java and Borneo

Having begun to drain the land and take the territory by the sea, the Dutch can not stop. The island of Java and the Borneo Peninsula appeared on the map of Amsterdam at the end of the 20th century, and they began to live in the 2000s. A model of an ideal city on a scale of 1: 1 was released, a compact encyclopedia of Dutch life. You can walk (or pedal) from the station along the promenade of Hey Bay. First, there will be ferry berths overlooking the Eye Museum of Cinema playing in iceberg, then a port, former warehouses, and now a hotbed of coffee shops, art gatherings and start-ups, followed by redrawn housing from the warehouses. Further, the Lloyd hotel (lloydhotel.com), reworked from the center for emigrants, has now: designer rooms with shower cabinets and a lovely garden bar in the caryatids and stained-glass windows. The most spectacular part is Borneo: the best offices of the country were built here, and looking at the result is incredibly exciting. On the island of Java, where the overgrown grass dam leads, at home is more massive, but the atmosphere is no less relaxed. Each bridge is invented in its own way, on each balcony there is a garden, everything is perfectly reflected in the canal and smells of the sea. If you delve into the study of the surroundings, you can get to the architectural experiments of the 60s and 80s, find a couple of yacht clubs, karaoke, a residential bridge, similar to Ponte Vecchio, and a gigantic construction site: the Dutch continue to slowly bite off the sea.

Tip number 8. Become a DJ

Photo: iStock/bernardbodo

One of my favorite places is conceptual and very important for urban culture Club NYX (clubnyx.nl). There are many different rooms and labyrinth passages, neon lights and themed art objects related to the theme of the party. Here everyone feels incredibly free. The club takes place exciting and inspirational things that you will not find elsewhere in the city. There is a DJ mixer in the toilet - even while doing things down to earth, you can make music.

Tip number 9. Try herring

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“The herring specialist Jan Schilder” is a small kiosk where you can run along the way. There are many similar places in Amsterdam, but no other will lead you to such a good mood. It is enough to say hello to Jan, who has owned a kiosk for 20 years, as the feeling of stability and correctness of the surrounding world inevitably arises. This place is a little inconveniently located - at the intersection of Bilderdijkstraat and Kwakersplein Square, but I’ll still go every time I pass by. Sometimes I even specially plan my itinerary so as to glance over to Jan. He really has the best herring in town!

Tip number 10. Enter the frame

Photo: iStock/Mirrorimage-NL

One of the coolest places in Amsterdam is the Eye Film Museum. The building is very interesting from an architectural point of view, especially inside. The collection has a huge number of films, the permanent exhibition is interactive: you can take pictures on old movie cameras or create an animation on the background of a green screen. In the summer, film screenings are held in the open air, giving guests blankets and treating pizza, beer and wine. However, it is better to eat in another place. I really like the Café-Restaurant Amsterdam in the building of the old pumping station, where tables and unsuited chairs are placed next to steam boilers and antique mechanisms. The local dessert Sticky Toffee Cake is famous for the whole city. On weekends you should come here with children, here is a beautiful summer terrace. Another nice place is Canvas (volkshotel.nl). Formally, this is a hotel, but the place is multifunctional. Below - a large open space where it is convenient to work with your laptop, and a great bar. Dine or dine better on the seventh floor - there is a beautiful terrace overlooking the rooftops. On Friday and Saturday by midnight the restaurant turns into a club with parties. But the most interesting thing is on the roof: a sauna with three panoramic hot tubs. Being a guest of the hotel is not necessary - if you sign up for yoga, at the same time get access to the sauna, and on Sunday afternoon, admission is free.

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