EAT in Amsterdam:
If you are not hungry you should take out your spouse to IJ-kantine - it's worth the unique experience. The restaurant, which lies to the north of the city, is easiest reached by ferry. The ferry is free and takes you out of the city to an old and fascinating industrial area. The restaurant, with its high ceilings and huge glass windows, is probably the district's most beautiful building. And of course you have to pay for it as neither the delicious lunch nor the long drink is cheap. But the sunset above the harbour makes up for it, especially on Sunday afternoons which have a special flair enhanced by live music. Apart from business people who hold conferences here you will also come across families. While parents wine and dine in the restaurant, the kids can play in huge sand boxes or in the kids' corner. Our tip: Those who get seasick can also come by car or taxi. There's free parking available.
The building on stilts used to be the TV station of a Dutch private channel. Then it was transformed into a restaurant in the bay of Amsterdam: the REM Eiland. Since this summer, there are three kinds of oysters that end up on the table in REM Eiland located in the Houthaven (the wooden bay) - among other things. The three-course menus change daily - the offer includes sea fruit, meat, fish and a vegetarian dish. The steel construction in white and red served as an illegal broadcasting station for the Dutch TV channel TV Noordzee in the 1960s, and later became a governmental gaging station. In 2008 the entrepreneurs Nick von Loon and Hilly Engels developed in co-operation with architect's office Concrete a plan for transforming the building into a two-storey venue. The view from the rooftop terrace in a height of 22 metres goes from the bay, across the river IJ up to the modern Amsterdam district Spaarndammerhout.
In former times machines for the food industry have been constructed in these huge halls with industrial lighting. Luckily, as many other cities, also Amsterdam has some creative heads who use empty buildings and transform them into something new. That's why the former factory premises now seats up to 200 guests who indulge in fresh fish and seafood directly by the shore of the IJ river - making Stork the largest fish restaurant in Europe. All around it there are designers, artists and further people from the creative industries - as is typical for rededicated areas. The Stork is the border stone of the Campus where other companies rent spaces and organise regular events and cultural activities. And it's getting even bigger. Cube and Soluz and Interior Shock have been commissioned for the new development of a 30,000 square metre large area. To be completed within 15 years time. In Stork they haven't painted floors, ceilings and walls - being reminiscent of former times, but they put up cable drums and wooden pallets. The old, small windows haven been exchanged by large glass fronts. In this way, the terrace next to the water and the harbour are directly brought into the restaurant.
SHOPPING in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam is as famed for its markets as it is for its museums. Here's a good advice: If the money gets tight, forget about Van Gogh and devote yourself to the colours and aromas of the Flower Market or the Albert Cuyp Market or the Antiques Market or...Here's just a small selection: The famous Flee Market at Waterlooplein has been enriching the Jewish Quarter since the sixties. You get second-hand and new clothes, music, a lot of knickknack and even more flair (Mon-Sat/9:00-17:00). The Albert Cuyp Market is the largest market for specialties. All Amsterdam seems to buy herbs, fruits and spices here, especially on Saturdays. (Albert-Cuypstraat/Ferdinand Bolstraat, Mon-Fri/10:00-18:00, Sat/9:00-18:00). The Flower Market, while to be found in every travel guide, is still worth a visit. And you will encounter more bulbs than tourists there for sure. A highlight of the market it that it floats on the water. (Singel, between Rokin and Leidsetraat, daily 9:30-18:00.) The Noorder Market is popular for its second-hand clothes, jewellery and furniture - you'll find the one or other bargain there. (Stationsplein, Mon-Sat/9:00-15:00, in the summer until 16:00).
What sounds comfortable is not really comfortable. The focus here lies on the look. How you manage to walk or dance in these shoes is your problem. Since 1983 men have been spoilt with high-end products by the most acclaimed designers in the world. Sad ladies, however, remained empty-handed (or -footed) when just another impertinent guy came out wearing the hottest boots, trainers, patent-leather shoes, slippers or sandals. Since 2000, with the opening of the shop in the Leidsestraat, the girls' sufferings have come to an end. Now, all the great labels - Gucci, Prada, D&G, Lanvin, Galliano - and smaller labels - Dsquared2, Frankie Morello, Y-3, Cesare Paciotti - make shoe fanatics beaming with joy. The shops are all but uniform - so everyone finds his or her favourite shoes here. The price category, however, is a different story: Be sure your credit card will screech with shock. In the meantime, there are four shops in Amsterdam - and they are all worthwhile visiting: Koningsplein 7, PC Hooftstraat 80, Leidsestraat 10, Cornelis Schuytstraat 9.
290 Square Meters
Ido, the enigmatic founder of the shop, started in 2001 with 90 inspiring square metres bound to attract creative, hip and talented people. The project was so successful that the shop soon needed a larger location and also a new name. The name 290 Square Meters serves as a good source of inspiration because it is much more than a shop. It is the venue of events, fashion shows, readings and similar events. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't offer great shopping opportunities. You'll find shoes, clothes, books, magazines, music, art - and all of it arty and exceptional. The labels include our Nordic favourites Wood Wood and Henrik Vibskov as well as Holland Esquire, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Minimarket and Surface To Air.
STAY in Amsterdam:
Victorieplein or Frederiksplein? It's the V that matters. They don't give a damn about dapper luxury there. The design, in fact, is all about creating a young and stylish hotel. Mission fulfilled: Aesthetes will enjoy themselves here. Small aesthetes even more so because - while the styling is wonderful - the rooms are anything but big. But Amsterdam is calling, anyway, and apart from a few hours of beauty sleep you should spend your holidays outside. Morning starts with a hearty breakfast, a rain shower and a tip from the friendly staff - in case you ask for it. If you are too tired to go out and too awake for bed you should treat yourself a drink at the lounge. There, the sofas are soft, the fireplace is open and the music is chilling.The price for one night in the double room starts from 109 Euros.
The hotel lies closer to the airport than the city - but who cares about a 15-minute drive when one lives stylishly and in the future? Personal service is minimalistic. It's modern technology that reigns here. Citizens of tomorrow do not need human help when checking in. They just need a computer that - with the help of light and music - delivers the right kind of atmosphere to each and every guest. If you arrive stressed out and your mood changes to perfect in Amsterdam - you wouldn't be the first one - you can adapt to your room's atmosphere via Mood-Pad. Always handy: flat screen, W-Lan, soft beds with designer linen, rain shower, sophisticated lighting and a secret toilet. If you want to thank us for the tip, thank Vitra, Philips, Commes des Garçons and Viktor & Rolf as well for the fantastic design. The price for one night in the double room starts from 79 Euros.
Do you know what the Japanese are good at? They do without plastic, use a lot of wood and create the kind of architecture that render any Yoga programme unnecessary in the first place. Add lots of comfort, perfect service, the eternal smile and out comes the sole European branch of the Japanese Okura noble chain, one of the leading hotels in the world. Not without reason the Japanese are known to be excellent business people. And the Okura accommodates the probably most expensive suite in town, which is also the largest in the Benelux States. The price per night goes beyond the 1,000 Euro limit. And if you run away screeching now, please do come back. There are cheaper rooms as well, attracting the target group of wealthy Japanologists. You can relax with Japanese soaps via satellite, before you treat yourself to dinner at Ciel Bleu. The hotel restaurant lies at 75 metres, breathtaking view included. The price for a night in a standard room starts from approx. 200 Euros.
SIGHTS in Amsterdam:
Of course we do not want to recommend you to get stoned in Amstedam, but visiting one of the coffeeshops holds more in store than the legal consumption of cannabis. If you think that coffeeshops are run-down honky-tonks where only stoned guys and girls hang out you should convince yourself of the opposite and visit one. And even if you won't touch substances that are forbidden elsewhere you will be able to enjoy something here. Many coffeeshops do offer excellent pastries and milkshakes, namely, and they have a relaxed atmosphere, often at low prices. Take the Mellow Yellow, for example. It's one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam and still no tourist trap. If you are lucky you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the special ambience. Whatever you order, you should not miss out on visiting a coffeeshop in Amsterdam.
Who does not remember boring biology teachers, tricky physics tests or the headache following chemistry lessons? Forget about that right away and give natural sciences a second chance! The Nemo Science Centre communicates scientific topics of every-day life in an entertaining and fun way. Completely without tons of formulas and complicated technical terms you learn about scientific backgrounds. Giving simple and amusing explanations, the Netherlands' largest science centre devotes itself to knowledge that you can hear, taste and touch.
In the past the focus was on gas here; today it is on art, creativity and culture. The location is as fascinating now as it was then. But today, visits of this brick building located in Westerpark are probably more frequent than in the past. You won't find a dominating art genre here, but you will find conferences, exhibitions, scientific panels, fashion weeks and get-togethers for creative people- and anything that inspires you. For instance a small cinema and big rock concerts. But if you want to just pass by here for a beer, it's just as fine. Artists who work here are not fond of closed studios, so you can visit the Westergasfabrik all day long: in the morning for a cup of coffee at Espresso Factory, for lunch at the baker's or for a stroll through the small galleries in the afternoon. You dine best at the Pacific Parc and afterwards you have enough energy for dancing, for instance at the Flex Bar.