SIGHTS in Amsterdam:
Green canal cruis
Nomen est omen: Amsterdam Eco Tours guide you through the city and the canals without burdening the environment. That functions via low-emission canal boats that are powered by CNG, compressed natural gas, pedal boats for the sporty ones among you and walking tours through the canals. The sustainability begins at pier 6 itself: while waiting for your boats, the little restaurant serves organic drinks and snacks. Moreover, the Eco Tours employees help you to find restaurant and bars in the city that also think about the protection of mother nature and live after these principles. Last but not least: there are nine electrical boats at pier 6 each of them offering seats for twelve guests. The advantages: the environment is protected and there is practically no noise pollution. Furthermore, the little green boats can land at any place where the big canal boats may not stop (day ticket 22 euro). The Canal Company, which stands behind Eco Tours, was the first boat company being awarded the Green Key for their activities in the field of environmental protection
Whether you like or don't like the taste of the famous Dutch beer with the green label and the red star, visiting the Heineken Experience is worthwhile anyway. On four floors you won't only be shown how the beer gets in the bottle but also how Heineken became the trade name it is today. There is an interactive adventure world catering to all the senses. The range of topics includes the individual production steps, the development and philosophy of the company as well as Heineken's definition of fun and entertainment. The fascinating show is accommodated in proper style in the building that once housed the old brewery. It is, in fact, more than just another brewery where you press your nose on smudged glass pane. You will also be able to taste the beer, of course, and almost forget the slogan: Enjoy with responsibility!
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.
EAT in Amsterdam:
Café de Kroon
If you want to avoid the beaten tracks, visit the Café de Kroon. Tired tourists won't stumble in here by chance. If you want to find the Kroon you have to know it in the first place. While its location at Rembrandtplein is prominent, it lies on the first floor. During the day you get great coffee here and in the evening - from Thursdays to Saturdays - the place turns into a very cool lounge (having attracted even Mick Jagger and Jerry Springer already). The interior decoration is rich in contrasts, the large hall with industrial touch boasting leather chairs and chandeliers. You feel like visiting the living room of a factory, if something like that existed. The bar is massive; and you should ask yourself whether you really want to know what's inside the pharmacy vessels in the illuminated display cabins. It's a first-class insider tip you should rather keep to yourself.
The Trouw is an all-out creative place: innovative cuisine at the restaurant, inspiring atmosphere at the bar, fantastic view from the roof terrace at the club and extravagant exhibitions, fashion shows and video installations for the artistic claim. It's the place to go for free spirits and aesthetes, for art connoisseurs and creativity fans. While at first sight the location is not that cosy, an industrial complex accommodates the Eleven. And we know, of course, that industrial looks are totally en vogue, because they have style. If you want to acquaint yourself, have lunch at the Trouw - it's excellent! The four-course dinner is just as fine but has its price. The tastes are Mediterranean and African. And if you're already here, stay for the clubbing as well. The trendiest electronic beats are waiting for you.
What happens if a fashion designer opens her living room for guests to cook for them? It's the beginning of Marits, the restaurant run by Dutchwoman Marit Beemster. In her living room that follows the Bourgeois Bohemian style (vintage meets design) she serves purely vegetarian dishes made from seasonal and regional ingredients. On three days a week Marit opens her home and serves a there-course menu on plates that stem from grandmother's kitchen cabinet. At tables that are adorned by different chairs, decorated with flowers or embroidered table cloths, according to occasion and season of the year. The dishes are presented in an equally pretty way - that's the soul of a designer - but always remain coherent: Dutch home cooking with a creative touch. The desserts are particularly recommendable. Baking has always been Marit's cooking passion number one.
STAY in Amsterdam:
How they manage to embarrass you here? By asking you whether something was wrong when you check out. Because you will for sure not have anything to complain about. The Roemerhotel, that is to say, offers everything you may wish for: perfect location at Leidesplein, 18th-century foundation walls with contemporary upgrade, exceptional service and a garden. The clocks seem to tick slower here, and that's no disadvantage in busy Amsterdam. It means you can relax. For instance over a cocktail in front of the fireplace or at one of the 23 rooms boasting dapper design and pastel shades. And you cannot only relax in bed, by the way, but also in your private Jacuzzi. The price for one night in the double room starts from 120 euros.
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.
A kitchen of your own is not bad. While you generally tend to eat at restaurants on holidays, you might not want to go for a walk with what you see in the mirror the next morning anyway. The solution: breakfast in bed. You can brew your own coffee; the rolls are in front of your door. Others have done the shopping for you - the fridge offers jam & Co. After breakfast you first of all marvel at what you see, trying to figure out a fitting name for it. Modern antlers? And because you feel so good here you will from now on assume that all the real cool people in Amsterdam live like that. And when you finally manage to leave the cosy studio, you are rewarded at that: The best bars lie just around the block, but there are at least two cultural highlights nearby too, in case you want to soothe your conscience. We have to warn you though: The apartments lie amidst Amsterdam's hustle and bustle. But there are earplugs on the bedside table. The price for one night at the studio starts from 80 Euros.
SHOPPING in Amsterdam:
Daryl van Wouw
You must not miss out on passing by Daryl van Wouw's. Not when you are interested in the Dutch fashion world, where Mr. Wouw is a big player. His success formula is blending street wear with high fashion. And, voilà, the result is wearable (and affordable), namely fashion with that certain something: a touch of urbanity and a dash of big-city style. Girls should rather focus on the dresses which are just as stylish as comfortable, with tight skirts and sophisticated wide tops. But men will also find something, a shirt with the famous headset print, for instance. And the real cool kids have their own small collection at hand: mini hoodies and shirts. But be careful with your clothes as Daryl is watching you! The not so humble designer has reserved some wall panels for his face, in between windmills and flowers watching clients with his direct gaze from the wall.
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.
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.