SHOPPING in Amsterdam:
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.
Even if you already know the colourful plastic bags, you will stare mouth open at the Kitch Kitchen Supermercado. Mexican plastic wherever you look; flowers, squares, fruits, colours. You will need at least one hour for browsing around. Too many items of too many shapes want to be bought right away. And there aren't only bags, shopping trolleys, laptop covers, saddle bags and manicure cases, but also seat reducers, convenient pads for dog bowls in the shape of a bone - and the perfect souvenir from Holland: the colourful saddle protection for bicycles. And if, in the light of so much optical overstimulation, you are crazy enough to feel like decorating your apartment on your own, you can buy the fabric from the roll here and do what you please with it. But beware: The fabric most likely does not do what your sewing machine wants, so buy a consolation bag as well - just to be on the sure side.
Viktor & Rolf
Designing for H&M was not the worst move by the two Dutch designers. Since that time Viktor & Rolf, whose name could also be Freaky and Freakier, have been known even beyond the catwalk. Why freaky? You could describe them as style twins, not only wearing similar clothes all the time, but also the same horn-rimmed glasses. That much to their personal outfits. Their collections are more inspired though - they are smart, sportive and truly keen on details. So keen on details that sometimes small turns into big and something marginal turns into an eye-catcher. Then, the collar is more pronounced than the dress, the button bigger than the buttonhole and black-and-white anything else than classic. If you want to try and buy clothes you can do that at Van Ravenstein. There, you'll find the creations by Viktor & Rolf in close vicinity to Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, or Spijkers en Spijkers, among others.
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
A Gracht tour can't be compared to a gondola ride, of course, but it is much cheaper and the captain usually spares you the kitschy songs. Also, you won't have to queue up or start a fight for being admitted to the boat. As far as ambience is concerned, the Grachts can very well compete: It's exceptionally nice on the boats and you probably won't find a more relaxing way to see the town than gliding over the calm water and observing the hustle and bustle in the small streets. On an evening Gracht tour the many colourful illuminations are especially attractive, immersing the streets in a magic light. There are several Gracht tour providers, for instance.
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.
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.
Multitasking skills have seemed to be quite trendy for a couple of years. At the moment, this trend moves toward the opposite direction again - but not for Ulrika Lundgren: she manufactures leather bags and cashmere cardigans, publishes a magazine and has recently opened her own guest house - the Maison Rika - with view on the Herengracht in Amsterdam. The former Vogue and Elle stylist is smart: she has designed the interior of the two suites in the hotel that is located in an old corner house directly opposite to her boutique. Each spreads over a whole floor and manifests her personal living style. She has put vintage pieces and white furniture on the black oak floor, and art objects by Sang Ming adorn the walls. The Gallery Boutique on the first floor with her favourite pieces also functions as the hotel lobby. There she hosts events with artist friends and colleagues from the newly founded Dutch Vogue. You might not be served breakfast the next morning there but she will provide snacks in the suite throughout the day. It's also the perfect spot to browse through the hotel's own city.
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.
EAT in Amsterdam:
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.
There are plenty of Supperclubs in the meantime and all of them are trying to compete with the original. But the original is still in Amsterdam and still enjoys great popularity. You should be a playful character though; otherwise you won't like it here. And here are the rules: First, you don't sit at the table, you lie. And, please, make sure not to disappear in the cushions together with your meal. Second, everything is white here except for the guests. You are only decoration, so don't spill. Third, the whole evening is a perfectly orchestrated show including the menu, which is customised to the motto of the evening, just like the show. The show holds performances, acrobatics, videos and music in store. If you want to you get a massage you don't need to stand up for it. If you get tired from the programme you may stay on the sofa until closing time. But it's up to you to get up to your feet and visit the legendary Rouge Bar downstairs.
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.