Friday, 1 June 2012

Over the roofs of Amsterdam

I am just back from my trip to Amsterdam and want to share some of my experiences with you: from beautiful canal houses in old and new, art and flowers, exotic food and of course some shopping tips.

the mezzanine with bed and terrace
_where to stay?
We had a lovely apartment with roof terrace in Prinsengracht 490. It's very centrally situated in one of the beautiful canal houses and from our roof terrace, one could even see the towers of the Rijksmuseum which hosts Rembrandt's famous painting "The Night Watch".

Rush hour and Rijksmuseum
But if you are more interested in modern design you should try the Lloyd Hotel. First time opened in the 1920s as one of the most luxury emigrant hotels of Europe, it was used long time as a prison and finally in 2004 reopened again as a hotel.

Lloyd Hotel
The refurbishment was done by MVRDV. An office known for its radical solutions which managed to free the building of its past. The interior design is done in cooperation with more than 40 other designers. Some of them have created the unique suites of the hotel which all differ in look and design. Make sure to get a guided tour through the facilities.

Lloyd Hotel, the rooms
_exploring the city
A good way to get an overview of Amsterdam is actually by boat. If you don't like the guided tours, try out the canal bus, where you can hop on and off wherever you want. If you feel confident enough with the traffic, get yourself a bike and explore in original dutch style.

canals of Amsterdam
_restaurants and cafes
If you need a break from exploring, try Villa Zeezicht (Torensteeg 7) or Buffet van Odette (Prinsengracht 598). Both places serve a nice breakfast and compete in the reputation for delicious apple tartes.

Villa Zeezicht with view over the canal
Besides typical dutch pancakes, poffertjes and waffles, the Netherlands in general are well known for their mix of cultures due to the former colonies and trades, so take the advantage and try for example some Indonesian food as it is more authentic than in other European countries.

We have chosen Tempo Doeloe for dinner with its excellent food and wine and charming service. If you want to know what Indonesian food is all about try the rice plate and enjoy the variety of dishes served in little bowls.

For vintage lovers, the markets are a must. The "Noordermarkt" (next to Noorderkerk) hosts during the week a flea market and on saturdays additionally a food market with bio products and dutch delicacies.
But also the (web-) shop I Love Vintage (Prinsengracht 201) has a good selection of vintage and vintage inspired clothes and accessories. My favorites are the 20s style flapper dresses as seen in the movie "The Artist".

I Love Vintage
For contemporary design have a look at the concept store SPRMRKT (Rozengracht 191-193) and Restored (Haarlemmerdijk 39). You can find trendy furniture, accessories and clothes.

One of Amsterdam's highlights is definitely a visit in the Van Gogh Museum with the famous "Sunflowers". You can find your own for the balcony on the famous flower market among other plants. 

flower market
Modern architecture in the Netherlands after 1990 is one of the most interesting in the world. Interesting realizations include Silodam, the New Islands (Borneo, Java, Sporenburg, KNSM), IJburg. 

modern canal houses on Borneo Island
Many Dutch architects who are recognized abroad have their works here, including the Rotterdam based star architect Rem Koolhaas, Sjoerd Soeters, Wiel Arets, Benthem & Crouwel, Ben van Berkel & Ton Alberts.

Happy exploring!

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