By Nick Dudler
If you’re a sucker for canals, long bike rides, and health-conscious food, this is the place for you!
My top 5 tips for visiting Amsterdam!
Rent a bike! It’s the best way to get around! (even though the transit is also great)
Explore more than just the centrum; the peripheral areas are also worth a stop!
Bring a camera-- Amsterdam is unbelievably photogenic!
Hang out in a park (I recommend Oosterpark and Vondelpark)
Learn some Dutch! ‘Dank je’ is a good place to start.
For my stay, I stayed on the outskirts of the city. The neighborhood is called Diemen, so it’s not even technically in Amsterdam. But it takes only 25 minutes to bike to the Centrum.
To the North! I’d say that Amsterdam-Noord is the most underrated area of Amsterdam. It has a totally industrial vibe, but also is home to creative hubs for artisans and graffiti artists.
I went to NDSP, an experimental space for artists, artisans, and architects. A shipping building converted to office spaces, the hub is used for exhibitions and is perfect for getting some artsy instagram shots!
Word has it that because of Brexit, British companies are clamoring to move to Amsterdam, and the North will become much more residential. You better get there fast if you want to see it in all its glory!
A canal separates the rest of town from Amsterdam-Noord, but a free ferry for bikes and pedestrians comes every 5 minutes, running on weekends until 3am!
Pllek is the place to be on the weekend! The restaurant is made from old shipping containers, with healthy options and an eco-friendly vibe. It comes complete with a beach, upstairs seating, a view of the city, and hammocks. You could spend the whole day in Pllek if you wanted!
My brother Chris and I shared a boar burger and a quiche with leek, mushroom, and spinach, accompanied by a salad of arugula, nuts, and sumac. Love would be an understatement for the connection I felt to this food. Complete with a classic Dutch Pilsner from Oedipus brewing (also in Amsterdam Noord), I was complete.
Roest is another standout locale. The restaurant is a lot like Pllek, but in Amsterdam Oost. In English, it translates to “rust.” I went to watch the world cup game between Brazil and Belgium. A British double-decker bus doubled as a viewing room, and fans from both sides huddled into the space, watching a TV that was so pixelated, I couldn’t tell what colors the jerseys were. In a way it added to the effect, like we were watching a classic world cup game from the 1980’s, with the Brazilian greats. It was a cracking match, and the Brazilians banged the bus throughout the game, making the screen turn off every few minutes.
What to order:
I recommend trying a dutch favorite, the Bitterballen-- meat mixed with flour and coated in a breading! The Flammkuchen is also worth a try! Local Amsterdam beers are also on tap!
Taste of Suriname
If you’re big on new food experiences, Amsterdam has a wealth of International cuisine! I recommend finding a Surinamese restaurant. The large population of Surinamese comes from the Dutch colonial history in this small South American nation. My host, part Surinamese, took me to one of the best Surinamese spots in the city, Sranang Makmur. I recommend the chicken roti, accompanied by fried plantains and peanut sauce. Sweet, salty, fatty, umami-- this combination of flavors is to die for!
Get a bike! You won’t regret it! Public transport is more than efficient, but bikes are absolutely the way to go. Zipping in and out of the canals is freeing, and you can cross the whole city in less than an hour if you wanted to.
Let me tell you, the world has something to learn from the way Amsterdam operates. Life just feels so natural here. Green spaces are everywhere, not just in the form of parks but inside restaurants, on roofs, and throughout the streets. Traffic is at a minimum even downtown, so there’s no need to feel worried about cars when you bike. I’m thinking to myself the whole time why the whole world couldn’t function this way-- seamlessly efficient, connected, and one with nature. Everything just WORKS.
A British man who had lived in Amsterdam for the last 3 years made a point to me: A lot of people move here, but nobody ever leaves.