Spotted by Locals Amsterdam | City Guides by Insiders
City guides with always up-to-date tips by handpicked locals. By experiencing a destination like a local, travelers learn about the local culture and habits. We are convinced more intercultural understanding leads to a better world.
Another burger place in Amsterdam? Hmm.. I had my doubts at first, because there is a lot of competition in this area already. But when I heard that the inspiration for the interior was drawn from the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’, my interest was piqued! The Burger Room (owned by the same Dutch TV-celebrity Gordon as the all-day eating corner ‘Blushing’ next door) is situated just in front of the Museum Quarter.
My visit was just around their first opening days, so I was lucky to get a picture with Gordon as well as dine with many hip and trendy people (probably a lot of his friends). Overall, the theme is very well implemented I might say. It’s hard to describe, so I would advice to check it out for yourself, but be sure to make a visit to the restroom where the classic red shoes are showcased. Oh, and the burgers are great! There are interesting combos with quirky, movie-inspired names and great bread, so you can actually get some proper food as well. There is also a cocktail bar for those wanting to make their experience last a little longer.
Funny fact: Oz is also the abbreviation for Old South (Oud-Zuid in Dutch), the area of the city the restaurant is located in.
When I discovered this restaurant in 2018, I couldn’t believe my eyes nor my taste buds! This food is really of the highest quality; 100% biological ingredients, 100% vegetarian and most of it vegan. The combinations are surprising and every dish has its own specific taste — and there’s lots of them: last time I counted, there were 14 warm dishes and just as many cold dishes, and besides that different soups, extra toppings, desserts… all dishes are daily, fresh and are refilled continuously. And the best news is that you can try them all 🙂 ’cause you just fill your plate yourself with whatever looks interesting to you and then pay by weight.
My strategy is to first have a cold plate and then a second one with the warm stuff, together with a drink that normally makes around €25 but it’s definitely worth each cent of it! Try the crispy tofu, the seitan steak, the shii-take schnitzel and you might consider to quit meat forever 😀
The coffee, tea, fresh juices and smoothies are also very nice.
Literature lovers, you must recognize this situation: it feels so sad to find your favourite works somewhere in a small hidden corner after passing kilometers of thrillers and fantasy books (nothing against them, by the way). Fortunately, there’s at least one bookstore in Amsterdam where it is the other way around: Atheneum is specialized in academical books, meaning classical novels, lexica, scientific publications, art books etc… which they sell in several (European) languages. The shop is rather small but has a good collection, the staff is friendly and very well informed and you can tell they have a passion for their work. I’m glad that such places still exist!
What adds to the charm of Atheneum is the beautiful building from the Art-Deco period and its location at Spui in the very heart of Amsterdam’s old centre. As I have written in my other articles, I regularly borrow books at the public library (check out my article OBA), but whenever there’s something I really wanna own or give away as a present, Atheneum is my place to go 🙂
With one of Europe’s finest conservatories and a great number of musicians from all over the world, Amsterdam has a very interesting jazz scene. And just like in New York, Amsterdam’s jazz musicians love to practice their ‘chops’ in front of an audience rather than in a hidden studio. So the city has a couple of good jam sessions but most of them come and go in a short time… because leading a session is an art! And Daan Herweg is the most dedicated leader that I know of. He started the Nel session in 2009 and he’s hardly ever missed a Monday night, even when he was touring with international star Caro Emerald. He knows how to keep the perfect balance of giving everybody a chance while always holding the musical level at a high standard. Apart from that, he’s an amazing pianist himself and has a huge worldwide network — that’s why on a lucky night you might as well hear some big American names that are passing by on tour.
Not that I’m such a frequent session player, but whenever I feel like joining in somewhere, Nel is always my first choice!
P.S: yes, you can also eat there, I think it’s good.
East of Central Station, there’s the new artificial island Oosterdok, built around 2005. The whole area is a nice example of modern architecture and one of its most beautiful exponents is OBA, the public library. As a lover of literature, I often come here to borrow the latest publications or classics- novels, fantasy, thrillers, science, everything… The collection is rich in Dutch and English, other languages are not really worth mentioning and you have to be an Amsterdam citizen to get the membership…
But there’s another great thing to this library: in the basement, I often just grab my favourite international newspaper or magazine, order a coffee and sit down in a comfortable fauteuil… no membership needed for that. Here you’ll find quiet people focused on their own reading, no background music or other noises — a lovely oasis for a moment of peace! I also recommend lunch on the top floor with a stunning view of the center!
One thing you can wake me up for in the middle of the night is (the scent of) fresh baked bread. While there are many great bakeries to be found in Amsterdam, my favorite is definitely Hartog’s Volkoren. This bakery has a very long tradition in milling wheat flour in its private establishment. The cool thing is that their recent store is placed next to the factory where their products have been made for centuries.
However, because of their popularity, the building needs to be extended every now and then. From a friend, I got the tip to participate in one of the workshops they organize to bake your own bread. On a casual Saturday morning, I took this class with my dad and it was really an amazing experience
Next to kneading dough, we also got a guided tour through their factory and store and heard a lot more info about their work year-round. Also, in December they produce their famous ‘volkoren oliebollen’ which are oily delights for those cold days!
Amsterdam is an incredibly beautiful and unique place with a fascinating culture which has been intrinsically linked to its waters throughout the city’s history. Over hundreds of years, Amsterdam has amassed a total of 165 waterways and canals, which in addition to having helped to build the city which we know and love today through the processes of trade, transport and land-reclamation (after all, much of the city is below sea-level), have produced a truly unique and beautiful architectural landscape.
For many people visiting Amsterdam, a boat trip is top of the list of things to do. Amsterdam is rightly recognised as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the tranquil waterways that flow through the bustling UNESCO heritage site centre are the perfect places to take in the atmosphere of this stunningly historical city. The best way to enjoy a boat ride through the city is to jump aboard with a professional skipper and host. This means that you’ll get the chance to learn all about the city, and see it through the eyes of a local rather than from a generic audio guide.
An Amsterdam boat rental is undoubtedly the best option to see the canals. From the comfort of a boat, you can take in a great deal of the city’s best-loved sights whilst you learn about the fascinating history of the Dutch capital. Sightseeing tours by bus or large cruise boat can feel a little too commercial and if you want to see the best of the city in a more flexible, interactive way that suits the needs of your group, a private boat hire from a company like Starboard Boats will fulfill your needs perfectly.
Whether it’s your first time visiting the city, or you’re a born-and-bred local, Amsterdam always seems that bit more beautiful when viewed from the water. Over hundreds of years, millions of people have taken this trip, from 17th century traders and sailors, to modern day tourists, and jumping on a boat to soak in the atmosphere and see the incredible sights of this beautiful place is an absolute must-do Amsterdam experience.
Disclosure: This content was created in cooperation with our partner We Are Amsterdam
Sailing through the idyllic Amsterdam canals is an absolute must-do for anyone visiting this picturesque city. The historic waterways, lined with iconic 17th century architecture are the perfect places to enjoy a spot of sailing and on a summer’s day, you can see crowds of locals and tourists alike, jumping onboard a boat to enjoy this beautiful city. But one way to improve the experience massively is to add a couple of beers (or more!) into the mix.
A booze cruise in Amsterdam is the perfect way to enjoy the city at its best and boarding what essentially becomes a floating bar is a great excuse to enjoy a few beers whilst checking out the world-famous canal belt. Although the canals are busy with a number of touristy canal cruises which involve an audio-guide led journey through the city centre, there’s nothing quite like enjoying the canals of the Dutch city in the way that locals do – with your feet up and an ice-cold Heineken in hand!
For those travelling to Amsterdam on a bit of a budget or trying to make the most of a shorter visit to the Dutch capital, a booze cruise can be a great-value way to combine having a few beers and seeing the best that the city centre has to offer in terms of a bustling atmosphere and historic cityscape. Companies like We Are Amsterdam and Starboard Boats offer these cruises at a great price, including a professional skipper and host and unlimited (yes, unlimited!) beer/wine/soda.
If you want to see the city through the eyes (or beer goggles) of locals, jump aboard a boat, enjoy plenty of Holland’s favourite beer and let the party begin! A booze cruise through Amsterdam is truly the best way to quench your thirst for sightseeing and beer!
Disclosure: This content was created in cooperation with our partner We Are Amsterdam
If you ask me, movie theater Tuschinski is the most beautiful Pathé (the biggest cinema chain in the Netherlands) in Amsterdam, if not the entire country. The interior and exterior has a mix of styles, namely: Amsterdamse School, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. As it is locally centered between the Flower Market and Rembrandtplein, this is also the place where many premieres of Dutch films are being held and it truly looks made for those red carpet pictures.
The main auditorium serves both as a movie theater and a live performance space, where in addition to a film screen, it also contains a stage and the only cinema organ in the country. I became more acquainted with the background of this historical building by attending an audiotour, which visitors can attend every morning between 9:30 and 11:30 AM. It is a nice in-between thing I highly recommend for those interested in architecture, especially if you combine it with a movie screening afterwards.