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How to do Amsterdam like a local

Published November 15th, 2013

The Netherland’s capital is tops of most Eurotrippers to-do list with its picturesque canals and grand waterfront houses, fields of tulips and windmills, pumping nightlife, world-famous art and museum venues and yes, those infamous coffee shops. So, how does the first-time visitor tap into Amsterdam’s cachet of cool and go from tourist to trendsetting local? By reading our guide, obvs. Here’s where to go and what to do from an Amsterdammer point of view.

 

We heart chocolate for breakfast - Dutch-style!

 

Eat
Holland is known for its famous round cheese, and the best place to sample the merch is at De Kaasdamer van Amsterdam in the Jordaan district. Popular cheeses include Gouda and Leiden. It’s perfectly acceptable to cover your morning bread in chocolate sprinkles or ‘hail’ (hagelslag) or thick apple syrup (appelstroop), and pair stroopwafels with herbal tea or coffee for brekky in Amsterdam. Poffertjes, those puffy morsels of bite-size pancake dough, go down a treat with sugar and butter.

 

Drink
There’s 8 windmills in the Amsterdam area and one of them happens to be near the award-winning artisan brewery Brouweij’t IJ. Set on the water, it’s a great place to sip a beer fresh from the tanks – try Plzeň (a blond beer) or Zatte (the oldest brew). Also, head to the tiny little Wynand Fockink liqueur distillery and tasting house in the Red Light district, which has been around since 1679. This old-school fave is standing-room only to sip over 60 world-famous liqueurs including jenevers (the Dutch national gin).

 

Play
Locals love their green city space of Vondelpark. The central park comes alive in summertime with outdoor concerts where Amsterdammers gather to sit, drink, eat and mingle. Grab some cheese from De Kaasdamer van Amsterdam with some raw herrings and head here for a picnic. Or grab some skates for the 20km Friday Night Skate during the summer months. For retail therapy, check out Nine Streets in the Jordaan – a fab spot for antiques, designer boutiques, art galleries and more.

 

Club
Those in the know go to Supperclub and Trouw. Supperclub is a popular and uber-creative clubbing space with white décor and oversized beds for seats, while Trouw is a slashie (club/music venue/event space/restaurant) in a former newspaper factory warehouse. Paradiso is your best option for gigs. The atmospheric venue, a former church along the canals complete with leadlight windows and balconies, makes seeing any band play here a special event. Head to the upstairs hall to check out new talent.

 

Get around
Amsterdam is a cycling-centric city, so you’d best get acquainted with a two-wheeler to get around town. There’s dedicated cycle lanes and plenty of places to hire some wheels. Some road rules: ride single file, use lights at night and double lock your two-wheeler.

 

Spreekt je Nederlands?
Some local lingo to get you started:

Hi: Hoi
Bye: Tot ziens
Please: Alsjeblieft
Thanks: Bedankt
Where is the toilet?: Waar is het toilet?
Cheers: Proost
I love you: Ik hou van je

 

 

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.