Amsterdam is one of my favourite places on the European continent – I lived there for years and there was certainly never a dull moment. Planning a return visit, I thought I’d share with you some of the new and exciting things I’m looking forward to during the trip.
One of my most favourite summer activities in Amsterdam would be to ride my bike down to the “Amsterdam Plage” (plage being the French word for beach). It was a strip of sand surrounded by an Airstream food truck and a shack for a Caribbean bar, and has to be the quirkiest beach I’ve ever been to. But it was colourful and a ton of fun. This year, the city is opening a new city beach, “Strandzuid”, on the south side of town. It’s near Amsterdam RAI, the convention centre, and I suggest it as a great trip out of town on your bike for the day. And its free, apart from your bar tab!
Atop the Kalvatoren, a 3 floor shopping plaza in the centre of Amsterdam, you’ll find the newly remodelled Cafe Blue. It is a great place for a simple sandwich and cup of tea with some fantastic views over the city – canal houses stretch out in every direction. Some dishes felt expensive but you are partially paying for the view. The cafe atmosphere was pretty simple before, so I’m curious to see what the renovations will bring.
If you’ve been clubbing in Amsterdam, you may remember the noteworthy “iT” club that used to sit on Rembrandtplein. That’s now been replaced by the luxurious club Air, which has multiple bars and lots of nooks and crannies for conversation. Like many of the city’s larger venues, you can pre-book a table if you have a large group, though if you’re on a budget I’d suggest just ordering your own drinks at the bar.
Shopping is another hot topic for visitors to Amsterdam, and there’s lots of talk about the string of new, independent boutiques that have opened on the Overtoom, a street that runs along behind the famous Vondelpark. While I still have some favourites along the pricier P.C. Hooftstraat (mostly the sandwich shop, I must admit), I love supporting local businesses so this is something to check out. (Window shopping is free.)
The Stedelijk is Amsterdam’s modern art museum and for many years it has been in a temporary location near the main railway station due to major renovations of the museum facility on Museumplein. They were due to move back into their original home right about now, but it seems their construction company went bankrupt, leaving things in a bit of a lurch. The museum is now opening into a second temporary space, called Temporary Stedelijk 2, which is just off of Museumplein. I love this museum’s edgy multimedia exhibits and thoughtful attention to detail to create galleries that aren’t just exhibits but experiences. More details here.
Any other suggestions on what’s new and hot in Amsterdam? 🙂
Posted : Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.