Sunday, 9 May 2010


So, here is the report of our trip to Amsterdam! Thank you so much for all your recommendations, they were awesome and really helped us out! Our main reason for going was to see a couple of gigs (LCD Soundsystem and Mayer Hawthorne: 8/10 and 6/10, respectively). Seeing the city was just an added bonus. I did enjoy soaking up the vibe of the place but it didn't have the immediate impact of say, Rome or Berlin. It was very pretty and lovely to cycle along the canals in the sunshine and drink beer. (I drank a lot of Heineken, I will admit. Well, when in Amsterdam...) Here are some photos. To start off with: the standard canal shot. It was nice to find a café at a quiet corner next to a bridge like this and people watch.


As I love water what captured me was how lucky people were to live alongside the canals. This was a houseboat with adirondack chairs on the roof for settling in to canal gaze.


Imagine living in one of these houses overlooking in the canal and settling in by one of the huge windows. All the buildings have furniture hooks on the eaves to swing in furniture, because the staircases are so high and narrow.

By the canal

More chairs overlooking the canal.


OK, Dutch food wasn't the best. Our nicest meal was Indonesian; these Dutch pancakes looked promising but they were seasoning-free and greasy.

Dutch pancakes

This classic Dutch apple cake with whipped cream was OK but I felt sick after eating it.

Apple pie with whipped cream

Plenty of beer made up for it, though. We drank these beers at Café de Doffer. You know that place when you're holiday that you accidentally find yourself in about three times? This was our place. It was a really nice bar. With extremely basic food. (I had a toastie the like of which I haven't had since I had a Breville as a student.)

Witte beer

The Jordaan district was our favourite hood. It was probably the most characterful, artistic hood we found.

Studio in Jordaan


I could just imagine a mouse in clogs standing on the stairs in this house. (I had that song stuck in my head the whole fricking trip.)


I have to shout out our hotel, CitizenM. It's a concept hotel where the rooms are small but very well-designed with everything you need (and for free - free wifi and films, etc.), with the lobby acting as a living area with bookshelves stuffed with interesting books, TVs, Macs with huge screens and gorgeous modern furniture dotted all over the place, such as this Vitra Marshmellow sofa.

CitizenM lobby

And stumbling into the lobby one evening I realised I was staring at an original Warhol screenprint of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Warhol Princess Beatrix

Plus there was a tram stop directly outside the hotel which had you in the Grachtengordel (the medieval canal district) within ten minutes. Only a 45 minute flight from London, Amsterdam was definitely a great place to just get away for a few days.


  1. Ah great, I was looking forward to hearing your report! I have been a few times before but absolutely ages ago. That is interesting what you say about the food, for me too that is now a primary consideration when on holiday :)

  2. Lovely pictures! I had trouble finding good food in Holland too. The toasted sandwich sounds fantastic though. I love a Breville although they're a bugger to clean and they always go a bit manky after a while and have to go xx

  3. Looks like you had a lovely time!

    I used to live in the Hague when I was little, and must have been to Amsterdam before but don't remember it.

    The tall, narrow houses are a feature throughout Holland, and your photos made me quite nostalgic. The one we lived in wasn't on a canal, but was certainly narrow enough and stretched across three storeys.

    Poppy xox

  4. Lovely. Doesn't look like much has changed since I was last there 10 years ago.

    Personally I'm more than happy to eat Indonesian at every meal - love it and so hard to find here.

  5. and now I too have the song stuck on loop in my head!

    how lucky, i am..

  6. Alice, the food was dreadful, I have to say! Not a patch on Berlin!

    Christina - the toastie was delicious but as an English person even I was surprised at how basic it was.

    Poppy - the only building like that we really had a look around was the Anne Frank house - which had been changed at the bottom and obviously isn't representative but the staircases were so steep!

    Hi GSE! Funny - I would've been happy to have Indonesian at every meal but James wasn't having it. I could eat peanut sauce on everything.

  7. Gah, thanks Nikey. It's back now.

  8. How great does tha trip look!!? I am so jealous! I would love love love to go to Amsterdam. Those pics are fantastic, you really captured the atmosphere of laid back Amsterdam! And those apple cakes..yum!

  9. these photos are amazing! looks like such a fun time. you're right, those pancakes look amazing but i can imagine the tummy ache :) thanks so much for sharing!!!

  10. Oh... I loved Amsterdam! So jealous! They had the best bookstores! And totally feel you on the pancake thing. Not my style. But I get it.

  11. I really must go back soon, miss it s much!

  12. So weird what you say about the food - we had really great food in 'dammers. I think sometimes being vegetarian can be a bonus: it can force you to find out of the way places which mean you end up having better food than if you just pop into somewhere you're passing. But where is the mention of Jenever? Surely you had some?

  13. I'm absolutely gutted I didn't try Jenever, Natalie! Next time. *sulks*

  14. If you're feeling desperate you could always pop into Lowlander on Drury Lane. Not as good as the stuff in Amsterdam but not bad at all...

  15. That does look fun - great bike photos too.

    I once heard a story that the reason the buildings in Amsterdam are so narrow is because you had to pay tax of some sort depending on the width of the building, which is why they're so small. I love the idea of them swinging all their furniture in through the windows!

    See what you mean about the food, I totally know how too-much-cake-belly-ache goes. And it's not fun.