Grachts and Gezelligheid

Amsterdam … a city packed with lovely people, beautiful grachten, swarms of bikes, and interesting coffee shops. myAustrian fan Sophie’s face lights up whenever she thinks about her favourite city. She has put together some of her best tips for us on how enjoy yourself, have fun, and eat well in Holland’s biggest and most enigmatic city.

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First things first: it’s all about Gezelligheid!

Gezelligheid stands for a very laid-back, very Dutch attitude to life. It is a mixture of camaraderie and plain good atmosphere , with a liberal dose of comfort and well-being thrown in. Luckily, the port city is full of super-good places to really embrace this feeling, and it is heaps of fun doing it. One very important way to really do gezelligheid, of course, is through your stomach!

Coffee lovers will certainly find everything they need and thanks to the vast range of independent cafés and restaurants, nobody here need ever go hungry or thirsty during a stroll through town. Personally I love breakfast at Vinnies , which has two great locations in the city.

Another serious insider tip is Instock , an organic restaurant chain with a food truck which focuses on regional specialties and products. Bakers & Roasters and Coffee & Coconuts are also great: the latter is located in a former cinema dating back to the 1920s, and has a very special flair.

Sophie’s Top 5 must-sees and -dos

Favourite district: De Pijp

De Pijp is without a doubt the coolest district in Amsterdam for me :-). It’s the Latin Quarter of the city, incredibly colourful , and positively vibrates from the locals’ love of life. I could walk for hours in the gardens of Sarphati Park or through Albert-Cuyp Market. When I want to relax, I like to drop in one of the numerous small bars, or possibly a pavement café. One of my favourite places here is Dim Sum Now .

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Special Day: Koningsdag on 27 April

Koningsdag, or King’s Day, is the biggest street festival of the year. It’s all done in honour of the Dutch royal family, and the whole city is drowned in a sea of orange , including outfits for people and even pets. Normal everyday life completely closes down across the city, everyone is in a great mood, and ready to do nothing but party. The locals open their doors and offer snacks and drinks, bands play free live concerts at squares across the city, and the biggest music festivals of the year are held throughout the country.

Get on your bike

There are over 800.000 bikes in Amsterdam. It actually has more bikes than people! So it’s little wonder the city is the most cyclist-friendly in the world . And cruising the amazingly well-kept cycle paths without a worry in the world is a great way to explore the city. Cycle tours with locals as guides are also offered!

Art and culture: from traditional to alternative

For all the art lovers out there I can recommend two districts: Oud-Zuid (“Old South”) is home to the classic museums such as the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijke Museum Amsterdam . It is lovely to stroll down the streets and soak in the elegant atmosphere of the area. A total contrast, and o ne of the most culturally exciting hotspots in the city, is NDSM Werft on the banks of the River IJ in Amsterdam Noord . There are events, exhibitions, performances, festivals, and more on offer here, in a wide range of different small bars and cafés. A great opportunity to discover the Bohemian in you!

Grachten at sunset

Whether you are going on a boat trip or just taking a stroll, the atmosphere along the small canals here is absolutely delightful .

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If you visit Amsterdam, make sure you don’t miss this unique experience!

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