The thing about a weekend in Amsterdam is that there are so many cliches about the city, that it is hard to avoid throwing yourself into those cliches. A visit to Amsterdam offers travellers a unique opportunity to experience Dutch culture on a much higher level than a trip to a European city. Jumping into the full Amsterdam experience is a great way to spend some time in this cosmopolitan hub but choose where to spend your time carefully to maximize the amount of pleasure derived from this vibrant city.
Start the day with some of the finest contemporary art available in Europe. The Stedelijk Museum is a cutting edge space with new art as well as performances, readings and design exhibitions. It is an award winning space that is a calm, cool place to take in some fine Dutch culture.
Check out the shop, there is an impressive amount of cool prints, fabrics, jewellry and kids books. It’s a fabulous place to buy souvenirs and it certainly challenges a fridge magnet in the shape of a windmill for presents.
As a cosmopolitan city, Amsterdam reflects the international population through its fabulous cuisine. It is possible to have a round the world culinary experience as the restaurants in the city are so diverse. Enjoy tucking into Nasi Goreng from Indonesia? How about a wood fired pizza that will spoil your taste buds?
De Kas is an exciting restaurant that specialises in seasonal food. The restaurant runs a nursery where the food served in the restaurant is picked freshly. This is a reflected in the quality of the food. It is certainly worth experiencing as it is a unique restaurant that typifies the Dutch interest in great food.
One of Amsterdam’s hidden side is the quality of the shops. They are an exceedingly design led community in Amsterdam and the amazing shops back this up. Window displays are of a high standard and wandering the streets, it is possible to unearth the funkiest, coolest shops that offer up interesting and unusual stuff to buy.
Alfons de Letter is one of those places where living history survives. Its a traditional enamel sign making shop, it’s unique and a fabulous place to get a special souvenir. Mechicas is a very cool little place specialising in Mexican jewellry and crafts. There are displays of gorgeous turquoise rings and bracelets, as well as beautiful ceramics. No one expects a beautiful piece of Mexican craft as a present from Amsterdam but once seen, Mechicas will grab your attention.
Around on a Saturday? Try the Noordermarkt. It is a farmer’s market, selling traditional organic Dutch produce. Old Amsterdam is a specialist Gouda cheese sold in the market, as well as Gouda with garlic and herbs. The Dutch make some seriously delicious biscuits and these are available here too.
Amsterdam has an eclectic mix of music in its veins. There is something here for everyone and the venues are often in quirky, old buildings. One famous place is Paradiso. This legendary venue hosts bands of different genres of music. It is a great place to go where the locals hang out to catch a great band. If classical music is more your thing, then you must not leave Amsterdam without experiencing the Muziekgebouw. It is a cutting edge building that provides some of the best acoustics in Europe. The building is able to move in order to achieve the best possible space for world class music. Get some tickets and go – it is well worth the trip.
Amsterdam offers travellers a fantastic time. The music, food and shopping make for a surprising trip of a lifetime.
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