Insider's Guide to Amsterdam

We asked the blogger behind vosgesparis.com and amsterdamnext.com, Desiree Groenendal, to share some of her favourite city hang-outs in our latest blog post, an insider's guide to Amsterdam.

How would you describe Amsterdam to someone who has never been?

On my site Amsterdam Next I try to show the more uncommon places to go and giver readers a taste on how we locals move around the city but generally I’d say Amsterdam is a town of small villages… every neighbourhood has it’s own atmosphere!

What is your favourite place…

For a date night: I guess I am more the outside kind of girl and would prefer a nice sunset and a picnic on one of the Eastern Docklands or a stroll on the beach, which is less than half an hour by train from Central Station.

For breakfast: Small world catering at Binnen Oranjestraat 14 (just off the Haarlemmerdijk) makes delicious sandwiches, but I also love to have breakfast closer to home at Sissy Boy at the KNSM Island, KNSM laan 39. It’s a quiet area surrounded by  water and I love the fact I can have breakfast looking at beautiful design.

For dinner with friends: One of my favourites is La perla, a small pizzeria with a wood stove at the Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 14 & 53 in the Jordaan, near Noordermarkt. It’s a narrow street with many local’s enjoying the terraces on the small pavement. It also has one of the most beautiful views in my eyes, of the Westertoren (recognisable by the huge blue crown), a typical Amsterdam Landmark. For a great salad with different topping I love Sla, a salad bar at Westerstraat 34.

A work meeting: For a work meeting I love to go to one of the Coffee Companies around town, nothing can beat a meeting over a good cup of coffee, there is an informal atmosphere and most of the time people are working at the long tables with their laptop.   

For people watching:
Saturday mornings at Noordermarkt or late afternoons at the small streets in the Jordaan area.

For a girls night: 

Drinking white wines on the rooftop terrace at Club Canvas, located on the 7th floor of the Volkshotel, Wibautstraat 150. You have an amazing view over the city from the rooftop terrace. 

How do you get around the city?

I have a bike to do groceries and things and I walk, It is a 15 minute walk from my home to the city centre.  

Where do you shop?

For clothes shopping I mostly go downtown. In the nine streets area are many smaller stores with more selected brands.

Best place for a cup of coffee? 

There are lots of Coffee Roasters around town and I enjoy them all. Lot Sixty One, Overtoom 141 at the Fietskantine. Also Hutspot at Ceintuurbaan 4 is a great place with a large table and some lazy couches.

Best tourist spot? 

If I was a tourist I would just walk for hours along the canals and through the Jordaan area. Visit Noordermarkt on Saturday’s for a great local city vibe. I also still enjoy taking a boat trip, I think Amsterdam is so beautiful seen from the water, especially by night when all bridges are illuminated.

Describe your ideal day in Amsterdam…

A smoothie and a coffee downtown at Dr. Blend, Herenstraat 23. Followed by a walk at Haarlemmerstraat and a look around the beautiful Sukha, this place makes me always feel calm, Haarlemmerstraat 110. Then, if I eat in, some grocery shopping at Marqt, a great shop with healthy food choices, Haarlemmerstraat 165. After that I would go with the flow. The great thing about Amsterdam is that there are so many great places and even after years I still pass by places I have never noticed before. So I could end up downtown or maybe catching the ferry behind Central Station and spent an afternoon at the north of Amsterdam, NDSM,  there is a great spot called Plekk with a large sitting area and a city beach in Summer. From there you have a beautiful view over the water  At the end of the day I’d love to meet up for coffee or drinks on some sunny terrace. For dinner maybe something near my home, I have been enjoying Puerto Pata Negra lately, Oostelijke Handelskade 999. Sitting outside at the waterfront away from the busy city centre and Music and some dancing at weekends. Definitely a fan of all the different places where you can connect with the water in Amsterdam.