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Insider’s guide to Amsterdam

Inspired by our photo shoot in Amsterdam, we asked Dutch blogger and the woman behind vosgesparis.com and amsterdamnext.com, Desiree Groenendal, to share some of her favourite city hang-outs.

How would you describe Amsterdam to someone who has never been?
On my site amsterdamnext.com 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) is tiny and makes delicious sandwiches (image below, left), but I also love to have breakfast closer to home at Sissy Boy at the KNSM Island, KNSM laan 39 (image below, right). 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. 


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 Saturdays 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.