Amsterdam: Doing it with the locals

Not REALLY doing it.. come on guys!

With my best friend living in this city, I visit a lot. However, best friend or not, when I take a trip to a new city, I like to do a lot of pre visit research to try and find little places that the locals love and (lets face it) a good Instagram shot that few others have picked up on. With post weekend Amsterdam blues still at the front of my mind, here’s a few of my faves for this city (introduced to me by the very people that live there..

Do

Nieuwe Spiegelstraat is the city centre street to visit for art purchases. This weekend one of the Galleries was hosting a Bansky exhibit, another a Jeff Koonz collection. Interesting to see, but who can afford this!? Not me on my Easy jet flying budget, that’s for sure! And don’t you just hate walking into those places, with the assistants giving you that knowing ‘you cant afford this glance’ (sob sob).

Well hate no more. The Public House of Art has a moto ‘We believe art is for all. Art to disrupt, not bankrupt’. The multi floor gallery offers art at 4 price tiers; House (£100), Villa (£500), Mansion (£1000) and Castle (£2000). Artworks are curated and based on a bi-annual theme, with the artists pieces being inspired by it.

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On arrival, we’re greeted by Josje, one of the gallery assistants. “Would you like a tea, a coffee, a vodka?” (its 1pm.. I can’t do vodka). We settle on teas whilst Josje enthusiastically talks us through the gallery current themes, prices and general laid back approach to affordable art. I love her, she could sell me anything she wants right now, I’m a sucker for wanting to give a sale to someone that is passionate about their product.

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The gallery is there to be explored, with interesting stop off points along the way to mull over your programme, your only concern being which piece you want to take. We took up rest at the picnic table tucked away on the 3rd floor. I could have spent hours in there with a coffee/vodka, and they’d have let me!

Eat

In De Pijp ( pronounced ‘the pipe’ to us British sounding folk) neighbourhood sits a large converted cinema, now home to an enormous coffee house serving, coffee, food and… coconuts! Coffee and Coconuts is 3 floors of free WiFi, clean white walls, hanging plants and bean bags, making for the best chill out spot I’ve been to in this city yet. OK, it’s a little hipster (but I love that shit!). Think strawberry gazpacho and  roasted tempeh sandwiches washed down with blackberry coolers.

My fave thing about this place was that the staff seemed a little speedier than the usual pace of the (usually) very relaxed style of Amsterdam servers.

Drink

Starting to become a lot more well known with the tourists, Foodhallen is a fantastic food and drinks venue, created in the old tram depot. Super busy at weekends, the wine bar, the beer bar, or event the gin and tonic bar are great spots to set up camp and do some premium people watching.

On our visit ( a buzzing Friday night), 3 dj’s ran a set in the middle of the hall, as we picked our way through food stands, settling on veggie hot dogs topped with popcorn from one stand, and sweet potatoes fries on beds of rocket from another. Dining is casual, with dwellers sharing tables (and bleachers!) where they can catch a seat.

Listen

When in Rome… what better way to plug into the city than by switching your Spotify to tunes from one of the locals. OIJ is one such individual. With his new single ‘Believe’ the theme song for the European Athletics Championship, this music producer is picking up pace fast. Think music stylings of Flume, Burial and Chet Faker.

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