Since a few weeks people can finally go for a drink on a terrace again. Moreover, COVID-19 measures have been eased this week with the re-opening of the gyms, the longer opening hours of the terraces, museums, and zoos, so Amsterdam is becoming more attractive again. Of course, there are still a lot of restrictions to keep in mind, but finally people can go out again.
In previous blogs we already explained why Amsterdam should be visited now and what you can do in a city that is partly still in lockdown. So, this time, we will tell you all about the 5 best hidden treasures of Amsterdam! When going online to plan your city trip to Amsterdam, you are inundated about all the things you must do when visiting Amsterdam. These are primarily the highlights of the city which are often very touristic and crowded. It will perhaps be a very ‘’insta’’able place to be, but Amsterdam has so much more to offer with its rich culture and history. Therefore, below you will find our 5 hidden treasures of Amsterdam.
1# Shop in the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat
If you look at a standard brochure or ask one of the many hotels Amsterdam counts what is the best place to shop, they will probably directly lead you to the Kalverstraat or the more expensive street, the P.C. Hooftstraat. Fair enough as both streets count a huge amount of the well-known shops and you can find literally everything for every budget. However, on a normal day, visiting those streets is almost impossible because of the crowds. Most locals even try to avoid these streets most of the time. A good alternative is the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat. Here you will find more alternative independent and boutique shops. From antique, to vintage clothes, you can literally find everything here. It’s a win win, as you avoid the terrible crowds, and you will probably score a unique piece which nobody has!
2# De Waag
In the middle of the city center, close to the Vijzelstraat, Rembrandplein and the Regulierdwarstraat (the gay friendly street to go out), you will find a piece of extraordinary history. De Waag was once part of the historic walls that were built in the 15th century to protect Amsterdam. It was one of the entrance gates to Amsterdam. This oldest non-religious building of Amsterdam has had several functions but nowadays it’s a cute little restaurant with a small terrace. Nice to know: ‘’De Waag’’ is a common name in the Netherlands. Most often you find these buildings in cities that were known for their trade. Think about cities like Gouda. Back in the days these buildings were used to report and weigh your trade such as cheese in order to know how much tax you needed to pay.
T’Aepjen translated as “Monkey” is a pub located in one of the old wooden houses of the city. This is one of the two wooden houses that still exist, but a little bit less touristy than the one at the Begijnhof. It was probably built around 1540 and the name has been created by its visitors. Back in the days, it has always been a hostel with a very bad reputation, mainly visited by sailors who often paid their bills with little monkeys they brought back from their trips. Guests often complained about the flies the monkeys brought with them when having a beer! Today, it’s a pub where you can go for a drink, and probably one of the few places you can find that is really Dutch.
4# The House with the graffiti
A lot of people call this house located at the Amstel Canal ‘’The House with blood stains’’. This house was owned by Coenraad van Beuningen, who was the Major of the city for several years before he became governor of the VOC (United East Indian Company) during the time which is known as the ‘’Golden Century’’ due to the wealth the city earned via the VOC. Later in his career, Van Beuningen inadvertently lost half a million Dutch guilders. After that, he went mad (probably diagnosed with bipolar disorder) and the City of Amsterdam locked him in his house at the Amstel. Nowadays you can still find blood stains on the bricks.
5# Go to ‘’Noord’’!
As mentioned in the introduction, people tend to go where everybody goes and therefore, they only get to see the most common highlights of the city. A lot of people skip the northern part of Amsterdam. Back in the days the reputation of this part of the city was very bad. To reach the Northern part of Amsterdam, you had to cross the water by ferry, which you can find behind the Central Station of Amsterdam. Back in the days ‘’behind the Central Station’’ was something you were warned about and unless you were a criminal, you made sure not to visit this area. Luckily, this completely changed when the central station had an upgrade. It became the main stopping point for busses, and it now has futuristic look which fits a world city like Amsterdam. Amsterdam-North changed completely and became one of the most popular places to visit among the ‘’hipsters’’ because of all the sustainable projects and the new food & beverage initiatives. Especially the terraces and beaches across the waterline give you the feeling of being in a completely different city than the crowded city with hectic traffic and trams everywhere you look. It’s the perfect escape to relax for a day during your discovery of Amsterdam!