SIGHTS in Amsterdam:
On vases, tiles or toilet seats - the focus is on sex here. The Sex Museum gives an overview of the most beautiful pastime in the world and its depiction. Exhibits range from phallus symbols in Antiquity to medieval morals, from the pin-up culture of the fifties to future visions on sex. In addition to paintings, sculptures and scriptures, you also see very bizarre objects, for instance a somewhat dingy toilet seat. But if you think that with what we have to do here is a tatty collection of adult magazines and perverted fantasies, you can't be more wrong. The three floors of the Sex Museum exhibit a sometimes serious, sometimes comic exploration of the topic that is usually not talked about so openly. This extraordinary museum offers a somewhat different perspective of sex, showing different developments in historical contexts.
Whether you like or don't like the taste of the famous Dutch beer with the green label and the red star, visiting the Heineken Experience is worthwhile anyway. On four floors you won't only be shown how the beer gets in the bottle but also how Heineken became the trade name it is today. There is an interactive adventure world catering to all the senses. The range of topics includes the individual production steps, the development and philosophy of the company as well as Heineken's definition of fun and entertainment. The fascinating show is accommodated in proper style in the building that once housed the old brewery. It is, in fact, more than just another brewery where you press your nose on smudged glass pane. You will also be able to taste the beer, of course, and almost forget the slogan: Enjoy with responsibility!
Green canal cruis
Nomen est omen: Amsterdam Eco Tours guide you through the city and the canals without burdening the environment. That functions via low-emission canal boats that are powered by CNG, compressed natural gas, pedal boats for the sporty ones among you and walking tours through the canals. The sustainability begins at pier 6 itself: while waiting for your boats, the little restaurant serves organic drinks and snacks. Moreover, the Eco Tours employees help you to find restaurant and bars in the city that also think about the protection of mother nature and live after these principles. Last but not least: there are nine electrical boats at pier 6 each of them offering seats for twelve guests. The advantages: the environment is protected and there is practically no noise pollution. Furthermore, the little green boats can land at any place where the big canal boats may not stop (day ticket 22 euro). The Canal Company, which stands behind Eco Tours, was the first boat company being awarded the Green Key for their activities in the field of environmental protection
STAY in Amsterdam:
Multitasking skills have seemed to be quite trendy for a couple of years. At the moment, this trend moves toward the opposite direction again - but not for Ulrika Lundgren: she manufactures leather bags and cashmere cardigans, publishes a magazine and has recently opened her own guest house - the Maison Rika - with view on the Herengracht in Amsterdam. The former Vogue and Elle stylist is smart: she has designed the interior of the two suites in the hotel that is located in an old corner house directly opposite to her boutique. Each spreads over a whole floor and manifests her personal living style. She has put vintage pieces and white furniture on the black oak floor, and art objects by Sang Ming adorn the walls. The Gallery Boutique on the first floor with her favourite pieces also functions as the hotel lobby. There she hosts events with artist friends and colleagues from the newly founded Dutch Vogue. You might not be served breakfast the next morning there but she will provide snacks in the suite throughout the day. It's also the perfect spot to browse through the hotel's own city.
Don't tell anyone else: The Jordaan quarter is one of the best in town. The former working-class district turned into a favourite hangout for artists and intellectuals. Today, dreamers will adore its old-fashioned charm, and shoppers will love the hip stores around. The hotel is right here, in the immediate vicinity of the Anne Frank House. And right here you should check in if you are a fan of the authentic. The 17th-century Gracht house has been renovated to accommodate eight rooms, all of them of pretty, albeit plain interior. Don't go on a search for details, you won't find any. Just content yourself with being able to sleep in such a charming historical ambience. And believe us: You won't need more than that. The price for a night in the double room starts from 139 Euros.
A kitchen of your own is not bad. While you generally tend to eat at restaurants on holidays, you might not want to go for a walk with what you see in the mirror the next morning anyway. The solution: breakfast in bed. You can brew your own coffee; the rolls are in front of your door. Others have done the shopping for you - the fridge offers jam & Co. After breakfast you first of all marvel at what you see, trying to figure out a fitting name for it. Modern antlers? And because you feel so good here you will from now on assume that all the real cool people in Amsterdam live like that. And when you finally manage to leave the cosy studio, you are rewarded at that: The best bars lie just around the block, but there are at least two cultural highlights nearby too, in case you want to soothe your conscience. We have to warn you though: The apartments lie amidst Amsterdam's hustle and bustle. But there are earplugs on the bedside table. The price for one night at the studio starts from 80 Euros.
EAT in Amsterdam:
The Dutch are practical when it comes to food and thus easily satisfied. They are used to the fact that not everything made from vegetables contains vitamins or that some foods look good but don't taste it without mayonnaise. And they probably think that freshness is overvalued. At least that's what the FEBO automats suggest and they are so bizarre that you should pull out a sandwich in any case. There are more than 20 such automats in Amsterdam, representing a fast food chain without visible staff. At least almost: You insert money and pull out croquettes, a hamburger or a sandwich from behind the display window. The stuff doesn't look too good, you need courage for it, but it tastes okay and it is worth a story back home. But you may rest assured: There are people behind the automat who see to its filling with fresh products regularly - at least that's what is said. You want to know what the letters FEBO mean? FEBO started out in 1941 as bakery on FErdinand BOlstraat.
Café de Kroon
If you want to avoid the beaten tracks, visit the Café de Kroon. Tired tourists won't stumble in here by chance. If you want to find the Kroon you have to know it in the first place. While its location at Rembrandtplein is prominent, it lies on the first floor. During the day you get great coffee here and in the evening - from Thursdays to Saturdays - the place turns into a very cool lounge (having attracted even Mick Jagger and Jerry Springer already). The interior decoration is rich in contrasts, the large hall with industrial touch boasting leather chairs and chandeliers. You feel like visiting the living room of a factory, if something like that existed. The bar is massive; and you should ask yourself whether you really want to know what's inside the pharmacy vessels in the illuminated display cabins. It's a first-class insider tip you should rather keep to yourself.
There are plenty of Supperclubs in the meantime and all of them are trying to compete with the original. But the original is still in Amsterdam and still enjoys great popularity. You should be a playful character though; otherwise you won't like it here. And here are the rules: First, you don't sit at the table, you lie. And, please, make sure not to disappear in the cushions together with your meal. Second, everything is white here except for the guests. You are only decoration, so don't spill. Third, the whole evening is a perfectly orchestrated show including the menu, which is customised to the motto of the evening, just like the show. The show holds performances, acrobatics, videos and music in store. If you want to you get a massage you don't need to stand up for it. If you get tired from the programme you may stay on the sofa until closing time. But it's up to you to get up to your feet and visit the legendary Rouge Bar downstairs.
SHOPPING in Amsterdam:
Daryl van Wouw
You must not miss out on passing by Daryl van Wouw's. Not when you are interested in the Dutch fashion world, where Mr. Wouw is a big player. His success formula is blending street wear with high fashion. And, voilà, the result is wearable (and affordable), namely fashion with that certain something: a touch of urbanity and a dash of big-city style. Girls should rather focus on the dresses which are just as stylish as comfortable, with tight skirts and sophisticated wide tops. But men will also find something, a shirt with the famous headset print, for instance. And the real cool kids have their own small collection at hand: mini hoodies and shirts. But be careful with your clothes as Daryl is watching you! The not so humble designer has reserved some wall panels for his face, in between windmills and flowers watching clients with his direct gaze from the wall.
What sounds comfortable is not really comfortable. The focus here lies on the look. How you manage to walk or dance in these shoes is your problem. Since 1983 men have been spoilt with high-end products by the most acclaimed designers in the world. Sad ladies, however, remained empty-handed (or -footed) when just another impertinent guy came out wearing the hottest boots, trainers, patent-leather shoes, slippers or sandals. Since 2000, with the opening of the shop in the Leidsestraat, the girls' sufferings have come to an end. Now, all the great labels - Gucci, Prada, D&G, Lanvin, Galliano - and smaller labels - Dsquared2, Frankie Morello, Y-3, Cesare Paciotti - make shoe fanatics beaming with joy. The shops are all but uniform - so everyone finds his or her favourite shoes here. The price category, however, is a different story: Be sure your credit card will screech with shock. In the meantime, there are four shops in Amsterdam - and they are all worthwhile visiting: Koningsplein 7, PC Hooftstraat 80, Leidsestraat 10, Cornelis Schuytstraat 9.
You've probably found out already: Sprmarkt is not the usual supermarket, although dropping in the fantastic Albert Heijn grocery shop would also be worth a tip. Here, however, we are confronted with a Sprmrkt without vowels and sausage counter that moved into a former grocery shop to attract people with fashion, art and design. Mission fulfilled! Soon Sprmrkt plus and Sprmrkt Sth followed. Both with a top-class selection of labels. The second shop, however, does not only attract with Diesel, Helmut Lang, Monique von Heist, Julius and Unconditional, but also with its unconventional design. The Doepel Strijkers Architects have developed a space installation of long panels of fabric which - wound, torn, tightened, illuminated or arranged with mannequins - boasts the most fantastic architecture.