EAT in Amsterdam:
If you are not hungry you should take out your spouse to IJ-kantine - it's worth the unique experience. The restaurant, which lies to the north of the city, is easiest reached by ferry. The ferry is free and takes you out of the city to an old and fascinating industrial area. The restaurant, with its high ceilings and huge glass windows, is probably the district's most beautiful building. And of course you have to pay for it as neither the delicious lunch nor the long drink is cheap. But the sunset above the harbour makes up for it, especially on Sunday afternoons which have a special flair enhanced by live music. Apart from business people who hold conferences here you will also come across families. While parents wine and dine in the restaurant, the kids can play in huge sand boxes or in the kids' corner. Our tip: Those who get seasick can also come by car or taxi. There's free parking available.
The Trouw is an all-out creative place: innovative cuisine at the restaurant, inspiring atmosphere at the bar, fantastic view from the roof terrace at the club and extravagant exhibitions, fashion shows and video installations for the artistic claim. It's the place to go for free spirits and aesthetes, for art connoisseurs and creativity fans. While at first sight the location is not that cosy, an industrial complex accommodates the Eleven. And we know, of course, that industrial looks are totally en vogue, because they have style. If you want to acquaint yourself, have lunch at the Trouw - it's excellent! The four-course dinner is just as fine but has its price. The tastes are Mediterranean and African. And if you're already here, stay for the clubbing as well. The trendiest electronic beats are waiting for you.
The building on stilts used to be the TV station of a Dutch private channel. Then it was transformed into a restaurant in the bay of Amsterdam: the REM Eiland. Since this summer, there are three kinds of oysters that end up on the table in REM Eiland located in the Houthaven (the wooden bay) - among other things. The three-course menus change daily - the offer includes sea fruit, meat, fish and a vegetarian dish. The steel construction in white and red served as an illegal broadcasting station for the Dutch TV channel TV Noordzee in the 1960s, and later became a governmental gaging station. In 2008 the entrepreneurs Nick von Loon and Hilly Engels developed in co-operation with architect's office Concrete a plan for transforming the building into a two-storey venue. The view from the rooftop terrace in a height of 22 metres goes from the bay, across the river IJ up to the modern Amsterdam district Spaarndammerhout.
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.
How they manage to embarrass you here? By asking you whether something was wrong when you check out. Because you will for sure not have anything to complain about. The Roemerhotel, that is to say, offers everything you may wish for: perfect location at Leidesplein, 18th-century foundation walls with contemporary upgrade, exceptional service and a garden. The clocks seem to tick slower here, and that's no disadvantage in busy Amsterdam. It means you can relax. For instance over a cocktail in front of the fireplace or at one of the 23 rooms boasting dapper design and pastel shades. And you cannot only relax in bed, by the way, but also in your private Jacuzzi. The price for one night in the double room starts from 120 euros.
SHOPPING in Amsterdam:
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.
Viktor & Rolf
Designing for H&M was not the worst move by the two Dutch designers. Since that time Viktor & Rolf, whose name could also be Freaky and Freakier, have been known even beyond the catwalk. Why freaky? You could describe them as style twins, not only wearing similar clothes all the time, but also the same horn-rimmed glasses. That much to their personal outfits. Their collections are more inspired though - they are smart, sportive and truly keen on details. So keen on details that sometimes small turns into big and something marginal turns into an eye-catcher. Then, the collar is more pronounced than the dress, the button bigger than the buttonhole and black-and-white anything else than classic. If you want to try and buy clothes you can do that at Van Ravenstein. There, you'll find the creations by Viktor & Rolf in close vicinity to Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, or Spijkers en Spijkers, among others.
Even if you already know the colourful plastic bags, you will stare mouth open at the Kitch Kitchen Supermercado. Mexican plastic wherever you look; flowers, squares, fruits, colours. You will need at least one hour for browsing around. Too many items of too many shapes want to be bought right away. And there aren't only bags, shopping trolleys, laptop covers, saddle bags and manicure cases, but also seat reducers, convenient pads for dog bowls in the shape of a bone - and the perfect souvenir from Holland: the colourful saddle protection for bicycles. And if, in the light of so much optical overstimulation, you are crazy enough to feel like decorating your apartment on your own, you can buy the fabric from the roll here and do what you please with it. But beware: The fabric most likely does not do what your sewing machine wants, so buy a consolation bag as well - just to be on the sure side.
SIGHTS in Amsterdam:
Who does not remember boring biology teachers, tricky physics tests or the headache following chemistry lessons? Forget about that right away and give natural sciences a second chance! The Nemo Science Centre communicates scientific topics of every-day life in an entertaining and fun way. Completely without tons of formulas and complicated technical terms you learn about scientific backgrounds. Giving simple and amusing explanations, the Netherlands' largest science centre devotes itself to knowledge that you can hear, taste and touch.
Rent a bicycle
Bicycles are the ideal means of transportation in Amsterdam. You will hardly find a Dutchman who doesn't own one. No matter whether you want to travel fast and flexibly from one spot to the other or cruise around leisurely: A rented bicycle pays off! There is a reason why Amsterdam is called the city of bicycles. Everyone cycles here, from the very young to the very old. As a tourist you won't only have a convenient and fast rental bicycle at hand, you are also travelling Dutch-style. If you want to see sights as well while you are cycling, we recommend you visit the Jordaan district. There, you can combine a tour of the Anne Frank House with the Norderkerk and the Museum of History. Be careful when leaving your bicycle on stops in between: Don't forget to lock it. As far as equipment goes, the various bicycle rents offer bicycles from 8 Euros per day. The longer you rent, the cheaper it gets. The more gears the bicycle has the more expensive it is - and the more useless. You don't have to fear strenuous mountain tours here for sure!
Of course we do not want to recommend you to get stoned in Amstedam, but visiting one of the coffeeshops holds more in store than the legal consumption of cannabis. If you think that coffeeshops are run-down honky-tonks where only stoned guys and girls hang out you should convince yourself of the opposite and visit one. And even if you won't touch substances that are forbidden elsewhere you will be able to enjoy something here. Many coffeeshops do offer excellent pastries and milkshakes, namely, and they have a relaxed atmosphere, often at low prices. Take the Mellow Yellow, for example. It's one of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam and still no tourist trap. If you are lucky you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the special ambience. Whatever you order, you should not miss out on visiting a coffeeshop in Amsterdam.