A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Let’s be real. Our first time in the Dutch capital was purely overwhelming: Crowds, souvenir shops and no sense of orientation. I vividly remember my friends and me walking into the tourist trap and soon wishing ourselves back to cozy Leiden.
A’dam, I apologize for doing you so wrong in my my first year. Luckily, two Dutchies have lately crossed my path who exactly know how to navigate through their cosmopolitan hometown.
Let’s see, how real Amsterdamers would spend a free day in the city:
Lynn, 21, and Sciences student at Amsterdam University College has fallen for the upcoming student neighborhood Oost. Among all of its insta-worthy restaurants and cafes, Bar Bukowski, is THE place for a hearty pannenkoeken breakfast (personally + repeatedly approved). Practically, it is right across Oosterpark – an ideal place for enjoying late summer nights, reading or catching up with friends.
For DJ and saxophonist Karel there is no better start into the day than the Museumplein surrounded by the scenic buildings of Oud-Zuid. On walking distance, you can reach the Vondelpark which he recommends to explore on two wheels. So, bring your own or rent a bike on the spot (crucial survival tip for tourists: keep up with the Dutch speed and always use the right lanes). Break needed? At the traditional Melkhuis, you do not only get a sunny spot on the terrace but also some snacks, coffee and freshly made orange juice.
Lynn knows where to shop in a picturesque canal scenery: With its countless cafés, book stores, galleries and vintage boutiques, the 9 straatjes will definitely leave you spoilt for choice. They spread right along the three main canals of the city center: Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keijzergracht and are only a few step away from the Jordaan – the bohemian quarter and home of the Anne Frank House.
Who could give better advice for a night out than a Dutch DJ himself? Karel recommends to start the night with locals at Café de Waard, Barca or De Tulp and dance the night away at Disco Dolly’s, Supperclub or Paradiso. Midnight snack for the ride home? Drop by at Manneken Pis for the city’s best fries or Pisa for an almost Italian ice cream experience.
What about your favorite spots in the capital?