Going out

Food

Dutch feeding habits revolve around having sandwiches for lunch, and getting yourself a substantial meal early in the evening. Amsterdam is an international city receiving millions of tourists per year so there is plenty to choose from, and opening hours are quite flexible. However, it may not always be easy to find decent food for a reasonable price.

A few recommended and affordable Dutch staples:

appeltaart – of course, every country has its own take on apple pie, but you should really try the Dutch variety, especially when they are home-made

uitsmijter – fried eggs with cheese and optional ham on bread, typical lunch deal that will definitely see you through the afternoon

broodje kroket – Dutch croquettes on bread also go very well as a lunch option, and these days there are even vegan options

kibbeling – deep-fried cod with ravigotte sauce

broodje haring – the famous Dutch herring on a bread roll, traditionally taken with chopped onions and gherkins (zuur); both kibbeling and herring are not usually sold in restaurants, but in fish shops or fish stalls on the street

pannenkoeken – Dutch pancakes are miraculously cheap and tasty and come with an endless array of toppings; some all-time favourites are apple-cinnamon, bacon, and cheese. Adding syrup is optional, but very much recommended

Some recommendations for reasonably priced eating places:

Kantjil & De Tijger – decent Indonesian food, very fast service; just order a rijsttafel for two or more people and enjoy

Thai restaurant Bird – a favourite with tourists and locals alike; it is said that their takeout counter on the other side of the street actually offers even better food

New King – a very busy Chinese restaurant, but you can usually squeeze in quickly

Vegan Junk Food Bar – this has become a household name in Amsterdam, very tasty vegan takes on all kinds of fast food staples

Drinks

If you like beer, you will not be disappointed in Amsterdam, there is so much more than Heineken. You can explore a large number of independent breweries as well as specialized beer cafés where you can explore the wonders of hops and yeast. Less well known is the Dutch gin or jenever, which is experiencing a bit of revival recently.

Traditionally Amsterdam had loads of small cafés, but these are experiencing a hard time. There are still a few around where you can go for a quick drink and watch the locals.

A few recommendations for watering holes:

Brouwerij de Prael – in the middle of the Red Light District, with a large seating area; they do food as well

Brouwerij ‘t IJ – the oldest independent brewery in town, located in a windmill

Proeflokaal Wynand Fockink – a bit touristy, but still a nice place to taste a few Dutch liquors and gins; standing place only, and they close early

Gollem – the oldest and probably smallest special beer café in Amsterdam, still going strong

Entertainment

Amsterdam is the major cultural hub of the Netherlands with an amazing array of museums, theatres and clubs. Check the I Amsterdam website for what is currently on offer, but be aware that many places have struggled during Covid, so not everything may be up to pre-Covid levels yet.

A few recommendations away from the beaten path:

Museum Het Schip – for architecture aficionados, this is a really wonderful example of the Amsterdam School

Lastly, Amsterdam has a certain fame for its relaxed policies on recreational use of marijuana. You are welcome to buy and smoke in so-called coffee shops, the majority of which are found in the Red Light District. If you want to have a better understanding of what is happening in the Red Light District, you can visit the Prostitution Information Centre.

Tulips

Did we already mention tulips? You will be in Amsterdam during the tulip season, so if you have the opportunity, then take the chance to see them – but you will have to go outside town for this. The easiest option is to visit the Keukenhof gardens – it will be very busy during the season, but it is still worth it. Buses will depart directly from Amsterdam to take you there.