You could say that Amsterdam’s image is at something of a crossroads. In January 2013 new laws will stop Amsterdam’s tourists from legally buying cannabis related products in the city’s famous coffee shops.
So, will Amsterdam struggle to keep enticing hoards of visitors from all over the world? It is highly unlikely. Holland’s capital city has long offered visitors more than just space cakes, canals and bicycles. It’s a bubbling hub of modern art, cool coffee culture, elegant dining and chic shopping.
Tourists flock to Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum and with good reason, but an artistic dose of modern history can be found at world leading photography exhibitions at FOAM on Keizersgracht and World Press Photo in Oude Kerk (Old Church). Other unexpected but lovingly curated museums include the Museum of Bags and Purses, which houses the largest collection of handbags in Europe, the oldest dating back as far as the 17th century. If that didn’t offer enough glitz and glitter the Diamond Museum and its valuable collection of ladies’ best friends should feature in your itinerary.
And who says you need to go inside to admire art? If you’re lucky enough to be in Amsterdam when the sun is shining take a turn on two wheels or two feet around Vondelpark, which is home to a number of modern art sculptures.
Furthermore, in spring the park becomes a mini Keukenhof as tulips in a surprisingly number of varieties start to bloom.
One of Amsterdam’s most pleasant surprises is that there are truly great coffee shops in Amsterdam that do indeed just sell coffee. The best places to enjoy your daily grind are in Amsterdam’s central suburbs of Oud West (old west) or Oud-Zuid (old south).
The locals’ favourite De Koffie Salon on Constantijn Huygensstraat is visually beautiful inside and out, and luckily the interior design doesn’t dilute their commitment to a great espresso macchiato.
It may not be top of your list of things to do in Amsterdam but there’s a small Dutch company based in this city, which is taking over the world… of suits. Suit Supply combine Saville Row customer service (Would you like a coffee sir? Sparkling water, madam?) with excellent off the rack or bespoke tailoring at a prices which won’t knock you off your rented bike.
For the ladies, the western suburb of Jordaan area explains why the women of Amsterdam are so well dressed as the cobbled streets are dotted with charming vintage shops and uniquely chic boutiques.
It is a well-kept secret in foodie circles that Amsterdam has some of the best restaurants in northern Europe. Momo offers ladies who lunch a fine Asian fusion menu, cleverly crafted cocktails and exceptional service and make sure you book ahead for dinner at the stylish and award-winning Lion Noir, which will introduce you classic Dutch home-cooking in style.
Perhaps changes in the law will stem the flow of some visitors, but it should only encourage those who are keen to seek a little chic in Amsterdam. Book your own memorable break, and live like a local by choosing to book an authentic apartment in Amsterdam. Click here for details.
Photo Credits: Lambert Wolterbeek Muller, Amsterdamized, Bas van Gaalen, Michiel S, Fabio Venni, Erno Hannink, David van der Mark, Jack Amick, Anton and Janet, Gabriele Quaglia, Matthew Kenwrick and Javier Lastras.