3 views of Amsterdam
Should you choose a bike, a boat or your own two feet to explore the city of Amsterdam? Here are 3 men, 3 ways of moving and 3 different views of this wonderful city.
Why should you discover Amsterdam …
… on a bike?
Thijs Bakker(chief cycling officer of We Bike Amsterdam): "I believe everyone that wants to really experience Amsterdam as it is should take a bike tour in the city. Cycling is the main way of transportation in Amsterdam. Amsterdammers bike to school, to work, to friends' places, to to theatres, to cinemas, to bars and restaurants. Bikes are the red cells running through the city's veins. Being on a bike makes it possible to really get into the city and peek beyond the touristy areas and to get a deeper feeling and understanding of this place."
… from a boat?
Jesse Cohen (co-owner and rear admiral of Those Dam Boat Guys): "Amsterdam was built to be seen from the water! At the height of its greatness, Amsterdam's iconic cityscape was the first thing visitors from around the world would see upon entering its walls. Not to mention, after the constant near-death experiences tourists encounter while dodging bikes, buses, taxis, cars, trams and flying stroopwafels, a peaceful boat ride is the perfect way to relax and focus on the weird and wonderful history and culture of Amsterdam without having to constantly stare death in the face."
… on foot?
Sergio Monni (owner & guide at FreeDam Tours): "Amsterdam is subdivided into rings. The mediaeval inner core is best done by foot. The 17th-century canal belt is best explored by foot or boat. The oldest part of the 17th-century canal belt is the prettiest to me. Here you will find the most picturesque, photogenic canal houses and views. The 19th-century ring is best done by cycling."
What are your personal favourite spots in Amsterdam?
Thijs Bakker: "I adore riding my bike over the quiet canals of Prinseneiland. This former harbour area of Amsterdam is not only one of the prettiest neighbourhoods of the city, but also one of the least-known and thus a very peaceful part of town. It's so calm and picturesque that it always feels like a Sunday morning there. Also, crossing the city’s smallest bridge there 'de Drie Haringenbrug' is pure joy."
Jesse Cohen: "One of my favourite spots to cruise is down the Groenburgwal. This tiny little residential canal is tucked into the middle of the hustling, bustling, densely-populated city, and you would never know. The trees lining it remind you of the season as you stare past them at the Zuidertoren that rise at the far end of the canal, that lean so far over it looks like the tower could topple at any moment."
Sergio Monni: "I love to visit the markets on the Lindengracht and Noordermarkt in the Jordaan district. You can find all sorts of things, from fresh produce to flowers and antiques. In between I like to take a coffee break at an old Dutch brown café, Thijsen, that serves Amsterdam's best apple pies. The nearby café, Winkel, on Noordermarkt is more famous for the apple pie, but if you don't want to be surrounded by tourists taking selfies, I warmly suggest Thijsen instead."
What's the coolest place for lunch?
Thijs Bakker: "Every now and then I have lunch at STORK. Located on the banks of the IJ-lake in the old depot of one of the Netherlands' largest steel companies, STORK serves the best fish in town. Trendy, hip and delicious."
Jesse Cohen: "Hop on a boat and head over to Pllek or Ceuvel in Noord. Both can be approached by boat, and let's face it, that's way cooler than a bus. Both places have amazing food, and vastly different philosophies. One being more hipster and the other more hippie. Both awesome!"
Sergio Monni: "I decided on a place with a spectacular view and affordable prices: Blue Amsterdam. Or if you are afraid of heights, go to 'Hanneke's Boom' – a bohemian beer garden style hangout overlooking the old Harbour and the Nemo science museum."
A must-see, without which a visit to Amsterdam is not perfect.
Thijs Bakker: "It may be a cliché but one cannot visit Amsterdam without visiting the Rijksmuseum. The Rembrandt's and Vermeer's are among the world's finest paintings and on a cultural level the absolute pearls of our city."
Jesse Cohen: Nothing. Amsterdam is a city that lends itself to relaxation and many people forget that. There are 78 museums and you'll never see all of them, so pick a few that you'd like to spend time in, or simply ignore them completely and sit in a café, read a book and people watch. Amsterdam has long had a fascinating cross-section of humanity, so feel free to take a seat and watch the world go by.
Sergio Monni: "Take a walk through the 17th-century canal rings. The corner of Prinsengracht and Brouwersgracht is especially beautiful. Don't forget to take a picture!"
Article was published in Nordica´s in-flight magazine Time Flies (summer 2017).