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In the neighbourhood - Amsterdam
There are many reasons to visit Amsterdam: the canals, the bustling city life, the parks and the many museums, including the Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum. The latter reopened in April 2013, after almost 10 years of renovation. It’s in the borough known as Amsterdam-South, which is a great area to explore. Here are our tips on how to make a day – or a weekend – out of this culturally rich neighbourhood.
After a decade-long closure and a €375 million refurbishment, one of the world’s greatest museums is finally open to the public again. Inaugurated in 1885, the Rijksmuseum houses more than 8,000 pieces of art, spread over 80 rooms. It offers a chronological journey through the largest collection of treasures in the country’s cultural history, from the early Middle-Ages to Mondrian. One of the highlights is Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, the only work to remain in its original location, designed by architect Cuypers in the late 19th century. Other renowned pieces by Dutch masters include Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait and designer Gerrit Rietveld’s famous chair.
1 Museumstraat, open daily 9.00-17.00
Avoid queues by buying tickets in advance at www.rijksmuseum.nl
Named after the Dutch poet Joost Vondel, this vast park is Amsterdam’s green lung. It’s home to a varied fauna and flora, with around 15 kinds of trees and all sorts of animals including squirrels, parakeets and small water salamanders. Escape from the busy streets and unwind with a stroll, a bike ride or a picnic. There are a couple of cafes in the park, and on sunny days, you can grill your lunch in the designated barbecue areas.
On PC Hooftstraat you’ll find a mix of chain stores and high-end brands, from Massimo Dutti and Zadig & Voltaire to Chanel, Chopard and Valentino. At number 142 you’ll find BlueBlood, an Amsterdam-based denim brand founded in 2002. Expect sturdy denim trousers, jackets and shirts for men and women, but also non-denim items such as T-shirts and knitwear. BlueBlood also stocks some other brands, including the very popular statement T-shirts by Dutch designer Zoe Karssen.
142 PC Hooftstraat
For a lunch on the go or a picnic, get your ready-made sandwiches, bread, sweet and savoury treats from this bakery chain. With a baking history going back to 1910 and a royal appointment, this is the right place to discover Amsterdam’s best bakes. A few suggestions: the ham and cheese grilled croissant and the tiger bread. Their gingerbread topped with crushed hazelnuts is the perfect souvenir to take home.
23 & 162 Van Baerlestraat
Amsterdam is proud of its Heineken brewery and the green logo can be seen everywhere. If you’re after a different selection of beer, head to Café Gollem (pictured) where a range of over 200 beers
awaits you. The cafe has been open since 1974, when it was the first to serve foreign beers in Amsterdam. Discover some local brews, but also some of the best Belgian bottles.
Bourbon Street & Alto Jazz Café
These two Amsterdam jazz clubs are in the busy little streets behind the Rijksmuseum. They stage live music every day, by local jazz bands. Artists such as Sting, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen have all found their way to Bourbon Street for a night of gigs and whiskey drinking. Like the Rijksmuseum, Alto has just re-opened after renovation, but its cosy interior remains unchanged.
This top hotel in the old Sweelinck Conservatorium opened at the end of 2011. Architecture by the hand of Daniel Knuttel from the late 19th century meets contemporary Italian design by Piero Lissoni inside, where 129 rooms, a fine dining restaurant, a bar, a brasserie and a holistic wellbeing centre cater for every guest’s needs. From €339 per person, per night.
27 Van Baerlestraat