Travel: Alternative Amsterdam
January sucks, lets plan a get away
Amsterdam is a beautiful city, filled with cool bars, great museums and unique shops, much more than the Weed and Hookers image that people seem to think of when you say your going there, so here are 5 alternative places around the Dutch capital that you should visit, instead of spending time with the crowds of people, eating ‘special’ brownies and waiting in the ridiculously long line to the Ann Frank museum.
1. Spui Art Market
If you are looking for something interesting and unique to show for your time in the Netherlands, what could be better than a piece of artwork from one of the best artisan markets in the city, with upto 60 local painters, designers and photographers lining the streets every Sunday at the Spui Art Market, this is the place to go if you want to experience the creative side of the city and with new pieces appearing every week, you will discover something new and exciting every time, not to mention meet some interesting people.
2. The Dampkring Coffeeshop
You can’t visit Amsterdam without visiting one of it’s coffee shops, with literally thousands to choose from, it was a hard choice to pick just one, but a personal favourite of mine is the Dampkring Coffeeshop, situated near to the famous Amsterdam Flower Market, this is the perfect place to take a load off and experience something that draws teenagers from all over the world (if you get what I mean), due to the law, there is a separate counter for food/drink and anther for narcotics, with the Dampkring offering possibly one of the largest selections of marijuana that I have come across and has staff that are some of the most knowledgeable around, but don’t worry, if drugs aren’t your thing, it is also perfect for grabbing a drink and a bite to eat while exploring the back streets of the city.
Just like coffee shops, Amsterdam is filled with galleries and studios, but there are few that rival Foam, it’s possibly one of the best photographic museums I have visited, with different big name photographers in residence every three months, mixed in local pieces, something that has made Foam one of the leading galleries around, for photographic arts, with a shop where you can pick you some interesting images to take home and a cafe where you can site and enjoy your surroundings.
Nightlife is an important part of every city and Amsterdam is no different, with every genre catered for and usually located in a beautiful building, Malkweg (Milky Way in English) is no exception, situated right in the middle of Amsterdam’s clubbing district, it has fast become the place to go for live music and club nights, but it is also the place to go for independent cinema, dance and theatre productions and new media artwork, not bad seeing as it was set up by a group of artists in the 70’s and is run as a non-profit organisation, Melkweg is the place to go to see bands up close and personal, then dance the night away afterwards.
After a night out drinking, the last thing you want to do is a lot of walking, so instead why not spend some time enjoying one of the best views of the docks and the NEMO Science Centre, Hannekes Boom is surprisingly just off the beaten path for most tourists, this is the spot for the youth of Amsterdam, built and decorated in second hand materials, it is the home for alternative club nights, from jazz to vinyl nights, folk to rap and everything in between, Hannekes Boom is a hidden gem, plus their sandwiches ain’t half bad either, especially when you sat relaxing in the closest thing to a beer garden you will find in the Netherlands.