AMSTERDAM CENTRE

Before you embark on your Amsterdam exploration by bike, please remember that the Dutch use the cycling lanes also for regular traffic, including travelling to work. So please maintain the basic traffic rules. Keep right; do not ignore red lights; when turning, indicate your direction by a show of hand (left or right); only cycle on the red asphalt lanes.
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Hey! Nice to meet you!

I’m Cameron Bavay, a student of law at the University of Amsterdam. I love to read books on psychology in my spare time, as well as visiting museums. Apart from that, I like to travel, enjoy some good food and discovering new hotspots.

 

This year, Casa has made it possible for students to stay during summer, because of Covid-19. I really appreciate that I don’t have to move out – as we usually do during summer – so I could enjoy my summer in Amsterdam. I’ve had a good summer, mostly thanks to the roof terrace (GAPP), where I’ve also had a couple of morning workouts! That’s what I like about Casa: it combines the luxurious suite life in a hotel, with student life.

 

Casa is not the only place in Amsterdam where I’ve lived in. I’ve also stayed in the Jordaan, the Staatslieden area (near Westerpark) and the Hoofddorplein area (near Vondelpark). I also know the Pijp pretty well. You could say I’m a traveller in my own city. For today, I’d love to take you on a trip around my former neighbourhood in Jordaan. I’ll tell you what landmarks you absolutely have to see and show you where you can enjoy some wonderful food and drinks.

The Start

My Amsterdam adventure started in the Jordaan. The neighbourhood is one of the best-known districts in Amsterdam: partially because of the Anne Frank House, which is a wonderful museum that you’ve probably already heard of, but also because of its pubs, courtyards and narrow alleys.

I’d recommend you to discover this cosy neighbourhood by foot, or when cycling slowly. That way, you can optimally enjoy the serenity and beauty of it. You’ll find that serenity especially in the small alleyways and hidden courtyards. You should go on a hunt for those courtyards, such as the Hofje van Brienen, Zon’s Hofje, Suykerhofje and Raepenhofje. But be sure to do that in silence, because people still live around these courtyards: you could say it’s their garden.

First stop. Stoll through the Noordermarkt and treat yourself with a good meal

The Jordaan is traditionally a residential neighbourhood for workers. You can still see these roots during Saturday’s farmer market, at Noordermarkt square. I’d recommend you to stroll across the various stands, buy some good food and connect with the friendly locals. If you enjoy handmade apple pie, you should pay a visit to Winkel 43 at Noordermarkt square – I’ve had the best apple pie in my life over there. If you’d rather enjoy some other pastry or well-prepared sandwiches, head to Le Petit Deli.

If you’d like to enjoy an easy, affordable lunch for take-away, head to Smoked Crispy Bacon Sandwich House. Hans, the owner, will prepare his best sandwiches for you, with prices between 3 and 4 euros. If you’d rather rest a bit while having your lunch seated, head to Kessens  for soups and their classic ‘Toast Skagen’. Alternatively, D&A Hummus Bistro has amazing Middle Eastern dishes and hummus. Both are close to Anne Frank House.

Second stop. Time for a special evening drink with a view

When the sun’s out, definitely head past Bar Waterkant near Elandsgracht. They’ve got a huge terrace at the waterside with a chill vibe. You can observe the boats passing by, order some beers together with a large bowl of nacho’s and before you know it, your day has passed already. Time flies!

You can also have a lovely dinner in Jordaan. The best restaurants are in Westerstraat, Tweede Anjeliersdwarsstraat, Tuinstraat and Tweede Egelantiersdwarsstraat. My personal favorites are the Italian place La Florita and the Mexican restaurant Rosario Cocina Mexicana. Make sure you’re had enough food before you discover Amsterdam nightlife: close your day by heading into one of the traditional pubs in Jordaan, or head to Chin Chin Club if you’re rather in for a dance.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ‘life tour’ through Amsterdam. Oh, and I have a great last tip for you: Van Stapele Koekmakerij in the city centre. No visit to Amsterdam is complete without trying these fresh-baked cookies. Don’t hesitate when you stumble upon a rather long line, because they have the best cookies you’ll ever have. Thank me later for this life-changing experience!   Hotspots from other students along the route
  • Our 10th floor students recommend brewery De Prael. “Amazing beer at a fantastic location, with a cosy – ‘gezellige’ – ambiance inside.”
  • And our 9th floor students recommend cycling across the Magere Brug in the centre. “Between the busy streets, you have a wonderful view on the Amstel river, the old canal houses, the little boats and – in dark – all the lights that shine,” says one student. “It reminds me of how wonderful of a city Amsterdam is.”

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