12 Hidden Amsterdam Gems Spotted by Locals

We picked some of the most unique, local gems in Amsterdam, discovered by our very own team of Spotters!

A sustainable island

Image by De Ceuvel

De Ceuvel in Amsterdam-Noord is actually a camp, a technological one, where research in urban sustainability and circular systems is done and implemented. The area that it is now home to was a former highly polluted industrial site, a “forbidden chemical garden”. Luckily, it was saved by De Metabolic Lab!

They host workshops, documentary screenings, music, clothing swaps, markets, festivals, and more. Afterward, you can take a break in their cafe, where you can find ingredients from their greenhouse on your plate.

If you’re interested in sustainability, De Ceuvel is your amusement park in Amsterdam, if you’re not, oh well, it’s just a place that will save the world! — Ana V. Martins

Spicy knickknacks

Image by Stephen van den Hoek

All of you who have tried the Dutch cuisine can agree with me that the Dutch kitchen isn’t a spicy one. However, at De Peperbol (The Pepperbulb) on the famous Albert Cuyp market, you can find the Dutch version of a spice market.

It’s reminiscent of the spice markets you can find in other parts of the world, with bags of spices in all different colors, smells from all over the world and roots in shapes you’ve never seen before! Besides this, they sell a variety of old Dutch candy, herbal teas, and fragrant oils.

Step inside this little place and be surprised by the wide availability of spices and all the other things you didn’t expect you’d find here. — Stephen van den Hoek

A green day out

Image by Hortus Botanicus

Living in a city can cause you to miss a little bit of green from time to time. That’s when I head for the Hortus Botanicus in the eastern part of Amsterdam! In this beautiful botanical garden, you can find a variety of exotic plants and trees divided per original habitat.

Exploring here will not take you longer than an hour, but it is perfect to combine with a nice lunch and some exploration of Amsterdam-East. Every once in while the garden organizes themed guided tours, and children can entertain themselves during a scavenger hunt!

It’s a wonderful place to just get away from the hustle and bustle for a short while. — Felicia Peerenboom

Ping-pong nights

Image by amsterdive

Whenever I take frowned faces to a Ping-Pong night at OT301 in Amsterdam, their frowns turn into grins in a split second! Just imagine thirty people around a ping pong table, beers in hand, taking turns to strike the ball until someone misses or is unsuccessful at their shot, and leaves the circle until a winner emerges.

There is a bit of an underground vibe at OT301, a former squat that became a legalized cultural association. They also host a variety of other cool events like live concerts, cinema, clubbing nights, and workshops.

Ping Pong Night, every Tuesday evening, will always remain a classic in my heart! — Ana V. Martins

Dutch detox

Image by Sauna Deco

If you want to experience Dutch culture all the way, you should consider going to a sauna. And if you want to go to a beautiful one, I recommend visiting Sauna Deco! You might have guessed it: this is an art-deco experience. Once you’re inside it will feel like you’re back in the 1920s.

The Dutch are not known for their puritanism and, historically, Amsterdam has been the place to break free. So, do not bring your swimming gear with you. Over here, it goes without saying that saunas are naked. Don’t worry, nobody cares!

Take a dive or a cold shower afterward and you’ll feel completely recharged! — Ana V. Martins

Local art, food, and fashion

Image by Sunday Market

Every first Sunday of the month, on the grounds of the Westergasfabriek, you can visit the Sunday Market. Here, local designers, craftsmen, and artists show off their fashion, art, furniture and other oddities. Entrance is free and you can find the market stalls both inside and outside all around the Westergasfabriek.

It is a great place if you like unique designs and like to support local artists and merchants. walk around from stand to stand to see what catches your eye and maybe walk away with some unique items!  Also, there is food. Which is very important to me.

To me, the personal story of the items I buy is important, which is why I love going here! — Sentia van der Mark

Vintage mantiques

Image by Tommy Page

In the past few years vintage clothing has experienced quite the revival. My experience is that the nicest pieces are mostly women’s clothing, and therefore I’m sharing Tommy Page with you! It has the most distinct and well-curated selection of vintage menswear in town.

His wide range of suits, accessories and other fashion-related items make it worth the visit every single time. Since I discovered his shop I have bought several unique items, including a French pilot’s jacket from the 60s. Tommy knows his classics and has a proper feel for historic context, which makes the experience even greater.

Going to Tommy’s? Tell him I said hi. — Gerben van der Zwaard

Listen to monkeys sing

Image by Bart van Grevenhof

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, what does that mean? Well, when I come down the Nijlpaardenbrug at 8:00 in the morning I hear the monkeys and birds from the Artis Zoo wake up. It’s such a nice thing to hear yet strange in a place like Amsterdam.

I pass the Nijlpaardenbrug, which literally translates to Hippo bridge, every day on my way to work. It’s not the most comfortable bridge because it’s quite steep, but somehow, with the sounds of the animals in the background, it makes my commute worthwhile. If you walk by the water starting from the bridge you will see zebras and giraffes grazing.

The area surrounding the bridge is a nice place to explore for an afternoon after an early morning listening to the animals sing! — Bart van Grevenhof

A funeral museum

Image by Tot Zover

Once a while ago, on a particularly sunny day, I took out my bike for a ride. This is when I remembered a museum my friend told me about, Tot Zover (So Long), a one-of-a-kind funeral museum. It’s a rather unique place, located in De Nieuwe Ooster, the Dutch cemetery, in the former house of the funeral warden.

I visited an exhibition about Coffin Product Photography. The open conversation about mortality might not be for everyone (or is it?) but I very much appreciated the light -and sometimes even respectfully humorist-tone of the exhibition.

There is nothing like it. Literally, as this is the only Dutch funeral museum in existence. — Sentia van der Mark

Europe’s first air hockey bar

Image by Kara Lilley

When I heard that the owner of one of my favorite spots, was opening up a new concept, I couldn’t wait to go. The new spot, called Puck, is a bar with multiple air hockey tables, this coincidentally is my favorite game! The place is really spacious with high ceilings, lots of tables, a cool and colorful interior, and an old-school hip hop playlist.

the main attraction – a game room with 16 different kinds of air hockey tables. Curved edges, multiplayer, different kinds of pucks – they seem to have it all. You can get your tokens at the bar for €1 each or six for €5, pretty simple right. They serve snacks and drinks as well to relax in between games.

All in all, Puck has everything you need for a fun night out with friends! — Kara Lilley

Villa spotting in the city

Image by Stephen van den Hoek

On the left side of the Vondelpark, you will find the Van Eeghenstraat and the Van Eeghenlaan which are filled with the villas I fantasized about when I first moved to Amsterdam. They are grande, huge, beautiful and also really expensive. Walking around these streets will surely work on your fantasy as well.

Though most of the villas are now offices, the thought of these mansions once housing the rich of Amsterdam is mesmerizing. When walking around, be sure to take a turn in the Cornelis Schuytstraat for some window shopping and a cup of coffee!

Though still a fantasy, the Van Eeghenstraat is a great street to imagine what could have been. — Stephen van den Hoek

Not-so-busy Amsterdam charm

Image by Gerben van der Zwaard

One of the best features of Amsterdam is definitely its unique architecture. Unfortunately, all the beautiful places in town are always crowded. Luckily, there are some places, like the Westelijke Eilanden (the Western Islands) are still undiscovered and can still be explored without the mass of people.

They are situated within walking distance from the Central Station but are very peaceful and they might have the most beautiful old warehouses you’ll see around. You can go for a quick peek and a snapshot, but could also get lost in its small streets if you want. There are lots of benches so you can just relax and enjoy the weather for a while (If it allows it).

Here you can enjoy the glory of Amsterdam’s architecture in peace and quiet! — Gerben van der Zwaard

For more great local spots check out our Amsterdam city blog!

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)