I’m Dutch and I’ve visited Amsterdam many times. I even lived there part-time for a few years. But the city of Amsterdam surprises me even today. Once you leave the traditional tourist paths and go where the Dutch go, you will find these amazing little café’s and food shacks, fun street artists and it might even revive your childhood joy.
Hop on the ferry then take another ferry, it’s a free fun boat ride
Ever took those little ferries departing from behind Central Station? You should. They take you to those places hardly any tourist go and you get a free boat-ride over the Noord Holland Canal. Seeing Amsterdam from the water is a pleasure. Away from the traffic, the multitudes roaming the city and the endless bikes, taking a boat trip in Amsterdam is like an oasis in the desert.
Pick any ferry you like, one will go straight across to the other side what the Dutch call ‘North’. A nice restaurant awaits you at the landing and you can visit Eye, the film institute.
But pick a ferry like for example to NDSM Island and you pass by some great architecture, magnificent buildings and go all the way across the harbor to a whole new Amsterdam. Great restaurant with a waterfront terrace and lots of student housing.
From there take a ferry back to Westerdoksdijk and you might end up like me at La Tete.
La Tete at Stenen Hoofd give you the beach feeling in the middle of the city centre
La Tete gives me a great tropical summer vibe. Music, lots of informal places to hang out and it is a food shack to the max. You get your food served in all kinds of tableware: from modern jars to grandma’s saucers. But it gives that tiny spot in the middle of the big city a ring to it that speaks of ‘slow’, ‘gentle’ and words like mindful and nature pop up as does the word ‘beach’. There is no beach, only the water of the river IJ and it’s stone banks. La Tete is built on “Het Stenen Hoofd” (the stone head) a sandy, empty spot on town not yet developed and mainly used to walk the dog, escape your apartment on a summer day and festivals. And now there is this food shack.
They accept bank cards and credit cards, no WiFi, that made my digital nomad heart a little sad since it would make a great place to work. But then again: Who wants to think of work when you have such great waterfront views and that great beach feeling. (The ultimate digital nomad trap, right?) (Note: This post is from 2015, not sure if La Tete is still open, the views are still worth the ferry trip through!)
Or walk from Westerdoksdijk to the Haarlemmerstraat. A fun shopping street in the heart of old Amsterdam!
Street artist and Bubble Fun
Like I said: Amsterdam can take you by surprise. Sit on a terrace at Rembrandt Square or the Leidse Square and have musicians playing, watch capoeira dancers (or fighters?) or a magician performing. Turn a corner and discover great places.
I lived there for a few years and still, the city opens up new parts and sometimes even blows me away. Like when I approached the Dam Square and saw hundreds of soap bubbles floating on the wind while the sun was painting them with colors.
Where did they come from……..? Watch the video and discover the magic of the 1000-bubbles after a short impression of a ferry crossing.
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.