Amsterdam City Blog restaurants, shops, people and life in Amsterdam


Former fire brigade HQ to become hostel

A few days ago word was spread that the former headquarters of the Amsterdam fire brigade on the Weesperzijde has been sold, and will be turned into a hostel. The complex is 5400 (!) square meters and is situated near the Amstel. Just look at the building, doesn't it look absolutely perfect to be hostel?

Location is also quite good. Within walking distance from the popular Club Trouw and Oosterpark. Club Trouw (open 'til 2015) is one of Amsterdam's most exciting clubs, with its raw atmosphere and excellent sound. For those that crave highbrow culture more than dance, the new hostel is also about 1 kilometer from the lovely Royal Theatre Carré (see pic below) and the Hermitage.

Royal Theatre Carré on the Amstel in Amsterdam

On the other side of the Amstel there's the Pijp, and the small but lovely Sarphatipark. Did you know that Mr Sarphati, alderman and doctor in the 1800s, was responsible for the abundance of parks in the Dutch capital? He also wanted to up the city's chique by building the majestic Amstel Hotel. Also within walking distance of the new hostel, a little ways up the Amstel.

Exploring Amsterdam East by bike
If you rent a bike, the location is perfect for an exploration of the east of the capital! The lively Dappermarkt, Indische Buurt, and lovely Park Frankendael are all within easy cycling distance. Or visit the Royal Artis Zoo and the Hortus Botanicus.

And when all that exploring has made you hungry, hop back on your bike and have dinner at Pompstation, a restaurant located in an industrial building, that still houses the waterpumps (if it rains really hard, you can feel the pumps rumbling beneath the floors!). If Pompstation is a ways over your budget, a great alternative is a classy burger from Burgermeester, across the street from Artis.

Build on the hostel is to start in 2014. Can't wait that long? See hostelworld for hostels in Amsterdam now!


Any given Tuesday

Just thought I'd share one of the many, many reasons why I love Amsterdam: look at this photo. Just a random Tuesday evening in the Spring, when the light is starting to last longer. Spring evening in Amsterdam, Prinsengracht


Tuesday night scavenging in Amsterdam

I go to school on Tuesdays and come home late at night. On one of these Tuesdays I noticed a white van in our street and two people on the curb, checking out some stuff that was left there. Maybe I should clarify: Wednesday is garbage day in our neighbourhood. Not just regular garbage, but furniture and big stuff gets hauled off by the city workers.

So on Tuesday nights people leave their old furniture, tables, chairs, laundry racks, refrigerators, tvs, sofas, etc on the stoep. And other people rummage through the things that are there, to see if there's anything good they'd like to haul back home. Tuesday nights in Amsterdam are like a big garage sale. And some perfectly good things are left at times!

It's one of the things I love about living in Amsterdam. Truth be told, if I had a bigger house, I'd have a wide range of different chairs by now, the cutest set of drawers, etc. But as we don't have any room, all I've salvaged so far is one simple wooden chair.

But I'd never heard of people driving around town in vans, purposefully looking for things to take away! I know I shouldn't be surprised, not everyone is as haphazard about these things as I am. I take it as I go. If I'm lucky, I will run into something, if not, then I guess it was not meant to be. I only just now realise that there are people who go about Tuesday nights on the stoep in a very businesslike manner. I understand it, but it's just so... unromantic!

Tuesday night scavengers with white van in Amsterdam (red circle is where the scavengers are, white circle is around the refridgerator in question)


A nearly New Year’s resolution

I have so many ideas for blogposts, and little time to write them. Therefore I've decided to make them shorter and just cut to the chase! I figure I'll only be doing my readers a favour.

In a way, from here on out, you'll be experiencing Amsterdamcityblog 2.0

Filed under: info, life No Comments

Getting wifi at the OBA

A few weeks ago I posted about the OBA, because it is such a nice place to work. I'm there now. Last time I mentioned that the OBA offers free wifi, but I hadn't found out how it worked yet. Well, I've got it (this post is my witness), but getting it to work was a drag!

First, you are required to log on to a specific hotspot which only lets you go to  specific registration site (ask the people at reception, they will tell you more details). You register yourself. You go back to reception and get your registration activated. You think you're there? Not by a long shot!

counter on floor 2 where one can obtain a connectivity guide (only in Dutch)You are now required to go to floors 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 (Dutch floor counting system, as the numbers on the floors are printed on each floor, it seems easier to use the same numbering), find a round white counter (with lots of computer screens on it), and ask someone (the employees wear an OBA uniform) for the Connectivity Guide.

The guide is in Dutch (I asked, but for operating systems Vista and up, there is no English guide), but if you follow the illustrations in the seven-page documeny precisely, down to the very last checkbox, at the end of the long and arduous journey there lies the internet, secure and well. Of course, you can always ask one of the OBA people to help you.

Now, when I mentioned the wifi at the OBA last time I wrote, I had no idea it would be this much work to get connected. This post serves as a warning for all those who enter here and want to use the internet. But it is also a reassurance for the non-geeks among you: if I can get it to work, then surely, so can you!


Great place to work: OBA near Central Station

entrance of the OBA (public library) building near Amsterdam Central StationAmsterdam's new public library building  (Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, also known as the OBA) east of the Central Station is a modern building in glass, wood and concrete. The inside is mostly white, airy and open.

The design makes the place feel like a store, only you are not allowed to permanently keep the things that you take home. Eventually, you will have to come back here to return your borrowed books, cds, dvds or even sheet music. But that is no punishment.

This is not just a library. This is a place to be, where you can peruse the extensive magazine collection, surf the internet on the free computers, enjoy the view from the terrace on the 7th floor or have a snack, drink, lunch or dinner in the La Place restaurant (also top floor).

If you're lucky, you can enjoy an impromptu piano concert, like I did, the very first time I visited the OBA. Someone was playing amazing jazz on the piano near the entrance on the ground floor. It gave my visit a kind of magical feel.

My tip? If you're looking for a quiet place to work, away from your own home (for whatever reason), the OBA has plenty of space. And afterwards, you can head out to Vapiano (read my review in the restaurants section) for an excellent pizza, for an even more excellent price (they start from E5,75).

The central library, as this branch of the OBA is called, is open every day of the week, from 10am until 10pm. It's supposed to have free wifi too, but you need a password (probably obtainable at the reception desk on the ground floor?) to make it work.

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam
Oosterdokskade 143
1011 DL Amsterdam


The best of South East Asia in a nutshell

view from Utopia, Luang Prabang, LaosAfter a tour of eight weeks in South East Asia, visiting Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Levi and I put our feet firmly on Dutch soil again last Friday.

Of course there is much too much to tell about those eight weeks, so I am going to cut it short (this is, after all, a blog about Amsterdam) and tell you only about the very best finds.

1. Mediterraneo in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is run by a true Italian and also has a place in Hue. Levi and I had the most amazing pizza's here (that tomato sauce... so tasty, sweet, intense. The best ever) and an unforgettable vegetable lasagne. It was a far cry from the usual stodgy fare, it was light and surprising and utterly delicious. In case you ever find yourself in Hanoi, do yourself a favour and visit this original Italian place on 23 Nha Tho Street.

2. Utopia in Luang Prabang, Laos. The bamboo deck, covered in comfy cushions and low sidetables, is suspended over a small valley overlooking the Nam Khan river with gorgeous sunset views. Catering to traveller's taste, the food is good, if not exceptional. This is the spot to go to for relaxing, unwinding, some lovely freshly pressed orange juice and an exciting eveningtime match of beach volleyball. It may be a bit of a walk (Ban Aphay, opposite Wat Visoun, follow the UTOPIA signs to the river), but paradise is waiting when you get there.

3. Yew's place on Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. While it is hard to find a passable latte or cappuccino on Phi Phi (for some reason they do not seem to know the difference between the two), Yew does know his latte from his cappuccino and makes strong, but flavoursome coffee, complete with lovely latte art (leaves or hearts in the gorgeous fluffy but firm foam).

The place is in fact a clothesstore, but the clothes in the store are well overpriced (as nearly everything on touristic Ko Phi Phi is). The coffee however is very reasonably priced, although there is no seating space (we had ours in paper takeaway cups on the steps of the store while chatting with Yew about coffee). Location is in Ton Sai village, towards Long Beach, near the noisy Apache Club. Look out for the grey espresso machine in the storefront.


Off on holiday

You may have noticed it's been quiet here this week Well, that's because I'm off on a holiday!

Levi and I are travelling South East Asia at the moment. We'll be back in Amsterdam at the end of June. I'll pick up where I left off then!

See you soon


Amscityblog now on twitter

Sometimes a tweet is just faster. So staying tuned is easier when you follow me on twitter. Short was best, they said, so is where I am at.

But I only just started an account a short while ago. Does anyone know how to add people to your favourites? And how do you send a direct message?


Free wifi in Amsterdam

free wifiLooking for a comprehensive list of free wifi in Amsterdam? I found a great one here: It even has a map that shows you where the hotspots are exactly.

Coffee Company and Bagels and Beans are the biggest contributors to this list, but I know McDonalds offers free wifi too, they say so in their tv commercials. The Douwe Egberts Koffie Café in Oud Zuid has it too, as does Homemade in the centre, near the Kalverstraat and the Leidsestraat.

So here are my additions to the list:

name where area
Coffee@last Koninging Wilhelminaplein 60-62 1062KS
Dish Overtoom 255 1054HW
Douwe Egberts Koffie Café Cornelis Schuytstraat 50 1071JL
Friday Next Overtoom 31 1054HB
Homemade Singel 447 1012WP
Burger King Nieuwendijk 218 1012MX
Burger King Isolatorweg 25 1014AS
Burger King Reguliersbreestraat 15-17 1017CL
Burger King Leidseplein 7 1017PR
Burger King Zuidplein 10 1077XV
Burger King Julianaplein 1 1097DN
Burger King Hoogoordplein 604 1101DS
Burger King Tafelbergweg 4 1105BN
McDonalds 1ste van Swindenstraat 68-70 1093GH
McDonalds Albert Cuyp 75 1072CN
McDonalds Damrak 8 1012LG
McDonalds Damrak 92 (McDonald's Express) 1012LP
McDonalds Kalverstraat 45-47 1012NZ
McDonalds Kinkerstraat 192-198 1053EL
McDonalds Leidsestraat 97 1017NZ
McDonalds Muntplein 9 1017CK
McDonalds Nieuwendijk 212 1012MX
McDonalds Nieuwendijk 70 1012MB
McDonalds Noord: IJdoornlaan 1001 1035MZ
McDonalds Osdorpplein 126 1068EN
McDonalds Spaklerweg 38 1096BA
McDonalds Z.O. Amsterdamse Poort: Bijlmerplein 368 1102DK
McDonalds Z.O. Muntbergweg 16-18 1101ED

I'll expand the list as I discover more hotspots. Let me know if you have any to add!

edit April 1 2010: I've added the addresses for all the Burger Kings in Amsterdam, except the one at the Central Station. Be advised: eventhough I've read they have wifi in the media, I haven't found any information about this on the BK website.

edit April 4 2010: I discovered yesterday that Friday Next has wifi too!

edit April 6 2010: Dish on the corner Overtoom and Gerard Brandtstraat offers it too.