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


Queensday, Instagram and Amsterdam

I discovered Instagram for Android only last week and I'm loving it. On 30 April, Queensday, Instagram and Amsterdam met in a friendly fashion, resulting in these great photos, that I'd like to share with you!

View of the canals and Westertoren in Amsterdam, Queensday 2012 Levi and I rode our bicycles to the Rozengracht and parked near the iconic Westertoren. The weather in the Netherlands has been very bad of late, with lots of rain and low temperatures (considering it's Spring, after all), but today of all days the weather is gorgeous. It's a lovely day to be out and about!

Walking through the Jordaan on Queensday, 2012We went for a stroll though the Jordaan, walking along the canals and the vrijmarkt.

On the vrijmarkt in Amsterdam, Queensday 2012The vrijmarkt (literally translated "free market") is something that you only see once a year. Normally, anyone who wants to trade wares in the Netherlands has to have a license. Except on Queensday, when all the citizens get a frew pass! So everyone and their granny gets everything they don't want anymore from their attic and claims a spot on the sidewalk to hawk his old crap.

It brings out the merchant in the Dutch. They sell their unwanted shoes, crockery, old books, cds, knicknacks and even old videos! It doesn't really matter how much it goes for, because it creates room in your own cupboards and you get money that you would otherwise not have had. As the Dutch say: "Wat de gek ervoor geeft" (loosely translated: whatever the crazy person thinks is worth it).

I love the vrijmarkt, as it feels like looking for hidden treasure among people's unwanted things.

Sitting on the dock of the bay in Amsterdam, Queensday 2012At the Westerstraat we turned around and headed back towards our bikes. We had the best fried fish I've ever tasted, from a fish stall on the Rozengracht. It was hot, crispy, salty, moist on the inside and very, very tasty. We ate it while watching the boats on the canal, just like all these people here.

The canals in Amsterdam are crammed on Queensday, 2012And just look at all these people on the water! It's swarming with all kinds of boats, big and small, old army issue and small rubber boats. There are queues at the bridges, where the canals narrow. Many of them play loud music and fire confetti. People are partying their hearts out on the water. It's Levi's dream to spend Queensday on a boat. Maybe next year!


Raw Materials on the Rozengracht

There's this store that we've passed by half a dozen times (must have been Sundays, because the store was always closed), that we've been dying to visit: Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam.

Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam, photo courtesy of Raw Materials


Last Saturday we were on a mission for all kinds of house-related things in Amsterdam. It was cold and slippery outside because of the snow, but off we went, on our bicycles to the Nine Little Streets, the Gamma behind Westerpark and more. As we were riding our bikes on the Rozengracht, we noticed that Raw Materials was open and went in for a look at last.

Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam, photo courtesy of Raw MaterialsThe first thing I noticed was how gorgeous all the materials are. Raw, unpolished, tactile, pure. I loved it! The second thing I noticed, was how enormous the store is. Much, much larger than I had ever expected, judging from the outside. Filled with furniture, leatherware, homeware, decorations and more.

Third thing of note: the prices. I know, it's a trendy store in the heart of Amsterdam, of course it is not going to be cheap, but some of the items were very pricey indeed. Or maybe it's just my fault, for wanting so many things that it became too much for my bank account to bear?

Levi and I walked out of the store with an old Belgian school chair in an lovely seagreeny-blue colour (sorry, best I could do colour-name wise).


Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam, photo courtesy of Raw MaterialsRaw Materials
Rozengracht 231
1016 NA Amsterdam

The Netherlands

Closed on Sundays


All photo's courtesy of




Authentic Italian flavours at Mazzo

Tomorrow I am having my wisdom teeth taken out. It's my first time at the dental surgeon and it scares the living daylights out of me. So, to celebrate my last days of being able to eat solid food, my friend Matt and I had dinner at Mazzo on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam.

Mazzo on the Rozengracht in AmsterdamI've been wanting to go to Mazzo ever since Matt sent me an article on it on The Cool Hunter. It is a huge place, with an industrial and modern look, and yet a very homely feel about it. The enormous Chesterfield on the left wall looks inviting, but I'd advise against choosing to sit there, as it makes eating off of the low table a challenge.

Antipasti misti at Mazzo in AmsterdamWe started with the antipasti misti, which turned out to be a lovely big plate full of bruschette, cuts of meat and salads. We shared everything and enjoyed most of it (I especially loved the bruschette and the small pulpo salad).

Then we both had a pasta. Matt chose the Arabiata, I had the Carbonara. The pastas come in two sizes: small for around E9,- and large for around E13,-. Very tasty and good value too! It's also very Italian: the pasta is not smothered in sauce, like the Dutch tend to make their pastas.

Mazzo's signature Pizza MazzoLastly, Matt and I shared a pizza Mazzo. It's the one with buffalo mozzarella, lardo (baconfat), rocket and truffle tapenade. The bottom was thin and crisp, somewhat like the romans like their pizza. The topping was fresh, rich and gorgeous. We had thought to try a few desserts too, but it turned out we were full after the pizza. Next time, Mazzo, next time!

There were so many things on the menu that I'd love to try. A cold pizza Primavera for one, Stuzzichini (fried nibbles, like croquettes and stuffed olives) and the toasted tramezzino from the lunch menu. I definitely need to come back here!

Rozengracht 114
020 3446402