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


“Your money is no good here”

My mum was visiting me in De Baarsjes. We went grocery shopping (Levi and I are doing rehearsal Christmas dinner today) and our last stop was the Turkish corner market. I walked around, gathering things and putting them on the counter, to be paid in one go when I was ready. My mum got a bunch of spring onions and put them in a separate place on the counter.

I said: "Mum, don't be ridiculous, just put it with mine!" And she said: "No no, you don't have to pay for me, I'll get it myself." Incredulous, I looked at Yusuf, the proprietor, who had been following this exchange with interest. I walked back to the counter, put her onions with my fruit and veg and moved her away from the counter. She struggled, making to move to pay for her onions herself. I looked at Yusuf and said: "Yusuf! Say something!"

And Yusuf, my trusty friend, friendly but firmly told my mother: "I'm sorry madam, but your money is not valid here."


Edelwise Festival: quirky and fun

Edelwise Festival in Rembrandtpark, AmsterdamLast Summer I was working on my thesis at a company on the other side of Rembrandtpark. Every day I would cycle to work through this lovely park with its lovely ponds, trees and fields, and gorgeous views. But one day a big chunk of the park was fenced off, what was going on back there? Turned out Edelwise was organising its first festival, right in our back yard!

Edelwise hosts monthly drinks and a party at Het Sieraad in Amsterdam's hot borough in west: De Baarsjes. Arty, quirky and fun are good words to describe their activities. At these experimental Fridays you can expect anything from singing saws to a workshop learning how to play the ukelele to of course DJs and dancing later in the evening.

Edelwise festival extras
This year's festival promises fun stuff like ping pong, karaoke, and silent disco. Also, just like last year, you can tie the knot at Edelwise! Of course there's good food, and lots of music. DJs to be expected, among others: Dotan (live), La Pegatina (live), Kraak & Smaak and the ever fabulous (and newly married!) Joost van Bellen.

Fancy getting married for a day? You can at Edelwise Festival!

More info:
Edelwise Festival
26 July 2014
Rembrandtpark, Amsterdam

See you there?!

PS Very cool: there are (limited) free tickets available for people who live near Rembrandtpark. See the website for more info on free Edelwise tickets for neighbours.

Photo credits: Peter Bezemer


Favourite places in West

After well over a year of living in Amsterdam West, I've just realised that I haven't written a whole lot about the places I like to go here. That needs rectification! Because there are a lot of hip, new and happening places to go in West. Here's a list of favourites:

Cafe Zurich
Smack-dab on the edge of Mercatorplein. The exterior looks decidedly odd, it always makes me think of half a heart, complete with short bits of artery sticking out the top. But don't let that fool you. Inside it's lovely and homey, with a huge fireplace in the centre of the round space.

The staff is friendly, and the food is good (eventhough having dinner here is somewhat pricey). In the summer there's an enormous outside seating area. Also serves excellent lunch, with sandwiches and such for around 5 euro (affordable!).

Coffee and the menu at Bar Spek, Baarsjes, Amsterdam
Bar Spek
This is a new place on the Admiraal de Ruijterweg (right next to the bridge). There used to be another restaurant here (called 'In de Baars'), that we never got around to going to. But Bar Spek is fantastic. Levi and I have had dinner here and were welcomed in in the most friendly fashion.

The food is affordable and ok, if not overly fantastic. The pizzas are good though! Styling is fun and quirky, with a pig on the business cards ('Spek' meaning bacon) and the business ends of a few streetlanterns mounted on the wall.

This is a place a little bit off the beaten path. If you take the Vespuccistraat off the Jan Evertsenstraat, then take the first left. Cook is on the first corner, with a big outside seating area on both sides of the street. The inside has recently been enlarged. It used to be tiny, but now it's more than twice the size.

Cafe Cook in De Baarsjes, Amsterdam WestCook's got a great atmosphere, with a livingroom feel. None of the furniture matches, and the overall effect is homey, relaxed, ecclectic and clean. The staff is nice, but I've only ever had drinks here, I really want to go and have dinner here sometime soon!

Bar Baarsch
It's been a while since I've last been to this modern bar on the Jan Evertsenstraat. As a cafe it's incredibly busy on Fridays and Saturdays. I've had lunch and dinner here on occasion and it was good. I like that they have free wifi and games. It makes you feel welcome to feel at home.

Downside is that it can be too busy. I remember wanting to have dinner here on a Tuesday evening once, and not being able to find a place to sit.

So if you're in the neighbourhood: do drop by! There's plenty of good places to have lunch or dinner.

For info, go to their websites:
Café Zurich
Bar Spek
Bar Baarsch



Levi and I are buying a house. Well, it's not an actual house (this is Amsterdam, practically no one lives in an actual house), it's an apartment. But it has nearly twice as much floorspace as our present place. It has two bedrooms, an actual kitchen and a bathroom and there will be space enough for an actual table. I love it!

houseOur offer has been accepted and we are presently sorting out the financing. It's a place in the borough known as De Baarsjes. Not the poshest neighbourhood in Amsterdam, but up-and-coming and, due to Levi's recent change in jobs and the crisis that's been ruling the world since 2008, suddenly within our reach.

It's all gone so fast, I think that's one of the reasons why I have such a hard time wrapping my head around it. We decided to start looking only a few short weeks ago. Levi has been wanting to buy a house since forever. Recently he saw houses coming on the market for around E150.000,- and he figured we might as well take a look. We got mortgage advice, just to know if we could afford looking and as it turns out, the pieces fit.

We put in a bid for an apartment with two bedrooms, lots of light and a balcony facing west last Monday and we received word on the acceptance of the bid on Wednesday. It's exciting, lovely, GREAT! But also daunting, scary and huge.


On the ball: Club 8 in De Baarsjes

Inside Club 8 at the Admiraal de Ruyterstraat in AmsterdamThe very best place for a game of pool in Amsterdam is Club 8 on the Admiraal de Ruyterweg in De Baarsjes.

There are other places, of course, like Plan B on the Overtoom (opened its doors last year) and Final touch on the Prinsengracht. But Club 8 is the largest poolclub in Amsterdam (in the Netherlands?) and it has that authentic, gritty, roughly hewn feel that a poolclub ought to have in my opinion.

The staff has been changing a lot recently but oldtimer Ben is often on bar duty during the days. He makes a mean coffee and usually plays laidback old soul, jazz and funky music.

Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons there are house tournaments. On Friday and Saturday night the music is loud and calling ahead to reserve a able is advised, as there can be a waiting line of about an hour.

Club 8 has 25 pooltables, shows big soccergames on a big screen and offers free wifi for members. It also houses a restaurant section near the bar, has an inhouse smoking room and there is a nightclub on the third floor.

Club 8
Admiraal de Ruyterweg  56b
1056GL Amsterdam