Amsterdam Light Festival Presents

In case you’ve been browsing around Amsterdam and wondering what those beautiful colorful art installations around the city are, we’re happy to share the news with you. Our cozy city is proud to host the fifth annual Light Festival that celebrates art, light and festive holidays. As a matter of fact this year edition celebrates Amsterdam itself with a new theme “A view on Amsterdam” with city being the canvas for artists. These talented creators bring on new ideas on its look and interpret various visions on Amsterdam through their stunning art pieces.imgp2727-4huge-1448445450

Water Colors

What are the water colors of the canals of our charming town? Well, this season (all the way until 22 January 2017!) the water becomes alive with all the rainbow colors (including the rainbow installation itself). Some of the artworks can be seen from the shore, like Wolfert’s dog that marked the foundation of Amsterdam according to the legend or the nest that inspires organic architecture and reevaluation of the idea of home. Other pieces can be admired better from the water, for example illusive three-dimensional houses, which turn out to be just unbelievable flat lines of lights or the dangerous love zone that underlines the contemporary status of love. The most magnificent pieces are the brightest colorful tulips that you can ever imagine (and right in the middle of the canal!), the flower strip full of lilacs on the water and of course the brightly lit bicycles that are falling into the water as a symbol of 15 000 bikes that gets fished out of Amsterdam canals annually.


We chose KINboat tour

We were lucky to be on the Amsterdam Light Festival tour with KINboat that impressed us with their laid-back guides and a nice vibe on board. It is a friendly company that operates smaller boats allowing for a more personal experience and communication with like-minded people.  So not only you get to enjoy an amazing view of the canals and light art, but also meet local guides who are passionate about their city, ready to crack a funny joke and tell a personal story. If you’re a bit more introverted and find communication with strangers difficult, KINboat will melt the ice with a cup of hot gluhwein or chocolate. Yes, alcohol is included! And it makes the perception of night Amsterdam even better.kinboat31

How great it was to discover that the boat had a 360 degrees overview of the water and leaning Dutch houses dancing in the lights of the art pieces. We could choose between inside seating and being covered against wind and rain or being outside on the deck with a spot for taking perfect pictures.  In addition, it happened to be a silent 100% electric and green boat, which made our experience more environmentally friendly and sustainable. We couldn’t believe that the tour was over, as 75 minutes flew by making us want to come back and explore more with KINboat guys.fountain

Fancy a walk?

If you’re not into looking at Amsterdam from below the ground level (although it’s stunning!), then Illuminade is the right part of the Light Festival for you. Enjoy a long evening walk around the magical city admiring the outdoor exhibition presented to you by local and international artists. 23 light art pieces are waiting for you to see Amsterdam in a different dimension (sometimes you can even walk through them!). This year walking route’s theme is biomimicry that brings nature to solve problems of humans. The best news is that you can enjoy this charming walk for FREE till 8 January 2017, just grab your map and good company.memories

Watch the green flying pigs in a tree (no, you don’t need to smoke to see them!) being a symbol of positivism and recycling, or find an illuminated glass house activated through your voice that would make you feel surreal, or dance with the light trees connecting with nature and art. Your opportunities are endless and will surprise you with each artwork you pass: just think about the flowering phantasm opening its petals with you movement or light waves that operate with the help of the wind and make you think about sustainable

Alternative Amsterdam: Off the beaten tourist track

Amsterdam is renowned for its beautiful architecture, canals, world class museums, coffee shops and red light district. There is so much to see and to do and then still after spending a couple of days exploring Amsterdam you have a feeling you didn’t have enough time to see it all! And guess what? You are right! Amsterdam, despite being a small city, compared to for instance Paris, London or Berlin, has so much more to offer than the regular tourist experience! Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic Amsterdam probably just as much as you do, but let’s be honest you truly get to know the city in its full glory, once you get off the beaten tourist track! Hopefully this article will help you to make your trip to Amsterdam more unique, diverse, interesting and local!



NDSM is a former wharf on the other side of the IJ, the big river behind the central station. To get there is already a small adventure by itself. There are free ferries connecting the centre of the city with different parts of Amsterdam North. The one you need to get to NDSM is the one all the way on the left if you get out of back entrance of the station. In about 10 minutes you will be on the other side and able to see the iconic NDSM crane and old submarine laying in the water. NDSM is thriving and getting more interesting every day. Ever since the wharf went bankrupt in 1984, free spirits and creative souls have taken over the area and given it its unique character that makes NDSM so different than other parts of the city. Visitors can expect to see a lot of beautiful street art, especially around the old wharf area, the unique NDSM breeding place full of small workshops and galleries and cool bars and restaurants such Noorderlicht, Plekk and KEBEC.



Ruigoord is a small artistic village a bit outside the city, about an 8km bike ride away from the hotel. This former village and island was taken over by squatters in 1973 and became a free haven for artists.  Here they can work in peace, not being distracted by the ever developing and fast city environment, being surrounded by lots of green and tranquillity. Very often the whole village works together on big art projects that characterize the place. In this unique place, living as a community and integrating art in their daily life has become a communal experiment. Ruigoord is also known for all the parties, festivals and other events that take place there. The best part about it all is that they usually take place in the beautiful old church that this artist community is famous for.



This old factory, in the Westerpark, has become a very popular hot spot of the city amongst locals. This former late 19th century gas factory closed its doors in 1967. Luckily, instead of taking the buildings down the area slowly developed into a place where innovation and creativity became the beating heart and energy of the renewed Westergasfabriek. It is difficult to describe what this place is like since there is so much to see and to do. The best thing to do is to hop on your bike or hike from the hotel, since its only 3km away and experience it yourself. If you decide to do so make sure you grab a coffee at the Espressofabriek, buy a fairtrade candybar at the Tony Chocolonely store, have a sandwich at the Bakkerswinkel, try a local draft beer at Brouwerij Troost, dance, eat with locals at the Pacific Parc and play old school arcade games at the TonTon club.


Amsterdamse Bos

Not many tourists are aware of the fact Amsterdam has a beautiful forest that offers a great getaway from the busy city. Here locals love to walk their dog, swim during summer, enjoy open air concerts and plays, attend festivals, have their morning run or just simply enjoy the changing seasons and nature throughout the year. If you are planning to go here you should first go to the beautiful visitors’ centre that explains everything about the forest, where you can buy maps with all the different trails on them and that has a great educational centre for kids as well on the second floor.


Other local gems

After describing four great places where you can experience the true Amsterdam spirit and where you probably will meet way more locals than tourists, there is few true gems left that are totally worth mentioning. Even though the summer has long passed it’s never too cold or rainy for a drink at Hanneke’s Boom, Café Sound Garden or Waterkant.


Another great way of spending your day is by visiting one of Amsterdam’s local markets at the Albert Cuypstraat, Dapperstraat and Noordermarkt to try some of the delicious local delicacies like stroopwafel or herring. For the ones that even the above experiences are not local enough should have a look at DinewithDutch, a super cool platform where you can arrange an at home dinner with a true Dutch family! It doesn’t get any more local than that! :)

A Taste of Amsterdam with Awesome Food Tours

Contrary to the common stereotype that the Dutch food is boring and plain, we want to assure you that the local Amsterdam cuisine will surprise you with a full range of flavors and ingredients. You just have to know the right places to go and the best food items to try so that to feel the deliciousness of the food here and want to have more. Specially for those who like to discover cultures through food, we’ve prepared a list of cool food tours around Amsterdam.

Dutch Food Tour

Combine typical Dutch food with a historical experience in the most beautiful areas of Amsterdam- the Jordaan and Canal belt and dare to try all the local specialties. This tour won’t limit you to good old cheese and freshly made stroopwafels, but will indulge you with 6-7 tastings, including the raw herring and other yummy surprises. You will be trying Dutch cuisine both on the go and seated, while the whole tour will take 2.5 hours. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about local culture with your taste buds and see the most charming neighborhoods of the city. Your participation comes at a price of €49, of course all the food and drinks included.

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Street Food & Drink Tours with Hungry Birds

Hungry Birds attract the guests of Amsterdam by their personal and fun approach to food tours, as they make you feel like a visiting friend rather than a tourist. Their focus on street food make them stand out from other tours. Top it up with not only Dutch food but also ethnic/colonial specialties brought in by the migrant birds, and you get a super authentic experience in Amsterdam. These guys ask you to come hungry, as you will be tasting 8-10 different local foods and drinks for 3.5-4 hours. The places depend on whether you choose the Market Birds option (exploring the delights of the Albert Cuyp Market) or the City Birds tour, when you will be flying around small family businesses. Both choices are €69 each per person, while their Thirsty Birds tour around the local bars will cost you €79 per adult.

street food tour

Jordaan Food Tour

Get off the beaten path in the Jordaan revealing hidden courtyards, narrow back streets and awesome personalities of the local folks with a great sense of humor. Eating Amsterdam Tours will take a good care of you, introducing you to friendly shopkeepers, telling funny stories and presenting you with a high quality selection of 12 food tastings. During the 4-hour tour you will discover the delicious flavors of such must-try Dutch specialties as the home-made apple pie (in a 400-years old café!), Amsterdam’s tastiest smoked sausage, borrelhapjes that go so well with the authentic beers and mouthwatering desserts. This food trip will be €77 per adult and leave your stomach full and happy.

jordaan food tourAmsterdam’s Favorite Food Tour

If you prefer a more personal experience with a local, then this food tour in the heart of the hippest neighborhoods of Amsterdam De Pijp might be the right decision. Not only you will explore the vibrant part of the city with the cosmopolitan market, chilling locals and stunning architecture, but you will experience the true taste of Amsterdam. Fried fish from the market stall, new collective café, Surinamese-Javanese restaurant and 5 tastings are just a few from the things you can expect from this 2.5-hour tour. Guided by big foodies or even professional chefs, you will pay €44 per person.

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Prefer to eat alone?

Would you rather not join the food tour, but taste the local cuisine on your own? Then this City Food Routes might be handy for you to explore the neighborhoods of Amsterdam, trying the best what they have to offer, getting the freshest ingredients to cook at home/in the hotel or checking out the greatest cafes in the areas all over the city. You might need the help of Google-translate for this site, but the places you’ll discover will be worth it.

city food routes

So what’s the taste of Amsterdam for you? Is it the sharp taste of old gouda cheese, the sweet taste of stroopwafels, the pickled taste of herring or the smoked taste of a Dutch sausage? No matter what it is, we’re sure you would like it!

Do You Fancy A Good Beer In Amsterdam?

Do You Fancy a Good Beer in Amsterdam?

Whether you like ale, I.P.A., stout, pilsner, wheat beer, lager or any other type, Amsterdam has them all in all possible variations. Moreover, this city offers them produced by small independent breweries that have their own styles, flavors and spirit. It is understandable that most of the tourists want to try Heineken in Amsterdam, but we advise you to go further and deeper and discover the world of unique Dutch micro breweries and their tasteful draught beers.

Bits of history

The history of beer in the Netherlands goes back to the Middle Ages, when the Dutch were drinking it like water. As clean drinking water was limited at those times people would drink low alcohol beer instead, which was produced in their homes or monasteries. The number of breweries  was immense then, but it was way before Heineken was established in Amsterdam. The Dutch beer scene has never been the same after that giant entered the market in 1864 and bought numerous small competitors. Since then Heineken has been thriving all over the world, owning half of the beer market in the Netherlands. It even merged with famous beer brand Amstel- so now you know where the similarity in taste of Heineken and Amstel comes from.

If you want to know more about it or learn about the Heineken kidnapping case (when the owner of this company got kidnapped and around 60 million euro had to be paid for him!), then it will be a great idea to get Heineken Experience in the former Heineken Brewery.

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So how come have all those local micro breweries revived in Amsterdam? Believe it or not, but it happened thankfully to punk and squat subculture in the 80’s. They were so much against the capitalism of Heineken, that they started their own alternative beer scene. Later it grew into lots of independent breweries all over the city that offer good beer and different vibe that the mainstream beer pubs.

Oedipus Brewing

Oedipus Brewing offers colorful and diverse flavored beers with super original names. This startup has a fascinating story, hip style, lots of festival experience and most importantly beer that breaks the stereotype “all beer tastes the same.” Their brand new taproom (only half a year old) with 12 rotating taps serves as an artsy space, where beer, music and culture come together every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Oedipus Brewing also features all-inclusive tasting with a tour around the brewery and degustation of their specials.

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Butcher’s Tears

Butcher’s Tears is a vintage and industrial microbrewery that is proud to present hand-crafted beers available to order at their tasting room. They try to do something different from other breweries in Amsterdam and revive nearly forgotten traditions of brewing combining it with lots of experimenting. The proeflokaal is located next wall to Butcher’s Tear brewery, where tasty unfiltered and unpasteurized beers can be tried sometimes accompanied by special events there.

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Brouwerij De Vriendschap

Innovative and modern, Brouwerij De Vriendschap create new beers at their lab almost every week. Their craft beers can be tried in a few local bars in Amsterdam or purchased in one of the beer specialty shops. Although they have a nice spot in the north of the city, there is no tasting room or their own bar where you can enjoy their nice beers.

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Brouwerij ’t IJ

Often mistakenly referred to as the windmill brewery, Brouwerij ’t IJ is one of the oldest small breweries in Amsterdam and located in the building of a former bath house. The truth is that De Gooyer windmill next door is not related to the brewery in any way. It only serves as a memorable landmark and is depicted on Brouwerij ’t IJ logo. When it comes to beer, this brewery has a good reputation and lots of loyal fans. Their 8 standard beers have organic certification, while their seasonal and limited edition beers are very different from the regular types. If you are curious about the scenes behind the bar and brewing process as such, then you can come for a 20 minute brewery tour at Brouwerij ’t IJ on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

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Two Chefs Brewing

Two chefs from Two Chefs Brewing create interesting beers that are far from regular lagers, but full of taste and character instead. From time to time the founders of this small brewery can host popup dinners, but the best way to spot them is to look for pairing events in various restaurants in Amsterdam. Two Chefs Brewing beer can often be found at the special beer festivals around the Netherlands. The best way to follow their schedule is to check their website or facebook group.

‘t Arendsnest

There is a great solution called  ‘t Arendsnest for those who don’t want to hop from one local brewery to another, but want to try all sorts of the golden grain juice produced in the Netherlands at one place. This pub features more than 30 types of draught beer and around 100 types of bottled beer from all over the country with beer tasting available at their basement proeflokaal.

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De Bierkoning

And in case you don’t want to go out for a beer in Amsterdam and practice your “Mag ik een biertje alstublieft?” then there is an exciting unique beer shop for you. It has more than 1500 special beers from all over as well as original beer glasses and books. It is hard to image what beer you won’t be able to find there, as even the rarest ones are available there. So don’t limit yourself to the typical beer types that you’ve already tried!

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