Amsterdam. The name itself conjures the image of magical moments (not fungi), and it never fails to disappoint those in search of adventure and surprise. Whether visiting for one night or nine, there are many things in this petite small city to delight and excite you. There’s plenty to be seen on the usual tourist trail but Amsterdam is a winding city with a number of hidden wonders to encounter – so head off the beaten path and discover Amsterdam’s secret side…
From bars in bunkers to tiny houses and nuns’ gardens, some of the magic of Amsterdam can only be found when you know where to look. Fortunately for you… we do. And we’re happy to share the secrets of the city with you.
Amsterdam’s Best Secret Spots
Jazz Cafe Alto
This little bar, a stone’s throw from Leidseplein, is one of Amsterdam’s top spots for those music lovers with a kink for quirk. The Jazz Cafe Alto not only plays truly great jazz, but their batrenders are extremely friendly and go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable. If you’re in Dam on a Tuesday, you can stay on for a night of wild salsa dancing too!
Our favourite part of this intimate bar isn’t the cosy amtmosphere or amazing live music… no. It’s the tiny upstairs lounge! Head up the ladder-style stairs next to the bathrooms and you’ll find yourslef in a hobbit sized lounge, with a view into the bar. Don’t worry about drinks while you’re up there- the bartenders with pass them up to you through the window!
Wandering towards the Amsterdam Museum, you would never guess that beyond a simple wooden door lay a paradise garden of peace and solitude. The residence of the Sisterhood of the Catholics lies behind that door, along with a beautiful garden and chapel. As soon as you step off the street you are surrounded in silence and cobbled pavements lining green lawns and religious statues. Otherwise known as ‘Begijnens’, the Sisterhood lived their lives as nuns without ever taking an oath to God. While the last remaining member passed away in the 70’s, single women still reside in the Begijnhof – and the waiting list to move in is 25 years long.
The inner courtyard of the ‘Begijnen’ is now open to public viewing, however respect it as a place of worship and silence.
Amsterdam’s Narrowest House
Ever wondered why many of Amsterdam’s homes are tall and skinny? When building the city, locals were taxed on how WIDE their houses were, not how HIGH. Clever as Dammers are, inside of building out, they built up. However, one man took this to the extreme, with Amsterdam’s narrowest building coming in at just under a metre (about 3 ft) wide.
Does the picture make you feel weird too?
The Vrankrijk Bar
We’re just going to come out and say it – this is a public bar in one of Amsterdam’s most famous squats. Apparently closed for a few years due a bit of a brawl, the bar is up and running again (legally), so stop by for a taste of real Amsterdam – the entrance is a checkered door off Spuistraat.
De Gele Pomp
We first stumbled upon De Gele Pomp (the yellow pump) while they were hosting an open air showing of the most wonderful (and incredibly weird) movie, “The Leningrad Cowboys Go America.” After that it was love.
Brought to you by Hot Mama Hot, a creative collective based out of Amsterdam Noord, De Gele Pomp is a event and workshop space housed in a reclaimed petrol (gas) station in Noorderpark. If there’s an event or not, The Yellow Pump is a worth a visit- you’re guaranteed a real taste of the creativity and community that is the heart and soul of Amsterdam Noord.
And that’s just a taste of the magic Amsterdam has to offer. Enjoy exploring fellow travellers!
P.S. Don’t forget to ask the Clink Staff for the newest and most delightful local events when you arrive – they’re there to help too.