Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sources of inspiration: Amsterdam in a day // A place for foodies, artists and shopaholics // 5 must-see places for creatives

Since I was born in Holland, Amsterdam is one of my all time favorite places to visit when I need a serious boost of inspiration. I come from the southern part of the country where, during my childhood, my surrounding lacked of creative energy. So moving to an area with museums, pubs, night shops and 24/7 laundromat places was for me the ultimate taste of freedom. Everything seemed possible.

You can easily mistake Amsterdam for 'that city where you can get some legal pot' and yes if you walk outside of Amsterdam central station the smell of this tourist trap will be the first thing you'll experience. But for me, born and raised in Holland, this place is not about the legal soft drugs. Actually, I am not a big fan of drugs. My mind is crazy weird all by itself, I don't need an extra layer or a blurred perspective for now. For me Amsterdam is a cultural melting pot. With new people coming and going, filling the city with a fresh cool air in which anything can happen.

The past few years a lot has happened in this city. Big companies shut down and small creative studio's popped up, little galleries, coffee shops, in which you can actually drink Italian-proof coffee and not smoke pot, small boutiques with Scandinavian labels. After a few years these places are maturing as well. There is room and appreciation for genuine products and customers are happy to see refreshing, one of a kind pieces of creative expression. Every little place has it's own special atmosphere and energy.

Of course Amsterdam is like a playground full of places to see. The canal houses itself are breathtaking. The city has some amazing Museums and sights. But in this post I would like to shine a little extra light on those little gems you might miss while visiting the city for the first time. So here is a little top 5. It could have easily been a top 20 though.

1 // Bakers and Roasters
You can sit down, eat and not leave this place for an entire day. Every plate looks crazy good! This bakery, in which you can also have breakfast, brunch or lunch is definitely worth the try. The p The menu is inspired by their owners from New Sealand, pancakes, poached eggs and cocktails are all on there as well as New Sealand wine, and sitting down for a meal reminds me of a brunch in new York, you can even get a Mimosa with your meal. They serve wholesome sandwiches, colorful salads & delicious hot pies fresh from the oven. Oh my god! Well, no need to write more about this place than this: Go there with an empty stomach and eat your heart out. :) // Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54, 1072 BH Amsterdam

2 // Huis Marseille
This amazing architectural building dates back to 1665 and is located at the Keizersgracht. It houses Amsterdams first Photography museum. The interior is simply breathtaking and if you want to see a place of Dutch prosperity this is a good mix of architecture and photography. The museum itself has a diverse selection of old and new work. Young photographers and old iconic pieces go hand in hand with a focus on Dutch, Japanese and South African influences. The art that is shown here is usually more edgy and intense than a traditional museum of photography would show. It is not only about esthetics here. You will leave each room filled with wonder. // Keizersgracht 401, 1016 EK Amsterdam

3 // Cottoncake
The name gives it away already. This place is both a shop and a place to sit down, have a coffee and have a piece of cake. But it also has little art exhibits. The current exhibition “Flowers, Leafs, Memories” by Amsterdam based artist Anita Bogers is on show only until March. I love this little two story boutique. I am not a big fan of shopping and I adore places that have only a few carefully selected items that are basic with a twist. The place itself is light and inviting and the brands in their collection differ every season. And what I really enjoy most about this place is that it is not a typical Dutch energy here. You can feel the owners have been influenced by other places. There is a great respect for natural, pure, basic colors and materials. Quality. // Eerste van der Helststraat 76 HS, 1072 NZ Amsterdam

4 // Grimm Gallery
I am a big fan of Atelier van Lieshout with his industrial inspired art projects so when I crossed this little gallery walking around Amsterdam this exhibit took me by surprise. Famous names have been working together with this gallery the Atelier van Lieshout exhibit 'power hammer' is open to the public until March. I love how the work always is a search for another perspective in the every day. It can be revolving objects but it seems there is always a search with utopia at the end of the road. In this bright gallery you can see some scaled power tool models with a soft pastel color and surprisingly huggable texture. By enlarging the every day raw industrial tools the shape and form seem to be an esthetic sculpture. Go see for yourself! // Frans Halsstraat 26, 1072 BR Amsterdam

5 // My Little Patisserie
My Little Patisserie is just a few steps away from the famous Albert Kuijp market and is right across Cottoncake. In the upcoming Pijp neighborhood there are a lot of places to discover but this little Paris bakery is a serious must-do. The bakery specializes in delicious desserts, smooth creamy fillings with delicate flavors and a crunchy crust Since I started dating this Italian guy I became a serious coffee and food snob and I must say My Little Patisserie serves the best espresso I have had in Amsterdam so far. So if you want to hide out for the rain while shopping at Albert Kuijp market or just want to warm up and have a little break, pop in and enjoy some amazing Rose filled dessert or try a chocolate ├ęclair. // Eerste van der Helststraat 63 HS, 1073 AD Amsterdam