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Travel

How to spend a day in Amsterdam

The capital of the Netherlands has had an image transformation of late, attracting a new generation of creatives thanks to the Netflix and Nike hubs and the appeal of the Dutch work-life balance. OLIVE WAKEFIELD reveals the best way to experience the iconic city for yourself

Lifestyle

8am…

Wake up in one of the 79 plush rooms at Soho House’s Dutch outpost. Housed in the Bungerhuis, a former trading office, this limestone Art Deco marvel overlooks the city’s famous glittering canals and pristine squares. Expect Soho House’s signature casual chic: snuggle chairs so deep you sink into them, eclectic picture galleries (including a wall of self-portraits, in homage to homegrown talent, by Van Gogh and Rembrandt), free-standing copper bathtubs in the bedrooms and tiling worthy of the @ihavethisthingwithfloors Instagram page. There is also a buzzing rooftop pool serving cocktails round the clock, as well as shared workspace to accommodate the new creative scenesters. A new Dutch Master.

Soho House Amsterdam
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Mendo bookstore

9am…

Rent a bicycle and wheel up to the Nine Streets district, taking in the Crayola-colored Dutch gable houses and the hum of the city as the day kicks off. This micro-hood is bursting with independent boutiques, cafes and galleries, so make like the locals and join the queue for steaming cappuccinos at barista-favorite Kaldi. Next up, check out indie bookstore Mendo to peruse their collection of contemporary and classic literature, and end up at concept store Kauppa – a design hotspot stocking everything from Scandi furniture to textiles and art.

11am…

The Netherlands brought us Van Gogh, Hieronymous Bosch and Rembrandt, so where better to celebrate its artistic heritage than in the capital city? Take in the Old Masters and more at the recently refurbished Rijksmuseum, standing proud, in its 19th century glory, over the nearby canal. For a more contemporary offering, the Stedelijk Museum is a comprehensive collection of modern and contemporary art from iconic names such as Piet Mondrian, Yves Klein, Roy Lichtenstein and Yayoi Kusama.

The Rijksmuseum

1pm…

After soaking up so much culture you’ll need some refreshments over lunch, so head to Lotti’s at The Hoxton hotel. The in-house restaurant has become a scene-setting spot thanks to the killer cocktails – BerrySpicy255, a three-berry and chili concoction, will blow your socks off – and modern takes on traditional Dutch dishes like hot-smoked salmon, veal chops and bitterballen (a type of breaded meatball). Décor seem familiar? The stylish Soho House Group is behind this one, too.

The Hoxton hotel

3pm…

Dutch Design Week arrives in town on October 20, when the city’s most popular venues play host to a slew of design and architecture talks, exhibitions, debates and more. There is something on offer for everyone, whether it’s an exploration of the influence of biotechnology on product design or a workshop on reducing waste in fashion.

Volt bar

6pm…

You’ll notice the city slowing down around now, as the young professionals call it a day in the office (that Dutch work-life balance in practice) and commence their afterhours activities. Wine bar Volt brings the out-of-office vibes with its laid-back, industrial-chic décor, extensive wine list and fresh oysters. Pitch up here for an obligatory aperitif.

8pm…

Finish your day at insider favorite Rijsel, which draws in locals for its fresh Flemish fare. Order one of the headline dishes: rotisserie chicken grilled to perfection, the comté cheese croquettes, or the signature toast kannibaal – a robust steak tartare crowned with cornichons and shallots – washed down with a glass of crisp white wine.

Rijsel restaurant