Amsterdam is often defined by its canals and bikes but once you get past that, you will come to realise that the ‘Dam is one hip and happening place to be. Go beyond the tourist trail of visiting bucket list attractions (I am looking at you Heineken Factory) and exhibition marvels (Museumplein) to appreciate life as a local in Amsterdam’s trendiest district, De Pijp (translated to ‘The Pipe’).
Historically known as the Latin Quarter, De Pijp oozes bohemian vibes from its blended population of students, artists and families. This cosmopolitan district is anything but commercial with its mixed ribbon street set up of independent stores, vintage shops, arty cafes and niche bars making for one postcode you wish you resided in.
With its easy access from the city centre, here are five reasons to hop on the tram, pedal right past the canals and experience De Pijp.
All your five senses will be teased when stepping along Albert Cuypstraat. A shopping mecca for Dammers since 1905, this iconic street market is where to go for street food, fresh produce, cheap clothing, fresh flowers and miscellaneous items that you didn’t know you needed. Expect to see the typical Dutch street food flair on offer, like stroopwafels, cheeses, kibbeling, herring mixed with options ready to spice up your life (satay, anyone?). This market is bursting with colours, and the vibrant atmosphere of market-goers exploring 260 stalls amongst 19th century architecture, is worth the visit. Make sure when you visit Europe’s biggest daily market you check out its 10-metre high entrance gate, featuring lanterns displaying the very products you’ll find in the market.
It is no secret that the Dutchies love their carbs, which makes lunchtime the perfect excuse to try the broodjes (open sandwiches). If you are lucky enough to visit Amsterdam in the summertime, a must-do local experience is to get your knife and fork into a broodjes at one of the city’s café terraces in and around Gerald Douplein.
De Wasserette, otherwise known as The Laundry, is ready to put those taste buds on a spin cycle with its long list of gourmet open sandwiches. Locals from all over make the trek to this small corner café, with a particular favourite being its smashed avocado, chicken, bacon, parmesan and truffle mayonnaise sandwich masterpiece that will leave you feeling very fulfilled for under a tenner (euro, that is).
Keep the good vibes in close proximity, as across from terrace lunches are sundowner sips. Bar hopping options are endless within the realm of Gerard Douplein. It is the perfect setting for a late afternoon sneaky beverage or a kickstarter to any night out with its characteristically chilled, intimate small bar scene.
Keeping true to Amsterdam’s bar scene, the culture clash Bar Mash offers Asian-inspired bites and cocktail thirst quenchers along its outdoor picnic tables. If a cosy affair is what your after, nip inside or head next door to Café Het Paardje to enjoy a bite and glass of wine by candlelight.
Maybe you need a memento to treasure your time in this beautiful city. Well, De Pijp may as well be the unofficial art department of Amsterdam, as it features many local concept stores selling clothes, homewares and more.
Earn yourself some Dutch street cred by stepping into the brightly lit Anna + Nina for quirky jewellery and accessory designs. De Merkenwinkel (also known as The Brand Shop) on Gerard Doustraat is the home of pop-up with independent fashion, beauty saloons and unique eats having occupied the well-located space.
Just a few streets parallel from the buzzing Albert Cyup Market is the inner De Pijp green sanctuary Sarphartipark. Named after Jewish doctor and urban innovator Samuel Sarphati (1813–1866), the centrepiece of the park features a striking temple memorial to the man himself.
This park may be smaller than its other well-known green counterparts of Amsterdam (Vondelpark, Oosterpark) however it still delivers the scenic goods with its pond, fountain, children’s playground and lush surrounds. It maintains a relaxed vibe and is perfect for a low-key outing or people-watching. Sarphartipark’s popularity heats up come summertime as it acts as the locals’ backyard for picnics, barbeques and sunbathing.
Want to explore some of Amsterdam’s lesser-known neighbourhoods? Create your own Amsterdam adventure to see the city the local way.