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Things to do in Amsterdam - The Pig E-zine
Issue 51 - February and March 2013



Top Ten Travel Trends In Amsterdam And Beyond

Every year more people from more countries venture abroad. Whether you’re traveling for the first time or a seasoned vagabond, here are ten trends to help the savvy voyager in Amsterdam, and elsewhere, in 2013.

Ice scating in HOLLAND10. Ice Skating in Holland!
If you are in Holland this winter and the temperature drops just right, the canals will freeze over and the people will take to the ice to skate, through miles and miles of uninterrupted Dutch countryside. Watch the weather forecast and be ready, if you get the chance, this is one Dutch experience you don’t want to miss.

9. Food Tourism
Given the somewhat recent explosion of interest in local, sustainable agriculture across the western world, travellers of all walks of life are delving into the local food scene. No more are the big-name franchise brands at the top of the list, but rather visitors from abroad are seeking out the best of the local food culture: the trendiest restaurants, the hippest dive joints, and those places off the beaten path where authenticity is the dish of the day. Some cities even have culinary tours available, where a local guide takes people on a jaunt through classic neighborhoods, sampling local fares while soaking up a bit of history as well.

8. Travel Apps
More and more the savvy traveller is consolidating his or her itineraries, tickets and bookings into an easy-to-manage digital format. Almost everyone has some form of smart phone these days, and as such the days of multiple confirmation emails, e-tickets, boarding passes, reservations, coupons, and discounts are numbered. Now, several apps are available to aid travelers in keeping organized and even appraised of their rigorous schedules. The most popular of these is TripIt, an app that allows users to consolidate all travel bookings, including boarding passes, into one handy application. Just send your confirmation details to the app and it organizes the rest, complete with notifications and reminders of upcoming check-ins.

7. Local is Better!
These days the trend in travel is all about experiencing the local culture. Sterile bus tours are a thing of the past as the hip young traveller wants to see life through the lens of the people who inhabit the places they visit, to taste what they taste and see what they see every day. One non-profit group that has been turning people on to local scenes since the early seventies, is now gaining some serious traction with young travellers. USE-IT, started in Denmark and produces old-school fold-up maps with a twist. They are designed and written by local artists and citizens, highly individualized and customized to each location, highlighting the best of what each city has to offer – all from a local’s point of view. Now there are 23 cities in 14 European countries that have signed on to support this grassroots project, to connect visitors to something more than just the average guidebook fare.

6. Couchsurfing
One of the fastest-growing travel cult phenomena of our time is the Couchsurfing Project. Originally conceived to make the world a smaller place through the forging of meaningful personal experiences in place of a detached hotel stay, this mode of travel has really caught on. The site is open to anyone, but only registered members can view profiles and submit surf requests. The idea is to spend some time making your profile, search the available couches in your desired travel location and rather than book a hotel, you spend a few nights with a local person who gives you the inside scoop about what’s hip, and cool to do. I can say from first-hand experience I’ve made some lasting friendships and seen, and done things I never would have because of this network.

For those who want to leave a smaller carbon footprint on your travels, there are a number of ways to get around in Amsterdam without burning fossil fuels. Many of the canals have paddleboats for rent, allowing you to tour the city by water. The Dutch capital is also known as the European capital of bicycles and a number of rental shops offer very low rates to hire a cruiser for a few days. This is perhaps the best way to travel in Amsterdam, as bikes have the right of way in all traffic circumstances and the majority of people traverse the city on two wheels.

4. Ride the Rails
Travel by train is nothing new in Europe, but it’s still one of the most popular means of getting around. Whether commuting between cities or country hopping, the European rail network is so well developed, it’s possible to get almost anywhere in a day. At the local level, most cities, especially Amsterdam, have cheap and easy to use public railways or trams, which can take visitors to almost any location of interest. Buying dozens of train tickets can add up quickly, so those that plan on using the trains more than a few times, might want to look into buying a pass from Rail Europe.

3. Silent Discos
One of the most fun things to pop up across the globe is the silent disco. Partygoers arrive to a club and don a pair of high-quality headphones. A DJ broadcasts a set of music, which is played through said headphones, and everyone dances to the tunes. This has now become so popular that the radio station that started it all, sends the silent disco around world tours - bringing the silent sounds to all.

Bike tours2. Mobile Travel Gadgets
These days, anyone with a smart phone can have hundreds of cities mapped out with tour routes, must-see destinations, and all the historical information they could hope for right in their pocket. Travel gurus like Rick Steves even produce digital tours for historic buildings, churches, and cities - meant to be downloaded to and read from, your smart phone, anywhere and on the go.

1. Tours!
Even in the digital age there’s no substitute for a live tour guide’s whimsical character and hilarious anecdotes. There’s a new generation of tour companies which offer a much hipper and much trendier product than the stuffy guides of yesteryear, and by far the most popular form of tour is the bicycle tour. Eco-friendly and just a bit sporty, the bike tour is the best way to cruise a city, meet other travelers and get great insider information from a local guide who knows their stuff. In Amsterdam there are several to choose from, but I recommend Mike’s Bike Tours.

-Seth Valentine



And the winner is …

Flying Pig Wintergame
Congratulations go to David Fisher who achieved the top score on the Christmas Pig, Pacman game! Good on you David! The two free nights in a dorm are all yours. Thanks to everyone who had a go and keep your eyes peeled for new competitions, coming soon.



A Day in the Life of … The Flying Pig Uptown

If you're the kinda' traveller who likes to try before you buy, then we have just the thing for you. We installed time lapse cameras at The Flying Pig Uptown hostel, to capture all the comings and goings at this hip party hot spot. Tune in now and check out all of the fun.

youtubeCheck our youtube channel for more vids and timelapses of the Pig open in new window



Music Reviews From The Flying Pig

Music expert Lara Bradley returns with her thoughts on rising star, Tom Odell. Tom exploded onto the music scene with his performance on the Jools Holland show and following on from that, he’s got a hotly anticipated album coming out in April 2013.

Tom Odell on facebook

OK let’s wind it down, get in our PJs, cuddle up in bed with a hot chocci and switch on a good album to see us through the winter chill. Once I heard this guy’s voice I melted. Brand new on the scene and with an album due out in April, Tom Odell it set for great things!

Appearing on Later with Jools Holland in November last year wasn't a bad start for Tom’s career and it quite literally shot him into the limelight. After this performance, he was nominated for a BRIT award, which he went on to win!

So where did this guy spring from? Well, the 22-year-old studied in Brighton at the Institute of Modern Music and only recently graduated. Things have spiraled into the high life from there - playing free gigs in London last year before going on to play on BBC Radio 1. He’s now booked for a long list of gigs coming up in the UK and the US!

As with many musicians, Tom has been at it for a while, writing his own material from the age of 11. No wonder he's got some good stuff then! Humble Tom talks about how he used to keep his music secret at school, which makes him all the more grateful after the jump into a limelight where his music is appreciated.

So what does it sound like? Well with his intricate and precise approach to every note and sound, the tunes draw you in and make you feel in some way connected to Tom, and his words.

He looks young and innocent, and on stage he might seems demure and soft, but when this guy plays the piano, the presence he can hold is incredible. If you don't believe me, check out that Jools Holland show I talked about. This guy had my complete attention from start to finish, and it always seems that his songs end far too soon, which is definitely a sign of a great artist.

Tom’s passion pulls you into a dreamy world and makes you yearn for the tunes to go on forever. It’s OK to be single when you have warming music like this in your life to make you feel comforted, understood and empowered!

Long Way Down is the album to look out for when it’s released in April 2013. My favourite track so far has to be Can’t Pretend. He had me three-seconds in on this one. The way Tom uses the dynamics of the drum, piano and his voice - plays your musical heart-strings, and makes the song all the more powerful. You can literally feel emotion with every note.

With a lot of talent like this flying around at the pigs (among staff and guests alike), when a guy like this makes it – well that’s just a great incentive to see if it’s possible! Nice one T. I think we'll be hearing a lot more from this angel faced, English boy. I say bring it on!

Tom Odell on facebook open in new window


- Lara Bradley



Queensday becomes Kingsday!

the Dutch QueenKing Willem and familyThat’s right guys – 2013 will be the very last Queensday in Amsterdam for a while because Queen Beatrice has made plans to abdicate, and hand over the reigns to her son, Willem-Alexander.

As of 2014 this epic annual and orange event will be held on April 26. It will also (fittingly) be renamed as Kingsday, in honour of the new monarch!

This will all be official as April 30, 2013 when the Queen will sign a document called The Act of Abdication. Given that the inauguration deliberately coincides with this 2013’s Queensday, it isn’t clear yet what this means for the city centre celebrations, so watch this space for more developments!



News and Events from the Pig

The Valentine's Day Party - February 14, 2013
On Thursday February 14, we're having a Valentine's Day party with that famous theme of traffic lights. Green means single, orange equates to being open minded and red signals that you're taken. Just wear the colour that fits and party away. You'll find this great event at the Flying Pig Downtown hostel from 9pm. There's going to be a live DJ and fun games in the mix too, with romantic movies screened during the day.

open mic nightOpen Mic at the Flying Pig Uptown – February 16, 2013
You guys can enjoy plenty of amazing, live acts on the second to last Saturday of each month. February even has a special Valentine’s Day theme, with special gifts for any duets and couples on stage! Come and join our resident musicians jam the night away. Where better to test out you talents than in front of a crowd of welcoming fellow travelers, and staff - all passionate about music. The best part? Anything goes!

5 Days Off Amsterdam – March 6 to 10, 2013
With major venues hosting this - less than a five-minute walk from The Flying Pig Uptown, you guys are in for a treat! It’s probably the loudest event in the city because 5 Days Off is a festival of electronic music! It takes place at the beginning of March in several venues, including Melkweg, Paradiso and the Heineken Music Hall. Following humble beginnings, 5 Days Off has become a cultural event of international proportions and an important occasion for showcasing what’s new in the field of electronic music. Bands will be fling in from all over Europe and the US, so check it out!

The Pig Pub Quiz - Flying Pig Downtown
It's official. The monthly Flying Pig Pub Quiz is now a regular fixture at the Downtown hostel. It switches around a little but you can enjoy this top brain teaser on the last Monday or Wednesday of each month! Keep your eyes open for more details from the hostel.

Queensday - April 30, 2013
You guys might want to book your beds early for this one, because we will definitely fill up fast! In Amsterdam Queensday is the official national celebration of the birthday of the Queen Mother, but in reality it’s one giant party! The celebrations takes place all over the Netherlands, but there’s a special atmosphere in big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.


In Amsterdam, Queensday is by far the largest open-air festivity of the year with an estimated 750,000 people travelling to the city. Central spots like Dam Square, Damrak, Rokin, Rembrandtplein, Spui, Leidsestraat and Leidseplein will be bursting with crowds, all celebrating and wearing orange. Better still, on Queensday all street trade, all over the city is unregulated – making it the perfect time for some second-hand shopping! This business spirit is most alive in Vondelpark, where the city’s children show off their flair for freelance retail!

Check out the Facebook Page Facebook for more details - as we unveil them!



Piggy Pop Battle of the Bands - Flying Pig Beach Hostel

From March 1, 2013 The Flying Pig Beach Hostel will be organising the Piggy Pop Battle of the Bands. In essence it's nine Bands, playing over four nights with one winner.


9 Bands - 4 Nights - 1 Winner

You can look forward to this epic event once a month, with votes coming from a judging panel and the crowd! Spectators can simply use their tickets from the night to cast their vote for the best performance! 


The band that wins the very last battle will be crowned Piggy Pop Band of the Year 2013 and will win a headline spot at the infamous Piggy Pop Festival - 2013.

piggypop noordwijk
Look out for more information online.



Europe's Famous Hostels - China Light Rotterdam – Until February 14, 2013

This is the biggest Chinese light spectacle in Europe, and in 2013 you can enjoy it in Rotterdam! This top crowd puller promises to bring warmth and sparkle to all, during the dark months of winter!

Chinese light spectacle

More than 40 Chinese artists have built a fairy-tale paradise for the occasion, complete with amazing laser shows and performances of Chinese music, and dance. Visitors can wander among more than 35 enchanting light objects - including fantastical characters, flowers, animals and a 100-metre-long dragon, not to mention a huge Temple of Heaven!

Chinese light spectacle

For anyone visiting Rotterdam for the China Light Festival, hostel ROOM has a special and very exclusive, low budget deal. For only EUR 31,50 you can stay in a dorm room – with your breakfast and China Light Festival ticket - included in the price!

Book this special by sending an email to or call on 0031 10 282 72 77

room Hostel Rotterdam open in new window open in new window
More info and free booking at open in new window