Things to do in Amsterdam - The Pig E-zine
issue 33 - August and September 2010
You said you’d never do it …
… as you walk past the windows in Amsterdam, subtly glancing out of the corner of your eye, feeling a little uncomfortable but slightly curious as you watch. You shake your head a little in wonderment, denial or maybe even curiosity as others approach the windows nonchalantly - slipping in and out. No, you’d never put yourself at risk like that. Who knows what you could catch?
But then ...
... after a few beers in a brown café or maybe even a smoke in a coffeehuis, you find your will bending and an insatiable hunger taking over. There’s no one around watching, and you want it so bad. You reach into your pockets to see if you have enough cash, sneak a guilty glance left and right as you approach ... open the door and reach in ... to grab a … luke-warm croquette from a vending machine.
While you might be mistaken for thinking the windows in the red light district get the most traffic, it’s just not the case here in Holland. It is in fact the little croquette, hole in the wall, vending machines found in the train stations and on most street corners. Don’t think you’ll be able to avoid them - at some point you’ll be smashed at 3am and eating one will seem like a pretty good idea.
You have to admit Dutch cuisine presents an interesting conundrum for the modern traveller. Food is often the best part of travel, but finding a decent meal in Holland can be a massive challenge. The Dutch don’t do big supermarkets or perpetuate many fantastic culinary traditions. They eat sandwiches. They eat cheese. They eat deli meat. They put apple-flavoured spread and chocolate sprinkles on toast for breakfast and it’s all very...underwhelming (not to mention overpriced).
Why does it suck?
How did this happen? After all their French neighbours, the French, have a pretty nifty little culinary tradition and the Germans on the other side of the fence have at least mastered the art of the sausage. But like everywhere else in the world, the country’s cuisine will tell you a story about its past. During the hunger winters of World War Two and the Nazi occupation, food was about survival. You didn’t live to eat - you ate to live. The Dutch, being the pragmatists they are, simply kept up with this philosophy where food is simply fuel.
But is Dutch Food really all that bad?
The answer is thankfully no so don’t be put off by the prospect of another cheese sandwich for lunch. The best thing about Amsterdam is that it is such a small city, which means once you know where to eat, it’s easy to track down a good meal. Better yet most of the meals below won’t cost you more than a penny - or a few euro coins.
One of the better colonial hangovers in Holland is the amazing Surinamese food available - in this case the fusion of Caribbean and Indonesian flavours put together with the best glasshouse-grown produce Holland has to offer. It’s a fusion of flavours you won’t be able to replicate anywhere else in the world and a worthwhile cultural experience. Think thick spicy chicken soups with boiled eggs, Gado-gado, satays and curry. Look out for the crowded food stalls at Albert Cuyp Market or head to the Spang Makandra restaurant over on Gerard Doustraat 39 (Ph 670 5081, www.spangmakandra.nl). Of all the things you can eat in Holland, this is the one meal you can’t miss.
Better known as pub-grub, bitterballen falls into that delightful deep-fried category right next to croquettes. These golf-ball sized snacks are crispy on the outside but inside, they’re full of thick meaty gravy! They’re also delicious when dipped in mustard. Don’t knock it until you try it! Most pubs put on a platter of these snacks for free during happy hour - leaving all the more money in your pocket for the next pint.
Also coming in under the deep fried category are Frittes or what the Americans call French Fries and what the British know as chips. Forget Belgium’s claim of producing the best Frittes around - Holland is the only place in the world where you have to line up behind a red velvet rope to order a cone of hot chips and one of the only places in the world where it’s considered a crime not to smother them in mayonnaise and peanut sauce! The secret to why you want to schlep across town to eat fries at a place like Vleminckx Sausmeesters on Voetboogstraat 31? They prepare the fries by peeling the potatoes from scratch on the spot and some shops have been cooking them for over 100 years.
Poffertjes and Pancakes
The tastiest little treat you’ll ever try, Poffertjes are a small pancake cooked fresh in a special cast iron pan and smothered in butter and icing sugar. Sold at festivals and in street stalls, these are another guilty indulgence. More puzzling is the Dutch fascination with pancakes, which are cooked in the pan with bacon and eaten as a main meal. Have them at a café and you’ll be won over.
Dutch Sushi and Other Seasonal Delights
Seasonally there’s no shortage of weird and wacky treats to try. Around New Year’s Eve, try Olieballen (fried bread dumplings the size of softballs smeared in sugar) and when it’s cold, pea soup – which you’ll find for sale everywhere. In the summer it’s time to eat Dutch Sushi - Herring, deboned and salted. The best approach for this one is to take it by the tail, tilt your head back and let it slither into your mouth!
Before the chicken came the egg, and before you start seriously thinking about where you want to snack, you want to know where to get some of those delightful bakery treats the city is so famous for - Spacecake! Cake or brownies baked with marijuana or hashish is available all over town from your friendly local coffeehuis. Easy Times on Pinsengracht 476 serves up a few different types, but remember to eat it in moderation (give yourself a good 3-4 hours before you have the next slice) because the high takes longer to reach a peak and then go away again. It happens as your body digests, so it may take a while before you feel the effect!
- Shaney Hudson top
1. Have a BYO BBQ - buy a disposable barbecue and picnic essentials at the supermarket or the HEMA, and head to the park.
2. Buy cold drinks from the ‘kinda’ legal beer runners on bicycles. You’ll recognise them from their unusual appearance and the fact that they’re yelling: “Cold beers!”
3. Play games! Football, Frisbee, water fights - anything goes as long as you’re barefoot!
4. Borrow rollerblades from the Flying Pig Uptown hostel. It’s free and fun. Or rent a bike and cruise around!
5. Be there for one of the free performances on the Vondelpark stage. There’s music, theatre, dance and more - so keep a look out!
The Flying Pig Lend a Helping Wing
At the Flying Pig we care about others, that’s why we give you as our guest the opportunity to donate to a carefully selected charity. When you check-in at reception, we ask for a one euro deposit for your key card. At the end of your stay you can donate this deposit by dropping your key card in the key card drop box. This way you can skip long lines at the reception and help our good cause!
The last few years we supported Trees for Travel - an organisation that finances the regeneration and maintenance of forests, to lock up greenhouse gases. Your combined efforts raised enough money to plant over 22,465 trees - that’s more than 67 soccer fields!
5965 trees were planted to recover two national park’s in Uganda, while the other 16,500 trees were used to reforest the slopes of the volcano Mount Malinding in the Philipines. A big thank you goes out to everyone for helping out and making this such a great success.
As of now the key card deposit will go to Just a Drop - a small and very transparent charity organisation that builds wells and water-pumps in areas without access to clean water. We’ll inform you about their projects here on the environment section of The Flying Pig website so check it regularly for updates.
Next time you're around, help to get clean water where it's most needed by Just a Drop of your key.
Do you want to learn more about Just a Drop and trees for travel? Well check out their websites by clicking on the logos.
After living with and loving the Flying Pigs website for a fair few years we decided it was time for a facelift. Then when we started we couldn’t stop and the result?
Well take a look for yourself! It’s still Flying Pig through and through but every single page has been overhauled – keeping the great and cutting the not so great. There are languages and new features galore, it’s vivacious, bright, and happy! More importantly though – it was designed around you guys so let us know what you think!top
This association recognises the best hostels on the European travel circuit. If you book a bed in any of these hostels, you’re guaranteed a memorable stay on a cheap and reasonable budget! Every single hostel in EFH is a local treasure – giving you guys a chance to meet the people and get a real taste of local life. All the hostels have to adhere to the highest levels of safety and quality, while also preserving a local flair.
The hostels are located in Amsterdam, Bad Gastein, Barcelona, Berlin, Bruges, Cardiff, Corfu, Dublin, Edinburgh, Interlaken, Lisbon, Loch Ness, London, Munich, Madrid, Nice, Prague, Riga, Rotterdam, Rome, Salzburg, Valencia, Vienna and in the future many more hostels will join.Check out the best bits of Europe's Famous Hostels with one click!
Each hostel has created a new video showcasing the best bits of their cities – just so that you guys can see where you’re heading to! All you have to do is head to www.famoushostels.com/hostel-videos
It has been a long hot lazy summer’s day. The sun is setting and it’s finally cooling down. You’ve just had a good meal and a shower. You’ve put on you best party outfit and are ready to hit the town. But where to go? Well worry not because Eva’s here with a breakdown of the best club nights in Amsterdam!
Julius E. Green and the Green gang at the Waterhole
Katapult Midweek Mayhem at Studio 80l
Noodlanding! at Paradiso
Friday Nights at Korsakoff
Gemengd Zwemmen @ the Melkweg
Wicked Jazz Sounds Club Night at Sugarfactory
Cheeky Monday consistently shocks attendees and promoters with the sheer numbers of cheek-stars that flock to rock at the Winston every week. Known for its high quality range of Drum n’ Bass, good vibes and a blatant disregard of the fact that the weekend is over, Cheeky Monday bounced into existence in May 2005. Since then it has cut, scratched, pounded and grooved its mark into the Amsterdam Drum n’ Bass scene.
Gay Pride Amsterdam is one of the best events around and this year you can enjoy it for four whole days, between August 5 and August 8, 2010! Expect street parties all weekend long, circuit parties at all the best clubs and the infamous Canal Parade on the Saturday. The main events including: “Pride putting Amsterdam upside down” all happen on August 7, 2010. Check out www.amsterdamgaypride.nl for all the details.
The waterhole is one of the best live music bars in Amsterdam. The friendly staff and atmosphere will make you feel like you’re in your own living room and they have live music 365 days a year. Tuesdays are a time for jam sessions – including performances from born entertainer - Julius E. Green. He starts the night off with his Gang Green by playing some great old skool’ Blues.
Set in the party square of Rembrandtplein, Studio 80 promotes new electronic dance music of all subgenres. Attracting a music-minded and hip crowd, the studio aims to offer a stage for all new dance related acts. Katapult on Wednesday is a night serving up Disco, Garage, Rock, Electro, House, Electronica, Dubstep and Wave.
Noodlanding is a massive night for the Indie - Dance set, and a great one for those who like to start their weekend on Thursdays. It’s popular with the university crowd and anyone who thinks working on a Friday is for idiots. With an eclectic mix of Hip Hop, Rock, Dance and Electro, expect a full dance floor of pretty young things as the main hall gets thrashy, sweaty, sexy and inebriated!
Korsakoff is Amsterdam’s best alternative and underground cult club. Different DJs spin a wide variety of known and unknown music on a daily basis. On Friday night you can expect anything from Drum n’ Bass, Jungle and Dubstep to Rock and Metal in the main hall. Upstairs you will find a mix of Pop, Rock, Electro and EBM (Electronic Body Music)!
Gemengd Zwemmen at Melkweg
Every Saturday the Melkweg in Amsterdam opens up both rooms for a night of alternative Dance, Pop, Rock and Indie hits. Gemengd Zwemmen (mixed swimming) serves up your weekly dose of the latest alternative hits and dance floor classics - from the nineties and noughties. The Old Room at the Melkweg offers a mix of underground classics, while The Max bounces to the rhythm of an alternating weekly theme.
Wicked Jazz Sounds Club Night at Sugarfactory.
- Eva Dam
For the Flying Pig Hostel, September and October are busy months for our top selling points “surfing and kitesurfing”
Two things that the Dutch know how to handle are Water & Wind, and these elements come together in the popular Beach town Noordwijk on the pristine west coast of the Netherlands.
These elements also happen to form the basis for the two prominent water sports in Noordwijk; “surfing & kitesurfing”.
The regular south west wind pounding our shores make Noordwijk a top kitesurf destination in Europe. The Flying Pig is at the heart of the kitesurf sport in Noordwijk and in the last 12 years of rapid growth, Noordwijk has produced a lot of talents including the current kitesurfing world champion Kevin Langeree.
Thanks to the clean beach break, board surfing is getting more and more popula r to in Noordwijk,
and on a day when the surf is good you will see many locals wandering around town with their surfboards under their arm, on their way to or from the beach, or on their way to the Surfbar for a after surf session.
And when you come back satisfied from your surf adventure you can enjoy a drink or two in our lively surfbar, grab some local food in one of the many cheap restaurants in town, and finally fall asleep in one of our comfortable beds at the Hostel.
You want to start your surf experience ????
Reservations and information: 0031713622533 or mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction lesson kitesurfing
- Group lessons on the beach, in a class of 4 hours you will learn the basic techniques, safety and go into the water.
- One night accommodation in the Australian Style Beach hostel.
- A drink in the cozy surfbar of the hostel
price from € 120.00 based on a night in a Large dorm - upgrade to a smaller room is of course possible, at an additional cost.
Kitesurfing equipment rental
- Per hour: € 25, -
- Per half day (4 hours): € 60, -
- Per day: € 100, -
These prices include: kite, board, harness, helmet and impact vest.
Advanced / Refresher Course
1 hour for € 65, -
2 hours for € 115, -
3 hours for € 165,
Down Winder Course
3 hours for € 125, -
2 Days of accommodation in the Flying Pig Beach Hostel in a medium size dorm
( upgrading is possible)
2 Surf lessons at Lines Surfco including all the gear you need.
2 Free drinks at our Surf bar.
Prices from 01-09-2010 till 15-10-2010 only € 80,00
Surfboard per hour: € 10,00 (incl. wetsuit)
Additional hours € 5,00
Surfboard half day € 25,00 (incl. wetsuit)
Wetsuit per hour € 2,50