Everything from your morning cup of coffee to your nightly place to stay has been carefully considered on this curated list of light-touch things to do in the Dutch capital.Less
One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, this lush corner of the city was founded in 1638 in order to supply doctors with medicinal herbs to treat the plague. Today, it’s home to thousands of rare species, including a 2,000-year-old agave cactus. Peruse three glasshouses before recharging with tea and cake on the sunny terrace of its organic cafe, the Orangery.
Overlooking the water of the Western Docklands, this fun aparthotel is a visual feast thanks to rounded Fifties-style furniture and a cheery colour scheme. The building was constructed from sustainable materials and cunningly incorporates solar panels and nesting boxes into its Art Deco-inspired design. The two terraces that spill directly onto the waterfront are the true trump card.
Set in a converted greenhouse on the outskirts of the city in a disused municipal nursery, De Kas is a locavore’s dream. Almost all ingredients served in multi-course set menus are grown in hydroponic greenhouses on site or in the restaurant’s own fields, just outside the city, and cooked on the day they’re harvested.
The oldest flea market in the country sees 300 stalls spring up every day except Sunday in the hip De Pijp district. Flick through vinyls, scan unsigned sketches (there are still lots of Rembrandts unaccounted for, after all), slip into leather jackets and fall in love with antique curios for your home. If you’ve caught the bargain buzz, there are also several second-hand shops on nearby Haarlemmerdijk.
This striking wedge of glass perches on Java-eiland, a man-made island in the Eastern Docklands, where ships used to set out for the Tropics. Interiors cleverly nod to this history through bamboo panelling and Indonesian artwork. Aside from being pretty easy on the eye, it’s also one of the first energy-neutral hotels in the Netherlands. Rainwater is collected and used to spray the indoor tropical garden, and even staff uniforms are made by a sustainable Dutch fashion label.
Three times the size of New York’s Central Park, the Amsterdamse Bos is a tapestry of wetlands, meadows, reedbeds and woodland, haunted by a cast of colourful critters, including birds of prey. You can enquire at the visitor’s centre about hiring a canoe to explore Lake Grote Vijver, or head straight to Ridammerhoeve, a biodynamic goat farm that serves its own products at the terraced cafe.
Rising out of Ijmeer Lake like a modern-day Atlantis, this minimal hotel is a testament to the power of human innovation. Its natural air-con system was inspired by African termite hills, and the entire building is covered in solar panels, with excess energy stored underground for later use. Tuck into locally sourced, seasonal plates underneath a hanging garden in the Herbs Garden Restaurant.
Located in a community of creative and social enterprises on a former shipyard overlooking the Johan van Hasselt canal, this sustainable restaurant is a favourite with millennials having in-depth discussions about the planet. The owners are constantly looking for ways to rethink the food chain. Current initiatives include carbon-neutral coffee from Kaap Koffie – a fair-trade, zero-waste company, with emission-free distribution – and offering subsidised meals to those on tight budgets.