We know that Amsterdam is a fascinating and wonderful city, but which particular spots are really worth visiting? As an insider, Reinier van der Aart reveals his own personal preferences. Reinier van der Aart (39) is a portrait and fashion photographer who enjoys frequent visits to Amsterdam in connection with his work. This means that he takes photographs in the most beautiful parts of the city, and he has his personal favourites among the pubs, boutiques and museums too.
“Amsterdam is big enough to provide everything you need, but it’s also small enough to make people feel at home.
I really enjoy sitting reading the paper with a nice cup of coffee at De Pels on Huidenstraat. This place is exactly my idea of what a pub should be like. And Wynand Fockink on Pijlsteeg is another nice old-fashioned pub where you can sample liqueurs and Dutch gin from their own distillery.
If you’re more of a beer drinker, you should go to Hesp on Weesperzijde. It’s absolutely fantastic and they sell an incredible range of beers. I like to go there in the late afternoon and have a beer out on the terrace overlooking the Amstel.”
The best pizza in town
“If you want to eat out, you ought to try Rijsel Rotisserie on Marcusstraat. This is a really great low-key restaurant with the best service and the friendliest owner in the whole city. The menu isn’t very extensive, but it all tastes equally good. And if I’ve had a busy day, I often pop in at YamYam on Frederik Hendrikstraat for good plain cooking with nothing fancy about it. This place just happens to serve the very best pizza in town.
I really enjoy a cocktail after dinner. Of course there are hundreds of good bars in Amsterdam, but DOOR74 is the only place where you can get an authentic cocktail in my opinion. But I’m not going to tell you where they are. They’re a speakeasy and they keep quiet about their activities. So you’ll just have to find out for yourself.”
Shopping on a grand scale
“The nice thing about shopping in Amsterdam is that there are so many boutiques there. Unicorn and PS Petit Salon are great, and the people at Tenue de Nîmes on Haarlemmerstraat and Elandsgracht are really helpful if you want to buy a pair of jeans. And of course I’m often to be found at the Nivo Schweitzer photographic shop.
The Hutspot concept store is definitely worth a visit too. They’ve got a branch on Rozengracht and on Van Woustraat, and everything there is for sale, the chairs, the paintings on the walls, shoes, clothes and lots more. And it’s all crafted by small businesses and artists.
If I want to buy a present for anyone – including myself! – I often pop into Maison NL on Utrechtsestraat. They sell everything from mat china cups and leather cuddly toys that weigh a ton to postcards, copper writing materials and Love Stories lingerie. In fact I never come away empty-handed.”
“The Rijksmuseum is an absolute must. The way they present their exhibitions is really daring. And their collections are fascinating, especially now they’ve got one wing full of photographic work. But the Stedelijk Museum is quite another story. It’s young, innovative, tough and urban and it has a big turnover of exhibitions. And you should always check whether there are any good trade fairs in the city like Unseen Photo Fair, KunstRAI, Affordable Art Fair or Museumnacht.
And lastly, as a photographer, I advise everyone to go to FOAM and Huis Marseille. Both these establishments are on Keizersgracht, So you can enjoy lots of different and intriguing collections of photographs at two locations on the same street.”
Could this be an authentic brasserie in Paris? It certainly feels like it at Brasserie FLO in Hampshire Hotel – Rembrandt Square Amsterdam, where guests can enjoy typical French delicacies such as fruits de mer and steak tartare in an intimate atmosphere.
If you’d like to explore Amsterdam, go to Hampshire Hotels – Amsterdam
If you’d like to take a closer look at Reinier van der Aart’s tips, go to: cafedepels.nl; wynand-fockink.nl; cafehesp.nl; rijsel.com; yamyam.nl; unicornboutique.com; ps-atelier.com; tenuedenimes.com; nivo-schweitzer.nl; hutspotamsterdam.com; maisonnl.com; rijksmuseum.nl; stedelijk.nl; unseenamsterdam.com; kunstrai.nl; affordableartfair.com/amsterdam; museumnachtamsterdam.nl; foam.org; mauritshuis.nl; www.floamsterdam.nl/en/