Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Even though we have been to Amsterdam a couple times (2012 & 2013), we still decided to go back.  We started with a re-visit of some of the main tourist streets, the Royal Palace and the De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam’s famous department store.

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For something new, we went to the main railroad station, where we stopped to take a photo of the hundreds of bicycles parked outside, and the plan was to take a ferry to NDSM.  This is a newly developed area that was originally a shipyard.  The buildings have been converted to artist studios, shops and restaurants.  Every month there is a huge flea market and festivals take place there all throughout the year. 

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We had just missed the ferry, so we ended up catching the next ferry that just took us across the river and we decided to walk to the NDSM (Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij) neighborhood.  If you have seen any photos from Amsterdam, especially from Instagram, you have seen the slogan, I amsterdam.  There are three sets of these red and white letters located throughout the city.  Two are permanent (Rijksmuseum & the Amsterdam airport).  A third set of letters are rotating and currently in Amsterdam North in front of the A’DAM Tower, where our ferry dropped us off.


We enjoyed our walk through quiet neighborhoods that you could tell are up and coming based on the new row houses and condo buildings being built or just finished.  We arrived at NDSM and did a quick walkthrough but didn’t get to spend too much time as the ferry taking us back to the main railroad station was arriving and we didn’t want to miss it! 

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We walked around a little bit more that day and then headed back to our campground for dinner.  We ended up coming back to Amsterdam in the late afternoon of the day that we visited Haarlem.  We had made dinner reservations at a restaurant that I will explain about shortly.  We had time before our dinner, so we visited the Westergasfabriek, which is the site of an old gasworks factory.  The grounds are now a large park, where many people were out walking, running and doing some group exercise classes.  A couple areas even had decent fitness equipment.  The old buildings now hold culture events and some have been converted to restaurants and bars.  We had a nice walk through the park but I would love to come back to eat and hang out around the buildings.

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Time for dinner & the star of our visit to Amsterdam!  We had a reservation at de culinaire werkplaats, which is an amazing & innovative restaurant where meals are being created four times a week and patrons are invited to indulge in the result of that process.  It doesn’t look like a typical restaurant as they have tables set-up in the front of the room and on the side and in the back is the kitchen, which is exposed and open for all to view the food preparation process.  You can even get up and watch how the chef is preparing everything and ask questions.  Every couple of months, they are making dishes based on a theme.  They want people to think of food as something playful and believe the way people are eating is changing and are wanting to share that with others.  They specialize in vegetables, fruits and grains, so it is a vegetarian restaurant.  When we were there the theme was 020 (Amsterdam area code) Architecture.  There were five courses and each course was based on a building in Amsterdam. 

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When we arrived, the theme and concept of their restaurant was explained and then the first course was provided.  The first course was based on Noorderparkbad, a swimming pool that was awarded the Amsterdam Architecture Prize for 2016.  The shape of building was replicated by spinach topped with spaghetti.  Since on the swimming pool building the rain water would flow freely over the edges of the roof, this was done at the table by pouring a mushroom broth over the spinach and spaghetti.  A cool note about the actual building, is that the rain water is recycled and used in the facilities.  When you are ready to start your next course, you were asked to bring your empty dishes to the sink.  Another course was based on the Royal Palace and another on the Maritime Museum.  The food presentation made this such an unique experience and the food was very good! 

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The last course was do-it-yourself, which is the theme of the Amsterdam Architecture Day.  They had set up a bar with fruits, chocolate and sweetened vegetables and we were to create our own building!

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If you are up for a culinary adventure to change your way of thinking about food, then you must visit this restaurant in Amsterdam!

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