Wheeling Around AmsterdamJuly 25, 2014
Hold onto your handlebars: we’re off to explore Amsterdam by bike! Cycling is the best way to traverse this storybook city, by farcars are no match for its labyrinth of streets and canals. So make like a local, rent a fiets (that’s Dutch for bike) and pedal past rows of townhouses alive with ivy and rosebushes, quaint bruine cafés filled with convivial groups laughing over their pints, and waterways studded with picturesque houseboats.
1. It’s easy to spend days in Amsterdam’s famous art institutions, but the city is also home to a number of quirkier museums. Start your day at the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje, where the world’s most extensive handbag collection is set against the backdrop of a historic canal house. Our must-see? A tiny circa-1827 beaded clutch featuring the likeness of Zarafa, a giraffe gifted to King Charles X by the Egyptian viceroy.
2. Hop on your bike and pedal down Herengracht to the beloved KattenKabinet, a museum dedicated to cat art. The Meijer family opened KattenKabinet in 1990 as a grand memorial to their own dearly departed cat, John Pierpont Morgan. In addition to pieces from Rembrandt, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, KattenKabinet houses hundreds of feline-themed sculptures, drawings, photographs and even a few real, live kitties, who prowl the patrician galleries.
3. The Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) shopping district is renowned for its boutiques, often featuring one very specific productsay, fancy toothbrushes or antique clocks. Our favorite is Knopenwinkel, a treasure trove of buttons in every size and color imaginable. You’ll know when you’ve arrived: its doorknobs are giant wood buttons.
4. Feeling a bit peckish? You can’t leave Amsterdam without sampling Dutch apple pie. Take a jaunt up to the Jordaan for the city’s best slice at Winkel 43, topped with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream, of course.
5. Work off all that sugar with a glorious ride through Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s answer to Central Park. Gawk at the locals pedaling by whilst eating lunch, talking on their cell phones, carting around friends and even holding handsyou’ll quickly realize that Amsterdammers live quite a bit of their lives on bikes! And don’t forget to look up while in Vondelpark: if you’re lucky, you might spot a flock of emerald green parakeets who call the park home.
6. End the day with a long ride past the confines of the central city to local favorite Pont 13. Situated on a refurbished 1920s ferry in Houthhaven Port, it’s the perfect spot to while away the evening hours and watch the sun set over an icy beer and a plate of oysters.
For more of Amsterdam’s scenic beauty, check out our August Lookbook.