A post-lockdown guide to Amsterdam

Last Friday, 59 countries opened their borders for quarantine-free travel, including The Netherlands. We asked local streetwear brand Patta and Dutch artist and filmmaker Mila Van Der Linden to curate a coronavirus-friendly itinerary for your next trip.

Last week, the British government announced a series of air corridors between the UK and 59 other countries, including France, Spain, Vietnam, Japan and Australia. The decision, effective from today, means that us Brits can go on holiday without having to quarantine for 14 days upon return. Get in. 

After three months of stay-at-home sanctions coupled with the closure of clubs, festivals and live music for the foreseeable future, many people are leaping at the chance to jet away on a summer vacay. 

However, we must not forget that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and although the number of cases has dropped substantially across Europe, the threat of a second wave looms large.

Whether we like it or not, Covid-19 has created a new – rather strange – normal, and countless new rules and restrictions now apply. 

So to help navigate any confusion, we’ve tapped up some friends from our community to list the places you can eat and drink at post-Covid, and the things you should do with that newfound sense of freedom.

Next up: Amsterdam, as curated by streetwear titan Patta’s art director Violette Esmerlda and Mila Van Der Linden, an artist-filmmaker and Dutch party-going powerhouse.

Topline stats: the city opened up on 11th May after two months of intelligent lockdown”, which closed schools, bars and restaurants but not shops. Although nightclubs will remain shut until 1st September, restaurants, museums, schools, hairdressers and nail bars are all up and running.

Finally, do not travel if you’re displaying any Covid-19 symptoms, wash your hands and wear a mask. Simple.

MILA VAN DER LINDEN, FILMMAKER 

What phase of lockdown are you currently in and what does it look like?

I don’t know the exact term for it, but basically everything is open (except nightclubs) with restrictions; so I guess you can’t really call it a lockdown anymore. It looks pretty normal, except for the fact that you have to make a reservation for everything. Restaurants and bars have a lower capacity. On sunny days, it feels [like it’s] back to normal as the terraces are full of people getting boozy. 

What safety precautions are being put in place? 

1.5 meter distance [between people], face masks in public transport, disinfecting hands when entering hospitality [venues] and stores. 

What’s your public transport system like at the moment? 

It’s pretty much in full effect, you just have to wear a facemask. But I’d suggest cycling. 

List your favourite restaurants open for a bite to eat. 

Last week, I went to Ethiopian restaurant Abyssinia on Jan Pieter Heijestraat. It’s really good food and I love the mango beer. And it looks really cool inside, they have a bar in the shape of a grotto. The club I used to work at sometimes, Garage North, really cleverly reinvented themselves as Roti North during these times, and they have a large terrace where DJ’s play from a sofa at the weekend and they built a big fire pit. The food is good and the vibes are sweet. 

Loading...

Where are the best outdoor spots for walks and boozy picnics? 

The Amsterdam Forest (1182 DA Amstelveen, Netherlands) is really nice for long walks. For a boozy picnic, I prefer to be able to swim – in the city you can do that at Homeland but it is really, really busy on a hot day. I can’t tell you my secret spot, sorry. 

What about any good coffee shop recommendations?

I’m not an expert on this but the one around the corner from my house, Happy People, has a reputation for making people happy. 

Where should we head for clothes shopping? 

I like Mood Indigo and Time Machine for vintage. Patta en Zeedijk 60 for streetwear. Concrete Store if you want something more upscale.

Loading...

What about galleries and museums, any good exhibitions we should catch? 

Unfair Amsterdam is currently on at Westergas. I want to check it out this week, people told me it’s good!

Loading...

What’s the nightlife scene like at the moment? 

I guess it’s a bit dead compared to how it used to be. Amsterdam is one of the best clubbing cities in the world. Now there are bars you could go to with a DJ playing, but mostly people just have small house parties. 

Are there any places to listen to live music right now? Or to dance?

Subbacultcha is doing an event at Muziek Gebouw aan t Ij with live music. And there are concerts [that allow] small capacities. To dance is a tricky one. Dancing for hours while going out is personally one of my favourite things to do, so I really miss it. It’s nice to go to a bar and chat with friends but for me it does not give me the satisfaction and relief that raving gives me and discovering new music and feeling the vibrations in your body. My best friend (and favourite DJ) Mairo Nawaz did a 30-person listening session at Doka two weeks ago. It was so good to hear him DJ again and be able to dance, but it also made me a bit emotional. 

What’s something you’re really wanting to do in Amsterdam but can’t right now?

Rave for 24 hours. 

VIOLETTE ESMERALDA, ART DIRECTOR AT PATTA 

What phase of lockdown are you currently in and what does it look like? 

Life is pretty much back to normal outside of nightclubs being closed and festivals being postponed until further notice. People are back on the streets, tourists are visiting again, and (almost) everyone’s back to work.

What was your favourite place you discovered over lockdown? 

Nature and extensive bike trips have been getting me through the past few months. 

The great thing about Amsterdam is how accessible it is to travel to good nature spots, you can find a lake or small forest in almost every outer corner of the city.

List your favourite restaurants open for a bite to eat. 

World of Food is worth an afternoon or two, without a doubt.

Loading...

Where are the best outdoor spots for walks and boozy picnics? 

I’ve been loving weekend trips to Durgerdam and Amsterdamse Bos. If you want to stay more inside the city centre, I’d recommend Westerpark.

What about any good coffee shop recommendations?

Not sure if you’re referring to caffeine or kush, but Toki is a nice coffee spot with a pretty good lunch.

Loading...

I always recommend Paradox coffeeshop cause they’re family friends, but I’m not too fussy about my choices in that department. Most places sell pretty decent products as long as you have a bit of an idea what you’re after.

Where should we head for clothes shopping? 

Support Black-owned independent businesses and shop at Patta or Zeedijk 60. Both stores are on the Zeedijk next to the redlight district. Bis is a good place for quality vintage pieces.

Loading...

What about galleries and museums, any good exhibitions we should catch? 

A hidden city gem is The Black Archives in Amsterdam East, so make sure to give them a visit. Also worth checking out are Dana Lixenberg Imperial Courts video work, Farida Sedoc’s BLM artwork, and Nam June Paik’s The Future Is Now, all in Stedelijk Museum.

Loading...

What’s the nightlife scene like at the moment? 

It’s all a lot more intimate and small-scale but pretty vibrant still. SkateCafe, Radio Radio and Cafe the Duivel are good places to check out right now.

Loading...

What’s something you’re really wanting to do in Amsterdam but can’t right now?

Apart from the occasional rave, I have to say I don’t miss much. Out of most cities around Europe I feel we’ve luckily been able to make it through with a very low level of restrictions.


Loading...
00:00 / 00:00