Dutch chic is a rare mix of what’s hot, what’s cool. Take the Light Shade Shade—a classical chandelier enveloped in a contemporary, semitransparent film from homegrown creator Jurgen Bey. It is a pretty standard fixture in all of Amsterdam’s hot spots. And around the snaking canals, there’s this eclectic fusion of cutting-edge design and laid-back elegance in everything from the city’s stores to its eateries to its hotels.
WHERE TO SHOP
Fashion’s flying Dutchmen Viktor & Rolf are said to troll boutiques in the central Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) shopping district. While there, check out Lady Day, at Hartenstraat 9. The boutique is a mecca of all things vintage—shirts, dresses, pants, skirts, coats and accessories. Across the street, at Hartenstraat 10, is Exota, which carries brightly hued, patterned pieces from local brand King Louie, plus designs from Carhartt and Paul Frank. For products to beautify, Skins Cosmetics, at Runstraat 9, boasts Holland’s exclusives to such niche names as Frederic Malle, Philosophy and Ren. Home design-wise, The Frozen Fountain is not to be missed. At Prinsengracht 629, its cutting-edge creations include pieces from Driade and Edra, plus custom-made designs from local favorite Piet Hein Eek.
Amsterdam is also a treasure trove of individually themed stores. W.T.W. (de Witte Tanden Winkel), at Runstraat 5, sells toothbrushes of all shapes, sizes and characters (Hello Kitty and Tweety Bird, included). Knopenwinkel, at Herengracht 383-389, peddles only buttons. Beadies Amsterdam, Huidenstraat 6, sells—you guessed it—beads. And Maranon Hangmattn, at Singel 488, stocks hammocks.
WHERE TO GO OUT
While pancakes, Indonesian and brown-cafe cuisine are staples here, the recently opened Fifteen Amsterdam restaurant, at Jollemanhof 9—by Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef)—offers inventive prix fixe and à la carte plates prepared in the open kitchen abuzz with cooks. Decor includes white tablecloths and walls covered with graffiti.
Following in the numbered-eatery theme is another funky joint called Club 11, at Oosterdokskade 3-5, in the same building as the city’s modern art museum. During the day, its terrace looks out onto a spectacular panorama of Amsterdam, and at dusk, it morphs into a throbbing club chockablock with teens and twentysomethings.
Not new, but certainly a mainstay in the city, is the SupperClub, at Jonge Roelensteeg 21, where diners spend hours eating and drinking while sprawled out on mattresses.
WHERE TO SLEEP
There is no shortage of interesting-looking places to bunk down in Amsterdam. The Lloyd Hotel & Culturele Ambassade, at Oostelijke Handelskade 34, has an array of bedrooms, ranging from one to five stars (with each category featuring an innovative look). Common rooms and a shared kitchen area also are available to guests. As its name suggests, The College Hotel (at Roelof Hartstraat 1) used to house a school and now has modern rooms run by college kids—overseen by supervisors, of course. Another one of the hippest hotels is the Arena Hotel Amsterdam, at Gravesandestraat 51. Once an orphanage, this youth hotel now contains individually decorated rooms, a percolating nightclub and a fine garden area.