This year my family decided to do something different for Christmas and go on holiday instead of staying at home. It’s not like us, as we’re normally very traditional but I think it was a good time and excuse to get away and go somewhere different. Amsterdam is such a beautiful city, there’s so much art, culture and good food and even though I’ve been before I was excited to see some different spots in the city. We stayed for the Christmas week and I thought I would share a few of my favourite places with you guys in case you were thinking of heading there too.
AMSTERDAM LIGHT FESTIVAL
The Amsterdam Canals
The one thing I wanted to see was the Festival Of Lights which is an exhibition of light installations on the canals. It runs every year over the Christmas period and 30 designers from all over the world take part. To see it properly we found Mana Boat Tours, a new startup founded by Amsterdam locals with a gorgeous boat that has a bar in the middle. We sat right at the front, cosied up in some blankets with mulled wine – it was the nicest start to the Christmas break!
Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071
Ever since I saw pictures of the research library I’ve wanted to go to the Rijks Museum. It’s the Dutch national museum dedicated to art and history and the building itself is beautiful while being full of iconic works. Their most impressive piece is Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, famous for its size and use of light and shade, which was so surreal to see. It sits inside a huge glass box and is currently undergoing a $3.4 million restoration by a team at the museum. The building itself is incredible too, most of all the library and the entrance which are worth seeing even if you’re not into art.
Christmas Day In Amsterdam
It was a little bit strange waking up in a hotel and not opening presents on Christmas Day but at the same time, it was refreshing to break the routine. Instead, we made breakfast together in my parent’s apartment and headed out to explore. We went to the Rijks Museum first before heading into the centre for dinner. Rather than something traditional I ate Argentinian steak and had a glass of Rioja – no regrets! Despite the lack of turkey Amsterdam still felt festive with hundreds of trees and Christmas lights.
Foodhallen Amsterdam, Bellamyplein 51, 1053AT
We just happened to stumble on this place but it’s one of my favourites from the trip and a must-go if you love food. It’s inside De Hallen which is a big warehouse space that has a cinema, shops and restaurants including the Makers Market which sells work from Amsterdam based designers and creatives. The food hall, however, is worth a trip on its own! There are so many stalls and you go wherever you want and then sit around the bar in the middle – so everyone can get something different. I went to FENTO who make Mexican inspired dishes and tried their big salad bowl with quinoa, chicken and guacamole.
Keizersgracht 4011016 EK Amsterdam
On our last day, we went to the Huis Marseille photography museum for a quick boost of inspiration before coming home. My mum is a photographer and as we’re both creative we spend a lot of time at exhibitions looking for new ideas. The museum is in the most beautiful house with high ceilings and old features and they currently have an exhibition on the history of fashion photography from 1900-1969. I could look at fashion editorials all day so it was perfect for me.
My stepdad used to live in Haarlem which is a small city just outside of Amsterdam and he wanted to take us there and show us where he used to live. It’s really easy to get to on the train and it’s worth a day trip if you’re looking for a wander and some nice food spots. We ended up going to this restaurant De Volkslust but there are loads of different places to eat and explore. One of my favourite things were these little book huts where you can swap books with other people – like a free public library. I thought this was such a good idea and I wish this was something we did everywhere.