Coffee to go?

LotSixtyOne

As most coffee-loving  mamas can probably agree, there comes a time as our little ones grow when babyccinos just don’t cut it as the perfect cafe distraction. Our darling toddler doesn’t want to sit still for even thirty seconds to let us enjoy a sip of our hot cup of caffeinated goodness, there is too much fun to be had in the world (and the rest of the cafe!).

Inevitably at this stage takeaway coffees become your next best friend, so you can have your coffee and stay on the move with your active little one — and luckily Amsterdam has plenty of great cafes to provide you with your coffee fix while you’re out and about in town.

Here is our selection of top 3 favourite coffee spots that you can grab a quick (and really good) coffee from if you’re in the area – some even have nearby playgrounds! Of course you can always stay in and enjoy your coffee in the shop, as all of these cafes will also happily welcome you and your brood – but it’s nice to know you have the takeaway coffee option up your sleeve if needed.

 

LOT SIXTY ONE COFFEE ROASTERS

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Lot Sixty One was started up by a couple of Aussies – and they truly bring the hip, artisinal coffee scene that Australia has become well known for right here to Amsterdam. They roast their own coffee beans, which they also sell to many other cafes around town (so keep a lookout as these guys are synonymous with good coffee). Lot Sixty One take their coffee very seriously – 2 shots of espresso in your coffee is standard! You really can rely on them for a consistently good, strong and smooth cup of your favourite brew.

There are three locations around town:

The original Lot Sixty One cafe – where they house their coffee roasting machines and their best baristas – can be found here on Kinkerstraat (only a few doors up from Foodhallen).

There is also a Lot Sixty One here as part of the hip BounceSpace co-working space — this is located only a couple of minutes walking distance from the Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest park and a wonderful place to go with your family for a stroll or play.

The third Lot Sixty One cafe can be found  here inside the Urban Outfitters store in the city centre, providing a great sneaky coffee stop if you’re shopping in town.

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TOKI

Toki only opened last year in the trendy Jordaan district (see map), but it’s already made quite an impact on the Amsterdam coffee scene. The cafe itself has a bright and spacious layout, with trendy decor – and you will often see little ones running about while their parents enjoy a coffee, so by all means take a seat and relax!

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But if you did want to take in some of the beautiful surroundings of the Jordaan district, a stroll across the Brouwersgracht canal (one of Amsterdam’s most beautiful canals!) will bring you to a little outdoor play area that younger kids really enjoy. Here there are mini trampolines, swings and climbing frames – and it’s only a couple of minutes walk from Toki. There’s also a small play area on Vinkenstraat, not even a minute’s walk from Toki if you prefer to stay even closer.

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SCANDINAVIAN EMBASSY

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In De Pijp district great food and coffee can be found in abundance, but you have to know where to look. A favourite coffee spot that is conveniently opposite the beautiful Sarphatipark is Scandinavian Embassy.  The coffee here is always good, and they don’t just stop at regular coffee. You can enjoy a variety of beverages that are truly unique and often derived from some part of the coffee plant —  such as coffee fruit kombucha or water kefir with dried coffee flowers! It’s definitely worth a visit, and so easy to grab a takeaway and walk across the road and into the park. (Oh, and if you happen to spy some  cinnamon rolls on their counter when you visit, you will not regret adding one to your order!).

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ALSO IN THE AREA:

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De Kleine ParadeDe Pijp and the Albert CuypmarketLe Pain Quotidien

Do as the Dutch do, bike on a bakfiets

bakfiets

Thanks to its flat (meaning not hilly) landscape, the Netherlands is the perfect place for getting around on bike. It’s also quite safe: bike lanes are virtually everywhere, and drivers are so used to the many bikes around that they take them in careful consideration. So the ‘fiets’ is the preferred means of transportation for most, if not all Dutchmen. We cycle to work, we cycle to school, we cycle to the shops and we also grab the bike if we go out at night (this will also conveniently save us the money for a parking ticket or a taxi).
Kids? No problem. We just take them in front with us when they are little, in a special seat hanging from the steer. When they grow bigger, they get a seat on the back of the bike, if necessary combined with the pre-mentioned seat on the front for a little sibling.
If you have three or more children though, it’s probably time to get a bakfiets. A bakfiets is kind of a cross between a bike and a beach wagon, and you can conveniently fit in as many as 4 children (although I’ve seen people squeeze in even more!). If you’ve ever been in Amsterdam, chances are high that you’ve noticed them around. (more…)

Getting Around

1) Rent a Bakfiets
A great and very Dutch way to get around Amsterdam is on a bakfiets. They can be rented in numerous places around the city, and your kids will love this way of transportation. There are bike lanes everywhere, and cars are very much accustomed to all the bikes around, so it’s all as safe as can be. You can just leave them in a corner on the sidewalk if you’re going inside somewhere, but make sure to lock them well… Read more here.

2) Boat Tour
The best way to experience the wonders of the canals of Amsterdam is by a boat tour (found in front of the Central Station). The beautiful and unique canal houses can be best admired from the water and the great part is that you won’t wear out your little one’s feet. The guides will give you and the kids interesting background information in a number of languages. And there’s a toilet on board, just in case.

3) Tram
A very pleasant way to get around town is on the tram. They allow a few buggies inside (take the bigger entrance in the middle of the tram), and kids will love seeing the city pass in front of the windows and the ‘train-like’ feeling of it all. If you find the maps in the tram-stops confusing just ask the people around for help. Virtually everybody speaks English fluently in Amsterdam, and knows the tram system by heart.

Clogs!

Wooden clogsHa ha… as a true Dutch girl, I had to discuss this topic at some point: Wooden shoes!

First of all, I have to put something straight: contrary to popular belief elsewhere in the world, NOBODY in the Netherlands wears wooden shoes on the streets anymore. Okay, what they say about tulips and soft drugs is true. But seriously, we ALL wear leather shoes, or even sneakers! (more…)

Queen’s Day

Queen’s Day

Today is Queen’s Day in the Netherlands! It’s a national holiday, and probably the most fun one of the year.
We are celebrating the queen’s birthday, and we do that by taking the day off, dressing up in orange (the name of the Dutch royal family is ‘The House of Orange’) and going out on the streets. The evening before Queen’s Day is called Queen’s Night, and special events are organized around all the Dutch towns. It’s a good night to go out (if you can find a sitter). The real Queen’s Day, however, is fun for the entire family.

The Dutch government allows tax-free sales on this specific day, so the streets in the Netherlands transform into one big flee-market. (We call it ‘free-market’). Prices are super-low, because most people regard it as a chance to have fun, chat with complete strangers and get rid of some rubbish as a bonus! Children love having their own ‘stall’ (blanket on the pavement with merchandise) – and in fact here in Amsterdam, the famous Vondelpark is reserved just for children.
There are loads of other activities: there’s theater, music, and EVERYBODY who has a boat takes it out on the canals (we say that on Queen’s Day you can walk over the water — the canals are simply covered with boats)!

It’s a crazy, fun day and it’s 100% Dutch. Happy Queen’s Day!!!

xxx Esther

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Queen’s Day
April 30th

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Sinterklaas — A Dutch Tradition

St. Nicholas

Here in the low-lands, we have a funny holiday called Sinterklaas. If you’re in the Netherlands now, or planning to visit around the 5th of December, you most propably will be seeing some strangely dressed up people on the streets…

St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra (Turkey) in the third century. He was known for his goodness and generosity: he was quite rich but used his entire fortune to assist the poor. Furthermore he was known for his love for children and as such he became their patron saint. Apparently he was also very concerned about the welfare of sailors and ships but that has nothing to do with this. He died December 6 AD 343, and the anniversary of his death has (weirdly enough) been celebrated ever since. In Holland, we like to be different and celebrate St. Nicholas day (‘Sinterklaas’) on December 5th. But for weeks leading up to that, Sinterklaas keeps everybody busy!

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