Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city brimming with historical significance, yet revered for its modern innovativeness. In recent years, it has proved to be one of the front runners in sustainability and conscious living. With cycling as the major mode of public transport, a growing shift towards alternative energy, and local-minded restaurants and cafes galore, it’s clear that sustainability is a large part of the city’s narrative. Rare is it that someone visit this city and leave feeling underwhelmed. Amsterdam has a way of charming you with its beautiful architecture, its friendly people, and its youthful vibe.

It was not hard to round up a list of eco-minded establishments… In fact, eco-friendliness is something that is on the minds of most of the local businesses. However, the following are some of the most note-ably sustainable in their business practices and/or simply my favorite spots that I feel are worth checking out.

Coffee Shops

Amsterdam, much like most other major cities, is certainly not lacking in coffee culture. Gezellig, one of my favorite Dutch words, denotes a cozy, convivial atmosphere, and is something that most of the cafes and restaurants in Amsterdam seem to possess (this word can also be compared to the more well-known Danish term hygge but means essentially the same thing). The cafes here are places where you linger, with the company of a good friend, a good book, or as a place to work on your laptop for a few hours. In Amsterdam’s coffee culture, atmosphere is just as important as the coffee, and my following recommendations take into account both.

Berry

Oud-West | Bilderdijkkade 27

A relaxing place to start your day in a quiet part of the city, Berry offers coffee, tea, fresh juices, and pastries, as well as shelves of reading material.

Koffie Acadamie

Oud -West | Overtoom 95

Located just a short walk from Vondelpark, this cafe serves some of the best coffee I’ve had in the city. As a bonus, the barista didn’t look at me weird when I handed him my reusable KeepCup for him to pour my oat milk latte into to take with me on-the-go.

Koffie ende Koeck

Westerpark | Haarlemmerweg 175

Located right on the edge of Westerpark, Koffie ende Koeke does vegan high tea with the most drool-worthy, 100% plant-based pastries.

Ree 7

Centrum | Reestraat 7

A cozy spot in the Negen Straatjes (9 Streets) District to enjoy a quick bite, a locally-roasted coffee, or a glass of wine.

Scandinavian Embassy

De Pijp | Sarphatipark 34

A beautiful, minimalistic-style coffee shop that also offers coffee tastings and barista classes.

The Coffee Virus

Noord | Overhoeksplein 2

Intended as a coffee-centric gathering spot, The Coffee Virus is an establishment where creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs meet for coffee, pastries, and light bites. If you’re hungry, be sure to try their vegan pumpkin hummus sandwich.

 

Where to Eat

 

Alchemist Garden

Oud-West | Overtoom 409

A health food cafe on the northern edge of Vondelpark serving raw vegan dishes and smoothies.

Bagels & Beans

Several Locations

Bagels & Beans is a casual cafe chain throughout Amsterdam serving… you guessed it- coffee and bagels. They have a vegan hemp burger patty that is served on a bagel, and their coffee is actually very good. Come here for a no-fuss meal in between sight-seeing.

Beter & Leuk

Ooosterparkbuurt | Eerste Oosterparkstraat 91

A beautiful breakfast, lunch, and high tea restaurant serving vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free dishes. Pictured below is their vegan bibimbap bowl. They also have a take-away store next door.

Bloem

Centrum | Entrepotdok 36

Located in the Plantage area of central Amsterdam, Bloem is an upscale, 100% organic restaurant with several vegan and vegetarian options.

Cafe de Ceuvel

Noord | Korte Papaverweg 4

Cafe de Ceuvel is half bar & restaurant, half sustainability experiment, and you can read about all their initiatives on their website. Between upcycling materials for the building, using solar energy, installing compost toilets, and now building the world’s first “Biogas Boat” which will convert organic waste from the restaurant into fuel, Cafe de Ceuvel is really taking small-business sustainability to the next level. On top of that, the restaurant serves fresh, local food any time of day with a menu that changes seasonally, but which always has vegan and vegetarian options. At night, it’s a great place to hang out with friends over local beers.

CT Coffee & Coconuts

De Pijp | Ceintuurbaan 282-284

A two-story cafe with ample seating, a beach-y vibe, and plenty of healthy, vegetarian/vegan options.

Dr. Blend

Centrum | Herenstraat 23

An organic juice bar that also serves salads, sandwiches, coffee, and desserts.

Foodhallen

Oud-West | Bellamyplein 51

A large warehouse turned into a food hall with dozens of individual food vendors as well as a bar in the center.

Lavinia Good Food

Centrum | Kerkstraat 176

Open for breakfast and lunch, Lavinia serves healthy vegan and vegetarian dishes in a bohemian setting.

Meatless District

Oud-West | 1053 KM Amsterdam

Playing on NYC’s Meatpacking District, this all-vegan restaurant will satisfy both plant-eaters and carnivores alike.

Noorderlicht Cafe

Noord | NDSM-Plein 102

Located on the north side of  the IJ, Noorderlicht is worth the ferry ride. The building is a converted greenhouse with picnic tables outside right on the water. They offer fresh, locally-sourced dishes with plenty of vegan options.

Olive & Cookie

De Pijp | Saenredamstraat 67

Counter-served, freshly prepared Mediterranean style vegetarian food with vegan options. Open 1-9 PM on weekdays only. Come early for the best selection.

Stach

Several Locations

Stach is a small, hipster supermarket selling a selection of beer, wine, and prepared foods. Some locations have a cafe that serves up some decent food and coffee. So if you need a quick sammie and caffeine fix, this is a good place to go.

The Avocado Show

De Pijp | Daniël Stalpertstraat 61

Come for the Instagram…. No really. While not all the food is something to write home about, their Rose Avocado Toast is undoubtedly the most well-presented avocado toast I have ever encountered. Disclaimer: Save the nachos for a Mexican restaurant.

 

Sustainable Shopping

 

Denham

Flagship Store | Hobbemastraat 8
Centrum Women’s Store | Runstraat 17
Centrum Men’s Store | Prinsengracht 493

While perhaps not explicitly a “sustainable” company, this Amsterdam-based denim brand focuses on quality and timelessness. They have begun incorporating sustainable fabrics like Tencel and Modal into their archive of fibers. What I believe most makes them a sustainably-minded company is their in-house maintenance shop called Service Co. When you buy a pair of jeans from Denham, Service Co. will make sure they stay in tip-top shape, indefinitely, with alterations, repairs, and laundry service. They even use restored vintage sewing machines from the US and Germany.

Erica Kruiderijen

Centrum | Stationsplein 41E

Located inside Amsterdam Centraal Station, this store sells a variety of non-toxic beauty products, vitamins and herbs, and other organic lifestyle goods.

Geitenwollenwinkel

Centrum | Utrechtsestraat 37

A small, minimalistic storefront near Amsterdam Centrum selling sustainable and vegan fashion apparel and accessories.

G-Star Raw

Several locations

A brand you probably recognize, but may not know is sustainably-minded, G-Star Raw just so happens to be headquartered in Amsterdam. By maintaining a responsible supply chain management and using sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel, linen, hemp, and more, G-Star Raw is proving that even mainstream/ mass-produced fashion can be done responsibly.

MHOOM

Centrum | Nieuwe Kerkstraat 6H

A sustainable lifestyle boutique + eco-friendly hair salon. They sell a range of products including fashion, accessories, books, and beauty products.

Nukuhiva

Centrum | Haarlemmerstraat 36

A fashion boutique selling only fair-trade and sustainable goods.

Studio Jux

De Pijp | Ceintuurbaan 252

Their slogan is “Guilt-Free Goods” and that is exactly what they offer. From fashion, to organic beauty products and home goods, everything in their store is sustainable, fair-trade, organic, and/or vegan.

 

Nightlife

 

Bar Spek 

Oud-West | Admiraal de Ruijterweg 1

Restaurant in the daytime turned bar at night, Bar Spek is the quintessential European neighborhood hangout spot. Grab a seat on the couch, sit at a table, or relax out on the canal-side patio. Whether you’re coming for brunch, lunch, or cocktails, this place won’t disappoint.

Biertuin

Centrum | Prinsengracht 494
Oosterparkburt | Linnaeusstraat 29

With two locations, one in the up-and-coming Oosterparkbuurt and the other in the more frequented Prinsengracht, this beer garden serves a huge selection of both bottled and draft beers, many from local breweries.

Brouwerij ‘t IJ

Oost | Funenkade 7

One of Amsterdam’s most popular breweries can be visited in the eastern part of the city. Located next to a windmill, their brewpub has a great ambiance for which to sample their latest beers.

Hanneke’s Boom

Centrum | Dijksgracht 4

Hanneke’s Boom (translated to Hanneke’s Tree) is a cafe/bar situated right on the water that has been built from salvaged material. Drinking beer at one of their picnic tables while watching the boats go by is a perfect way to spend a summer evening.

Leidsepleine

Leidsepleine, not a specific bar but rather an area dedicated to nightlife, is home to Amsterdam’s most famous nightclubs including Paradiso, Melkweg, and Sugarfactory. Check the clubs’ websites to see what shows or events are going on during your stay. And if clubbing isn’t your thing, the surrounding bars are a great place to make friends and/or trouble.

Melkweg | Lijnbaansgracht 234A
Paradiso | Weteringschans 6-8
Sugarfactory | Lijnbaansgracht 238

Pllek

Noord | Tt. Neveritaweg 59

Located in Noord-Amsterdam, which is just a short ferry ride away, Pllek is as close as Amsterdam comes to a beach bar. Outside is white sand, beach chairs, and bonfire pits, and inside is an open, warehouse-y vibe. This is a great place to hang out on a warm summer night when you’re looking for something a little more relaxed.

Waterkant

Centrum | Marnixstraat 246

A waterside bar with lots of picnic tables outside to get you into the summer spirit. They serve craft beers by the pitcher, an updated-bar-menu (bar food that actually tastes good) and several vegan/ vegetarian options. This place gets very lively on weekend nights so bring your dancing shoes.

Things to Do

Rent a Bike

It almost goes without saying that while in Amsterdam, renting a bike is a must. Not only is it the main way to get around, it is also such an integral part of the Netherlands’ culture that you wouldn’t get the true experience without some fietsen.

Take a Class at Delight Yoga

One of the most beautiful yoga studios I’ve been to, with some of the greatest instructors, is Delight Yoga– which has four locations throughout Amsterdam. Their studios are decorated with a Scandinavian-style minimalistic aesthetic, which makes for a spa-like experience. They offer over 200 classes per week with a variety of yoga styles including Yin, Hatha, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa.

Stroll Through Amsterdam’s Parks

While Vondelpark is essentially the Central Park of Amsterdam (but cleaner, quieter, and less homeless people) there are several other parks throughout Amsterdam worth a visit. In the summer time at Westerpark you can get your feet wet at the Kinderbadje, a paddling pool that contains no chemicals, then sip on a gin & tonic at Mossel & GinRembrandtpark has miles of walking and biking paths, as well as Amsterdam’s oldest petting zoo. Sarphatipark is a small yet beautiful park nestled inside De Pijp neighborhood.

Museum Hop with an Iamsterdam City Card

While Amsterdam has more museums and historical attractions than I could possibly list off or you would be able to visit in one stay, the Iamsterdam City Card gives you a lot of flexibility to pick and choose what you want to see without paying for multiple entrance fees. A one-day pass will run you 57 euro, or you can choose up to a 96 hour pass for 87 euro. The pass gets you entrance into the city’s most noteworthy museums and attractions- including the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, the National Holocaust Museum & Memorial, the Botanical Gardens, as well as a free canal boat cruise, and unlimited use of the GVB public transport system (bus, tram, and metro).

 

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