"Travelling from one capital to another, I've seen a lot of the world through modelling. I've also tried living in some of these cities, but quickly discovered that no place makes me happy like Amsterdam does. With the lack of cars and great public transport it's calm and has everything you need. Here are some tips if you ever come visit. You should avoid coffee shops like all the real Amsterdammers do..."
SWIMMING IN THE CANAL
Amsterdam is one of the wettest cities in Europe with all the rain and all the canals. The water in central Amsterdam is pretty disgusting, but the water in het IJ (connected to both the sea and a big lake) is reasonably clean. If you cycle to the city edge there are numerous piers or bridges you can take a swim from during a hot day. It isn't legal and safe everywhere so it might take you a while to find a good spot. It's enjoyable once you do.
VINTAGE SHOPPING ON WATERLOO SQUARE
The centre of Amsterdam isn't very big – you can pretty much walk everywhere. One of the best areas for young tourists is probably Waterloo Square. There's a vintage market every weekday from 10am to 4pm. There are stalls owned by vintage stores but the most fun part are the piles of clothes on the floor, sold for 2 euros a piece. You need to rummage but I've found some of my best stuff in there, including Jil Sander and Miu Miu! It's also worth crossing the bridge over the Amstel towards the Staalstraat, for Amsterdam's best chocolate shop, Puccini.
EATING PANCAKES IN THE AMSTERDAMSE BOS
If you have a bike visit the Amsterdamse Bos, which is a forest on the border of the city. It's a long ride but do-able! Escape from city life and have a walk or just lay in the grass. The woods are a lot bigger than the parks in the city and a lot more quiet – the Vondelpark, the biggest park in the centre, can feel like an anthill sometimes. Finish your nature day by having a proper Dutch pancake in one of the farm restaurants in the woods. They're thicker than French crepes and feel more like a pizza/pancake combination.
The Haarlemmerdijk is a long street taking you all the way to west Amsterdam. It's filled with nice shops, bakeries, restaurants and there's a cosy cinema called 'The Movies' for a sweet night out.
If you're looking for somewhere special, Hannekes Boom is a nice place to go. It's an open air restaurant on the waterside where you can hang out all day and look out over the water with some drinks or food. On the weekend it's open until 3am so there's often parties as well.
Text and photography Marte Mei van Haaster
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