By the Cloud Native Explorers
Building on the success of “Bob and Jeefy’s Guide to Detroit”, we are pleased to announce Cloud Native Explorers! Cloud Native Explorers is a new blog series where we bring together community members in a specific city (where KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is located) and share their recommendations.
For KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe, we are delighted to share Amsterdam recommendations from Marc Jacobs and Lian Li. We invite you to read their guides and be sure to tag us on social if you visit any of these recommendations!
From Marc Jacobs:
Looking for a typical Amsterdam “brown cafe” (you might know them better as pubs)? There are many, but one of my absolute favorites is Cafe de Poort. It has been located on this spot on the Haarlemmerdijk since 1899, and this street has been named the best shopping street in Amsterdam! It is just 10 minutes from the Amsterdam Centraal train station.
Another institution when it comes to brown cafes is Cafe Hoppe. This all-day cafe serves breakfast, sandwiches and is located in the heart of the city center. The Dam square with the Royal Palace and Amsterdam’s biggest shopping street Kalverstraat are just a few minutes away. Cafe Hoppe attracts a very diverse crowd and is bustling just about every day!
If you are looking for a place to unwind from the conference with a drink and some snacks, there are multiple great options within walking distance from the RAI convention center.
Tap Zuid, which is less than 10 minutes away from the RAI by foot, has 25 different beers on tap and they serve beers from almost all of the 30+ Amsterdam craft beer breweries. They also have a nice dinner menu with burgers, flammkuchen & other options.
You are lucky, because in April StrandZuid opens their terrace again. This restaurant / bar has an amazing floating terrace and especially on Friday afternoons there is a great vibe with all the locals who are celebrating the start of their weekend. Obviously, they serve a wide range of snacks, including bitterballen! And the best part? It’s actually connected to the RAI so if your legs are tired from roaming around the conference all day, this is the place for you.
Located in the middle of the famous Vondelpark, you will find Proeflokaal het Blauwe Theehuis from Brouwerij ‘t IJ – one of Amsterdam’s finest craft beer breweries. On their large terrace they serve a selection of their beers from the tap, sandwiches, pizzas and other snacks. A perfect place to hang out after you’ve strolled through the park. You can also play table tennis or “jeu de boules” there.
They also have a taproom underneath Amsterdam’s largest windmill, where their first brewery is also located. When the weather is nice, they have large tables outside where people can mingle and enjoy their beers in the sun.
Amsterdam has a lot of different kitchens to choose from, because of all the varying cultures living in the city. For the very best lahmacun (also known as Turkish pizza) in town: you have to go to Effendy on the Rozengracht. This long-time family owned business serves a perfect lahmacun with crispy dough and they have multiple options for the filling. The original with kebab is great, but also give the vegetarian one with spinach and feta cheese a try!
Located in the “Old-West” part of Amsterdam, indoor food valhalla Foodhallen has a big bar in the middle surrounded by more than 20 different stands that serve food. From sushi to Dutch meatballs, pizza to Vietnamese street food and many many more. The Foodhallen is located in a building called “de Hallen” – which used to be where trams were serviced, there is also a movie theater and art studio.
Located in the beautiful Westerpark, make sure to pay a visit to TonTon Club to get your fix of arcade & board games. Their arcade section has Mario Kart, 4-player Pacman, Game of Thrones, Dance Dance and multiple (not so standard) air hockey tables. Add in their big selection of board games, a lot of different beers and a very nice selection of Japanese snacks and you will have the time of your life.
While you’re in Westerpark, do NOT, I repeat do NOT, just walk past Dumplings without ordering at least one of their plates of freshly made Dim Sum or Jianbing (“Peking crêpes”) . It is just a small kiosk but don’t let the looks of the place fool you: their food is a-ma-zing!
Amsterdam has a world-famous museum district, home to three of the most iconic museums in the country: Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum. However… you may want to check out these other modern hotspots as well.
Our House This modern museum celebrates our rich history in the world of electronic music. Located in the heart of the city center, near the Rembrandtplein with a lot of bars and cafes in the area. Our House is a modern museum about electronic music culture. Discover the evolution of electronic dance music through this high-tech, audio-visual exhibition, told in numerous interactive installations. “Our House” takes you on a 75-minute digital journey through the music genre by means of a range of interactive exhibitions, shows, and performances, telling the story of how it evolved from a rebellious underground community to a global cultural phenomenon. If you are a lover of electronic music, this is the place to be!
Looking for a thrill? AMAZE is a 1 hour audiovisual immersive walk-through experience. In 7 separate stages, they take you on a journey that stimulates all senses and takes you to a deeper layer of consciousness. You’re in for quite a ride!
Info & tickets: https://amaze-amsterdam.nl/
On the other side of the IJ river, on the NDSM Wharf there is STRAAT – a museum dedicated to street art and graffiti. Located in an old shipyard, they currently show an exhibition focused on women in street art. You can take the free ferry to NDSM from behind Amsterdam Central Station, which is a nice 15 minute ride with great views of the city and the A’dam Tower and EYE Filmmuseum. For more info and tickets go to https://straatmuseum.com/en/equalopportunities.
From Lian Li:
Reposted from her own personal blog with permission
I’m from Germany, and one of the things I noticed (and fell in love with) immediately after I moved to Amsterdam, was the variety and quality of all kinds of Asian food here.
Whether it’s authentic Sichuan cuisine, unique Ramen shops or Korean Barbecue, Amsterdam has it all!
In the past, the Netherlands had colonies in today’s Indonesia and Suriname, leading to interesting combinations on the dinner table, like Chinese-Suriname fusion, which is very popular here.
But there are also a good number of amazing restaurants serving Ethiopian Injera, Tacos, Seafood, Ramen and traditional Dutch food.
Italian (mostly pizza)
I may be biased here, but regardless of where I am, whenever I have the chance, I will get some traditionally hand pulled noodles from the North of China. Lucky for me, there is a restaurant specializing in this: Xi’an Delicious Foods. It features a window into the kitchen, so you can watch the noodlers do their thing. They don’t take reservations, but you never have to wait long.
Similarly, the popular Ramen restaurant Ramen-Kingdom does not take reservations, but they will prepare food at lightning speed, and oh what food. It’s definitely worth the wait.
There are two chains in Amsterdam that couldn’t be more different, but I recommend them both: Cannibale Royale and Vegan Junk Food Bar.
If you’re feeling like a burger, steak or some extremely delicious ribs, absolutely give Cannibale Royale a try. Also, don’t skip the cheesecake! For some guilt-reduced fast food, check out VJFB and their Chicken burgers or loaded fries, an absolute dream!
If you’re feeling fancy, head straight to Amsterdam Tower on the North side of the river and visit MOON, a revolving restaurant that will give you a magnificent view of the city. After dinner, have a look at the bar above.
Before I get into drinking establishments, I want to clarify that even though it may not look like it, people do live in the center of Amsterdam. So if you’re out in the Red-Light District, please be mindful of the inhabitants. Please be thoughtful and kind, as you would want guests to behave in your home.
Dutch locals love a good pub, which they call brown cafés here. In fact, if you want to experience Dutch cuisine like the locals, head into one of those cafés and order the bittergarnituur. You will receive all kinds of fried stuff and dipping sauces, like the famous bitterballen with mustard., maybe even a charcuterie board and some bread. Another quirk: Dutchies like to stand around while they drink, even if there are masses of seating available. It’s just about the vibe.
Rayleigh & Ramsay is a chain of wine bars in Amsterdam that features wine from “vending machines”. You can spend your entire night trying different wines, or simply stick with what you like.
If beer is your poison, definitely check out the many brew pubs around the city, like Brouwerij Troost, De Bekeerde Suster, and Brouwerij ‘t Ij. However, the place I want to specifically highlight here is Gebrouwen door Vrouwen, which translates to Brewed by Women. Not only are they a local, women-owned business, they also provide DevOpsDays Amsterdam with their delicious signature beer: DevHops.
Coffee shops v. Cafes
To clarify: Coffee shops are where you buy marijuana, and Cafés are where you buy coffee or beer. It’s important to understand that marijuana is not legal in the Netherlands. It is, however, decriminalized to consume it within a coffee shop if you are of legal age.
Things to do
Now that we got you covered on the essentials, what else is there to do?
The obvious areas of Amsterdam where most of the action happens are De Wallen (also known as the Red-Light District), Chinatown, and De Pijp. It’s a good idea to just walk around there and explore.
If you’re less inclined to walk, you can take one of the many boat rides along the cities’ canals. However, if you’re on a tight schedule, you might want to focus on just one area and take it all in.
You will find most of Amsterdam’s famous museums here, like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum or the Moco Museum.
And while you’re here, why not take a nice walk through Vondelpark?
De Pijp is best known for its restaurants and bars, but also features one of Europe’s most famous farmer’s markets: The Albert Cuypmarkt. Take a leisurely stroll, get yourself some Kibbeling (battered and deep-fried fish bits) and enjoy the hustle and bustle.
If you’re more of a beer person, the Heineken brewery is not far away and functions partly as a museum nowadays.
You could spend weeks, if not months, trying to explore every nook and cranny of the center. To save you time, here are some highlights:
Visit the flower market and have some original Dutch tulips shipped home, wherever on the globe this might be. April is smack dab in the middle of tulip season, so you should be able to see some beautiful variety.
To the west, the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk and the Homomonument are all a stone’s throw away from each other Dam Square is the name of the plaza in front of the Royal Palace. Even though the Royal family does not live here, all their important appearances are in or in front of the palace. Usually, there will be many street performers, demonstrations or other kinds of public life happening on Dam square.
Technically, the Nemo Science Museum is for children, but of all ages, with fun and hands-on exhibits.
For many tourists, it seems intimidating to make a trip up north, as you have to cross the river Ij. But don’t let that deter you. It’s actually super quick with the completely free ferry that goes all night.
There are two main destinations in the North of Amsterdam (be careful you don’t board the wrong ferry): Buiksloterweg and NDSM. Because it seems like a bit of a hassle to get there, it’s much less touristy than the center.
Buiksloterweg is very close to Centraal, so it’s a viable option to quickly hop over for dinner or drinks and come back after. While you’re there, visit Amsterdam Tower and its observation deck, The Lookout. Real daredevils might even want to try Europe’s highest swing.
NDSM is a former shipyard with a lovely industrial charm. It’s known for its many outdoor events, like flea markets, dance events and art festivals. But most importantly, it houses the Graffiti & Street-art museum, where you can often observe street artists at work.
📝 Other things to do
I could go on and on. Even after five years, I feel like I haven’t seen half of what the city has to offer. If you’re considering staying in Amsterdam before or after KubeCon + CloudNativeCon for a holiday, I highly recommend staying until the 27th of April, which is King’s day, a national holiday to celebrate the King’s birthday. The entire country will turn into one gigantic folk festival doused in a sea of orange (a meaningful color here, as the royal house is called the House of Orange).
But even if not, I hope you loved it here as much as I do and will come visit again, soon!
Special thank you to Marc and Lian for sharing their recommendations. We look forward to seeing everyone in Amsterdam. Happy exploring!
If you would like to participate in a future series of Cloud Native Explorers, please email email@example.com.