DECO Sauna is one of my favorite places on the planet. It is a COED sauna so not for the modest. The interior bric-a-brac of an old Parisian department store has been magically transported to a basement in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. There are some areas where you keep your towel on and others where you don't (especially in the sauna and shower areas). You pay upfront, go to your locker, change and return the key to the front desk. Make sure to visit the outside areas, too. Just go with the sauna flow and R-E-L-A-X...
From here I used to take the PRINSENGRACHT to Dazzit, but the place is out of business.
So we head up into the Jordaan into the WESTERSTRAAT. DISTORTION RECORDS moved from nr. 72 to nr. 244.
2010 update: I still have to check this one: CONCERTO'S PHANTASIO at TWEEDE TUINDWARSSTRAAT 53. Sadly enough the shop closed in october 2011.
Find your way East to BACK BEAT RECORDS at the EGELANTIERSTRAAT 19; check it out for its CD- & vinyl collection. It's a small shop, but cramped with "black" and jazz albums. There also magazines for sale.
A little further is WENTELWERELD at 1e BLOEMDWARSSTRAAT 13A. Proceed to the ROZENGRACHT.
Walking in the famous area of Jordaan in Amsterdam you may visit the Westermarkt, next to the Westerkerk. Close to the old-fashioned public lavatory you'll find the Homomonument, or a special sign dedicated to the homosexual victims in history and of Aids. There is a triangle as a sign of the past on the pavement (pointing to the house of Anne Frank), and a triangle for performances pointing at the COC, and a triangle partly hanging above the canal (all created by Karin Daan). On Saturday September 5th, 1987, the Homomonument was presented and people still put every day flowers at this place for memorial feelings ...
It is so wonderful, brave and good this place got here, in Amsterdam, and I am proud of it, too!
Cross the Oudezijds Voorburgwal and head for the Prinsengracht.
Forget about BRUTUS that used to be at MOLSTEEG 8.
We go west perpendicular to the canals via either the LELIEGRACHT or HERENSTRAAT/PRINSENSTRAAT to the PRINSENGRACHT west-side and take a right to the WESTERSTRAAT.
Sometimes there is market here and in the weekends there is enough to enjoy. Now enter NOORDERKERKSTRAAT where you'll find FLESCH at nr. 16. It's a nice little book & record shop. Please meet the owner Harry and say hello from me.
2008 Update: The shop had a clean-up and a part of the old collections now is on sale on the stand of the owner's wife Jonica at the Noordermarkt market.
It doesn't happen every night, or even every week, so you'll have to check to when the next special event may be. But there is an old jail underneath the oldest bridge in Amsterdam. The bridge is called "Brug 9" and seeing a show there is an amazing experience, so check to see what's happening there, and be sure to mark your calendar. Sometimes there is an art or fashion show, but often there is live Jazz show. This is definitely NOT something tourists know about. In fact, if you don't speak dutch, you'll have to put the site into Google translate!
The nine streets is a part of Amsterdam wich a lot of people don't know. The area is between the Kalverstraat and the quarter "de Jordaan" in the Amsterdam canaldistrict. It's very picturesque. The shops are small and special. More boutiques. Not like the shoppingstreet the Kalverstraat wich could be any street in any city.
The Noodermarkt surrounds the Norderkerk, a chunky brick structure dating from 1642 and not open when I visited.
There's a fascinating 'flea' market there on Mondays (9-1) with secondhand clothes and records and books and bric-a-brac as well as new things.
But it's the small memorial to the rear of the church which took my eye.
Three figures wrapped together, a memorial to the Jordaanoproer riot which took place in 1934 (a result of government plans to cut the benfits of the unemployed furing the Depression). Seven people died during the riot, which was (I think) caused by police reaction during a protest.
Old Amsterdam is full of lovely architecture, which makes wandering along its canals sheer joy.
I especially liked this building, which is tucked away in the Jordaan district and not so easy to find by chance.
It dates from 1642, with three crow-stepped gables, tiny (old) leaded window panes and lovely painted shutters.
Most interesting of all, its three namestones represent a steeman (someone who lived in a city/town), a landman (farmer) and a seeman (sailor).
I wonder why?
Worth seeking out. Bloemgracht is a pretty canal street anyway, and the buildings next door to 87-91 are lovely examples of a slightly later architectural style (bottleneck gables).
A small sidestep South to the former Plaatboef at ROZENGRACHT 40; nowadays it's called VELVET MUSIC.
Return to the PRINSENGRACHT. You will see the Anne Frank House across the canal and De Westerkerk in the rear. Proceed East towards the Leidsestraat.
There's one more store at the Prinsengracht: SECOND LIFE MUSIC at Prinsengracht 366 (South-side). This shop stock is ever increasing and it's a true paradise to make a discovery, but I warn you you for the chaotic order of items.
Note: Sound of the Fifties at Prinsengracht 668 (North-side) closed in 2006; too bad! Another shop, Record Mania moved from the Hartenstraat 9 to the Ferdinand Bolstraat 30.
A new store WAXWELL RECORDS started at the Gasthuismolensteeg 22 (one of the nine little streets); this is the former KIDS LOVE WAX. They specialize in Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, Raggae, Disco and Jazz.
At No 149 - 163 Lindengracht, Jordaan, you will find the Suyckerhoff Hofje. There are 15 little houses dating to 1670, which were built for widows and women whose husbands had left them. You can go through the door during the day and see the pretty little courtyard behind.
If anything in Amsterdam is "off the beaten path", Jordaan is one of them. Although the Anne Frankhuis and the Westerkerk church are located at the edge of the neighbourhood, but there is more to Jordaan. There are quite a few not so well known museums and other things such as the Theo Thijssen museum, house boat museum, Pianolamuseum, the Nooderkerk (Northernchurch).
The Northernchurch was built in the beginning of the 17th century. It was the 2nd Protestant church in the country. It was built in the form of a cross with equal arms, with a large central space. http://noorderkerk.org
Houseboatmuseum is located in a houseboat (of course!). You can see all small inconveniences and large advantages of living on water. http://www.houseboatmuseum.nl/
Pianolamuseum is one of the smallest museums in the city and it houses a collection of automatic pianos and related objects. Monthly concerts all year around (except July & August). http://www.pianola.nl/
There are plenty of tiny restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and bars in Jordaan. It is not big for clubbing though. Almost every corner of the world is represented including Suriname, China, The Netherlands, Italy..
There are a lot of galleries, very fashionable hair salons, beauty salons and nail studios, small and more personal shops and boutiques specialising in more "alternative" fashion, jewelry, Oriental art, printed T-shirts, books, gift items, furniture, furnishings, CDs and vinyls, antiques, tiles and mosaic, race and sportbikes, second hand clothes etc. There are also a few bakeries, butchers and other shops selling daily groceries such as cheese and ecological meat as well as many markets selling fresh groceries, clothes, ecological and organic products, 2nd hand articles, small animals (e.g. birds and rodents), antiques and art.
Once the housing of the poor, now one of the most popular houses in Amsterdam. They are called Hofjes (courtyard houses). They still have a board to set the rules. Some complexes are for women only, some are mixed, some are for students. In the Jordaan area there are about 15 of such almshouses. Find some pictures below.
Very pretty residential area of Amsterdam - really worth visiting - a little quieter and less frantic than other parts of the city - not such a great risk of being mown down by a tram here either! :))
This is a lovely area of Amsterdam that I hadn't really explored before - so when VT friend Pieter jan V and Swanet took me on a little sight-seeing tour of the area it was interesting to see where the locals live!
Pj's father had been born in this house here in the Jordaan - it is now a coffee shop. So of course this called for a photo opportunity!
Amsterdam is so small, that the best way to experience it is by foot. Biking is too stressful and cars don't make much sense in this city. During the day take a walk through an area called the 'Jordaan'. There are lots of little shops and cafes, and the streets and canals have a lot of charm. This area is also really beautiful in the evening when the bridges of the canals are lit up.