Guide to Amsterdam

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The information we give below is nothing more (nor less) than a collection of individual opinions
and thoughts about Amsterdam. What you do or do not do while visiting us remains your own
responsibility (… hopefully this text will be enough to avoid lawsuits).

The weather in Amsterdam at the end of March can be anything between snowy and 0o
Centigrade and sunny and 17o Centigrade. It is also quite possible that you will experience both
types of weather during your 3-4 day stay. For a forecast, see, a Dutch site that is
more accurate than (which always predicts the same weather across Northwestern
Europe). If you want to know whether or not to take an umbrella when you go out, you can find a
radar of current showers (and predictions for the next couple of hours) at

Most Dutch are friendly, open, liberal and softhearted people. The Dutch in Amsterdam are not
always typical for the rest of the country, however. Some people in Amsterdam prefer to think of
themselves as ‘direct’. You may be confronted with many opinions while visiting the city. Feel
free to respond, but keep in mind that the Amsterdam way does not always involve nuance or
smiles. On the bright side, everyone in Amsterdam (even the beggars) speaks English.

One great thing about Amsterdam is that it is a cosmopolitan city where you can get almost
anywhere on foot. The most efficient way to get around is by bike (see below) but that might be
hard to organize. Trams are generally good (and regular) but stop at approximately midnight. If
you happen to be near one of the subway lines, this is also a good way to get places. Public
transportation works with ‘strippenkaarten’ (most common is a card with 15 strips). Buy these at
your hotel and use them in any tram or subway. Generally, you will need to validate 2 ‘strips’ per
journey (but if you go further away from the city center you might need 3). You validate either in a
machine when you enter or have it stamped by the conductor. A validated strip is valid for 1 hour,
so you do not need to do it again if you change from one tram (or subway) to the other. In
general, Amsterdam is also a safe city. Like in any big city in the world, there are situations one
might want to avoid late at night but with a minimum of sensible behavior one will typically not run
into any danger.

Taxis in Amsterdam are generally quite luxurious but very expensive. Count on 10-20 euros for
any trip within the city center.

Bicycles are the main and by far most efficient means of transportation in Amsterdam. There are
traffic rules for bicycles. No one adheres to them, though. The best thing is to always expect a
bike to cross your path in any direction. Don’t be obstinate and try to get the right-of-way.
Bicycles hurt. If you want to buy a bike, you could wait for someone to offer you one for 25 euros
(which they will subsequently go and steal for you). Obviously, you would be breaking the law
and numerous social norms if you did this. If you want to rent a bike, check


Amsterdam is famous for its museums. Unfortunately, two of the main ones are currently under
construction. Whereas part of the Rijksmuseum is still open (and most of the famous paintings
are exhibited), the Stedelijke Museum is closed (though part of its collection can be seen in the
van Gogh museum and another part at a temporary location, see below). Still, there are enough
good museums to visit. Here, we just mention a few. For a more comprehensive overview, see

Van Gogh Museum
This has the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in the world. Definitely worth a
visit! Currently there is a special exhibition on the influence of van Gogh on the expressionists.
More information at

The wing that is still open in spite of the reconstruction contains many famous paintings (and
other exhibits) from the Dutch Golden Age (think of Frans Hals and Rembrandt). Rembrandt’s
Night Watch is a classic. See

Anne Frank House
This is where Anne Frank was in hiding and wrote her diary. A bit of a tourist trap but the historic
importance compensates (

Stedelijk Museum
The temporary location is near the central station. Some of the modern art collection can be seen
there. It might be better to save this one for a future visit to Amsterdam (

Allard Pierson Museum
You may not expect it in Amsterdam, but we have a good archaeological museum. It is located
right in the center of town, close to many of the conference hotels. It is part of the University of
Amsterdam ( If you show your conference name tag, they will not
charge an entrance fee.

Amsterdams Historisch Museum
A great overview of the history of Amsterdam. See

Joods Historisch Museum
At a five minute walk from the conference, this offers an overview of the culture and history of
Judaism in the Netherlands. The building (a combination of four former synagogues) is very
interesting as well (

Also only a five minute walk from the conference, this is an anthropological museum with
beautiful exhibitions of cultures around the world. If you have taken your children along: kids
usually love this one (


Coffee Shops
Often, you can drink coffee in coffee shops. In Amsterdam, this is generally not the main reason
to go there. You can legally obtain soft drugs there (hashish and marijuana). You can usually
choose between ready-made joints or a few grams to do your own construction work. Most
places have a menu you can choose from. Don’t be shy and take your time to study it. We will
not provide advice about where to go, but bear in mind that the most famous chain, Bulldog, has
prices and quality adjusted to its fame. Often, the small places are best. One last piece of advice:
the so-called ‘Nederwiet’ (Dutch grown marijuana) is very strong.

Red Light District
We understand that this is a place where many tourists go for window shopping (and Dutch
people like to avoid). Let us point out that research has shown that many of the women working
there are not working voluntarily. Also, this place is notorious for pick-pocketing and theft, so be
careful. Other than that, we have no advice to offer.

Needless to say, Amsterdam hosts the best playing soccer team in the world. Those of you who
intellectually can handle missing a session or two may be interested in knowing that the match
Ajax-Heracles (clash of the ancient Greek) for the Dutch league is scheduled on Sunday, April 1,
at 14.30. We have 25 tickets available for this match. You can buy them for €14.50 each at the
registration desk (first come, first serve).

Aside from some movies for children (which can usually be seen in both the original and a Dutch-
dubbed version), all movies are in the original language with Dutch subtitles. Most theatres are
expensive (9 euro per ticket). For an overview, see, which also gives the
location of the movie theaters. The more alternative movies are shown at Cinecenter; Cinema de
Balie; Filmhuis Cavia; Filmmuseum; Filmtheater Kriterion (across the street from the conference
site); and Filmtheater Rialto.


There are a tremendous number of restaurants in Amsterdam. A good independent evaluation of
each place can be found on, where you will also find phone numbers for
the restaurants below. Service varies a lot. Tipping is optional, but most people leave spare
change (to a maximum of 10%). Unfortunately, smoking is allowed in almost all restaurants,
though most do have non-smoking tables. One general suggestion: if you’ve never had
Indonesian food, try it! If you’re willing to spend some money: we advise Indrapura on


For any of these restaurants, you have very little chance of getting a table if you do not make a
reservation before you come to Amsterdam. Be prepared to spend a lot (100-250 euros per
person) but it’s almost always worth it.

Ron Blaauw Restaurant (2 stars);
French cuisine, 10 km outside of Amsterdam in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. It is the only 2-star
restaurant in the Amsterdam area, and definitely worth it. Every bite is a sensation. The wines
are fantastic but prohibit driving back. Closed on Sunday and Monday.

Ciel Bleu Restaurant (
French cuisine, on the top floor of the Okura hotel (1 km south of the city center). The fantastic
view compensates for the food, which is good, but not as good as one would expect. A dress
code applies.

La Rive (
French and Mediterranean cuisine, a short walk from the conference in the luxurious Amstel
Hotel. We’ve never eaten there but its reputation is great.

Mario Uva (
20 km outside of Amsterdam. Great Italian food by an Italian chef. Superb wines from small
vineyards. Nice place but usually full of business(wo)men.

Vermeer (
French cuisine in a classy place across from the central station (in the Barbizon hotel). You
cannot really go wrong here. For the wine, just take the sommelier’s advice.

Yamazato Retaurant (
Japanese food on the ground floor of the Okura hotel (1 km south of the city center). Tastes
delicious with an atmosphere better suited for groups than for romantic couples.


1. Café de Roeter; Roeterstraat 192
Just down the street for some pub food. Lots of
students and lots of smoke. Cheap and quick.

2. Torino; Roetersstraat 10a
Across the street. Italian restaurant run by Turkish                                         6,7
owner (this holds for 80% of the Italian restaurants in
Amsterdam). Decent quality/price ratio, but that is
mainly due to the denominator.
3. Abe Veneto; Plantage Kerklaan 2
Down the street in the direction of the zoo (after you                                   4
cross the second bridge). Turkish place with simple
pizza’s and great Turkish sandwiches. Cheap. Very                                                      zoo
nice owner.
4. Plancius Restaurant (;
Plantage Kerklaan 61                                                                     Confe-
Good place with limited but good quality menu. In                                        rence
particular, the salads are worth tasting. Nice alternative                      2
to the PC2007 lunch crowd.
5. Bloem Eten en Drinken; Entrepotdok 36
Walk past the zoo’s main entrance and cross the
bridge. Good looking waiters but the food’s not as hot.

6. Koffiehuis van de Volksbond; Kadijksplein 4
Former communist place. No separate tables. You just shift in next to whoever came in before
you. Very limited menu but surprisingly good food at low prices. Back to the 60s (dress

7. A Tavola; Kadijksplein 9
Good Italian restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere. A bit pricey.


1. Entresol (; Geldersekade 29
Great place. Very small but great food at moderate prices. The cook’s
name is Arthur, so it cannot go wrong. Nice atmosphere. On Friday the
30th it will be closed.

2. De Waag (; Nieuwmarkt 4                                                   2
Medieval prison (still feels like it). People used to be tortured there. Lots       Nieuw-
of candles and high prices, but good food. Unfortunately, the waiters               markt
appear to have something better to do than serve you.

3. Soup en zo; Jodenbreestraat 94a
Have a fast soup for lunch. Tastes you would never have dreamed of.
4. Tony’s NY city bagels; Jodenbreestraat 15
The name says it all.


1. Dantzig; Zwanenburgwal 15
Café-restaurant in the Opera building. Meant to give people a fast meal before the show. The
quality reflects this. Good selection of drinks, though.

2. Puccini; Staalstraat 21
Next door are the best
chocolates      in    town
(‘bonbons’). Great place           5
for lunch but the delicious
sandwiches are a bit
expensive. On occasion                                                         6
they      serve      dinner
(depending on the theater
programs in the neighbor-

3. Frenzi;                                                                 2
Zwanenburgwal 232                               4
                                                                       3           1
Great view of the river. A
good meal from an                                                                       Opera
international menu but
slightly     overcharged.
Waitresses are chaotic
but that’s considered to be charming.

4. Café de Jaren; Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20/22
Grand café with good beers and lots of newspapers. This is where people go if they want to
appear to be intelligent. Small restaurant section with interesting menu at decent prices.

5. Harkema Brasserie; Nes 67
Trendy huge place. Cute waitresses but sometimes hard to get their attention (but that may
depend on how you look). Good selection of wines. Moderate prices.

6. Klaas Compaen; Raamgracht 9
Small and cozy. Excellent Thai food at moderate prices.


1. Breitner (; Amstel 212
Doing what it takes to get a Michelin star. Excellent cook, but you have to be willing to pay. The
same holds for the wines.

2. Pata Negra; Utrechtsestraat 124
Great tapas Spanish Style. They fit more people in there than is humanly possible, but they do it
with a smile. Don’t go between 18.00 and 20.00 if you like to breathe.

3. Take Thai; Utrechtsestraat 87
Reputation is that it’s the best Thai food in Amsterdam. Prices are adjusted to this reputation, but
the food is not.

4. Tempo Doeloe; Utrechtsestraat 75
Excellent Indonesian food, extremely hot (upon request), moderately expensive.

      8                                 plein

                                                 7                       1




5. Sluizer; Utrechtsestraat 41-45
Famous for its good food (especially fish). A bit expensive. Slightly dull.

6. Meghna; Utrechtsestraat 28
Amsterdam is probably not the best city in the world to go for Indian food, but if you must, this
one is decent.

7. Indrapura; Rembrandtplein 40/42
The best Indonesian in town. A bit expensive but worth every penny. Make a reservation: +31-
(0)20- 623 73 29. Ask for spicy if you can handle it.

8. Gala; Reguliersdwarsstraat 38
Haute cuisine Spanish tapas. Each one at the price of an entrée, and some are even worth it.
Very trendy. No tables, you sit at the bar.

9. La Margarita; Reguliersdwarstraat 49
Caribbean. Not what it used to be. Special dishes turned fast food. Cocktails American style (by
the pitcher).


1. Wintertuin Krasnapolski Hotel; Dam 9
Place to go for jazz brunch on Sunday. Nice jazz, great champagne.

2. Green Planet; Spuistraat 122
Organic vegetarian food. Nice selection. Popular among hippy tourists.

3. Lucius; Spuistraat 247
Excellent fish restaurant. Quite expensive
but worth it.
4. Haesje Claes; Spuistraat 275                                         square
Dutch cuisine! Reasonable traditional
Dutch cooking. No one does it at home
anymore, but here you can get it. Much
cheaper than d’Vijf Vlieghen across the
road, but not as good.

5 Kantjil en de Tijger, Spuistraat 291-293
A favorite Indonesian for many tourists.
Quite decent, large quantities, and

6. D’Vijff Vlieghen (;                                                  7
Spuistraat 294-302
Another Dutch cuisine. Good traditional
Dutch cooking. And yes we are                           4
consistent: more expensive than Haesje
Claes across the road, but better.
7. Café Roux; Oudezijds Voorburgwal
197                                        6
Excellent French cuisine in the very nice
environment of the Grand hotel. High prices but good quality. If you can afford to, take the som-
melier’s advice.


1. Arabic Lounge; Spiegelgracht 27-1
Sit on a couch with your plate on
your lap. Watch a belly dancer while                                             7
you eat. Moroccan food of good
quality. Very good service. This one
is worth a visit.

2. Deshima; Weteringschans 65
Organic vegetarian buffet. Low prices
for a decent (and healthy) meal.
3. Wagamama; Max Euweplein 10
Japanese fast food. Better than you
would think. Long tables where you                                  4
just shift in.                            Leidseplein
4. de Balie; Kleine
                                                                        2               1
Gartmanplantsoen 10
Stay downstairs for a snack. Go up for a good meal at a moderate price. The menu is limited but

5. Café Cox; Marnixstraat 429
Part of the main Amsterdam theater (Stadsschouwburg). Many theater visitors and the odd Dutch
politician eat in this upper-class pub. Good food at a decent price.

6. de Smoeshaan; Leidsekade 90
Theater with a restaurant. People go there to spot the famous Dutch (or to be spotted as such).
The food is decent but not the most important reason to go there.

7. Trattoria Pastini, Leidsegracht 29
Cozy little trattoria with good food. Friendly people who do not know much about wines. But they
have some good ones, so it’s up to you to choose the right one.

                                      Central Station

                          Dam-          Nieuw-
                         square         markt


    plein                     Rembrandt-
                                 plein                              Confe-

                 2        3


                                  6                         7

1. Chez Georges; Herenstraat 3
Belgian restaurant that proves our neighbors to the south can produce more than just good beer.
Tacky entourage but good menu at prices that are slightly above average.

2. De Waaghals; Frans Halsstraat 29
Vegetarian with very friendly service (though for some perhaps too talkative). 10 minute walk
from Leidseplein.

3. Olive and Cookie; Saenredamstraat 67
Vegetarian with very original menu. 200 meters from the Heineken brewery.

4. Ibbsa, Blasiusstraat 62
Eat Ethiopian with your hands! Good food, inexpensive.

5. VisaandeSchelde, Scheldeplein 4
Great Fish restaurant across from the ‘RAI’. Good prices, but remember that good fish is not

6. Kaiko; Jekerstraat 114
Best sushi in Amsterdam. Call to make a reservation +31-(0)20-6625641. If you like sushi, it’s
definitely worth the effort.

7. Betty’s Vegetarian Restaurant (; Rijnstraat 75
Nice neighborhood vegetarian. Not many tourists, so not too many compromises on taste.

8. Girassol; Weesperzyde 135
Nice atmosphere, traditional Portuguese cooking, decent prices.

9. De Kas, Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3
Located in a green house in a park. Fixed menu (almost no choice). They grow their own
vegetables and herbs. It’s much better than this may sound.


There are thousands of bars in Amsterdam, so we will not even attempt to list them. At any hour
of day or night some bar somewhere will be willing to serve you. Anywhere in the city center, you
will find that the bars in Amsterdam are very lively. On Friday and Saturday, many bars play
techno-music. Like restaurants, virtually all bars allow you to smoke. It is very rare to find non-
smoking areas in bars, though. If it turns out to be sunny, very many places will set up terraces
(even if it is less than 10 degrees centigrade). You will often have to go inside to get a drink,

Two special bars you may enjoy:

De Zotte; (
Belgian beer-tasting just around the corner of Leidseplein (Raamstraat 29), but far enough not to
be a tourist trap. A fantastic selection of Belgian beers (last time we counted they had 126
different beers), decent music and usually waiters/waitresses that are friendlier than the
Amsterdam average. You can also have a dinner here but that is not the reason we advise it.

Whisky Cafe L + B; (
Also close to Leidseplein, in the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 82-84. For the single malt afficionado a
place to be. Sometimes more tourists than one would fancy but the huge whisky selection
compensates. For size of the choice set in terms of Scottish single malt, prices are still ok.


Amsterdam is the cultural center of the Netherlands and has an extremely high density of concert
halls, pop podia, orchestra’s, ensembles, bands and other cultural stuff. Most places are in the
center or close to it.

Opera and Ballet
The main location for opera and ballet is the opera building on Waterlooplein. On March 28 and
April 2, this will feature the Dutch National Opera performing Madame Butterfly
( These are sold out, but you can usually get last minute cancellation
tickets if you are willing to stand in line an hour before the opera starts. March 30 − April 1, the
Dutch National Ballet will perform ‘Points of View’ (

Classical Music
The famous Concertgebouw ( is a must for classical music lovers, and
home of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Other stages are the Beurs van Berlage, just outside the
Central Station (, the concert agenda is only in Dutch, under ‘publieks-
evenementen’ (more or less self evident though), and the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, a brand new
building that also has a great supply of contemporary classical music (

In the weekend of the Public Choice meetings – a week before Easter – the yearly Matthäus
Passion craze builds up with performances in the Concertgebouw (choose the one by the
Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest if you can). The epicenter of authentic baroque performance in
these weeks however lies outside of Amsterdam, in the Grote Kerk in Naarden, where the
Nederlandse Bachvereniging performs this masterpiece by J.S. Bach (,
only in Dutch).

The best jazz-stage in town is the Bimhuis (, which shares its location with the
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. If you have been in Amsterdam before: that means that it has moved
from its old spot to this fresh location, where you can see trains run and ships arrive, while you
only hear the jazz cats on stage. A thing to experience!

For pop music, the nicest place is Paradiso (, with the Melkweg (www. as a good runner-up. At both places you can also just go dancing after concerts.
Especially the Paradiso, although acoustically sometimes hard to work, has a great atmosphere;
this old church has kept its intimacy when it transformed into a rock-temple. There are also
smaller places such as the Sugar Factory, just across from the Melkweg (
Especially on Sunday nights, the boys look cool and the girls are pretty. Slightly more intimate,
but no less hip is the Bitterzoet (, that also has a good program of live music.
Also ‘live-band-first-dj-later’ is the Winston Kingdom (, a little less urban, but
thriving on the local band scene. Then there is the Panama (, set up in the
economic peak at the end of the nineties as a chic and uptown nightclub. Slowly but steadily it
has been going down in classiness, and now does more house and techno than live music. It
does however still have nice performances every now and then. Not so hip, but still enjoyable if
you don’t mind people dressing as economists is the Meander (, with
bands ranging from good big bands to the more regular lousy cover bands. If you are a sucker for
old school blues and older men in black smelly T-shirts, go to Maloe Melo (www.maloemelo.
com). Quite a bit more underground are squats and former squats such as the Nieuwe Anita
(relatively hip;, Studio 301 (
and Vrankrijk (pretty pierced & punky;, a site mostly in Dutch).

Special Suggestions
On Thursday, go to Que Pasa? in the Melkweg to dance.

On Friday, leave the Public Choice meeting early to rush off to Naarden for Bach’s Matthäus
On Sunday: tough call. The absolutely fantastic Calefax reed quintet plays at the Muziekgebouw
aan ‘t IJ, the really great Belgian band Zita Zwoon plays in Paradiso, while it is also the best day
to visit the Sugar Factory and Bitterzoet.

More info
CREED economist Joris Gillet keeps everyone up to date about what’s hot and what’s not: (mainly in Dutch).