shutterstock 744650626

With Holland being the home country of my Father, l rarely miss an opportunity to pop over to one of the prettiest cities in Europe. After the war, Rotterdam was reduced to rubble but Amsterdam suffered only limited damage and therefore the beautiful canal side houses survived intact and it is one of those cities that just begs to be walked around.

I combined my trip with a motoring review of the new Cupra (more on that later) and although driving around the city is a nightmare, l do like to drive over there as it makes side trips so much easier. Once on the French side of the Channel Tunnel, it is but a 3-hour drive right into the heart of the city.

Amsterdam is the capital city of Holland although it is not the seat of government as that is the Hague. The city’s name originates from Amstelredamme that was originally a small fishing village in the late 12th century  and became one the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age. As a commercial centre, Amsterdam is one of the top financial centres in Europe and is home to the HQ’s for the likes of Philips, ING and TomTom and the European base of Uber, Netflix and Tesla. The city is ranked as the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the fifth location in the world in which to locate an international business.


We stayed at the Victoria Park Plaza, right opposite the main station and superbly located for everything one might wish to see. The 298 rooms are all fresh and contemporary in style with stylish bathrooms, air conditioning, free wifi, flat screen TV, coffee maker and a desk workspace. The hotel also offers a fitness centre, sauna, solarium and an indoor pool. In-room massage is available and my partner partook of this and stated that it was one of the best massages she had ever experienced. 

For corporate visits, the hotel boasts six meeting rooms, up to 130 delegates theatre style, and the layout and configuration is very well designed. The service is second to none and they cannot do enough for their guests.

The hotel restaurant is called Carstens, a brasserie with a strong focus on Dutch products. The Chef, Mark Kuijpers is a master of his craft and we had a splendid meal that l cannot fault in any way. We enjoyed a starter of Yellow Beetroot that was thinly sliced like carpaccio and Steak Tartare with sour pickles and chives. Both were superb and came with a bread basket of some of the finest sourdough bread l have ever tasted - and made by Maarten the baker. Good man, good name!

This was followed by Tournedos, tenderloin from the Simmentaler cow accompanied by Stamppot, a traditional dutch mashed potato dish with sour cream and tarragon. The steak was great and the Stamppot was stupendous - worth going back for just for that. My partner enjoyed Mullet with sauce made from traditional Dutch hotpot and was superb and beautifully cooked. This all came with Dutch Spinach pan-fried with garlic, and cauliflower with brown butter and goat quark. We then asked for the cocktail list and this comprised the bartender coming over to discuss what we would like - a novel bespoke cocktail service that l could really get used to. He knew his stuff too and possibly we shouldn’t have just kept ordering them my head told me the next day! A totally fabulous meal with fabulous service throughout.

One further advantage of the hotel’s location is that it is directly opposite the loading site for all the canal tour boats that take you in every direction and this really is the way to see the city. There are boats to set locations and then the hop on, hop off, therefore allowing you to use it like a bus to get around the city. 

The organisation of this system really could be better. No obvious signs of where to go, which boat goes where and, annoyingly, you only find out you are in the wrong queue when you get to the ticket seller. Very annoying.

I would recommend all visitors buy the I Amsterdam City Card (IACC) as this gives you discounts all over the place and free entry to many attractions. The main office for this card, and all other tourist board related information, can be found behind the main station.


What to do in amsterdam


This stunning building in the centre of town exhibits works by the likes of Vermeer, Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. 8,000 objects in 80 galleries could keep you busy all day but don’t let it as there is far too much to see.


This venue attracts over a million visitors a year and exhibits 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 750 letters by the master.


Always a hoot with a smidgeon of distaste as women ply their trade from small red lit windows on either side of the canal. Lots of drunk men, and women, staggering around but it is surrounded by some very good restaurants.


There are numerous such cruises and you can book the dinner cruise, allowing you to sit still whilst the scenery moves. You can get burger cruises, crepe cruises and much more.


This small boutique museum is opposite the Rijksmuseum and offers ever changing displays of contemporary artists such as Banksy, Warhol and Lichtenstein. I was lucky enough to arrive whilst the Banksy show was on and it was great to see many of his original works but what got my interest peaked was six pieces by an artiste in the basement, called Daniel Arsham. Such original work always gets my attention and the image below shows how it looks as if someone has placed the subject into the wall - you have to see it in person to understand. Cool stuff. 



A must visit for all beer lovers. Gerard Adrianna Heineken established the brewery in 1867 on this very spot and you can tour the building, learn how to pour the perfect pint and drink the lot, if you are so inclined.


This famous building has to be a must visit and as it was the set text for me when l was at school, it always brings a tear to my eyes visiting the house itself. Gird your loins and go – history forgotten is history repeated.


Well what to say here. Good coffee seems an understatement as people don’t go here for the coffee but for the weed. I had to visit one of course to ensure l offered you, my dear readers, a fully comprehensive view of the city. I visited Abraxas, one of the very best l am assured, a funky place that resembles a tree house over three floors and offers a vast range of coffee, tea and weed. I tried it all but unfortunately have absolutely no recollection of what happened next - or for the next 24 hours!


Top places for a meeting or event

RAI Amsterdam

With a total of 106,500 sq m of exhibition space and 12 multifunctional halls this is one of the largest in the country. Room capacity up to 1,750 delegates and a ballroom measuring 1,985 sq m, this venue will handle the largest exhibitions and conferences.

Postilion Hotel & Conference Centre

With 14 meeting rooms offering a capacity of 1,200 delegates and an abundance of rooms from smaller meetings. They also offer delegate Brainfood for those meeting breaks aimed at keeping the delegates alert.

Postilion Hotel & Conference Centre

With 14 meeting rooms offering a capacity of 1,200 delegates and an abundance of rooms from smaller meetings. They also offer delegate Brainfood for those meeting breaks aimed at keeping the delegates alert.

Pathe Tuschinski Theatre

This stunning art deco cinema has been fully restored and is available for hire. Great for product launches and major speaker events. It is also ideal for photo shoots, video production and anything else that would benefit from one of the most beautiful cinemas in the world.

Het Sheepvaartmuseum

This is the national Maritime Museum with various highly original areas available for rental. For dinners up to 30 guests, there is the Admiralty Boardroom from where famous Dutch maritime heroes such as Van Heemskerk and De Ruyter planned their travels and battles. For large events, the Open Courtyard can seat up to 700 with its hundreds of lights illuminating the glass roof like a star canopy.

Related Posts

61 The state of the South East M&A market

Jonathan Grant, Head of Corporate at DMH Stallard, reports on the story so far in 2019 ...

61 Polo: King Power Quarter Finals at Cowdray Park, July 14th

The Quarter Finals weekend of the 2019 King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Championship takes place at Cowdray Park on Saturdfay...

61 Reviewed - The Cupra 2.0 TSI DSG 

Whilst deciding which car to take to Amsterdam, l was rather spoilt for choice. You might think this car an odd choice when one considers...