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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > July 2015 > 15 FUN THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM

15 FUN THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM

It’s famous for its beautiful canals and laid-back lifestyle, but the Dutch capital is full of surprises – from a craft brewery tucked beneath a windmill to a kayak tour of the city’s secret wetlands

@olivertomberry

PHOTOGRAPHS SARAH COGHILL @SarahCoghill1

1 DRINK CRAFT BEERS BENEATH A WINDMILL

There’s an easy way to fnd Brouwerij ’t IJ: look for the sails. Situated on the edge of the Oost district, the brewery sits beside one of Amsterdam’s few remaining windmills – De Gooyer. The mill, a listed and muchloved landmark, even features on the brewery’s beer labels. ‘When we started, craft ale was still a niche product for beer nerds, but now it’s something everyone seems to be interested in,’ says manager Tim Hendriks, as he pours a frothy golden ale from a steel tap.

‘Brewing is part of our national heritage, so it’s great that people are becoming passionate about it again.’ Since making its frst batch of beer back in 1985, Brouwerij ’t IJ has established itself as the city’s leading brewery. There’s a lot more competition nowadays, Tim says, carrying a tray of beers onto the waterfront terrace.

‘We keep experimenting to stay ahead, but that’s part of the fun.’ Outside, crowds of drinkers are soaking up the last rays of evening sun, chatting and drinking as dusk descends over the canal. Glancing at a barge puttering past, Tim raises his glass for a toast: ‘Proost!’

• Ale from £3.50; brouwerijhetij.nl

2 SEE A MOVIE – THEN STAR IN YOUR OWN

A far cry from your local multiplex, Amsterdam’s EYE Film Institute combines angular avant-garde architecture with the Netherlands’ most important flm archive, and four state-of-the-art cinemas showing everything from obscure European arthouse movies to the latest Hollywood blockbusters. After attending a screening, cinephiles can head downstairs to the institute’s pitch-black basement, where a wall of moving images foats in space, shifting and fickering in the darkness.

On one side, slapstick scenes from Charlie Chaplin movies play on a loop; on another, Marilyn Monroe pouts in Some Like It Hot, and the chariot race from Ben Hur thunders out of the darkness. From here it’s a short step to your own screen debut – step inside one of the green-screen booths to create your own mini-movie.

• Free entry to the building, film screenings from around £8; eyefilm.nl

3 CHECK IN TO A HOTEL AND BUY THE FURNITURE

In a stark white room at Hôtel Droog, people are browsing pieces of furniture curated like museum sculptures. There’s a sideboard fashioned from fsh crates, and a lamp made from milk bottles. Globe lights dangle from the ceiling, and plywood chairs swoop into strange, sinuous forms. Items fll the space like objets d’art: minimalist mirrors, Zen teapots, ash chopping boards and bent Anglepoise lamps. There are even chairs made of old clothes (pictured). It’s halfway between an art gallery and a design store – and that’s just as the owners intended. Started by one of the city’s leading creative agencies, Hôtel Droog blurs the lines between art and commerce. It’s an experimental space for Amsterdam’s top designers and artists to explore their ideas and sell their latest work. Nothing here is as it seems: there’s a courtyard garden where the grass and fowers turn out to be plastic, and a meeting room where the bookcase and exterior window are nothing more than murals. Even the name itself is a prank.

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