Finally, Amsterdam is back on the table

amsterdam – Getty

Amsterdam is shedding corona restrictions like a burlesque dancer drops layers of clothing, retaining just a little something here and there to preserve decorum.

From September 22, visiting Britons will no longer need to quarantine on arrival, and from September 25 bars and restaurants can operate at full capacity, theatres and cinemas can properly re-open, and clubbers can dance till midnight – but all with the proviso that you have proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test no more than 24 hours old.

This is not a sudden, Sleeping Beauty-style reawakening. In many ways a life-as-normal atmosphere returned to Amsterdam some weeks ago. Masks came off everywhere but on public transport at the beginning of the summer, and Amsterdammers have long since pretty much ignored the social distancing rule, which is now officially dropped. And of course, the historic city of languid canals, graceful buildings, and curious little shopping streets remains unchanged – the houses along the canals seeming to give gable-shaped shrugs and stare placidly on. They’ve seen it all over the centuries, and this latest plague? Well, it will pass, as so much else has.

The biggest difference entering this new phase is that Amsterdam is relatively empty. And that is a delight. You can dawdle along the canals, taking in their beauty without being mown down by a group coming at you from behind; or visit galleries in the hip Jordaan district and appreciate the charm of its alleys, rather than having to treat them as obstacle courses of clumps of bicycles and stray pedestrians. Shopping in the renowned ‘Nine Little Streets’ of quirky concept and designer stores doesn’t involve dodging and jostling as you go. A wander through the Albert Cuyp street market is a pleasant experience once again, and you can generally find a seat in the restaurants and cafés of the popular De Pijp dining quarter.

rijksmuseum, amsterdam – Getty

And the museums! They are currently still admitting only one visitor per five square metres, which means that on visits to the once super-crowded Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum, you can once again enjoy the art in relative tranquillity.

Many Covid-era innovations have added to Amsterdam’s allure. When only al fresco dining and socialising was allowed, cafés and restaurants were permitted to expand their terraces, and many did so inventively, using odd nooks, adding a little greenery and shelter. That changed the atmosphere of a walk down the street, making an already convivial city seem even more welcoming. The atmosphere remains – and I suspect the extended terraces will never completely retract.

Similarly, the informal queues that formed outside tiny shops and take-aways – those that were allowed to admit only two or three people at a time – are far chattier and more agreeable than with everyone crammed inside. There are a few blank storefronts – like unexpectedly missing teeth in a familiar smile – but most shops, museums, cafés and eateries seem to have weathered the pandemic, and even a few new ones have opened: such as the Nxt Museum of new-media art, and the pulsating ‘blow that Covid right out of your mind’ Night Kitchen Amsterdam (; shared dishes €44pp), which brings a touch of Tel Aviv nightlife and cuisine to town.

The city centre, especially around the red light district, is perhaps busier than the rest of town, but at nowhere near pre-Covid levels. When I first came to Amsterdam, some decades ago now, I’d frequently hear visitors enthusing about the city, saying they would love to stay forever (many, like me, did). Shortly before the first Covid lockdown, I overheard an embattled tourist on a crushingly busy street come out with: “Such a beautiful city, but so hectic. I’d hate to have to live here.” Amsterdam was indeed becoming unliveable, a Disneyfied version of itself. Now it feels as if Amsterdammers have reclaimed their city. The brown cafés, the lunchtime sandwich shops, the neighbourhood markets feel authentically local again. And this raises the question of how welcome visitors will now be.

When the first lockdown all but depopulated Amsterdam’s streets, people marvelled at the quiet and beauty of the city, and the call of “Never again!” began to go out. Spearheaded by mayor Femke Halsema, there were proposals to move the red light district out of town, prohibit dope-selling ‘coffeeshops’ to non-residents, cut down on excessive visitor numbers, and actively to discourage ‘party tourism’, with all its drunken rowdiness, in favour of ‘the right sort’ of tourist (i.e., genteel and museum-going). Those cogs are still turning, but a deal of pragmatism has set in, which, coupled with Amsterdammers’ seemingly innate sense of sociability, spells a welcome to new visitors – well, those of the ‘right sort’, certainly. Now is the time to come, while the streets, museums and terraces remain blissfully uncrowded.

amsterdam red light district – Getty

What’s new since you last visited?

Nxt Museum (, the Netherlands’ first museum of art dedicated to new media has opened in increasingly hip Amsterdam Noord, promising large-scale multi-sensory exhibitions, and all manner of mind-expanding events.

High among my all-time favourite Amsterdam chefs, Richard van Oostenbrugge and Thomas Groot have opened De Juwelier (; three courses around €50), a less haute (and less stratospherically priced) alternative to their two-Michelin-starred restaurant 212: accessible, affordable cuisine with not a quantum of compromise in quality.

When Covid is gone, the climate crisis will still be with us – The Good Shop ( does its bit with a changing, curated collection of circular, sustainable fashion from around the world.

Former owners of the popular Getto bar in the red-light district have opened Lola The Green Aardvark (, in the eastern part of town. Clientele is mixed, though largely LGBTQ+, and there’s a large terrace with a friendly neighbourhood feel.

A sombre reminder that times were once far more frightening than these, the National Holocaust Names Memorial (, designed by Daniel Libeskind and an important addition to the Amsterdam cityscape, is made up of more than 102,000 bricks each bearing the name of a Dutch victim of the Holocaust. It will be unveiled by King Willem-Alexander on September 19.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Johnson seeks upper hand over Macron with flurry of green deals

Boris Johnson has sought to gain the upper hand over Emmanuel Macron as he combats French attempts to lure foreign investment with a slew of UK deals backed by overseas ... Read more »

Zalmay Khalilzad: US envoy for Afghanistan steps down following chaotic evacuation

The Biden administration’s top envoy for Afghanistan is leaving his position, the US State Department confirmed in a Monday announcement, less than two months after the US withdrew from Afghanistan ... Read more »

‘We've been babysitting them': MTA pins bus ‘war room' delays on contractor

The MTA’s $90 million NASA-like “bus command center” remains unused nearly two-and-half years after construction completed because of ongoing failures of the company hired to set up the building’s radio ... Read more »

Everton and Liverpool 'vote in favour of new Premier League rule' after Newcastle takeover

Everton and Liverpool have voted in favour of new Premier League legislation following the takeover at Newcastle United, according to the Guardian. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), whose chairman ... Read more »

Eddie Howe at centre of Newcastle United 'discussions' as Steven Gerrard vote takes new twist

Former Celtic managerial candidate Eddie Howe could be in with a shot at the Newcastle job after all. The ex-Bournemouth boss has been out of work since leaving the Cherries ... Read more »

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace final score: Gunners grab point in stoppage time

© Provided by NBC Sports Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: The Gunners raced out to an early lead, but the Eagles soared ahead before conceding a stoppage-time equalizer to mark Patrick ... Read more »

Psaki Says Trump 'Incited Insurrection,' Pressured DOJ to 'Propagate Lies'

White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded Monday to a reporter who attempted to compare the recent actions of President Joe Biden to the usage of the U.S. Department of ... Read more »

Thomas Jefferson statue gets evicted from City Hall by year's end, NYC panel rules

A nearly 200-year-old statue of Thomas Jefferson that’s been a lightning rod for controversy for over two decades will be removed from the the City Council chambers by the end ... Read more »

UAE surpasses US, UK to rank 11th in nation brand

© Provided by Khaleej Times UAE surpasses US, UK to rank 11th in nation brand The UAE has been named the world’s 11th strongest nation brand, surpassing big countries like ... Read more »

Sharjah Book Fair to showcase 15 million books

© Provided by Khaleej Times Sharjah Book Fair to showcase 15 million books The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) will showcase 15 million books from 1,576 publishing houses in its ... Read more »

Seven newly elevated judges take oath; strength in HC goes up to 32

© Provided by The Indian Express Seven newly elevated judges to the Gujarat High Court took oath to their office administered by Chief Justice Aravind Kumar at the first court ... Read more »

Dick Vitale reveals second cancer diagnosis

Dick Vitale shared his melanoma diagnosis in August. Corey Sipkin ESPN college basketball commentator Dick Vitale has been diagnosed with lymphoma, just months after he was diagnosed with melanoma. The ... Read more »

Suspect charged in fatal shooting on 18th Street

Oct. 18—The suspect in the Oct. 2 murder of a Falls man was taken into custody by members of the Niagara Falls Police Department and U.S. Marshal Task Force on ... Read more »

Delayed monsoon, rain-damaged crops: Vegetable prices hit the roof across state

© Provided by The Indian Express Written by AVINASH NAIR, GOPAL KATESHIYA & ADITI RAJA Wholesale vegetable prices in Gujarat are soaring, thanks to a late monsoon and erratic rains ... Read more »

Dennis Hutchings dead aged 80 – Veteran on trial over fatal shooting during Troubles dies

A TROUBLES veteran who was being pursued through the courts over a fatal shooting has died, it was reported. Dennis Hutchings, 80, had denied attempting to murder and cause grievous ... Read more »

Strictly legend James Jordan says pro Karen Hauer is to blame for Greg Wise leaving the show

FORMER Strictly Come Dancing pro, James Jordan, blamed Karen Hauer after her partner Greg Wise was booted from the show. The Crown star Greg got the flick after his “disappointing” ... Read more »

Blueprint for green UK WILL see ban on gas boilers by 2035

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Ministers will press ahead with plans to ban the installation of conventional gas boilers by 2035 – despite warnings that the move could provoke ... Read more »

Sir David Amess' distraught wife and daughters visit memorial after being left ‘absolutely broken' by horrific murder

THE heartbroken family of Sir David Amess wept today as they made an emotional visit to a memorial for the murdered MP. Dad-of-five Sir David, 69, was stabbed to death ... Read more »

University of Melbourne staff doing unpaid work to give students feedback, tutor says

© Provided by ABC Business Bernd Bartl says tutors are not paid enough to cover the time it takes to mark assignments. (ABC News: Patrick Stone) Students at the prestigious University ... Read more »

Trump sues Jan. 6 committee, National Archives

Donald Trump is suing the Jan. 6 select committee and the National Archives to block the release of his White House’s records related to the Capitol attack. © Sean Rayford/Getty ... Read more »

PM announces £10bn of foreign investment as he rolls out red carpet for business leaders

Boris Johnson will announce £9.7bn of foreign investment – creating at least 30,000 jobs around the UK – as he welcomes almost 200 business leaders to a London summit. © ... Read more »

Boris Johnson hails £9.7bn in 2021 foreign investment at UK summit

© Provided by City AM Boris Johnson will talk up £9.7bn in foreign investment deals the UK has attracted this year as he opens the three-day Global Investment Summit tomorrow. ... Read more » Inc. stock outperforms market on strong trading day

© Terrence Horan COMPANY CLOSE UPDATES Video: Target, TJX and United Healthcare: What the analysts are saying (CNBC) Shares of Inc. rallied 1.11% to $3,446.74 Monday, on what proved ... Read more »

What Cameron Norrie must do to clinch ATP Finals spot after winning Indian Wells

Cameron Norrie is in a great position to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals. The Brit gave his chances a huge boost after securing the biggest title of his career ... Read more »

Yellen sends Congress new warning on looming debt limit deadline

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the federal government will suspend certain investments until Congress passes a long-term extension of the borrowing limit. © Provided by Washington Examiner In ... Read more »

Tony Mowbray drops Blackburn Rovers transfer dilemma amid Rothwell, Nyambe and Lenihan contract talks

© Provided by Football League World mowbray0djdbdbdsss Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has refused to rule out potentially selling some of the club’s best players in the January transfer window ... Read more »

Cian O'Neill joins Padraic Joyce's Galway set-up as coach

© James Crombie INPHO Former Cork coach Cian O Neill. CIAN O’NEILL HAS been added to Padraic Joyce’s backroom team in Galway.  Joyce is entering his third year as Tribe ... Read more »

Get Your First Look at the Netflix Holiday Lineup

Netflix is gearing up for one hefty holiday lineup as the streamer unveils its slate of movies, specials, and much more. © Mark Mainz/NETFLIX The Princess Switch Vanessa Hudgens Kicking ... Read more »

Dem Vorstand «Unwahrheiten» erzählt: «Bild»-Chefredaktor Reichelt gefeuert

Der Medienkonzern Axel Springer hat mit sofortiger Wirkung «Bild»-Chefredaktor Julian Reichelt von seinen Aufgaben entbunden. Das teilte das Unternehmen am Montag in Berlin mit. © Bereitgestellt von Blick «Bild»-Chefredaktor Reichelt ... Read more »

Emma Kenney Confirms What We All Suspected About Emmy Rossum's On-Set Behavior

Michael Loccisano/Getty After 11 seasons, the saga of the Gallagher family on Showtime’s “Shameless” finally crossed the finish line in a last episode that brought some closure (and plenty of ... Read more »

Jeff Luhnow a risky potential Mets option after whiffing elsewhere: Sherman

It really should be a heck of a job. Big baseball-loving city. Huge, passionate fan base. Owner with the largest wallet in the game. I would hesitate to advise anyone ... Read more »

‘You won't be able to get the jacket in 15 colors,' WH snarks amid supply crisis

The US is facing a supply chain crunch with shortages of everything from consumer goods to food to holiday gifts. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO Boiling down the concerns of millions of ... Read more »

Madrid exhibition reimagines Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights for digital age

Adam is a busy robot poring over the codes of creation. The climate disaster has imprisoned the devil in a block of ice. And a social media sinner is lashed ... Read more »

Airplane ‘Karen' goes viral for mid-flight, microphoned pandemic rant

Unruly passenger goes viral for microphoned pandemic rant. TikTok Mike check 1, 2, 1, 2 — she’s an unruly passenger terrorizing the flight attendant crew. Armed with a microphone headset ... Read more »

Angelina Jolie relaxes with well-earned cup of tea after receiving Elle Magazine accolade for campaigning

ANGELINA Jolie relaxes with a well-earned cup of tea after putting herself in the loop for an accolade with her campaigning. The Maleficent actress, 46, is one of Elle Magazine’s ... Read more »

Travel indirectly to South Australia with Stories of the South docuseries

What is absent is soon forgotten. A disastrously accurate proverb when you consider all the moments that we misplace: schools attended but lessons long erased; fleeting friends with names you ... Read more »

Alex Scott channels Dennis the Menace as she heads out to celebrate 37th birthday

FOOTIE pundit Alex Scott heads out to celebrate her birthday — looking like Dennis the Menace. She wore a sequinned dress in red and black stripes to mark her 37th ... Read more »

ALEX BRUMMER: Britain sounds the air raid siren over Meggitt deal

© Provided by This Is Money MailOnline logo As the archdeacon of free market capitalism, the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng might have seemed an unlikely candidate to bring the proposed ... Read more »

WA farmers push back against Nationals' lack of climate commitment

© Provided by ABC NEWS Simon Wallwork and his partner Cindy Stevens have noticed major changes in the climate during their 18 years of farming. ( Supplied: Simon Wallwork) A group ... Read more »

UK to increase grants to help homeowners ditch gas boilers

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will increase grants to homeowners to remove their gas boilers and replace them with greener technology such as heat pumps as the government tries to tackle ... Read more »