Amsterdam: Jordaan and the West

Jordaan at dusk

Back in November, we spent a week in Amsterdam staying in the Jordaan, a former workers’ quarter which is now given over to shops, cafés and galleries. We spent a lot of time just wandering around it, and the nearby Western Islands, enjoying the quirky sights – we’ve been to Amsterdam six times before so we don’t feel the need to visit all the major museums again. We’re almost locals!

Those sites include quirky house carvings:

Quirky cats and other animals (one is actually real!):

Quirky street art, shop-fronts, museums:

And of course, the buildings and the canals in general, which are, as ever, gorgeous:

The last picture in the gallery above is Het Stuivertje, our favourite restaurant. There are many good places to eat in the Jordaan, but we went back to this one twice. Not only was the food excellent, the staff were absolutely lovely and some of the friendliest we have come across on our travels. Highly recommended if you are ever in the area.

Also wonderful was the landlady, Greet, of Amphora Apartment where we stayed – she and her husband live upstairs. Greet is an artist and the kitchen and bathroom areas were decorated with her mosaics.

We had breakfast in the apartment every day, but only ate dinner there once. We got so wet during the day that we didn’t want to go out again, so stopped off at one of the local supermarkets, Albert Heijn, on our way home. A word of warning – we queued at a “No cash” check-out only to discover that, despite having several different cards between us, none of them was any use. I think the only thing they accept is MasterCard Debit which neither of us has. In the end, the lady behind us in the queue paid for us and we paid her back in cash. The welcoming bottle of wine left by Greet was an added bonus that night!

In the next instalment, we go out east for more slightly-off-the-beaten-track sights. In the meantime, a reminder, or a heads-up if you don’t know, that Wednesday 14th February is a special day. No, not that one – it’s International Book Giving Day. Follow the link for ideas to get books into the hands of as many children as possible, either through personal gifts or by supporting a charity. Much better than a Valentine’s card!

All the same, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day AND a Happy International Book Giving Day on Wednesday.


  1. Jordaan is indeed a very nice neighbourhood and we have been many times. We also have a friend who lives there so we end up meeting her there most time we visit. The main sites of Amsterdam are getting overcrowded but Jordaan seems to be able to keep some level of calmness in the madness…Nice pics. (Suzanne)


    • Yes, it’s still enjoyable to walk around. The centre can be quite unpleasant because of the crowds, but, as with most places, move a little outside and you lose most of them!


  2. Hi, Anabel – I agree with the other commenters. This looks like such a fascinating trip — and the photos are gorgeous. I LOVE all things quirky so have now scribbled down a few notes of ‘must sees’ if ever in Amsterdam!


  3. I only had the good fortune to visit Amsterdam (including the Jordaan) once after a crazy sail across the North Sea from Ramsgate to IJmuiden and down the North Sea Locks. Sadly, I did not carry a camera at the time so have none of my own visuals of the city. Thank you for taking me back there today with this wonderful visual montage. I adore the architecture, narrow streets and canals. Next time I go, I would so welcome a few days at the Amphora Apartment. Nicely appointed with gorgeous mosaics. And ‘totally Amsterdam’ to hear of the lovely lady who offered up her credit card in grocery store line.


  4. I’ve never heard of Jordaan, Anabel, but given the street art and house carvings, the shops and museums, I need to add it to my bucket list. I wonder if you realize that Anabel-recommended places now has its own entire page on that list! I can’t help it – your posts and your photos are captivating.