Seven stops for an eco-friendly break in Amsterdam
Ever forward-thinking, Amsterdam prides itself on being of the greenest cities in Europe. Living sustainably is a way of life here: locals prefer cycling over any other mode of transport, and shoppers are turning to more ethical, planet-friendly ways of consuming. For visitors, choosing greener alternatives gives a new perspective on the city. Hop on a rubbish-fishing tour with Plastic Whale, for example, and you could explore the canals while helping to keep the waters plastic-free. Why stop there? You could easily spend a whole weekend getaway in Amsterdam enjoying a more sustainable lifestyle. From carbon-neutral hotels to plant-to-plate restaurants and energy-sharing museums, here’s how to do it.
Where to stay
The AlbusVijzelstraat 49, 1017 HEA stone’s throw from the Bloemenmarkt, this city-centre stay is perfectly poised for strolls around the Canal Ring. The Albus takes care to tread lightly: it’s the first hotel in Europe to stop carbon emissions, thanks to the installation of an innovative heating and cooling system. Renovated bathrooms mean better water consumption, too, so you can linger in that rainfall shower with a clear conscience.
What not to miss
The Hermitage MuseumAmstel 51, 1018 EJThis stately 17th-century institution, on the banks of the river Amstel, stages big-ticket exhibitions drawn from its Russian sibling’s extensive collections. It’s just one of 18 cultural centres in the leafy, elegant De Plantage neighbourhood. Make time for the Hortus Botanicus gardens, whose tropical greenhouses are kept warm by the Hermitage’s excess heat thanks to a ground-breaking pipe system.
Where to eat
Café GartineTaksteeg 7, 1012 PBCharming, ivy-trailed Café Gartine takes its food miles seriously. Owners Willem-Jan Hendriks and Kirsten Eckhart, who champion a slower approach to living, grow fruits and vegetables in their own organic garden. Eggs, fresh from their rescued hens, make weekend brunch here a special treat. The café is closed Sundays to Tuesdays, so it’s worth planning ahead to sample its wholesome lunches and high teas.
InstockCzaar Peterstraat 21, 1018 NWSurplus produce gets a second chance at this laid-back eatery, helmed by four friends who met working at a local supermarket chain. The menu changes depending on what’s saved from the skip on the day, but pickles and preserves, naturally, get star billing. Try the zingy kimchi wontons, or hearty tacos and burritos, which go down well with a bottle of Instock’s hoppy potato beer.
Where to shop
The GathershopHannie Dankbaarpassage 19, 1053 RTForget the high street: at this whitewashed, pared-down shop, everything’s handmade, Fairtrade, or sourced from independent designers and makers. Having trained as an interior designer, British owner Jessica Chapman has impeccable taste. Offon’s linen garments are made to last a lifetime; stock up on dainty stackable rings by Jennifer Kwan, or divinely scented candles by Brandt Kaarsen.
SukhaHaarlemmerstraat 110, 1013 EWThis Fairtrade concept store is guided by a solid sustainable ethos, but doesn’t skimp on style. Handmade in Nepal by women’s collectives, its eye-catching collection of clothing and homewares starts life in the in-house design studio. Everything’s made from natural, renewable materials such as cotton and cashmere – think hand-braided hammocks, tactile bedspreads and Instagram-worthy swing sets for your home.
O My BagCeintuurbaan 117-H, 1072 EZYou won’t find the latest “It bag” at this De Pijp boutique, but rather a timeless collection of lovingly made accessories in vintage-inspired styles. O My Bag’s eco-credentials are second to none: leathers are tanned without harmful chemicals, the cotton used is organic, and past customers can trade in their old bags for a discount. Opt for a cross-body number, ideal for bicycle jaunts around town.