How to take it easy in Amsterdam
Move over, hygge – there’s a new lifestyle concept in town. This year’s all about niksen, the meditative Dutch practice of doing nothing at all. In a world dominated by to-do and bucket lists, it’s a revelation. From watching the world go by from a café window to just sitting in a park, niksen’s all about slowing down, savouring the moment and taking all the time in the world. Tempted to give it a try? We’ve found five ways to slow down in the ’Dam, from cosying up by an open fire to getting back to nature.
Slow down in the ‘Dam
Be mesmerised by Electric LadylandTweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, 1015 TB
Lose track of time at the world’s only museum of fluorescent art. It’s a Hendrix-soundtracked showcase for the founder’s sculptures – including a psychedelic grotto, where you become part of the art. The collection of minerals is equally trippy, glowing with otherworldly colours under UV light. Don a pair of regulation slippers (the exhibits are delicate), and step into another world.
Cosy up by the fire at Lion NoirReguliersdwarsstraat 28, 1017 BM
If the weather’s looking grey, we know just the place: this quietly cosseting, candlelit bar and restaurant. It feels like the drawing-room of a chic but eccentric country house, with its polished parquet floors, shelves of curios, and antique tapestries and rugs. Claim the leather seats by the open fire and linger over dessert: the brownie with figs and Pedro Ximénez is as decadent as it sounds.
Get lost in the dots at MocoHonthorststraat 20, 1071 DR
This boundary-pushing museum’s all about contemporary art; there’s a KAWS sculpture in the garden, along with a Banksy mural. Inside, head for the small section devoted to Yayoi Kusama, who describes her work as ‘art medicine’. There are two spirit-soothing pieces on display, riffing on her trademark polka dots: the calming Night of Stars and an intricately patterned pumpkin painting.
Browse the vinyl at ConcertoUtrechtsestraat 52-60, 1017 VP
There’s no such thing as a quick trip to Concerto, one of the city’s most iconic record stores. Over time, it’s expanded to fill five neighbouring shops, with close-packed, seemingly endless racks of new and second-hand vinyl. The selection runs from symphonies to soul, hip hop to electro. Check the website for upcoming free gigs, or join the local musos hanging out in the laid-back coffee shop.
Wander the Hortus BotanicusPlantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD
Founded in 1638, this is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, stocked with rare plants by the Dutch East India Company. Aerial walkways weave between its soaring palms and creepers, while tropical butterflies flit around the smaller greenhouse. Outside, there’s a formal garden and tranquil pond, and the 19th-century orangery’s now home to a charming café.
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