Sweet, Savory & Holy Treats in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities on Earth, and there are so many things to do there, from the flower market to the Anne Frank House to canal cruises.  I’m going to let you in on a few of my favorite treats in the Dutch capital.

A Holy Treat

Walking by this quintessentially Dutch building, you could never guess what perches up Amsterdam_Museum_Oudezijds_Voorburgwal.jpgin its attic, and that’s the point!  Its attic conceals an entire Catholic church, which is a must see when you’re in Amsterdam.  After all, where else are you going to see an entire church in an attic?!

The Church of Our Dear Lord in the Attic (yes, that’s the actual name) is now the Museum Our Dear Lord in the Attic (formerly the Amstelkring Museum).  The church was originally built in13730965_10208743691682997_3215473196295326994_o 1663, when Catholics in Amsterdam did not have the right to worship publicly, since Protestantism was the official religion.  Catholic worship was tolerated, much like marijuana use today, if done privately, and so the owners of this house built a church on the top three floors of their house.  Today, the church is the second oldest museum in Amsterdam.

Visitors can explore the entire house including its living rooms, kitchen, and bedrooms, but the highlight of the tour 13710730_10208743690962979_7538574874730889917_ois, obviously, the attic church.  One of my favorite features was the hidden pulpit.  When looking at the altar (picture to the left) can you find it?  I couldn’t either.  That’s because the pulpit pulls and then folds out out of a small door on the left-hand side of the altar.  Check out the picture on the left below.  That’s what I call space saving!13767329_10208743690922978_4211100392559507826_o

If you’re in Amsterdam, don’t miss this special hidden treasure.  My partner isn’t a huge fan of museums.  However, at the end of our time in the Amsterdam, I asked him what his favorite part of the trip was, and to my astonishment, he replied the Church of Our Dear Lord in the Attic.  Make it a memorable part of your trip too!

The Museum Our Dear Lord in the Attic is located at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38 in Amsterdam (see locations below).

Sweet & Savory Treats

My second favorite thing to do in Amsterdam is EAT!  Amsterdam has so many amazing international foods to try, but here are my favorite Dutch treats and where to get them.

(1) Dutch Pancakes

There are Dutch pancake restaurants all over the city,  but the best also has the most easy-to-remember name: Pancakes!  (the exclamation point is actually part of the restaurant’s 13769575_10106510123352430_2532991427789437917_nname).  Pancakes! has several locations in Amsterdam, but the best one is located at Berenstraat 38 in the “Nine Little Streets” pancakes-vue-exterieure(Negen Straatjes) district, which is full of quirky shops and boutiques for some after-meal browsing.   You’ll recognize the restaurant from its bright blue sign (see picture at left) and, likely, the group of people waiting outside for a table.  I don’t like to wait at restaurants, but TRUST ME, this place was worth the wait.

Dutch pancakes are paper thin, as big as an entire plate, and come in both sweet and savory flavors.  It’s a meal in itself!  Here’s a link to the menu.  I devoured the Bacon & Banana pancake, while Greg treated himself to a Veggie pancake with house-made pesto.

(2) Stroopwafels

13765878_10208733218341170_4187482463772914370_oStroopwafels are a uniquely Dutch confection.  Don’t think Belgian waffle, because, while that’s its own delectable treat, it’s not what you’re going to get.  A stroopwafel is more like a giant wafer cookie made of two thin, crunchy layers, with a filling of either caramel or honey.  The outside layers are made in a waffle iron, so that’s why it’s called a stroop13765905_10208733217021137_2549340931143850116_owafel.

You can buy them in bakeries all over the city, but in my opinion, the best come from Banketbakkerij Lanksroom at Singel 385 in Amsterdam.  Get one for each person in your group (who wants to share?!), find a nice place to sit along a canal, dig in, and watch the boats go by.  If you’re not in Amsterdam but still want to try them, I’ve seen them for sale in HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx on the food isle and in Whole Foods in the cookie racks in the bakery department.  While they won’t be as fresh, they’ll still be tasty!

(3) Flemish Fries

Who doesn’t love a good french fry?  In Amsterdam, they’re called Flemish fries, or Vlaamse friets, and are especially delicious because they’re fried twice: one for a soft 13698235_10208733216981136_2878963656346046641_oinside and another for a crispy outside.  The Dutch also serve them with a variety of sauces including (but not limited to) curry ketchup, satay, apple, and mayonnaise, the latter being the most common.  The absolute best place, in Amsterdam, to get Flemish fries is at Vleminckx de Sausmeester, a hole-in-the-wall fries stand located at Voetboogstraat 33, right off the main Kalverstraat shopping street.  You’ll recognize it from the13719726_10208733215301094_2387501150442681478_o line of people, which you know means it’s good!   They only sell fries, so go there for a snack or late night treat.   Here’s a link to their English menu.  The fries come in a little paper cone, so it’s easy to eat, walk, and people watch at the same time.

(4) Herring Stands

Ok, ok.  I know what you’re thinking . . . He’s recommending raw herring?!?  YES!  You have to trust me here.  Herring didn’t sound entirely appealing to me either.  However, I decided to give it a try, since it’s a local delicacy.  In my opinion, one of the best travel experiences 13735577_10208731332894035_6047514872491687134_othat you can have is trying something new, especially when its comes to food.  Go out on a limb and taste something outside your comfort zone.  You’ll create a memorable experience, and at the very least, you can get bragging rights (and a fun picture!) that you tried it.

The “raw” fish is actually cured in a brine, or salt water solution, for five days to preserve it, so it’s not really raw.

When you order, you’ll have a few choices.  The easiest to eat is a herring sandwich, or13738194_10208731332014013_7109370477081064755_o broodje, in a soft roll with diced onions and pickles. Another choice is “Amsterdam-style”, that is served as cut up hunks of herring with onions, all of which you eat with a toothpick.  For those of you who live on the edge (kidding!), choose Rotterdam-style, which means you pick it up by the end, raise it up in the air, and lower it down into your mouth.  I went for the sandwich which worked perfectly for me because I have a very big mouth!

13697121_10106510436195490_6841832128266607554_nThere are herrings shops all over the city, and they’re very easy to spot.  If you’re visiting the Floating Flower Market, I recommend Frens Heringhandel at Singel 468.

 

 

If you try only one of these Dutch treats or you try all of them, you’ll be creating memories that will stick with you long after your trip is over.  Trying local foods is, yet, another way that you can be F.I.T. — a free and independent traveler!

 

Locations

 

Church of Our Lord in the Attic – Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38

In the Red Light District near the intersection of Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Heintje Hoekssteeg.  Just type “Church of Our Lord in the Attic” into Google Maps.  Its Dutch name is “Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder”, so that’s what will show up in Google.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 11.45.55 AM

Pancakes! – Berenstraat 38

Near the intersection of Berenstraat and Prinsengracht

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 11.48.18 AM

Stroopwafles at Banketbakkerij Lanksroom – Singel 385

At the corner of Singel and Heisteeg

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 11.49.32 AM

Flemish Fries at Vleminckx de Sausmeester – Voetboogstraat 33

Near the intersection of Voetboogstraat and Heiligeweg

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 11.50.45 AM.png

Herring at Frens Heringhandel – Singel 468

At the intersection of Singel and Koningsplein, near the Flower Market and Mint Tower

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 11.54.17 AM

 

 

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