The City of Amsterdam
Also check the website of Iamsterdam for info about Amsterdam..
Let us welcome you to Amsterdam, a city of 180 different nationalities and a place of many inspiring and surprising faces. No other city mixes cosmopolitan style and relaxed atmosphere quite like Amsterdam, where our hospitable nature attracts an excitingly diverse population. We invite you to join us and make our metropolis your own during your stay.
Whether admiring the Golden Age gabled merchants’ houses of the old city centre or marvelling at the sleek skylines of the new Zuidas and harbour areas, you will see that the people of Amsterdam pride themselves on the city’s rich history while keeping focused on the future. Creative energy and innovation abound, strengthening and inspiring the established international business community.
Amsterdam has a long and impressive sporting tradition. In 1928 the city hosted the Olympic Games. The recently renovated Olympic stadium is a lasting legacy of this event. More recently the city has hosted numerous major sporting events. In 2010 Amsterdam hosted the start of the Giro d’Italia. With 41,600 participants in 2013 the annual Amsterdam marathon is one of the largest marathons in Europe. In 2016 Amsterdam will be organising the European Athletics Championships. In addition, the city has witnessed the many successes of Amsterdam-based football club Ajax, both nationally and internationally.
The legendary Amsterdam nightlife is an integral part of the Amsterdam Sevens experience. Here are a few useful facts and hints.
Smoking ban. Like most of the rest of Europe and America you are not allowed to smoke tobacco indoors in public places.There are a couple of exceptions. Because the law is aimed at the health of bar staff some bars have airtight smoking rooms where the staff do not go in. Some other bars do not have staff other than the owner and they can allow you to smoke. And of course, this being Holland, a number of bars just ignore the ban. The presence of ashtrays is a good indication. One very Dutch exception is that in Coffee Shops you can smoke Marijuana inside but if you mix it with tobacco you have to go outside to smoke.
Partner Bars. There are a number of bars in Amsterdam that are supporting the Amsterdam Sevens and players and spectators are more than welcome.
Café Corso (Oudezijds Achterburgwal 26) in the red light district is one of the traditional rugby bars of Amsterdam and the walls are covered in rugby memorabilia and pictures of the teams that have represented Café Corso with pride of place going to the 2004 team that won the tournament. During the year rugby is shown on TV and rugby players and teams from around the world just pop in. Café Corso is the clubhouse for the White Hart Marauders during the Amsterdam Sevens and the celebrations start on Thursday evening and run through the whole weekend until Monday Morning where many drop in for Bloody Mary Monday before making their way to the Central Station.
Susies Saloon(Oudezijds Voorburgwal 254) is on the edge of the Red Light District near the Dam. Another rugby mad bar, they enter a Men’s team and a Ladies team in the Amsterdam Sevens, usually with an antipodean flavour with Pacific Islands reinforcements. The bar is usually open until six in the morning for the Amsterdam Sevens (not recommended for players). They also do food and have a smoking room (also not advised for players).
Dan Murphy’s (Leidseplein 24) is an Irish bar on the Leidseplein. Leidseplein is one of Amsterdam’s main nightlife destinations. Half of the square is filled with terraces where you can sit outside with a beer or six and chill out. On the other half of the square are lots of buskers making music or performing magic. It is surrounded by bars, Cinemas and music venues (Melkweg which has music, theatre, cinema and Paradiso). Dan Murphy’s is in the corner of Leidseplein and, in addition to the friendly staff boasts the best pint of Murphys stout in town. Leidseplein is also close to the location of the Friday evening reception.
O’Reilly’s (Paleisstraat 103) is a large, sports oriented Irish bar situated just behind the palace on the Dam. The bar has several small rooms and for big matches they have a projector with a massive screen. They also do excellent food.
Café Heuvel (Prinsengracht 568) is a typically Dutch bar on the corner of Prinsengracht and Spiegelstraat. Pierre, the owner used to play rugby with AAC and some of the teams who come regularly to the Amsterdam Sevens use Cafe Heuvel as their Amsterdam base for the weekend.
Coco’s Outback (Thorbeckeplein 8-12) is the only Australian bar in Amsterdam. So you know what to expect. They have two happy hours per day, lots of promotions on food and drinks, wide range of beers, including many Aussie beers, DJs on Saturday nights, darts, pool and a terrace so you can sit outside. They show a lot of rugby as well as other sports. Ideal for a lively few beers rather than a quiet beer.
Café Cobra (Museumplein) is situated on the Museumplein, a wide open grassy area behind the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum (the Stedelijk museum of modern art also used to be on the museumplein until it moved recently). The Museumplein is a great place to go for a run out and throw a ball around to loosen up on Friday. Cobra Café, as befits its artistic location, is dedicated to the Cobra modern art movement which took it’s name from the three cities it was based in (Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam although they seem to have spent a lot of time in Paris) and includes Karel Appel and Cornielle. Well worth a visit by the more cultured visitors to Amsterdam.
Beer Glasses. You can drink beer in pints but remember the beer in Holland is stronger than the beer in the UK and if it gets warm it becomes almost undrinkable. We recommend drinking in the same glasses as the locals. The normal glass if you ask for a beer or pils (to sound local you can use the diminutive form biertje – pronounced beer-tjeh, or Pilsje – pronounced Pils-yer) is about 30cl. The fluitje (pronounced flout-yeh) is smaller and really for girlies. The vaasje (Fars-yeh) has straight sides and looks bigger than a normal pils glass although barmen claim it is the same size. Whatever glass you ask for, there will be a foaming head which will be “two fingers” deep.
Beer in Amsterdam is synonymous with Heineken. Whereas Heinekens fantastic marketing department has succeeded in making Heineken a premium brand almost everywhere in the world, in the Netherlands the same beer is the “bog standard” beer because it is served everywhere and, especially in Amsterdam it is difficult to find anything but Heineken. If you want a couple of alternatives try the following. Café Gollem (Raamsteeg 4) is now closed temporarily but you can visit their sister bar the Gollum Proeflocaal (literally tasting location) which can be found at Overtoom 160, not far from the Leidseplein. Golem has been serving beers from around the world since 1974. The bar is about the size of a small hotel bedroom but they manage to serve up to 200 different beers, about 12 of them from the tap, and many of the beers are served in their own special glasses (try the Belgian beer Kwaak for the weirdest glass). The beers include some very strong beers such as Westvleteren, brewed by monks and the strongest is 12% alcohol. The bar’s formula is so successful there are now two more Gollems just outside the centre. “In de Wildeman” (Kolksteeg 3) is another 200 beer bar with 17 on tap. Much bigger and brighter than Café Gollem it is well worth a visit. They are closed on Sundays. How many beers are brewed in Amsterdam? The answer is two and neither of them is Heineken. Heineken has not been brewed in Amsterdam for years although their head office is still there. In the centre of town (Oudezijds Voorbergwaal – in the oldest part of town two minutes from the Cafe Corso) is Brouwerij de Prael. Brouwerij ‘t Ij (Funenkade 7) is outside the centre but well worth a visit to their windmill brewery. You can also find their beers in some bars in Amsterdam. They brew 10 different beers, some seasonal, but have stopped making their famous “Grote Lul” (Big Penis) which led to much merriment when you asked for a big penis at the bar.
Public Transport in the Netherlands works and it is relatively cheap. To get to the tournament from the centre of Amsterdam catch the bus 21 from just in front of Central Station. In the mornings they leave Central Station every 15 minutes and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the tournament. Trams cover most of the city and are quick and easy to use and almost all end at Central Station. A €2.90 ticket will get you to most places in the centre. For people visiting for the weekend it makes sense to get a 3 day ticket which allows you to travel anywhere in the city at any time on busses and trams. It costs €16.50 and you can get them from the GVB office at Central Station. For more info visit: http://en.gvb.nl/gvb-dag-meerdagenkaart
Coffeshops are where you can buy and smoke cannabis/marijuana/skunk/weed/hash. If you do not mix it with tobacco you can smoke it inside. You can find coffeshops all over the centre but the density is highest in the Red Light District, especially along the Warmoestraat. In the centre of Amsterdam they are mostly used by tourists. Coffeshops are under threat as more and more restrictions are placed upon them. The latest restriction is to close coffeshops within 250 meters of schools. You will normally be presented with a menu of the wares from all over the world but beware; the stronger varieties, including Nederwiet, are much stronger than people outside the Netherlands are used to. But remember, smoking dope is not big and it is not clever and is the exact opposite of performance enhancing.
Chinatown is next to the red light district around Zeedijk. There are many good Chinese restaurants in the area, fairly cheap, good and usually with authentic Chinese cuisine. Some do not have a drinks license so you may finish up drinking tea.
The historic city of Amsterdam is not that old. Before the first inhabitants arrived in about 1000 it was just marshland. It’s first mention in history is in 1275 and it only became a city after 1300, about the same time that the dam was built on the river Amstel where the current Dam square is. Most of the wooden buildings burned down (one of the three remaining wooden buildings is a bar on the Zeedijk near Central Station – well worth a visit). The classic buildings and canals of the centre are a result of the “Golden Age” between 1570 and 1700 where the city was the richest city in the world and grew in concentric circles from 30,000 to 200,000 inhabitants. The decline after the Golden Age meant there was no money to replace all of the old buildings. The oldest part of Amsterdam is between the Dam and Central Station and the Red Light district. Other areas worth a visit if you want a bit of culture and history are thegger, Jordaan, the 9 streets (9 straten), Rembrandtsplein and Utrechtersestraat, Nieuwenmarkt and Spiegelstraat where there are lots of small bars and restaurants.
Gay Amsterdam. Amsterdam is famously gay friendly. The Gay Pride festival at the beginning of August attracts massive crowds from around the world. Reguliersdwarstraat and Amstel are the places to be if you want a party during the Eurovision Song Festival.
Culture in Amsterdam is probably something you will not have time for during the Amsterdam Sevens. We have museums to spare, from the famous museums such as the Rijksmuseum (the Nightwatch and a lot more), Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum (Modern Art) to the Torture Museum and the Hash Museum. Theatres are mostly in Dutch but all of the cinemas show films in the original languages.
Shopping in Amsterdam. Most shops in Amsterdam are open on Saturday and Sunday. I know of a few people who bring their partners to Amsterdam and let them loose in the city with a credit card while they are at the Sevens. Make sure you keep them away from the PC Hoofdstraat. This has many designer label shops for clothes (Trussardi, Hermes, Ralf Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Canali, Hugo Bos, Gucci, Chanel, Valentino, Kookai, Lacoste, Scapa, Claudia Strater and many more) but also things like luggage (Louis Vuitton) and jewelry (Bulgari, Cartier, Schaap en Citroen) and this could cause serious harm to your bank balance. Kalverstraat is a pedestrian shopping street that is the most expensive streey on the Dutch Monoply board. It is very, very busy on Saturday and Sunday. More relaxed and with lots of small and specialist shops are the Negen Straatjes (nine little streets). Go on Saturday as many close on Sunday. The streets are Hartenstraat, Reestraat, Gasthuismolensteeg, Beerenstraat, Wolvenstraat, Oude Spiegelstraat, Runstraat, Huidenstraat and Wijde Heisteeg. There are also many other small shops in the streets between the canals between Radhuisstraat and Brouwersgracht.