When Envy Fisher from Lost in Translation asked me to join her in this Blogger edition of the Undiscovered Amsterdam walking tour I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Although I live in Amsterdam myself it’s always very nice to see the city from a different perspective. This time … a tourist perspective, but as the name suggest the undiscovered places of Amsterdam. So last weekend I joined a free walking tour around Amsterdam organised by Strawberry Tours. During this tour I also got to know a very kind other Dutch blogger called Nienke from My Strange Towns. Don’t forget to check out their blogposts when they are live!
Strawberry Tours started in London, but they are currently a rather large company based all over the world where you can join their free walking tours on a pay-what-you-feel-basis. This way Strawberry Tours believes that a city walking tour is affordable for everyone, because at the end of the tour you pay the tour-guide what you feel like/can miss/want.
In Amsterdam they have four different tours, which are all themed. They have a Historical Centre Tour, which … no surprise is themed around the history of Amsterdam. Mostly they will go through the history during the Golden Age. There’s also a Red Light District Tour, which also … no surprise will take you through the red light district. Their third walking tour is an Undiscovered Amsterdam Tour, which I’ll tell you more about in this post. I’m not going to share all the details and fun facts I’ve learned during the tour, but I will share my experience of the day with you. And last but not least they have a Live Music Tour, which will go to a couple of bars and places with live music.
Sustainability and responsible tourism
Strawberry tours also believes that tourists always leave a footprint no matter how sustainable and conscious you are. Therefore, Strawberry Tours supports responsible tourism and will donate a part of their earnings towards a charity or organisation. Strawberry Tours in Amsterdam chose the Plastic Whale company who makes sure to take all the plastic out of the canals in Amsterdam. Plastic Whale company doesn’t only take the plastic out they also make office furniture and boats out of all the plastic they collect.
Undiscovered Amsterdam Tour
As the name suggests this tour will not go to all the obvious tourist places in Amsterdam. Our tour guide today was Niek the owner of Strawberry Tours in Amsterdam. We started the tour with for us Dutchies something very normal: bikes. And not just bikes… parking places of bikes in Amsterdam called bike flats and bike boats. We have so many bikes in Amsterdam that we have to become inventive in order for all of us to park our bikes. That’s why we invented bike flats and bike boats.
Next we headed towards Haarlemmerstraat, which is a very cute and different shopping street compared to Kalverstraat. It has a lot of boutiques and very nice coffee places. It also has lots of little alleys, which lead towards an awesome view over the canals. And of course there are bikes everywhere, because did you know that in The Netherlands there are 1.3 bikes for every citizen in the country. That number is even higher in Amsterdam! Whoeps.. yes I did share a fun fact here!
After we passed the Haarlemmerstraat we went by the Farmer’s Market at Noordermarkt. We also passed some houseboats, which apparently is very strange for non Dutch people. Alright I’ll share a little houseboat history with you. Living on a boat, as your boat being your house, is very normal in The Netherlands. We have so much water everywhere that it’s a very easy way to create more living spaces, when there are to little available. Which is basically how they invented the houseboats ages ago. Nowadays, you have two types of houseboats. The once that really look like houses (like the brown one in the back of the picture) or houseboats that look like boats (like the one on the left in the picture).
We slowly made our way towards Karthuizerhof, which is an inner courtyard build by the rich people in 1650 to shelter widows and their children. It’s a very idillic and peaceful place to be, so definitely something I enjoyed visiting. There are still people living there in the courtyard, so if you are ever visiting Karthuizerhof please remember to take that into account.
After visiting Karthuizerhof we passed a very cute and old liquor store, which sells wines, absinthe and jenever. Niek our tour guide told us a little story about jenever/Gin. Everyone knows that the Brits love their G&T’s. Gin was actually invented by the Dutch, because gin is made from very young jenever (and jenever is made in Holland). The Dutch used to take “Dutch Courage”, read a shot of jenever, before going into the battlefield. After the war the Brits spiced up the jenever recipe and gin was born. Just another fun fact about us Dutchies!
After passing this cute little liquor store we passed the Anne Frank house and went towards the gay monument for all gay people died in the second World War. I didn’t think it was appropriate to put a picture on the internet, so the picture you see below is the view you have standing by the monument. Please consider visiting the monument if you’re in Amsterdam!
Last but not least we visited the exhibition of former mayor Van Der Laan. Sir Van Der Laan was the mayor of Amsterdam until 5th of October 2017 when he died of cancer. Before he died he visited the archives of Amsterdam and picked some pieces he wanted to present in an exhibition after his death. This street-art painting wasn’t part of the exhibition, but I think this is a very beautiful piece of street-art!
We ended the morning with a nice lunch together with the Strawberry Tour tour guides! I really liked seeing Amsterdam from a different perspective and I’m definitely going to do some more Strawberry Tours!
Have you ever joined a Strawberry City Tour? Let me know in the comments below which one you joined! Or if you haven’t joined one which one you would be interested in! And don’t forget Strawberry Tours never cancels a tour even if you’re the only one joining!