Remember that awkward time as a kid when you moved schools? You didn’t know anybody; everything was confusing, and you got lost all the time. Now imagine that same feeling, but this time it’s an entire city. Truth be told, Amsterdam is a double-edged sword of both tack and enjoyment. Now that you’ve finally gotten here, settled into an overpriced accommodation, and went to a first lecture, the logical next question on your mind should be; where should I go and make some friends?
What is studying without a good study spot? Prisma might very well be the place for your assignment work. Hidden away in an alley around the back entrance of the OMHP building, Prisma is a coffee bar serving great Colombian style coffee, with an even greater selection of deep and lo-fi house. It’s an incredibly laid back space, close to campus and to top it all off connected to the UvA WIFI network. If you ever need to kill some schoolwork or have coffee appointment with a friend Prisma is the place to be!
Arie Biemondstraat (Oud-West)
You’d be surprised how hard it can be to find foreign language movies with subtitles that aren’t in Dutch. Next time you want to watch a French film, give lab111 a shot. Founded in 2016 and housed in the old anatomical theater of the UvA, Lab is a creative entrepôt for young filmmakers and creatives. Showing an eclectic mix of classics and new releases and home to a full restaurant/bar with homemade pizza and beer. When next looking to explore the oeuvre of Scorsese or Coppola Lab should be a first choice.
The Zeedijk and most of the Red Light’s surrounding area is a desolate wasteland of terrible dive bars, sexstores and boba spots hidden in between all this tripe is the student institution Skek. Cultureel eetcafe Skek is part of stichting Kriterion, a student ran collective consisting of a few cinemas and bars- all well worth checking out. Skek has been around for 15 years and offers cheap and good drinks not too far away from the OMHP and PCH buildings. It’s a great place to meet both tourists and fellow students, the odd creative like Hans de Tweede, or just a Scotsman who vomits everywhere like me and my fellow writer Menelaos once did.
The UB Definitely isn’t hidden or unknown, the opposite. You’re bound to end up at the UB at some point in your uva career. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good place to get to know better. The UB has ample space and facilities if you’re ever looking to go on a caffein-and-desperation-filled seven hour study session. Who knows, you might even see me passed out in a corner drinking beer.
Korte Leidse Dwarstraat (center)
You just finished your 7-hour study sesh at the library, you’re about ready to kill yourself from cramming statistics, and you and your friends want to have a drink somewhere. The first question is ‘where should we go?’ ‘Do you like jazz?’ is the next question, and if the answer happens to be yes, Jazz Café Alto is the place to be. Despite being in the cesspool that is the Leidseplein area, alto stays open late, offers amazing jazz acts, okay priced pints, and a memorable experience. To top it all off you might even find Anderson Paak hanging out there -if the rumors are to be believed.
If my pretentious friends are to be believed, Art is the gateway to the soul. Photography is that gateway in 1080p. House Marseille is one of the many photography museums in Amsterdam (another one being FOAM). Housed in a selection of beautiful canal houses, it’s an amazing way to kill an evening looking at a variety of exhibits. They have a garden, and the tickets are cheap. Perhaps take your next date here if the Stedelijk Museum isn’t pretentious enough for you.
The Vondelpark is overcrowded and busy, there are men having sex in the bushes and posh yuppies taking public exercise classes in an exhibitionist attempt to show off how physically superior they are to us. Why not switch it up and try the Sarphatipark? Yes, it’s located in the Pijp, an area synonymous with the systematic ruining of Amsterdam by large scale capitalism and where those exercising yuppies happen to come from, but it isn’t nearly as busy, and located not to far from several good bars. When the sun comes out, which it rarely does in Amsterdam, go to the Sarphatipark to hang out.
Clothes, like most things in Amsterdam, are getting more expensive by the day, it seems. But stylish students fear not because the IJ-hallen, aka the biggest flea market in Europe might just solve this problem. In what once was the largest shipyard in the world, it’s located just a beautiful ferry ride away, in the wild north of Amsterdam. The IJ-hallen offers a good selection of things to gawk at and buy, a must-know for any skint student looking for a new coat, speakers or couch.
There you have it: seven locations scattered around Amsterdam to go to discover when you’re exploring the city. However, if seven isn’t nearly enough and you want to discover more in your quest to be Amsterdam’s most windswept and interesting student, best to remember this quote by the late Anthony Bourdain ‘drink heavily with locals whenever possible’ and you might find something cool.