Eco Friendly Amsterdam
One of the most visited capitals
in Europe, Amsterdam is easily accessible from the UK by train
and bus. The Dutch have long been forward thinkers with sustainable
design, environmental issues and low impact transport systems
amongst some of the Netherlands most important issues. As a result,
there are a wide range of activities and excursions available
for people who wish to enjoy an ecologically friendly lifestyle.
With its canals and narrow alleyways,
Amsterdam is a great place to explore on foot, by bicycle or
by boat. Visit the Rembrandt and Van Gogh Museums, the Tulip
market, the Red Light district, Anne Frank's House or simply
relax in one of the city's many laid back cafés and bars.
From the UK ferries go from Newcastle
to Amsterdam with DFDS (www.dfdsseaways.co.uk),
Harwich to the Hook of Holland with Stena (www.stenaline.co.uk) , and Hull to Rotterdam (Europoort)
with P&O North Sea Ferries (www.poferries.com). Combine these with your rail ticket or ferry
the car across.
run budget coach services from the Netherlands to various destinations
For mainland Europe, the rail
network and lack of distance make it an easy journey to and from
most places -for Dutch trains see Nederlandse Spoorwegen
(www.ns.nl) who run domestic
and international trains or alternatively Interrail Passes
It is easy to fly to Amsterdam,
with a range of low-cost airlines flying in to Schiphol Airport
from the UK and all over mainland Europe (visit www.schiphol.nl
for more information). The national carrier of the Netherlands
is KLM who fly from Amsterdam,
their hub, to destinations all over the world.
Getting around and Things to do
The city's GVB tram (www.gvb.nl) is an efficient and
comfortable way to explore the city. Passes for one to four days
start from just 7 euros and are valid for the metro and bus as
well. The system also includes the five major ferries, Houthavenveer,
NDSM-werfveer, Buiksloterwegveer, IJpleinveer and the Distelwegveer
which are free of charge and carry foot passengers, bicycles
The lack of hills, extremely
narrow streets, canals and short distances in Amsterdam make
it a cyclists paradise, with bicycles outnumbering cars. In fact
nearly half of all traffic movements in Amsterdam are by bike,
with virtually every street corner filled with the parked cycles.
There are widespread cycle paths, and drivers do respect two
wheeled road users. It is also possible to take bikes on commuter
trains, metro or take your bike for free on the ferries to North
Amsterdam, from where it is easy to explore the countryside.
Bicycle rentals are readily available
throughout the city. Central Station, Leidseplein and Dam Square
are all the major spots to grab a bike. One of the largest companies
is MacBike (www.macbike.nl),
who offer rentals of their distinctive red bikes from a number
of locations around the city. The rentals include a cycling map
of the city, or they offer a small range of tours. A bike costs
8¤ for 24 hours, or 4¤ per day for a week.
Cycling tours are a great way
to discover the city, and one of the best known companies is
Mike's Bike Tours (www.mikesbiketoursamsterdam.com).
These guys offer two fantastic tours of the city and surrounding
countryside. The first is a great tour of the whole city encompassing
the red light district, historical monuments and then out into
the countryside to visit windmills, cheese makers, clog factories,
tulip farms and many other fascinating places, allowing tourists
the chance to see the real amsterdam. The second includes a trip
around the city, followed by a leisurely cruise down the canals
with some drinks included.
Amsterdam is undoubtedly one
of the greenest cities in Europe, boasting a range of fantastic
parks for a day out or a picnic, including the world famous and
extremely pleasant Vondel Park. Another park worth considering
for a day out is the Amsterdamse Bos (www.amsterdamsebos.nl)
which is now partly a nature reserve and offers a raft of activities
including rowing or canoeing (www.kanoverhuur-adam.nl),
horse riding (www.nieuwamsterdam.nl),
open air theatre (www.bostheater.nl)
It is also possible to visit
one of the world's oldest botanical gardens, De Hortus
which features more than 6000 species of plant and is a great
place to just relax, away from the city, entry is 6¤ for
adults and 3¤ for children. Other green trips include
the sustainably built science museum
(http://asp.nl) and the well known
Artis Zoo Park (www.artis.nl),
which includes botanical gardens, a unique canal aquarium, planetarium
and geological museum.
See Nemo (http://www.e-nemo.nl)
Shopping - Specialist Shops
Much used by locals, the farmers
market in Noordermarkt (www.jordaanmarkten.nl)
in the Jordaan district sells organic food every Saturday -come
here for fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, meat, cheeses and
- a concept fashion store from TV presenter Floortje Dessing,
it aims to be both responsible and stylish and caters to both
fashionistas and environmentalists by offering the coolest fair
trade and fair ware, from brands such as Edun, makeZenz and Kuyuchi.
It can be found at Haarlemmerstraat 36 near to centraal station.
Cora Kempeerman (www.corakemperman.nl)
- another high fashion store, this time from the designer Cora
Kemperman who's boutique shops offer flowing clothes aimed at
an older market and which are extremely popular amongst Dutch
women. All of her clothes are fair ware and the shop can be found
at Leidsestraat 72, three blocks down from the Leidesplein.
Igloo 4 is a nice ecofashion boutique, run by a former
industry worker, who decided to set up an ethical, fairtrade
and fashionable store. The store provides a range of gifts, clothes
and accessories all of which are either organic, fair trade or
both and can be found at ferdinand bolstraat 160 h.
-there are 11 branches of this natural health food store spread
around the city. Each one offers a huge range of organic and
fair trade products, including a large range of Dutch items,
with some of the larger stores almost the same size as supermarkets.
The store of innovative con ceptual
designers Droog (www.droog.com)
in Staalstraat is also worth a visit -offering items from their
creative lab, whose work has been extensively published around
Restaurants - A healthy bite to eat
De Waaghals restaurant (www.waaghals.nl)
lies a short walk from the heart of Amsterdam's museum district,
in De Pijp. Over the last 25 years many dinners have enjoyed
its high quality vegetarian cuisine. Inside the bright decor
and international art on the walls provide a great atmosphere
in which to enjoy the organic food proffered from the kitchen
or in the summertime it is possible to sit outside. The menu
changes twice a month, with each month being used to develop
the cuisine of a different country. The extensive wine and beers
list is also organic.
Restaurant de Kas (www.restaurantdekas.nl)
was opened in 2001 by Michelin rated chef Gert Jan Hageman, who
found and refurbished an old greenhouse in Frankendael Park to
the east of the city. The 8m high glass structure has a new interior
designed by Piet Boon, which provides a fantastic atmosphere
in which to enjoy top quality organic food. They grow their own
herbs, seasonal vegetables and salads supplemented with fresh
ingredients daily from local organic farmers.
Sleep Well - Hotels & Hostels
Worldwide many hotel chains have
started to take environmental concerns seriously and have begun
to put eco-friendly features into their buildings. One of the
pioneers in this way is NH hotels, and several of their Amsterdam
Hotels have received green key accreditation, showing them to
be environmentally beneficial. (www.nh-hotels.com)
Hans Brinker Budget Hotel (www.hans-brinker.com)
is a budget hotel that takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to eco
travel -have a look at their eco-tour and you will see what we
The Flying Pig (www.flyingpig.nl)
is actually a trio of backpacker hostels -two downtown and one
beach location. Their Environmental policy is published on the
website and includes a donation to Trees for Travel (www.treesfortravel.info)
in exchange for returning your keycard -a neat way to ensure
they are returned.
- Amsterdam: House Boat Hotel -self catering privately owned accomodation
on houseboats - also offer short stay apartments.
- Jonas Houseboat
, Amsterdam -http://www.jonashouseboat.com/
- Jonas is a designer hosting
guests on his Amsterdam houseboat in a remote and romantic spot
yet only ten minutes walk from the central station. Describes
itself as home to the arts and free thought.
- The Jordaan -a beautiful apartment with a garden in the heart
- 1689 Nord + Sud
-fully furnished newly renovated hotel-apartments for short term
rent, right in the center of Amsterdam, two minutes from the
queens palace on Dam square.
- Amsterdam -House Boat Hotel -self catering privately
owned accomodation on houseboats.
- Canal -apartments
with Internet for rent in the center of Amsterdam.
- General Information
Amsterdam online -over
18.000 pages of information.
Board of Tourism -the
official Amsterdam site for tourism and leisure in Amsterdam
with online hotel reservations, tips for trips, museums, shops,
night life, events and restaurants.
Sightseeing, events, tours and things
canal boat hire - Rent
a boat with skipper for a canal cruise or a party.
- Madurodam - A minature version of Amsterdam, replicated
in 1:25 scale, surrounded by beautiful gardens.
- Rembrandthuis - Rembrandt's house, which has been
refurbished and turned into a Museum.
- Rijksmuseum - Features a magnificent selection of
Dutch paintings from the Golden Age.
- Stedelijk - Amsterdam museum of modern art which
exhibits paintings, sculpture, photography, graphic arts, video
and new media.
Gogh Museum - The artist's
life and times, exhibitions and the Museum's collection.
to Bruges bike and barge holiday with Responsible Travel
On this bike and barge holiday you can experience the highlights
of Holland. Leaving Amsterdam we travel by barge to Oude Wetering.
The Flower Park Keukenhof is our next focus adorned by thousands
of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths of various colours, shapes
Make a stop at Gouda famous for
its cheese and then cycle to the world famous windmills of Kinderdijk
before heading through Dordrecht and the natural reserve of Biesbosch
to Willemstad. We travel by barge across the impressive waterways
of Zeeland and onto the lively town of Antwerp in Belgium. In
the delightful town of Ghent we enjoy a walking tour before continuing
to Bruges where we will take a horse carriage ride and a guided
walk of the old town. A transfer by bus returns us to Amsterdam
on the final day.
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