Amsterdam: 5 places to see on your weekend visit

Amsterdam, the home of Dutch actress Anna Drijver when she is not on set creating magic or traveling the globe. Anna reveals a few of her Amsterdam treasures and hideaways for taking some quality time off in this buzzing city, illustrating a two hours walk stopping by her favorite spots in the city.

1. WESTERPARK

Adjacent to the centre lies the Westerpark neighborhood, part of Amsterdam West. This park combines everything one could wish for in the city. There are great places to work or to have a coffee. Kids can even play in a pool and there is of course plentiful space to practice all sorts of sports. The studios of two of the biggest Dutch TV talk shows are also based on site. You will therefore see people jogging along politicians making their way to a live TV interview. A combination that is very Dutch to me. Everybody is minding their own business: together, alongside one another. My tip, go to the petting zoo and drop by for an ice-cream at ‘IJscuypje’.

Anna in Westerpark stopped at ice-cream shop ‘IJscuypje’
— Anna in Westerpark stopped at ice-cream shop ‘IJscuypje’
Anna at Razmataz - restaurant and coffee house
— Anna at Razmataz - restaurant and coffee house

2. RAZMATAZ

One of my other passions besides acting is writing and Razmataz is the place where I can spend hours doing so. I wrote most of my second novel here and therefore thought it was the perfect place to also host the book launch. Just 20 minutes walking from Westerpark, Razmataz is not only a restaurant, it’s also a bar that serves awfully good gin & tonics and wines. In summer, the terrace is the place to be and the semi-private EnSuite area is ideal for interviews. Although, I now have an office around the corner of my house, I still find excuses to come around for a coffee. The staff is so friendly and owner Iris is always there to let you try something new, which you can hardly refuse because it’s always that good.

3. PIED À TERRE

As I love to travel, Pied à Terre is the place that fuels my wanderlust. Located in the Vondelpark area, part of Amsterdam South (another 20 minutes’ walk from Razmataz), there are not many bookstores that keep such a specialized selection of travel books: Pied à Terre is the largest independent geographic travel book store in the country, and maybe even in Europe! Whether you are looking for a hiking map of an area in Cornwall - my last holiday destination, or a beautiful photobook to inspire, this is the place to go. The real globe trotters can ‘geek out’ on Pied à Terre’s extensive collection of globes. They come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and some even include drink trolleys. One that I would love to own one day. 

Pied à Terre bookstore
— Pied à Terre bookstore

As I love to travel, Pied à Terre is the place that fuels my wanderlust

The Stopera is housing both the city hall of Amsterdam and the Dutch National Opera and Ballet
—The Stopera is housing both the city hall of Amsterdam and the Dutch National Opera and Ballet

4. STOPERA - ‘NATIONALE OPERA & BALLET’

This theatre is home to the National Ballet and Opera. The Stopera is located in the center of Amsterdam at a bend of the Amstel River between Waterlooplein Square and the Zwanenburgwal Canal (just a couple of kilometers from the last stop at Pied à Terre). As a lover of ballet, I have seen so many beautiful performances here. Because of my work there are a lot of plays and movies that I have to watch and since many of my friends are actors as well, keeping up with their work is often part of my nights out. Ballet is easier for me to watch than a play. Simply because my own thoughts on the performance and acting don’t get in the way. Hans van Manen is my favorite choreographer. A true icon and everyone should watch one of his pieces.

5. HORTUS BOTANICUS

We are now at the last stop of this city tour, just around the corner of the Opera I invite you to discover the botanic garden. Accommodating thousands of different trees and plants, the Hortus Botanicus is a beautiful oasis in the midst of the city and one of the oldest in the world. A tranquil haven from the daily hustle and bustle. You will often find me in the Palm Greenhouse where I love to sit and draw the old giants that hold so many details. A great way to set my mind at ease. On cold winter days, I like to visit one of the climate Greenhouses representing the desert and rainforest to warm up and watch the turtles play in the pond. 


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