Book Traffic

Unfortunately this bookstore has been closed permanently, a historical post for posterity.

The first time I visited Book Traffic (it had another name back then), I scored a great book about the 1960s that I used as a reference in writing my own book. Low and behold, a recent visit and I scored another great one from the 60s, that I wished I had before.

I love browsing through their science fiction section because they have so many books to choose from, and since they’re used, the price is right! They also have lots of other subjects including art and photography, philosophy and spirituality, etc. Plan on spending some time there on your first visit getting acquainted with the selection and the people who work there.

They also have books in Dutch (of course!), and they’re open on Sunday. Nice place to stop if you’re in the area or walking through the Jordaan.

Hours: Monday – Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday 11am-6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
Leliegracht 50
Amsterdam 1015
Phone: 020-620-4690

Bimhuis

No longer in the traditional Dutch Canal House it began in, this landmark in Dutch Jazz music began in 1974, organized by the Dutch Jazz Foundation and the union of improvising musicians, BIM. They convinced the Dutch government to provide grants for improvised music which led to the establishment of the Bimhuis. Such jazz legends as Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Sun Ra, Art Blakey all played here. More than a hundred LP’s and CD’s have come out of sessions at the Bimhuis.

Moved to a new place recently, now a striking black box, part of the Muziekgebouw complex, a great new home to this veteran venue for jazz concerts.

Kalinka

Unfortunately it appears this restaurant is no longer in business…. 🙁

As we wandered around the Leidseplein, my friends from Spain were looking for something different to eat. So when they suggested we look into this Russian restaurant, I was psyched to try anything. And given the new American/Russian amity as evidenced by the Bush/Putin lovefest, it seemed like it was time to see what the Russians have to offer on the culinary scene these days. The menu looked way more inviting than a Texas barbecue, that’s for sure!

The once decadent, and now charming Czarist decor is inviting, with attractive pinstripe wallpaper and turn of the century lamps. It’s the kind of place, a few years ago, where you’d expect the Russian couple at the next table to be KGB agents discussing spy secrets. Of course today it would be the same couple, now with the Russian Mafia, talking about business secrets.

We started off with some Russian beers in half liter bottles, that were very hearty and full of flavor. Some of our appetizers were superb. The chicken soup in a creamy saffron base was outstanding! I ordered the fried potato shoes stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, served with a wonderfully rich cream sauce. Those two appetizers along with the constantly refilling bread basket could make a meal right there. But the fish soup didn’t measure up.

Lamb Tiblisi

After our second round of beers, the main course arrived. My friends had the Lamb Tiblisi and said it was excellent. I ordered the Chicken Kiev, which I figured would be a safe bet, but unfortunately it was the loser of the evening as it was dry and tough. It certainly didn’t have the freshness of the other dishes.

By the time we were on our third round of beers, the musical portion of the evening’s entertainment had arrived. A Russian duo consisting of male keyboardist and a very sexy platinum blond diva serenaded us with tunes like Besame (which of course my Spanish friends loved!), and other 80s hits. They were actually pretty good!

The bill came to 300 guilders for four, (no dessert) and considering that we each had appetizers and over a liter of beer, I’d say the prices were quite reasonable.

Korte Leidsedwarstraat 49a
Amsterdam 1017
Phone: 020

Oude Kerk Amsterdam

13th-century church, now Calvinist, hosting religious & cultural activities including concerts.

Originally a small wooden church on a bank of the Amstel River in the 1300’s, it grew to be the stately Gothic structure it is today during the 14th century. Over the centuries it was a place for traders to meet and a refuge for the poor.

There are two organs: a transept organ (1658) and the well-known Vater-Müller organ (1724/1738), nowadays both are used for concerts.

The floor of the interior is paved with the gravestones of the rich, famous and royals from centuries past. It is an eerie feeling indeed to be walking around on them, especially when you recognize someone you’ve heard of!

Every year they offer the World Press Photo exhibition to the public, along with other exhibitions, theater and musical concerts from time to time. Be sure to check our always updated event calendar for listings of happenings when they are announced.

De Peper Cafe and Academie OT301

Formerly the Netherlands Film Academie, it was squatted on 14th november 1999 and ultimately legalized as a public space with 2 large performance/rehearsal spaces, cinema, cafe and gallery space with busy programmes of [sub]cultural activities and events.
de peper is a non-commercial, not-for-profit vegan and organic café project located in the building on the Overtoom.
Part of Vereniging Eerste Hulp Bij Kunst (EHBK), De Peper also serves as a meeting place for people working in, or visiting, the building. De Peper crew are always happy to provide information about the events that are going on.

Westerkerk

This fabulous Renaissance cathedral along the beautiful Princengracht is often used for live performances. The tower is the tallest in Amsterdam at 85 meters (272 ft.). There are tours (f 5) up the tower, but they no longer go all the way to the top (thankfully!). Yet the views are outstanding!

Verzetsmuseum

The Dutch Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum)

The museum itself provides the best description:

“The exhibition tells a chronological story from approximately 1930 to 1950, in which information is offered in various ‘layers’. A visitor striding through the exhibition will get an overall picture of a rather indolent Dutch society in the thirties, experience the shock of the unexpected German invasion, then discover that both the oppression and resistance to it gradually intensify in the occupation years as the war progresses, finally to realize that experiences of this period are still playing a role in today’s society. A visitor looking a little more closely will be able to gather more detailed information, particularly from individual examples.”

Info:
Located near the Hortus and the Artis on the east side of Amsterdam. To get there take tram #9 or 14 to Plantage Middenlaan and walk two short blocks to the door.

Allard Pierson Museum

Amsterdam’s finest museum of the antiquities, and especially noted for it’s Egyptian displays (including a complete mummie), as well as a fine library, auditorium and research facilities. The museum has lived in several locations since it’s inception during the 1920’s. Originally on the Weesperzijde, then on Sarphtistraat, and is now in the former headquarters of the Nederlandsche Bank. This rather opulent building, located on the Rokin, is just past the Dam Square, on the left side of the canal when walking from Central Station. There are a number of trams that stop directly in front of the museum (4, 9, 16, 24 and 25).

Admission is quite reasonable, adults pay 4.30 euros for entrance. Children and seniors are less.

Closed Mondays and on Holidays, the museum is open generally from 10 am to 5 pm.

There is no parking in the area, except for a handicapped spot right in front of the door.