This city has many secrets, and some of them are places you can visit! These Amsterdam secrets are sitting in plain sight but even some locals haven’t discovered them all yet. Here are a few of our hidden favorites.
13 AMSTERDAM SECRETS • HIDDEN PLACES IN AMSTERDAM
Perhaps you have already been to some of these secret spots but hopefully there are at least one or two that are yet to be explored. Enjoy!
De Hollandsche Manege
Definitely one of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets, you may never have noticed de Hollandsche Manege unless you happened to smell horses when cruising Overtoom on a hot summer day. This horse stable and equestrian school is located right next to Vondelpark. But what if you aren’t really interested in riding a horse? Well, de Hollandse Manege also has a beautiful bar on the second floor! You can sip a coffee or beer while watching the horses and riders. How cool is that?
Check out this video from Amsterdam Calling to experience this secret gem:
The Wine Cellar
Taste Argentinian wine under Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Kerk at The Wine Cellar. This cozy location is located below ground at the side of the historic church. To get inside you have to go through a cookie shop and down a spiral staircase. Make a reservation if you’d like to sip delicious wines with your friends in this unique location.
What’s more secret and underground than an actual bunker? The Vondelbunker is hidden under a bridge in Vondelpark and hosts a variety of interesting counterculture activities and events including concerts, cinema nights, art exhibits and dinners. There is even a micro beer brewery located here called Bunkerbier. And yes this is an actual bomb shelter from the Cold War. There are many more scattered around Amsterdam, the ultimate secret places.
Amsterdam’s newest park, Schellingwouderpark is still undiscovered by many Amsterdammers. Maybe part of the reason for that is because it is only reachable by a little boat! It’s located near the end of the charming Nieuwendammerdijk in Amsterdam Noord. Take a picnic and check out the views over Het IJ.
Goats. A whole bunch of goats. There is a biodynamic goat farm in the middle of Amsterdamse Bos where you can interact with the animals and buy farm fresh products including milk, cheese, meat, honey and eggs. Geitenboerderij Riddammerhoeve is a great place to spend an hour or two and come home with the freshest food. While you are there be sure to try the goat milk ice cream, it’s delish! Another favorite hidden farm is Buurtboerderij Ons Genoegen next to Westerpark, have you discovered it yet?
‘t Nieuwe Diep
‘t Nieuwe Diep is well-known to some and a complete secret to many. This distillery and bar is housed in an old pump house hidden in the middle of Flevopark in Amsterdam Oost. They make their own jenever and sell beer, soda and snacks. The pretty little house sits on the edge of a pond with trees all around and is the perfect place for a relaxed drink outside in the spring and summer.
Ons Lieve Heer op Solder
If we’re going to talk about hidden places we have to mention Ons Lieve Heer op Solder, the 17th century house with a secret Catholic church in the attic. The building is now a wonderful museum where you can visit the original canal house and the old church. They even hold regular Sunday mass here.
A fascinating place where art, science, culture and technology meet, Mediamatic is located just a hop skip and jump from Amsterdam Centraal. They have a big greenhouse and all kinds of innovative projects, exhibitions and events happening all the time. Are you into urban gardening? Check out their big shop. It’s a great place to experience weird and wonderful things and is a bit of a hidden secret that many people have not yet discovered. Want to learn how to make kimchi, brew beer or build an aquaponics farm? Check out their agenda and sign up.
Torensluisbrug / Het Spinhuis
Perhaps you’ve had a drink in the sun at Cafe Van Zuylen or cycled over the Torensluisbrug many times and never knew there is an old prison cell beneath your feet. This space has gone by the name Brug9 in the past and has hosted concerts and art exhibits. Last autumn UvA students squatted the empty space and are currently using it for dinners, debates, pirate radio broadcasts and film nights. Check their website for the latest information.
Fruittuin van West
Make your way to Amsterdam Nieuw-West to discover a hidden place where you can get the freshest fruits around. How? Well you pick them yourself of course! Fruittuin van West grows all kinds of berries, cherries and apples and also has fresh chicken eggs that you can sometimes even gather yourself in the bushes.
There are quite a few living room restaurants in Amsterdam, and De Uitvreter is one of our faves. Steven, “De Uitvreter”, cooks the entire menu from scratch for his 18 guests. You can book a seat at the table if there is space available or find 17 friends and have your own dinner party at this lovely but hidden location in the center of Amsterdam.
Hotel de Windketel
A hotel room located in its own mini tower in a car-free neighborhood in West Amsterdam, that sounds pretty hidden to me! You might even pass this cute little building and not realize it is possible to sleep there, but you can! Hotel de Windketel was built in 1897 as part of Amsterdam’s water works and is now a tiny hotel.
Hiding in Plain Sight
It’s not exactly a secret but it is one of our favorite cocktail bars that every imbiber should discover. Located on the north eastern side of the city center, tucked in one of the loveliest neighborhoods in town, Hiding in Plain Sight is definitely one of the best cocktail joints around. Service is excellent and you’ll feel you’ve come across a hidden gem.
Bonus: Tiny Hidden Houses
You cannot go inside their doors but make sure you you take the time to spot these mini houses. Should we tell you where to look or do you want to try to find them yourself? Hint: they are somewhere near the Noordermarkt. If you’d like to know the story behind the mini houses you can find it here.