A bike tour through the real Good and Green Amsterdam

Amber el Zarow & Harold Verhagen, woensdag 28 augustus 2013

If you only have 24 hours to visit Amsterdam, cycling is the way to go. Dutch cycles and cyclists are on top of the traffic hierarchy. Good and green establishments are taking over Amsterdam and are winning the hearts of both locals and tourists. Everyone you will meet during this tour has a good story; don't be afraid to ask; the Dutch are proud and love to share their passions with tourists.

9am – After taking the 9:07 train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Zuid, take the bus and make a short stroll through a typical Dutch urban neighbourhood. Loads of little coffee stores, lunchrooms, but moreover loads of parked bikes.

10 am – You arrive at the Bicycle Hotel, a simple hotel with a living room like ground floor and simple yet efficient rooms. Not even 45 minutes after taking the train from Schiphol you hop on the bright yellow bikes rented at the hotel and head off to Charlie + Mary; a concept store in lively downtown Amsterdam.

10am – Charlie+Mary works with ethical and sustainable fashion labels with a story. This store doesn’t only sell and tell fashion, but is also a bookstore and a lunchroom. The Proud Otter lunchroom loves rocking it organic style and serves a great variety of locally produced drinks and bites in the back of the store (homemade sparkling elderflower lemonade is a must try).

11am – Hop on your bike again and cycle to Lush. Lush uses about 20.000.000 Sicilian lemons and 50.000 kg of fruit and vegetables per year. Not to produce food, but to make fresh cosmetics. The smell when we enter the store is great and makes us relax and hungry at the same time. Try the emotional brilliance, a wordup (not a makeup) that makes you ‘put on a mood instead of a makeup’. Using as little packaging material as possible is Lush’ challenge and that makes their store a unique place to visit.

12pm – After Lush you could wonder around the city and make a short stop at Europe’s biggest store of Starbucks, the Dutch flagship store. This store is established in an old bank and is worth visiting because of the great coffee and rough interior with recycled materials such as walls made of old bicycle tires and wooden biscuit molds.

13pm – Arrival at the ‘Lloyd hotel and cultural embassy'; the hotel used to be a youth prison and the owners have established a great collection of curiosa that give each part of the building its own atmosphere. Customized tours are available, but wondering around in this open hotel/’museum’ provides enough interesting stuff to discover on your own. Enjoy your lovely lunch in the hotel.

14:30pm - After lunch enjoy a relaxed 15mins bike ride to probably Hollands coolest fashion store Nukuhiva. Founded in 2006 by Dutch tv personality and travel journalist Floortje Dessing, Nukuhiva offers you fashionable and special brands like “2thirds” (10% of margin is used to preserve oceans), “Kuyichi” (Fairtrade, organic jeans made from used jeans) and “Veja” (buys organic cotton at around twice the market price from 320 farmer families in North-Brazil). That’s the real good and green Amsterdam.

15:15pm - You’ll arrive at Brouwerij ’t IJ, the city’s brewery and you’re just in time for an English tour around the brewery. As you’ll learn, it’s difficult to produce beer in a sustainable way (read more about the Dutch and their beer) but with making their delicious beers only available on draft in their own beer garden this location is screaming for a visit.

It’s already time for dinner and what else than a good handmade and conscious hamburger after a couple of beers? Choose a big burger or a trio of mini burgers, with a delicious freshly made banana milkshake at The Burgermeester (translated as Master of burgers, as well as Mayor). This local chain with small locations all across Amsterdam makes it possible to always find one on your way to Amsterdam’s lively nightlife.

All addresses that we’ve visited:

Bicycle Hotel, Van Ostadestraat 123
Charlie + Mary and The Proud Otter, Gerard Doustraat 84
Lush, Leidsestraat 14
Starbucks The Bank, Rembrandtplein - Utrechtsestraat 9
Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy, Oostelijke Handelskade 34
Nukuhiva, Haarlemmerstraat 36
Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Funenkade 7
Burgermeester, Elandsgracht 130

All addresses can be found in globe’s first sustainable travel guides: Good & Green Guides. www.goodandgreenguides.com