The 9 Streets or De Negen Straatjes, as this neighbourhood known in Dutch, is a delightfully quaint labyrinthine area of brick-paved streets in Amsterdam’s central canal belt.
If you have just 48 hours to spend in Amsterdam, the 9 Streets situated on the western portion of the canal district are a perfect choice for its proximity to major attractions like Dam Square, Leidseplein, Rembrandt Square and Museumplein.
It is tranquil compared to other areas favoured by tourists, and home to interesting luxury and indie outlets. Meaning: don’t expect to go home with the usual fridge magnets and T-shirt souvenirs!
Admire the steep, narrow canal houses with their beautiful gables that date back to the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, cruise along the canals, rent a bike, and explore the greater Jordaan neighbourhood, or go on a shopping spree.
Where to stay
Located at a quiet spot on Herengracht between Wolvenstraat and Huidenstraat, this boutique hotel with 58 elegant, uniquely decorated rooms within 10 canal-side houses, prides itself on excellent service.
It has a lovely library and cosy meeting areas ,and is renowned for its art collection. Book a deluxe room with a canal view, make use of the bicycles for rent and don’t miss the breakfasts.
On Prinsengracht near Runstraat, The Andaz is a striking five-star hotel built in the former public library.
With views of the canal and courtyard garden, and Dutch-inspired art and design by Marcel Wanders (and video installations throughout the building), it is a top choice for a luxury city break.
Contemporary Dutch cuisine at the Bluespoon restaurant, a fitness centre, spa, and complimentary mini bar items will tempt you.
Where to Eat
A no-frills Dutch pub on Runstraat – come for the simple meals like uitsmijter – fried eggs and ham on bread (a popular lunch and hangover dish), Indo-Dutch chicken satay with homemade achar, ossenworst (spiced, smoked raw meat sausage originally made from ox meat), and apple pie with whipped cream.
The bar stays open until the wee hours, and is a good place to sample Dutch genever, a juniper-infused malted grain-based spirit rich in botanicals.
Dutch specialities such as snert (rich split pea soup with ham hock), slow-cooked beef stew with apple sauce, and hutsput or stamppot – mashed potato and vegetables with smoked sausage, bacon or meatballs are served here.
Opened in 1973 and located on Berenstraat, between Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, you will be dining in the centre of the city in a space that has not changed much since.
What to do
At 9 Straatjes, you are perfectly positioned to enjoy some of the big-hitters nearby, such as the Rijksmuseum and Ann Frank House.
If you purchase an iAmsterdam pass, you can use public transportation, take a canal tour, and enjoy a vast range of famous and quirky attractions.
Amsterdam central is best enjoyed from the canals as you glide past buildings and cyclists. Book a hop–on–hop–off tour to visit the best attractions.
Your hotel will likely have a bicycle to lend or hire and you can register for a group ride with Rapha Cycle Club in Wolvenstraat, if you prefer company. (They also have routes you can download online.)
Trendy and timeless, SMAAK in Berenstraat sells its own meticulously crafted brand of gorgeous leather bags, purses, and wallets. A small boutique store filled with treasures, Andre Grundmann and his team sell contemporary designs that make a bold statement.
A treasure-trove for turophiles, this dedicated cheesemonger in Runstraat stocks a dizzying array of Dutch and international cheeses, and will vacuum-pack them for travel (consult your return destination’s custom regulations).
They also sell pestos and cured meats, and will prepare cheese platters for you to enjoy. Why not purchase some for a picnic at Vondelpark? It is a five-minute cab ride away.
This Dutch lifestyle brand selling mineral water and beauty products including shower gel and bespoke fragrances, has a single social mission: clean water for everyone, everywhere.
For every item sold, they use profits to support clean water projects around the world. Their silicone and paraben-free products come in luscious, uplifting scents such as Lemon Notes or Objets d’Amsterdam. Nifty refill packs are available too – ideal to travel home with.
On Reestraat you will find luxury vintage bags, shoes, and accessories at l’Étoile de Saint Honoré. Think Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.
Quality and authenticity are strictly curated, and you can expect to pay less than 25% of the current market price for some items. Friendly staff welcome you to browse at a leisurely pace. This is investment shopping after all!
SAA flies to Amsterdam daily. Book your tickets today!
Words by Ishay Govender-Ypma