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Lix caught up with Famke Braakman, a business and economics student at the University of Amsterdam, who shared with us where to eat, drink, shop and be entertained in Amsterdam on a student budget. Check out her top three’s!
Where to eat?
Zeedijk 111-113, 1012 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you’re looking for cheap and terrific food, look no further. This no-frills Chinese joint has earned a devoted following, highlighted by cult-worthy dishes like oysters in black bean sauce. When it’s busy (and it will be), try sister restaurant and dim sum hero, Nam Tin, nearby.
Ferdinand Bolstraat 21, 1072 LB Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you can get past the restaurant’s rundown interior, you’ll be rewarded by the best Surinamese kitchen in the entire city. From superb curries to delicious satay and roti dishes, you’ll leave happy (and full) without breaking the bank.
Utrechtsestraat 73, 1017 VJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Here, you’ll find a no-nonsense hotspot for a true Amsterdam specialty—Indonesian rijsttafels (feast of small spicy dishes), cooked by a popular chef who used to be at the (far more expensive) restaurant next door.
Where to drink?
Café The Minds
Spuistraat 245, 1012 VP Amsterdam, Netherlands
An oldie but a goodie, Café The Minds is known as the last punk bar in Amsterdam. Located in the Canal District, this old pub has some weathered charm, with dozens of Doc Martens hanging from the ceiling. This locals’ favorite bar features pinball, cheap beer and classic punk tracks.
Warmoesstraat 129, 1012 JA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Whether you’re into meeting old friends or making some new ones, this budget-friendly joint offers a lively atmosphere—making it one of the most popular bars in Amsterdam among students and young backpackers. Check out their daily deals, like 2-for-1 beers, spirits or shots (available all night until 23:00). Or watch your favorite sports team on one of the big screens.
Handboogstraat 15, 1012 XM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Going out-out? You might want to consider this late-night haunt—and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg! This charming night café is open until the early morning, every single day. Serving up cheap drinks, at Bloemenbar you can relax in the cozy lounge or dance the night (or morning) away! When you’ve had enough, head next door to sister club, Disco Dolly (open until 04:00).
Where to shop?
The Nine Streets
Wolvenstraat 9, 1016 EM Amsterdam, Netherlands
De Nergen Straatjes (The Nine Streets) is a small neighborhood made up of nine small side streets. Its cobbled lanes are lined with vintage and designer shopping, independent specialty stores and cozy cafés. Although located in the city’s center, it’s fought hard to protect its independent and bohemian vibe, so you won’t see many chain stores (which is a welcomed change in a city notorious for just that). Head here for a unique shopping experience or at least some good window browsing.
De Hallen, Hannie Dankbaarpassage 27, 1053 RT Amsterdam
The best way to experience shopping like a local is by weaving your way through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Amsterdam on two wheels. In a town where selling stolen bikes is the norm, the team at RECYCLE rescues, renovates and sells old, broken down bikes at a bargain price. And when your family and friends come to visit you, they’re occasionally willing to rent out bikes for the weekend—offering the best rates in town (by far)! Just ask politely.
The Nine Streets, Berenstraat 1, 1016 GG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is known for its outstanding vintage. And though there’s a wide selection of vintage stores scattered throughout the city, Episode offers original finds from all around the world. Here, you’ll peruse through quality vintage clothing and shoes at a decent price (notice I say decent—vintage is a bit more pricey in Amsterdam). With four locations throughout the city, this vintage treasure is the city’s most popular shop among fashion lovers, so be prepared to squeeze in amid the fashionable crowd.
Where to be entertained?
Willem Roelofsstraat 9, 1062 JX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Put the fun into funerals at VLLA—a nightclub housed in an abandoned funeral home (of all places)! Sip on cheap drinks in comfy, vintage sofas or spot hipsters on the dancefloor in this energetic atmosphere. Even better, every Friday and Saturday, VLLA hosts free club nights (open until 03:00). This place is anything but dead!
Waterlooplein 2, 1011 NZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Waterlooplein Market is the best-known and most central flea market in all of Amsterdam. From Hawaiian shirts to second-hand treasures, peruse through a large selection of vintage and designer items. Here you’ll find up-and-coming designers and artists selling their creations before making it big time. You’ll definitely want to get in on that action. As a side note, sellers might be pushy. Hold your ground and bargain down until you get the gems for the price you want!
Anne Frank House
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you’re lucky enough to have read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, you won’t even need to read this short excerpt—you’ll head straight to this magnificent museum. This is the house where a young Anne Frank, her family and four other people sequestered themselves in a hidden 500-square foot room hoping to survive the Nazi invasion of Europe. In the end, they were captured as a result of an anonymous tip and sent to concentration camps. During the two long years of confinement, Anne kept her sanity by occupying her time writing a novel. Little did she know the profound impact her efforts from her secret hiding place would have on the world. Visit the Anne Frank House to learn more about her perilous efforts and inspirational short life.
Don’t forget to download your Student’s Guide to Cheap and Free Things to Do in Amsterdam! Once you’ve saved it to your desktop, export the file to a PDF.Amsterdam_StudentGuideLIX