Amsterdam Insider's Guide - with Andràs Kelemen, co-founder and creative director of Kota Design


Neighbourhoods in Amsterdam each have their own vibe. Do you have a personal favourite lesser known neighbourhood that's worth exploring?

If you are a fan of modern architecture and like nature, go to Gaasperplas. Even though people have very different opinions on Bijmer, it has a very interesting history. You can still see some of the remaining modernist buildings, which were once part of the biggest futuristic city plans in Europe in the 60's. Read about it first. Amsterdam is full of architectural surprises.

What are some cool, hidden spots in Amsterdam that you'd recommend for someone looking to explore the city like a local?

My first recommendation is Bickersgrach. It's close to the entrance of Westerpark and it is a real hidden gem, with nice canals, boats, greenery, and farm animals in the heart of Amsterdam. From the busy city life to a tiny farm in no second, this is what I like here, all the unexpected things. The second option is the roof of the Nemo Museum. It's more popular but the view from there is amazing, you can see the centre of Amsterdam from an elevated point. Best place to start the day with a good coffee.

The larger well known museums are amazing, but are there smaller, offbeat museums or art galleries that deserve more attention from visitors?

I would recommend the Wanrooij Gallery in Java-eiland. That part of the city brings back good memories. There is a ceramic studio right next door where I designed the Hug Vase you can see in Bob W Amsterdam Noord. Spending time there and visiting the gallery inspired me a lot.

When it comes to food, what are your favourite places in Amsterdam that you think everyone should try?

Back when I worked for Marcel Wanders, whose design studio was in Westerstaat. In the corner, you can find the Winkel 43. They have the best apple pie ever, it's a must.

Amsterdam's nightlife is famous, but I'm curious – where do locals go for a good time away from the tourist track? 

My favourites are De School, Radeon, and Bret. These are the places where I go when I want to have fun and get inspired. The electronic music scene in Amsterdam is 10/10.

I’ve got 24hrs in Amsterdam, what are the must see places to take in, where is best to eat, drink and sample local life?

You can't go wrong with the Jordaan district. With the cute canal houses and bridges, amazing cafes, and restaurants, I would highly recommend picking something from there. After a good lunch, I would go to Vondelpark, walk around there, enjoying nature, and pick a local pub to get some good beers. Most importantly, don't stress about it too much, it's cool wherever you go in Amsterdam.

About Andràs Kelemen

Andràs is the co-founder and creative director of Kota - the design studio local to Amsterdam - with the sustainability element at the core  of its production. 
The studio's latest and most important creation is Kota Bed Sofa - developed for Bob W - with covers made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottles and totally recyclable foams once the bed sofa reaches the end of its life cycle. The Kota Bed Sofa is now featured at Bob W Amsterdam Noord.

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