Blog 11: Dutchies Hostel – Jazz in Haarlem

One of my favourite cities in the Netherlands is Haarlem. It is the capital of the province of North Holland and it is only a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam CS. It is also close to some of the most popular beaches of the Netherlands, which is Zandvoort aan Zee and Bloemendaal. Which makes it the perfect place to live in as you have the city and the beach close by!

Haarlem is a charming, medieval city in North Holland and offers a lively cultural scene, cosy restaurants, cafes and bars and excellent shopping opportunities. Haarlem is also known as the jazz city of the Netherlands.

One of the biggest annual music events based in Haarlem, is Haarlem Jazz & More festival. Usually located in the Grote Markt, they bring various musicians and DJs and the event usually goes on for three to five days. This festival combines jazz music with other music styles so it can appeal to a larger group of people.

A cool cafe bar to listen to some live music, either it is jazz, funk or blues is Cafe Stiel’s. It is located in the heart of the city centre on the Smedestraat. Here you can find different local bands performing almost every night. Just across this bar you will find another jazzy bar called Cafe du Theatre.

And last but not least, bar and grill Louisiana is one of the places to visit if you enjoy listening to jazz and eating great food for affordable prices. It is located on the Zijlstraat where you can find other cafes and bars as well. They usually bring musicians and play live music or have great DJs mixing some blues and jazz together.

So, if you’re into jazz and ever in Haarlem, make sure to visit one of these places.

Blog 10: Dutchies Hostel – Music in the hostel part 2

Everyone loves music and here in Dutchies we are no exception. One of the first things we do when we start our reception shift is changing the music. Most of us have created a Spotify playlist and others play music on YouTube.

One of the Spotify playlists created by the staff is called Beautiful Stranger. It is a mixture of a lot of genres, like acoustic, reggae, alternative, indie, jazz, blues, soul and funk. Aside from the fact that the creator of this playlist likes every song in it, she selected this wide variety so more people can enjoy it. In the end, everyone has a different taste.

Another Spotify playlist is called Sinan, named for the creator. It consists mostly of Dutch Hip Hop and R&B. Dutch Hip Hop is really up and coming and a lot of artists gain international respect for their talent. So not only to bring Dutch Hip Hop to a bigger audience, he also enjoys every single song in his playlist. Living in a multi-cultural city like Amsterdam, he feels that this genre really represents the many nationalities living here, like Surinam, Turkish, Moroccan, African and many more.

The playlist ok consists mostly of indie/classic/pop rock. With 247 songs selected, you can enjoy this list for over 18 hours. Whenever this playlist is played, the creator of it gets a lot of positive reactions. A few people have asked her for the link of it and she happily shares it. What she likes to see is people singing along to one of the songs.

With a name like BlaDieBlaDieBla you are not sure what to expect. Like Beautiful Stranger it is a mixture of a lot of genres. You will find 80’s pop, 90’s R&B, Dutch pop, classic rock and salsa in it. These songs were mainly picked because for the creator they are either nostalgic or because she simply thinks it’s a great song. One of the best reactions that she gets when she plays this, is when people hear a song they have not heard in forever and have a moment of nostalgia.

With a lot of people visiting us every day, it is always great to have a big variety of music. Luckily, we also have a very mixed staff who make an effort in creating a great vibe with great music.

Blog 8: Dutchies Hostel – Sushi in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam you will find a lot of sushi restaurants. Out of the blue Amsterdam had a lot of those all you can eat restaurants. And it’s a good thing I love sushi, so now I have plenty of options to choose.

Sumo has a chain of all you can eat restaurant throughout the country. They have several locations in Amsterdam. Whether you are close to Centraal Station, at Leidseplein (party district) or just came from the cinema Pathé de Munt, you can be sure you will find a restaurant.

Genroku is one of my favorites. Not only does the restaurant looks nice, they present the sushi on a nicely shaped display. Like Sumo this an all you can eat restaurant.

Although not mainly a sushi restaurant, one of my favorite Japanese restaurants is Tanuki. You will find one in the south of Amsterdam and also in a city close to Amsterdam (take tram 5 from Centraal Station and you’re there in 20 minutes) called Amstelveen. The one in Amstelveen is a traditional izakaya type restaurant like you’ll find them in Japan. Aside from their tasty and really fresh sushi, they have a lot of other great dishes.

Because these types of restaurants are so popular, you will find a lot of them. Even if you don’t like sushi, but your friends do then it’s a good option. They always have a lot of other dishes like grilled/fried meat and fish, vegetables, soups and so on. So in conclusion, this a place for everyone!

Blog 7: Dutchies Hostel – Coffee in Amsterdam

This might come as a surprise, but the Netherlands in a big coffee loving country. Because of that you will find a lot of nice coffee bars in Amsterdam. Since there are so many options, I will recommend a few of my favorites.

Although I’ve only been here once, I was really impressed with this place. Located in the city center, close to the museums, Back to Black is a great spot to sit down and relax after shopping or visiting the Van Gogh Museum. With its homey atmosphere and nice views of the canals, it’s really a nice spot to be.

Closer to the hostel, about a 15-20 minute walk from us, you will find White Label. This is place roasts their own coffee in the back of the store. Located in a street with a lot of shops, this is a good spot to sit and relax. Aside from enjoying a nice cup of coffee, you can also purchase the coffee they roasted for a decent price.

While this place is more like lunch room, Anne & Max do serve very nice coffee. If you are visiting the food Hallen or are in the area of Kinkerstraat, you will find this place. In this area you will find a lot to do, so if you need a break, then Anne & Max is a great place to sit.

Aside from these places, you will find a lot of great spots throughout the city.

Blog 6: Dutchies Hostel – Things to do in the summer

Summertime is approaching! With sun and warn weather, there’s lots of fun things to do in Amsterdam and the cities around.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the summer, it’s the beach. Swimming in the sea, relaxing, tanning, having a cold beer, all of these things make the beach a great place to hang out. From station Sloterdijk, which is close to Dutchies Hostel, it is about a 15 minute train ride to the nearest beach, Zandvoort aan Zee.

Aside from an actual beach near the sea, Amsterdam also has some artificial beaches. One of the most popular ones is Blijburg. That is in the east of Amsterdam in de neighborhood Ijburg. Not located at the sea, but at the canal Het Ij.

Summer time is also festival time. One of my favorite annual festivals has to be the Kwaku Summer Festival. This is a Surinamese/multicultural festival in the south east of Amsterdam. With a relaxed atmosphere, plenty of (live) music, great food and drinks,  you will always have a great time.

Sightseeing with nice weather is always much nicer. Whether you go by foot or by bike, you will get to see a lot of the city. Another fun option is exploring Amsterdam through the water. A canal cruise is a nice option, but renting a water bike is also fun.

Luckily in a city like Amsterdam you have plenty of options to make your day great!

Blog 5: Dutchies Hostel – Funny hostel stories

I have been working in a hostel for the past 5 years and have encountered many people. I think everyone who has ever worked in a hostel, or some sort of customer service job, has some great stories to tell.

One of  my first funny experiences happened in my previous hostel, about 4 years ago. Well technically I wasn’t there when it happened, but it’s still quite odd. My colleague was working and all of a sudden she saw ‘something’ running across the floor. She first thought it was a mouse, but when she drove it into a corner, it turned out it was a hamster. She took it home and from that day on she had a nice pet. About 2 weeks later I was working and I overheard a girl on the phone (hey I wasn’t eavesdropping, she was the only one in the lounge, which happened to be where the reception was). She was talking about moving to her new apartment and asked if she could bring her new hamsters. When she hung up, I asked her if she brought a hamster here and of course she did. It escaped and she thought it fell off the balcony (the hostel was on the 4th floor). Since pets were not allowed, she never bothered to ask if we found it.

One of my favorite Dutchies stories is of the first day we were open. It was pretty much a hostel stereotype kind of night. On our first night we were completely full, which of course is a great start, but there were a few groups in house, a few drunk groups… Let’s just say that the night shift receptionist had some certain cleaning tasks no one foresaw on our first day being open. A few rooms had some decorative items hanging on the walls. After that day we decided to remove them. That was an eye opening experience for us.

One of my favorite things about working in a hostel in Amsterdam are the funny and quirky experiences. Never a dull moment!

Blog 4: Dutchies Hostel – Kingsday 2017

It’s coming: Kingsday, the national holiday of the Netherlands. On this day the whole country parties and celebrate our King’s birthday . Throughout the entire city there are several parties, activities and flea markets. So put on your orange t-shirt, grab a beer and go out and celebrate!

Kingsday is THE day for locals to sell stuff they pretty much don’t need any more, so if you are in to second hand stuff, this is your kind of thing. In the entire city you will find people selling stuff. Close to Dutchies is the street Bos en Lommerweg. Normally a just a common street with shops, on this day it will change into a flea market. Another street in the south of Amsterdam, the Beethovenstraat (can be reached with bus 15 from Bos en Lommerplein) is known for the annual flea market and in general has some pretty decent stuff.

But what attracts Amsterdam locals, Dutch people from other cities and even tourists to Amsterdam, are the many parties and festivals. In the Jan Pieter Heijestraat 85-87 is the Kashmir Lounge (it’s about a 15 min. bike ride from Dutchies) and they will have DJ, live bands and plenty of drinks and food. Close to station Sloterdijk, and thus Dutchies, the Urban Music Festival Kingsday will be held. You have to buy tickets in advance as they will not sell tickets on the day itself. In the south of Amsterdam, near station RAI, the annual Kingsday festival, Kingsland Festival, will be held. This is one of the biggest festivals in the Netherlands that day, with DJ’s like Tiësto and Martin Garrix will be playing.

Whether you will going to the center, go to a flea market, visit a festival or a party, this is a day to remember.

Blog 3: Dutchies Hostel – Music in the hostel

Here in Dutchies we love to listen to music when we are working at the reception. Of course everyone working here has a different taste in music. What most of us have in common, is that we all love different genres and not just one specific one. Sure we have preferences, but when it comes down to it, we love a big variety of music.

One of our colleagues chooses the genre depending on her mood. If she for example enjoying a day on the beach, she loves the tunes of Café del Mar. Born and raised in the Netherlands she also loves artists from the country like Golden Earring, Anouk and DJ Tiësto. Songs from some of the golden oldies are also some of her favorites like U2, Tina Turner, David Bowie and Queen.

Another colleague doesn’t really have a specific preference as long as the music has a good beat to it. Whether it’s alternative rock or r&b, her preference also depends on her mood. She also adjust the music to the guests in the lounge where the reception is. If she feels like guests are just having a nice and chill moment by reading a book, she will play something nice and relaxed. But if guests are chatting with each other and having some drinks, she prefers to play something upbeat.

Although this colleague does not have a number 1 favorite genre, hip hop comes close to it. Whether it’s a Dutch artist like Hef, Boef, Ismo or Lijpe he also loves classics from Tupac and Biggie. When he’s working he adjusts the music he plays to the guests. He’s checking their reactions and if he feels they don’t like the music, he changes it.

Music changes the atmosphere. If it’s happy and upbeat it will influence the way guests interact with each other. For us it is important that guests feel welcome and comfortable so to achieve this we create a great atmosphere with great music.

Blog 2: Dutchies Hostel – Random fun facts

Every country has its own culture and every culture has it quirks. The Netherlands is no exception to this ‘unwritten rule’. There are plenty of things that others view as really weird, while for me it’s the most normal thing in the world.
An example is something as simple as having dinner. It is very common to have dinner here at 6pm, not earlier and not later, just 6pm sharp. Dutch people also know not to call you at that time, because there is a 99.9% chance you are eating.
And speaking of dinner, how about having pancakes for dinner? Sure it’s great as breakfast, but it is also great for dinner! We also eat chocolate on our bread in the morning and I’m not talking about Nutella. No, I’m talking about chocolate sprinkles on your bread. With a nice layer of butter to make it even better.
What the Netherlands, and probably mostly Amsterdam, is known for are bicycles. There are actually more bikes in the country than there are people. When you are at Dutchies be sure to ask about our bike rental, it’s a great way to get to know the city.