amsterdam anniversary

December 11, 2011  in inspiring places

We had a wonderful few days in Amsterdam last weekend celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. Even though the weather was somewhat cold, grey and drizzly we had an inspiring time wandering the historic canals, museums, galleries and shops armed with Pia Jane Bijkerk’s Amsterdam: Made by Hand and the Wallpaper* City Guide to Amsterdam. The Dutch locals were lovely – friendly, laid-back with an under-stated cool style and we came home thinking it was a city we could quite happily live in.

We took inspiration from museum and gallery trips including the wonderful Rijksmuseum that, even though it is mid-renovation the one open wing is filled with stunning artworks from the Dutch golden age (Willem van de Welde I’s pen paintings from the mid 17th century were just amazing and so detailed). We also visited the Van Gogh MuseumFoam photography gallery as well as touring a couple of the beautiful canal-side houses on Herengracht and the moving Anne Frank House.

What I love about Amsterdam is that, although you are surrounded by the historic architecture and canals it doesn’t feel old fashioned nor just a big tourist attraction. With the vast volume of cyclists buzzing around it feels like a living city and you can glimpse into real homes as you wander, seeing modern interiors and creative solutions that respect the heritage but are contemporary and forward thinking.

The creativity and individuality is evident everywhere. I loved this personalised bicycle covered in silk flowers.

We visited the famous flower market and also the Waterloopein flea market which was disappointing unfortunately as it was all general stalls rather than antiques or bric-a-brac, though it looked like a lot of stalls had closed up early. The farmers’ market on the Noordermarkt was fabulous and well worth a visit.

Touring the shops, my favourites were MoooiDroog and The Frozen Fountain. Bebob Design had a great selection of vintage and new classic 20th century furniture.  I always like to visit a major, old department store on a city break and we whizzed around De Bijenkorf which also has a good cafe/restaurant on the top floor. We stumbled upon a lovely little concept store called Maison NL and peered through the window of Raw Materials home store which looked interesting but was unfortunately closed when we found it. The American Book Centre was brilliant and opposite it Atheneum had a huge international selection of creative magazines.

All in all we had a lovely time celebrating our wedding anniversary and returned inspired. Thank you for making us welcome Amsterdam, we hope to see you again soon.


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  1. Sophie says:

    What a lovely post Sania – gorgeous photos – lovely winter light. I’ve never been to Amsterdam but I’d really love to go. This has certainly whet my appetite!
    I hope you both had a wonderful time.

  2. What an amazing review of Amsterdam! Makes me proud to be Dutch! Beautiful photo’s and I think you have seen some of the best places in Amsterdam. I agree about the Waterlooplein. I was also disappointed when I visited last, it used to be fantastic. I think the Noordermarkt is much better, especially on a Monday morning!

  3. Jane says:

    Oh Sania! What a delightful post – thankyou for taking us with you. I feel like I’ve been transported to somewhere gorgeous on a magic carpet. What a treat ☺. J x

  4. elisa says:

    that’s exactly how we felt, that we could easily live there, the scale of it, the ease of movement by bicycle and canal boat and cablecar, the food, the culture, the beauty. we stayed in a great apartment near vondelpark (i think!) that had the most astonishingly steep stairs! it sounds like a wonderful trip x

  5. Ursula says:

    Hey Sania – you managed to capture Amsterdam beautifully – even in cold, dark weather. It’s the architecture and flower markets that stand out for me whenever I go. Feeling a bit homesick now, but will be spending Christmas over there soon : ) Glad you had such a lovely trip!

  6. Hi, I enjoyed this. I lived in The Netherlands [though not in Amsterdam unfortunately] I miss it and this post let me remember how good it is. So many places to see and that fantastic dutch love for the new and the re-invented.

  7. Caroline @E.g. says:

    Lovely pics San-so glad you had a lovely time. See you in New Year. Happy xmas to you all! Lol Caroline xx

  8. I love Amsterdam! I haven’t been there for sooo long. An inspiring post – makes me want to revisit. And I agree, it is a city I could certainly live in.

  9. Inge says:

    My my my, you take the most amazing pictures! I’m glad to read you had a great time in Amsterdam! It’s been sooo long since I visited Amsterdam and thanks to your post I’d love to go back… 🙂 Love your post, it’s absolutely gorgeous (especially that car that you photographed)!
    Love, Inge x

  10. Sania Pell says:

    Thank you everybody. It was a special few days and I would love to go back and explore more of Holland in the future. x

  11. Lovely city and lovely post. Happy belated anniversary :).

  12. Emily says:

    I truly love everything you wrote and the photos are beautiful.

    I’m born and raised in NYC but i’ve been living in the netherlands for a year and a half now and i i’m so glad that i made the move.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂
    veel succes

  13. Catherine H says:

    love this Amsterdam photo. I keep on staring at it. can I have it ? i am going to put in on my iphone as a background or even my laptop as a background. i just love it so. i have never been to Amsterdam but i am definitely going one day.
    your book i have in my possession is the Homemade Home. my good friend got it from her library. i have purchased one and will soon be doing the projects. thank you for inspiring.


    amsterdam anniversary – Sania Pell – Freelance Interior Stylist, Consultant and Creative Director, London

  15. KyleBuysHouses

    amsterdam anniversary – Sania Pell – Freelance Interior Stylist, Consultant and Creative Director, London

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Sania Pell freelance interior stylist London.

Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.

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