A Special Projects Director at SafetyWing leading the Plumia mission to build a nomad internet country, and an award-winning author of the Global Natives & Counterflows.
It feels like everybody in the city is building the future. Amsterdam has a special energy and is an excellent place for remote workers to base themselves and get inspired. People say it’s hard to befriend the Dutch, but I’ve never found it difficult to make friends in Amsterdam. The city’s super diverse with many expats—people from different countries are constantly coming and going— it’s easy to meet new people and strike up a conversation. The whole city is like a solarpunk utopia. On a sunny day, the parks in Amsterdam have live music, a music festival vibe with barbeques, picnics, sports, and everybody having a good time. Oosterpark is my favorite. While it’s not the city’s biggest park (that title is held by the world-famous Vondelpark), it’s serene and full of plants and wildlife. I love hitting the park with a book, listening to the birds sing and people-watching. I usually stay at and work from Zoku Amsterdam. It’s a gorgeous apartment hotel with an on-site coworking space, bar/restaurant, rooftop garden, and an amazing community of both locals and globals. It offers a soft landing and helps you integrate when you visit a city for the first time. I’ve been part of the Zoku family for years, and the Amsterdam location truly feels like my “home base” now! I also have a membership at A’DAM&Co, a private members’ club for creatives and entrepreneurs.
Housing is expensive in Amsterdam. The local Airbnb regulations in Holland are very strict, which makes it difficult for nomads to find rentals online. There are lots of expat agencies that will help newcomers find housing in Amsterdam, but contacting them is a hassle, they charge high fees, and the good rentals go very fast. One of the best ways to hear about rooms and apartments is by asking locals, whether it’s a friend-of-friend or your favorite barista or bartender. My favorite area is Amsterdam-Oost, also known as the Indische Buurt or "Indies Neighborhood". It’s a softly-gentrifying area where the new and the old make for an interesting mix. On Javastraat, its main artery, you’ll find hipster restaurants serving ramen and vegan junk food right next to old-school baklava shops run by a family’s third generation. It’s estimated that more than 100 languages are spoken in the Indische Burt, since it’s Amsterdam’s biggest immigrant neighborhood.
I’d recommend visiting Artis, one of Europe’s first public zoos. The grounds are beautiful and well-kept, and if you take out an annual membership, you can treat Artis like a park – going there to hang out and look at the animals on a sunny day! The Hortus Botanicus, or botanical gardens, are another special, calming place, and they’re located close by. I like the Grachtenmuseum (museum of the canals) a lot. It’ll make you fall in love with the city and its canal cruises, and encourages you to do your part to preserve it! The best food in Amsterdam is definitely international. The Dutch aren’t especially known for their food culture, but the classic bitterballen is the perfect snack to enjoy with a beer. The best food, though, comes from grab-and-go outlets as you would find in New York or London. Some of my favorites are gyro wraps from Meat and Greek, loaded fries from Freddy Fryday, award-winning burgers from Ter Marsch and Co, and Korean fried chicken from the excellently-named Gangnam Chicken. Amsterdam is a city of bikes, and the Netherlands has some of the most efficient public transport infrastructure in the world. That means it’s easy to get around, whether you’re visiting a friend across town, traveling to other Dutch cities like Utrecht or Rotterdam (both 30 minutes away by train) or taking a day trip to nearby cities like Brussels, Paris or Hamburg. Amsterdam has everything you could possibly need. Whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find it tucked away beside a canal: specialty coffee beans from Rum Baba, craft cocktails from Rosalia’s Menagerie, and world-class urban design, architecture, and infrastructure. Walking around, I always find myself thinking, “Wow, this place really works!"
The NL Cares organization has regular social events you can join and contribute to in any way you're comfortable with - check out their events calendar before your trip to see current initiatives and meetups.