Getting around Amsterdam for a half-day stopover

Many of us global travellers have been there; even those who try to swear off polluting air travel to spare us some greenhouse gases –– we are in a city for a day, a long stopover and we want to get out and see the city a bit. Who wants to waste their lungs on the stale airport environment?

About 10 years ago I had a 7-hour stopover in Amsterdam. I had a friend there I wanted to see (no time to meet all those cool sustainable designers yet) and on a budget I had to figure out how I was going to get in and out on time, alive and no deeper in than 50 Euros.

My friend reassured me that all the trains arrive on time, even complicated ones coming from remote places so that visiting him in his suburb would not be a challenge getting in or out. I trusted him and the universe and went for it.

After landing in the airport I put my suitcase in a locker down below (follow the signs) and I jumped on a train going into the city. Got off in a snap downtown, bought an apple strudel, and then decided to try one of those Amsterdam canal boat cruises. It was lovely. I didn’t need to book in advance, but just jumped on the first one I came across. It was small, not like the large canal boats in Paris and I liked the intimacy of it.

Visiting Amsterdam the day after the Dutch Independence Day I was a bit surprised to see orange debris floating around in the canal and hanging off of those spectacular little bridges we floated under, but I could not have asked for a more intimate way to meander through the channels, peering into the lives of people who lived on the canal in boats, and into the front windows of the people who lived on the narrow roads lining the canal. It seems like no-one uses curtains there. Less than an hour later, we were done and I felt like I had seen enough of Amsterdam.

With little time to contemplate museums or historical sites I called my friend. I walked to the central train station and did as I was told. Within 20 minutes he was waiting for me at the train stop and we walked through his neighborhood back to his flat, at the time an anti-squat office space. We used bicycles to ride from one room to the next it was so spacious.

Went with my friend to the local market, we returned home and I played with his kids, we ate a glorious dinner, and not long after he was directing me on how to take the train back to the airport. Are you sure I am going to make it even with the connections? Don’t worry, trains in Amsterdam are not like the Middle East, and a hop, skip and a jump and I was back on the train and in the airport.

Now this was more than a few years ago. Long before Uber, Via and all those ride-sharing apps came to the scene. In fact before apps were a daily part of our lives. I think I even had to go to an Internet café to make contact with him. Or use a payphone. Today it’s more than easy to get around unfamiliar cities when you have a phone in your hand. I see the good side of this.

The phone is your lifeline and with it you can take even more risks than I did back then, because you know with the press of a button that you can order a ride to get you back to there in the knick of time. So jump on a canal boat, visit a friend and eat that strudel.

Modest Size Apartments That Make The Most Of White

White decor isn’t just about getting back to basics, or avoiding the minefield of dodgy colour choices to be made despite painting half a room with tiny paint pot samples. White decor can be used to make small spaces feel comfortably larger and less crowded. Pure white paint can be used against a darker colour as a device for dramatically diving an open plan living space. White finishes can gently connect the dots between much brighter coloured accent pieces, or be used to create a calm and restful environment. These four small apartment interiors use all of these techniques and more to make the most of white decor, without appearing at all stale or standard.

Visualizer: Julia Sultanova  

Blue accents flavour this cosy white flat in Stuttgart. The cool combo makes the small living room feel airy and fresh.

The blue wall art and area rug defines the lounge area from the neutral coloured kitchen diner behind it. The lounge chair and sofa have their backs turned on the kitchen to solidly section the space. A chrome floor lamp arcs over the walkway between them.

Pushed up behind the living room sofa, a modern desk and pouf make a neat home workspace. To the side of the desk there is an ingenious space saving bit of kit, which supports a mirror on its broadest face, conceals a coat hanging nook next to the entry door, and provides a thin bookcase to the lounge.

A white gloss TV stand and upper cabinets blend gently with the white wall decor, keeping the small space feeling spacious and light.

Two different types of chair design encircle a round dining table, giving the set a unique and upbeat aesthetic.

A black modern fruit bowl matches the black dining chairs in the arrangement.

White dining room pendant lights bunch above the white dining table.

A white marble kitchen backsplash matches the dining tabletop. Light wooden wall units top of the marble slab with more texture, whilst pure white cabinets quietly line the base.

A beautiful grey and white bedroom design is topped with a gleaming chrome pendant light. See more bedroom pendant lights.

Designer: Rina Lovko  

Our next apartment, a 70 square metre home, was designed for a young product designer in Kiev. Pure white TV wall decor grows from a white media unit and shelves mounted against a crisp white wall. A white desk runs directly off the TV wall, equipped with a matching swivel chair. A piece of bright art adds the first splash of colour. A round coffee table, which is a Muuto table, matches the green plant life.

A grey sofa sits heavily in the centre of the white minimalist living room, with a small grey floor lamp peeking over it.

The white kitchen island extends a breakfast bar in a similar style to the desk opposite, and is the only white element in a completely grey kitchen. The solid grey cabinet installation and the all white living room decor is clashed to divide the open space into two definitive living areas.

Green HAY stools strike a lively note in the grey kitchen, and carry the colour thread from the Muuto table in the lounge area.

Solid grey bleeds from the kitchen into the home entryway. Vivid orange stools squeeze in a juicy colour clash. Multicoloured wall art amps up the fun factor.

More orange art splashes into a white minimalist bedroom design. The art provides the only colour in the room, which makes the white wall paint and white furniture finishes look even more clean and pure.

There is a little natural colour in the form of an indoor plant by the window, but the leaves are almost eclipsed in the bright daylight. The white platform bed has a floating illusion, echoed by a floating white media cabinet on the opposite wall.

Grey bedclothes match a run of grey closets.

The line of wardrobes connect the bedroom into the bathroom, which in turn leads to the main living space.

A glass sliding door gives access to the bathroom/closet/bedroom from the living room.

Green Mutina ceramics colour the shower, along with a baby pink small side table.

Visualizer: Line Design Studio  

Red, white and blue make a punchy combo in this 36 square metre apartment for rent in Kaliningrad, Russian Federation.

White track lights shine from a white ceiling, a slender floor lamp wraps the end of the sofa. A chunky wood block coffee table completes the simple arrangement.

Directly adjacent to the sofa, a floor bed lays open to the room but tucked from plain sight by a small partition. A light wood panel door colours the sleeping area like a separate zone in the open sided setup.

The sliding wood door is drawn across the kitchen diner once two of the dining chairs have been stacked away, to make a cosier lounge and bedroom.

Four white modern dining chairs surround an ultramarine dining table.

A perfectly matching blue pendant light dangles above the set.

The surplus dining chairs stack when the partition doors are shut.

Blue grout criss-crosses between white kitchen tiles.

White kitchen cabinets retreat into colour-free walls to expand the sense of space.

The sliding partition doors allow the option of a larger living space.

Large windows increase the sense of space; the white decor bounces natural light further into the apartment.

Red grout replaces blue in the bathroom scheme…

… Though blue fragments in a terrazzo floor carry the colour theme through. Light wood edges trim a white modern bathroom vanity.

Visualizer: Andrey Barinov  

Green accents dot this white 41.48 square meter apartment in Moscow, Russia.

The bed stands aligned with the sofa in full view, though its sleek platform design makes it appear like another seating option. A white portiere goes almost unnoticed against the white walls and ceiling.

A small step up takes you into a window seating area, where a small coffee bar has been created.

Another dinky bar runs off the end of the kitchen, which is a serene light wood and white design.

Elegant monochrome bar stool perch at the breakfast bar.

A glass wall bathroom divides the kitchen from the home entryway.

Behind the obscured glass we discover a delicate white and baby pink bathroom.

Recommended Reading: 
30 White Living Rooms That Exude Purity And Peace
33 Dazzling White Dining Rooms
30 Modern White Kitchens That Exemplify Refinement

Related Posts:

30 White Living Rooms That Exude Purity And Peace
Four Different Decor Schemes On A Crisp White Base
3 Home Interiors With Modern Elegance
Minimalist Home With Blue And Yellow Accents
Interiors That Use Color Blocking To Segment Space
Bold And Breezy Interiors That Mix Blue And Pink Decor, With Red Accents

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