You can never have too much cosiness in your life. And the Dutch take their cosiness very seriously – they even have a special name for it. You don’t have to be in Holland long before you hear the word ‘gezellig’ bandied about – which simply means cosy and convivial. Hard to say but easy to understand, gezelligness (gezelligheid) is what we’re all striving to achieve every moment of our lives.
I’m a big fan of gezelligheid, so without further ado, here are my favourite places to feel all warm and fuzzy around campfires in Amsterdam.
The beachy one: Pllek
This post-industrial hipster hotspot in Amsterdam North wins the prize for possibly the largest fire pit in Amsterdam. And it’s on a beach, which gives it that lovely, hippy campfire vibe. Kick off your shoes, snuggle up to your loved ones, resist any urges to get out your guitar (don’t be that person), and keep warm around the flames. If it’s too windy for a campfire outside, then Pllek also has an indoor fire pit – such is their commitment to your cosiness.
Pllek, NDSM Wharf
The hippy one: Noorderlicht
Never one to be out fire-pitted by its neighbour, the wonderful NDSM café bar Noorderlicht (Northern Lights) boasts a large fire pit nestling in the middle of their whimsical garden terrace. One of the most magical places in Amsterdam to while away an evening, Noorderlicht does a good line in creative food, craft beers and hosts regular live music and mini-festivals in their waterside wonderland. Snuggle up and feel the love.
Noorderlicht, NDSM Wharf
The lakeside one: Strandzuid
Under the glow of hundreds of lanterns, you can warm your hands around the campfire at Amsterdam’s least expected spot for an urban beach. Strandzuid is tucked away behind RAI Amsterdam convention centre. Popular for weddings and corporate events, the venue has its own sandy beach, volleyball net and even a microbrewery.
The kitsch one: Meneer Nieges
This lovely little place by the owners of Hannekes Boom opened in spring 2016 and it’s already become a popular spot with Amsterdam’s trendy young things. There’s a huge waterside terrace styled into a quaint country garden with iron pergolas, garden furniture and a grand piano water feature, all of which basks in sunshine until early afternoon (when the shadow of a nearby building gets in the way). But not to worry, because when the sun goes down the cosiness ramps up, thanks to a beautifully photogenic fire pit: a large round campfire surrounded by curved stone benches, sitting inside a decorative wrought iron pergola.
Meneer Nieges, Westerpark
The castaway one: Dok
Hidden away in the western docklands of Amsterdam, Dok is a summertime beach shack that hosts regular parties and mini festivals on its large sandy beach terrace. A good place to escape the city and channel your inner Tom Hanks, Dok’s beach is heated by several rustic campfires which make it an exceptionally cosy night spot. But you won’t need to catch and cook your own food; Dok do a lovely selection of food ranging from tapas and flammkuchen (thin pizzas) to full-blown dinner options.
Other bars with firepits include Pacific Parc, Rainarai and Mossel & Gin at Westergasfabriek. Up for heading a little further afield for your campfire fix? Embrace your inner hippy at Woodstock 69 in the nearby beach town of Bloemendaal.