You can never have too much cosiness in your life. And the Dutch take their cosiness very seriously –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 with every cup of tea, soft blanket and glowing candle.
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 having possibly the largest fire pit in the city. And it’s on a beach, which gives it that lovely, blissed-out vibe. Hunker down, resist any urges to get out your guitar (don’t be that person), and keep toasty 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 | T.T. Neveritaweg 59, Amsterdam
The hippy one: Noorderlicht
Never one to be outdone by its neighbour, the wonderful NDSM café bar Noorderlicht (Dutch for Northern Lights) boasts a large fire pit nestled in the middle of its whimsical garden terrace. One of the most magical places in Amsterdam to while away an evening, Noorderlicht is the place to be if you like creative food and craft beers. It also hosts live music and mini festivals from time to time, so settle in and feel the love.
Noorderlicht | NDSM-Plein 102, Amsterdam
The lakeside one: Strandzuid
Under the glow of hundreds of lanterns, you can warm your hands around the campfire at the capital’s least expected spot for an urban beach. Strandzuid is tucked away behind the RAI Amsterdam convention centre and transforms into a winter wonderland once the cold season arrives. Complete with its own microbrewery, it feels miles away from the bustle of the city.
Strandzuid | Europaplein 22, Amsterdam
The kitsch one: Meneer Nieges
This charming little place from the owners of Hannekes Boom is popular with Amsterdam’s trendy young things. There’s a huge waterside terrace styled into a quaint country garden with furniture and a fountain made from a grand piano, 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 | Westerdoksdijk 40H, Amsterdam
The castaway one: Dok
Hidden away in Amsterdam’s western docklands, DOK spends summers as a funky beach shack. It earned its reputation by hosting parties and mini festivals on a large sandy terrace that makes it feel as though you’ve washed up on a beach, like a less weather-beaten version of Tom Hanks in Castaway. In autumn and winter, it becomes a cosy retreat thanks to several rustic campfires that make it a wonderful place to spend an evening. Come with an appetite, as DOK has a menu brimming with temptation that includes a gooey cheese fondue.
Dok | Joan Muyskenweg 14, Amsterdam
Other bars with firepits include Pacific Parc, Rainarai and Mossel & Gin at Westergas. 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.