Amsterdam’s café culture
In the Golden Age, Amsterdam was Europe’s most important port for the tea and coffee trade. Perhaps this is where the Dutch love of coffee stems from. Try the local coffee specialty koffie verkeerd, a milky coffee similar to a latte. Besides drinks, it’s common for Dutch cafés to have a table filled with newspapers and magazines for their patrons to peruse.
Café Americain, located in the famous Amsterdam American Hotel, is the oldest grand café in the Netherlands, dating back to 1902. The building features a beautiful art nouveau interior with leaded-glass windows, enormous antique chandeliers, a collection of precious art and impressive murals. There’s also an antique reading table with a good selection of magazines and newspapers, and the large terrace is a great place to soak up the summer sun on Leidseplein.
Café De Jaren
Amsterdam’s grand café De Jaren tends to attract a younger crowd. Situated in a former bank building, the roomy, light-filled interior has a tiled mosaic floor, modern art on the walls and an impressive bar with a great selection of liqueurs and eaux de vie. But perhaps its best feature is the spectacular outdoor terrace overlooking the river Amstel.
Once hailed by the New York Times as “one of the world’s great cafés,” Café Luxembourg is a spacious Amsterdam café with a time-honoured interior. The parquet floors, marble bar and attentive, professional staff will transport you back to grander times. They offer plenty of delicious options for lunch and dinner and their reading table is stocked with international titles.
This brasserie and café is located inside Amsterdam’s main theatre, the Stadsschouwburg on Leidseplein. The building dates back to the late 19th century, and the café’s interior is suitably glorious. It attracts visitors of all ages – theatre-goers as well as those who just pop in for a coffee, a snack or a drink.
Grand Café De Tropen
Huge windows, a classic interior, a spacious terrace and a menu incorporating culinary influences from all corners of the world – true to the spirit of the Tropenmuseum, with which the cafe is associated – make the Grand Café De Tropen an elegant destination in Amsterdam Oost.
It might be less cavernous than the other cafés on this list, but what it lacks in size, Café Schiller makes up for with plenty of history and a splendid interior. More than a hundred years old, the café has been hosting the arty and sophisticated of Amsterdam for decades and the period interior boasts original art deco lamps and furnishings.
The lounge of the Amstel Hotel is famous for its afternoon tea, and the splendour and rich history of the riverside five-star hotel, which opened in 1867, make it the perfect location for indulging in some seriously calorific luxury.
Grand Café Frankendael
Behind an unassuming exterior, this grand café boasts all the features one would expect: glossy wood panelling, dark green leather chairs, splendid art-deco stained-glass windows and an elegant bar.
Fancy another cup? Take a look at our top 15 coffee places in Amsterdam, our list of brown cafes and the general bar and café listing. And if you would like to continue feeling grand, but prefer your drink a bit stronger, you could do worse than checking out this list of splendid hotel bars in Amsterdam.