Amsterdam is amongst the top 10 Green Cities in the World, and it’s easy to see why. Amsterdam’s Metropolitan area is home to almost two and a half million people and what was once the leading financial and trade centre in 17-century Europe is today the finest example of sustainability. The city’s beautiful canals are certainly a sight to behold, but it’s its streets that have the most significant impact, you’ll see more bicycles than cars here.
The city administrators, industries, companies, services and the fine people in Amsterdam have made a massive effort to promote cycling, electric vehicles, waste management and the use of clean energy, and they’ve come a long way.
The Plantage, Amsterdam’s Green Neighborhood
Although all of Amsterdam is painted green, amongst the friendliest and most environmentally committed neighbourhoods you’ll find Plantage, in Amsterdam Oost (East). This is home to the Hortus Botanicus botanical garden, the Natura Artis Magistra Zoo and one of the most successful urban farms in the continent. If you want to experience Green Amsterdam, you want to stay at the Plantage, specifically at the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam.
Hyatt Regency Amsterdam Hotel
The Hyatt has joined Amsterdam’s eco-friendly efforts, bringing to the table beautiful, sustainable decor, from unvarnished wood furniture and hand-woven rattan lamps to green walls and hanging ferns — it’s perfect.
Let’s start with the façade and its tiles in different shades of green; they’re also used at the lobby’s entrance. The ample lobby benefits from the brightest natural light, which is reflected beautifully in the light herringbone parquet. Pine green sitting rooms around the lobby are focal points that invite you to walk your way towards a comfy working place with large community tables. The Scandinavian décor with green shades makes the Hyatt a unique, peaceful estate that will please the most demanding world travellers.
Dinner at Mama Makan
One of Hyatt’s highlights is Mama Makan Restaurant, an Indonesian culinary adventure at the heart of Amsterdam. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and everything is lovely, especially the hearty breakfasts and intimate dinners.
Start the night with a couple of charred chicken skewers and make your way through spring rolls, croquettes, bao buns and steamed dumplings. The mains include colorful fried rice, coconut curry, and stewed chicken with spicy sambal. Do ask for the wine and beer pairings.
And don’t miss the Rijsttafel! Meaning ‘rice table,’ this Dutch tradition of Indonesian inspiration goes back to the 1600s and comprises a myriad of small plates, including turmeric rice, steamed sea bass served in a banana leaf, seared tuna, and other colorful specialities. A vegan alternative is quite tempting as well — I see oyster mushrooms, fried pumpkin and roasted eggplants in your future.
Mama Makan Bar
The Mama Makan Bar and Terrace brings contrast to the light wood and vegetation with butterscotch padding over dark wood furniture. The inviting setting is extraordinary for enjoying a cup of tea, but it’s lively at dawn when the signature cocktails start rolling out the bar. Aperitivos, snacks and one-biters are all thrilling, but don’t miss the botanical cocktails — they serve a lovely Martinez with Bols Genever, citrus, botanicals, vermouth and bitters.
Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe. The manicured gardens and greenhouses have over 375 years and they serve as a research and educational center. From tropical flora to the most colorful collection of butterflies, Amsterdam’s Botanical Garden is truly an oasis in the bustling city.
You’ll find the gorgeous Bar Botanique, an open space with a green atmosphere, at Eerste van Swindenstraat 581, close to the acclaimed Hortus Botanicus. Bar Botanique used to be a gym for a local school before becoming a world-famous public house and craft cocktail bar. It now features a lovely selection of bites, including an extraordinary Provençal tarte tatin and crafty pizza. And you don’t want to miss the cocktails.
Enjoy a passion fruit mojito or a Johnnie & Ginger made with homemade ginger beer, pomegranate and scotch. Fresh fruit, botanicals and fine spirits align beautifully with Green Amsterdam — where food, drinks and a sustainable lifestyle become one.
We Can All Learn Something from Amsterdam
Amsterdam has always been a prime destination for history lovers and architecture buffs, for foodies and seekers of the forbidden. From the Red Lights District to the green Plantage neighbourhood, Amsterdam is at the forefront of innovation, and it’s now also a source of inspiration for a world in desperate need of a little green.