Amsterdam’s De Pijp

Amsterdam’s vibrant district De Pijp is a hub of both local legacy and innovative young businesses. While tourists flock to the famed Albert Cuyp market, residents flee a few streets down to the serene Sarphati Park. A mesh of flavours, trinkets and people colour the streets year round. Out of many, we have selected four try-outs conveniently located in a straight stroll taking you past both the market and the park.

Pijp_Cottoncake 01Cotton Cake
1ste van der Helststraat

This shop, art and food gallery is Tessa and Jorinde’s dreams come true. The idea was to create a chilled-out environment where people could meet, work, eat and shop. Everything you find in their place is a love-at-first-sight piece. The two young owners have combined their passion for wonderful offbeat items and their desire to see them shine amongst their friends and strangers alike to create this unique venue. The ‘pijpela’ layout (narrow and long), painted in white, provides the perfect canvas for each love story. Tessa’s favourite item, the robust wooden cabinet she found hidden underneath a plastic sheet outside a farmer’s home, gives the café-cum-store a homely touch. Jorinde’s favourite piece stands on top of it; an original retro Faema’s coffee machine from Italy. It is so vintage that the mechanics are completely manual, and the flavour and look are totally worth it. At the back they have placed the ecological café, which looks out over the shop, as it is conveniently located on an indoor balcony. The art displayed along the wall changes every three months and is highlighted with the help of a setting sun coming in through the back windows. All items are made with love and some are fair trade. This young duo brims with ideas, from hosting a Berlin lunch on Sundays to creating more interactive art events. The only rule; inspire and be inspired. Although Cottoncake has only been open two months, their originality ensures a constant stream of indulgers.

Pijp_Wild Moa pies_01Wild Moa Pies
Van Ostadestraat 147

Some Dutch people, when they taste another country, really would rather not come back to the Netherlands. And when they do, they wonder how to keep that wonderful aftertaste and avoid the bitter. After falling head over heels for New Zealand and a forced return 12 years later, Monique Koorn started cooking up a storm. Now, Wild Moa Pies, the original pie bakery in Amsterdam, has already been around for 11 years. The secret to Moa’s pies is hidden in the crust. Mostly, pies are a bit doughy, sometimes even a little too tough. And if they’re sloppy, there’s no point in eating them at all. Dominique uses puff pastry, so that each bite is as crunchy as the next. All pies still pose a (delicious) eating challenge, however, and people vary their strategy from top down, top off or angular sideways. Dominique simply prefers using a knife and fork, inadvertently displaying a deep-rooted Dutchness. The shop itself feels more like a kiwi corner store. Besides an ever-changing pie menu, you can come here for your vegemite and Tim Tam fix. Of course it didn’t take long for foreigners to sniff this place out, but Moa’s hosts plenty of Dutch people too. Dominique figured that her sign might have put them off, initially; ‘pies’ translate to ‘pee’.

Monique’s favourite pie = daily pie

Pijp_Liefde_01Het Is Liefde
1ste van der Helststraat 13-15

It is the season of love. Bridal couples are popping up like daisies, baby pictures dominate Facebook-updates and lovesick couples sit entwined on park benches. For us gift-givers, this means scouring the Internet for unique presents, thank you cards and bridal gifts. And if you choose to deviate from the gift registry, you will most likely end up on tacky sites such as Luckily, Amsterdam houses a pink-coloured shop solely dedicated to love. This heartfelt store sells quirky presents for bachelors, weddings, valentines, new love, old love and baby love. True to its romantic theme, it also houses a special corner for heartbreak. Three women, Hanne, Jikke and Maaike, are the hearts behind this exceptional concept, who met in the original store now located around the corner, called the Kinderfeestwinkel, a fun factory of presents for kids. When entering the store, be prepared to be dazzled by pink, red and white. And men, don’t worry about being ‘seen’. A reliable source tells me Valentine’s Day is virtually the only day your species dares cross the threshold.

Maaike’s favourite item = pillows with poetry

vredespijp_01De Vredespijp
1ste van der Helststraat 11a.

Across from Het is Liefde stands a well-known shop-turned-café-shop called De Vredespijp (The Peace Pipe). A real Amsterdam institute, it is hard to miss, with its windows adorned by original art-deco lamps, which also hang throughout the entire shop. As original quality stores are few and far between when looking for art-deco furniture, De Vredespijp is a collectors’ and inspirational haven. The pieces all ooze handcrafted sophistication. Since 1971, it has been a family-run place. Originally in the hands of Dad Ko van der Meer, it was taken over four years ago by his daughter Da. Since its founding, the place has fulfilled a social function for the local neighbourhood, with people popping in for coffee and a chat. When finances became meagre, Da realised they might as well serve better coffee, include cake and add a price. The cosy living room-style lures in hordes of people for lunch and making reservation is almost a must. Locals still come and more are added each day. Keep an eye out for the little old lady who loyally comes in for her weekly cuppa and a pie.

Da’s favourite item = a 1930s English desk with leather top and small handles.

Su Schreve
2012 Summer

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