In the 19th century, when Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighbourhood was starting to be overcrowded, the city built a new district, De Pijp, to house the excess population and labourers. Today, De Pijp is a mix of different cultures and nationalities. It’s a friendly popular neighbourhood with lots of cafés, shops and market stalls.
Fun fact! I did a bit of reading, trying to find out why this district is literally called “The Pipe”. The history of the name isn’t certain, but apparently there was once a huge ditch filled with water that cut though all the neighbourhood, resembling a pipe. It was later drained and is now Albert Cuypstraat, where the famous Albert Cuypmarkt is held every day.
So, what is there to do in De Pijp?
Albert Cuypmarkt is the biggest daily market in Europe, with approximately 300 stalls. You’ll find fresh produce, flowers, clothes, souvenirs, and food. You can have a taste of local delicacies like Dutch cheese, herring, and my personal favourite, stroopwafels! They are thin crispy warm waffles with a gooey syrup between, basically heaven.
Surrounding the market, in the adjacent streets, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafés to stop for lunch. We stopped for a quick bite at an Italian place (can’t remember the name) and had delicious toasts with ham, cheese, salad… It was fresh and yummy.
All the luck in the world
All the luck in the world is a concept store selling home decorations, furniture, artworks, jewellery and other stuff. We stumbled upon it and I just had to stop, I’m such a sucker for these kinds of shops. It is filled with little treasures. I ended up buying a small glass herbarium to put dried flowers in. And when we came back to this shop a few years later, I bought two small brass swallows to hang on a wall.
Not far from the buzzing Albert Cuypmarkt is Sarphatipark. It is quite small but very nice, with a lake, English-style landscaped gardens and a temple memorial for the man after which the park was named, Samuel Sarphati (doctor and urban innovator). It’s a lovely spot in De Pijp if you want to have a picnic or just relax with friends.
Hutspot is a concept store slash barber shop slash café. You can’t get more hipster than that. There is even a retro photo booth in the entry. I love it. It’s the kind of place where you want to buy everything but can’t afford it. It is two storeys of clothes, houseware, accessories, artwork, etc.
Do I need this half chestnut wood half white marble cutting board that costs 40 bucks? No. Do I want it? Hell yes! Am I gonna buy it? Nope. That’s pretty much what goes on in your head when you see every item in the shop.
We did buy a very cool looking minimalist map of Amsterdam to put in our Parisian apartment, because having a map of your own city is too mainstream hahaha.
Seven Bridges on Reguliersgracht
Ok we’re technically not in De Pijp anymore but it’s close enough. Reguliersgracht is a picturesque canal in Amsterdam. It’s a photographer’s dream because you can see seven bridges when you’re at the end of the canal. Or even fifteen bridges if you’re standing at the intersection between Reguliersgracht and Herengracht looking in all directions. It’s truly beautiful and surprisingly, not too sought after by tourists so it’s got a quiet atmosphere which is nice.
FOAM Photography Museum
FOAM is a photography museum that holds regular exhibitions from both famous international photographers and small up-and-coming photographers. The exhibitions change every few months so you can always visit it again if you go back to Amsterdam. The museum also organises workshops and lectures about photography, as well as film projections and other events.
On our second trip to Amsterdam, I chose to visit another museum, the Museum of Bags and Purses, which was very close to this one. Lucas as you can imagine was far from excited to go see bags for an hour, so he went back to FOAM. He saw two exhibitions. One was a photojournalism exhibition by a man named Samuel Gratacap, who collected testimonies of migrants he met. And the other exhibition was a man named Thomas Albdorf who “combines classic photographic genres with modern visual techniques” to create something surrealistic.
Museum of Bags and Purses
While Lucas was at FOAM, I went to the Museum of Bags and Purses, which has the largest collection of bags and purses in the world. The museum is located in a beautiful 17th century canal house, with a large main staircase, a lovely garden in the back, and stained-glass windows.
The collection includes more than 5000 items, from the 16th century to today. The visit starts on the last floor, where you’ll find the oldest bags. Every type of bag has its story, how it was made and why it was created. You can see the first handbags, travel bags, tobacco pouches, waist pockets and more. The collection is truly remarquable. Then you go down one floor and this is where they keep the more modern bags and purses, with timeless classics like the Hermès Kelly bag, and other bags by world renowned brands.
The first two floors are dedicated to temporary exhibitions. I saw “Made In Italy”, which showed bags, clothes and other accessories by Italian designers like Prada, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. And a very moving exhibition called “The Stories We Carry”, that tells the stories of several refugees in the Netherlands through what they took with them in their bags when they fled their country.
Visiting De Pijp is a great idea if you want a feel for the authentic Amsterdam. We personally skipped the Heineken Brewery Museum as we had heard it was a bit too touristy. De Pijp is so much more than that, with its market, shops, and cafés. We highly recommend it.