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The Jordaan district is where the old heart of Amsterdam keeps on beating. Where do you go to sink into thick cushioned cinema seats and enjoy a pikketanissie (a shot of Dutch gin) with a broodje bal (meatball sandwich)?
If you have an hour to spare in the city, go straight to the Jordaan district to stroll along the canals and through small historic side streets. Because the Jordaan is the heart of authentic Amsterdam, where curtains made from coarse lace hang in front of the windows and red carpets line pub tables, where at weekends Dutch tearjerkers are played and where a sandwich of raw beef sausage counts as lunch. Here, the neighbours know each other and you can get your meat from the butcher. Take a peek behind the doors of a small alley and you’ll get the chance to meet an old-fashioned courtyard or a communal garden – oases of peace and quiet in the middle of the city. Order a beer in a ‘brown cafe’ and you’ll get the bartender’s life story for free. Chances are you won’t be going anywhere for the rest of the night.
Café Papeneiland – One of the most photographed buildings in the Jordaan has to be the corner building that is home to Papeneiland cafe. Most people don’t even notice that it is where one of the oldest cafes in the city is to be found, or that it is one of the few businesses that maintain classic Amsterdam standards: music is out of the question (Papeneiland is an old-fashioned praathuis or ‘talking house’), a kopstoot (a glass of beer and a Dutch gin) and a picketanissie (a shot of Dutch gin) are the standard drinks and delicious apple pie can be found right next to the boiled eggs on the bar.
The Movies – Haarlemmerdijk is home to the oldest cinema in Amsterdam that is still in operation. It’s not that The Movies is outdated, by any means. Whereas in the past, neighbourhood cinemas only screened the films that were no longer being screened in the big cinemas, nowadays you can go to Haarlemmerdijk for a good selection of films: the programme contains a mixture of blockbusters and arthouse films. The cinema’s restaurant was recently refurbished and is a good place to go for an early meal before catching a film.
Noordermarkt – Jordaan’s unofficial centre is Noordermarkt, with the Noorderkerk serving as an impressive landmark and the pubs around it the most pleasant pubs in the entire city. On Saturday, there is a weekly market on Noordermarkt and Lindengracht where you can buy bread, fish, fruit, vegetables and other daily groceries. If you go to the market on Monday morning, Noordermarkt is a paradise for vintage lovers: you’ll find the best leather jackets, floral dresses and felt hats for just a few euros and at the stalls inside, you will invariably find lovely second-hand items for the home, from mirrors and posters to ceramics and sheepskins.