Forget what the songs tell you about tulips and spring – autumn is the time, when Amsterdam really blossoms. As the trees shed their leaves, historical gables emerge from behind the foliage, and the canal views surpass those of summer. Backpackers return to school, summer vacationers return home, and locals reclaim their towns before winter’s chill descends. Days gradually shorten, seasonal decorations appear, and Amsterdammers compensate for colder, rainier days by ramping up the gezelligheid all around: cafés and bars often have heated terraces, parks are lively places to be, plus it’s still mild enough for walks along the canals – especially if you know where to stop off for a warming jenever. Yet, at the same time, all sorts of wintry diversions emerge.
There’s another bonus to chillier days and longer nights during autumn in Amsterdam. Not only can you wear your fluffy jumper you got for Christmas last year, but you can also feel less guilty for indulging in fresh apple pie and hot chocomel. Summer is fun but let’s be honest, who didn’t dream of a hearty meal followed by a creamy cheesecake and some hot chocolate in July? But how to fully enjoy this avalanche of calories when you have to squeeze yourself into a teeny tiny summer dress or your bikini the next day? Exactly. These days are long over so you can order your cake and have it too. Go out on a rainy Saturday afternoon to a cosy brown café for a creamy latte, strawberry tart and endless hours of gossiping.
this is actually a worteltaart (carrot pie) with some latte and cappucino (combo of apple pie and chocolate milk is waaay too sweet for me), but isn’t it cute anyways?
Autumn in Amsterdam means that cultural season is in full swing. You don’t have to feel guilty anymore to spend time indoors like during summer. Go and visit the different museums Amsterdam has to offer to make the best of a rainy day. And if you still want to spend the day outside? There’s a chance to visit them during the night! Museum Night takes place every November. With one single ticket you’ll get access to more than 50 museums in the city. You can stay until 2am enjoying some snacks and drinks while satisfying all your cultural needs.
Just like museum visits, a trip to the cinema is an excellent solution to entertain yourself on a rainy day or night. What some of you may not know, however, is that Amsterdam is a particularly suitable location to embrace the cinema season. From KLIK’s celebration of animated works to the children focused Cinekid Festival and the thought provoking programming of the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA), there’s enough going on to satisfy every kind of film fan from September to November.
If you’re not really into options mentioned before, I got you another solution that eliminates both chills and raindrops! Botanical gardens are basically smaller versions of the great outdoors, but everything still takes place indoors! The Hortus Botanicus in the Plantage district of Amsterdam has several stunning sheltered areas. This includes a butterfly house and large greenhouse where they keep tropical and desert plants. Most of these areas are nice and warm (although a bit humid), so the plants don’t die a frosty death.
The best way to sniff the crisp outside air in Amsterdam is to go on a refreshing walk in the park. Obviously, Vondelpark is a decent option, but there are several other non-touristy parks where you can truly escape the crowds and completely chill out. Great locations to admire the changing leaves are Sarphatipark (South, great for dog lovers), Westerpark (West), Oosterpark (East), Amstelpark (South-East), or Beatrixpark (South).
Autumn is also the best time to wander around Amsterdam’s farmers markets as it’s the time of harvest. Expect tons of seasonal produce including pumpkins, squashes, other root vegetables, apples and berries. In addition to Amsterdam’s most famous daily market at Albert Cuypmarkt, you should check out the farmers markets at Noordermarkt on Saturdays, the daily (except Sunday) market at Ten Katemarkt in Oud West suburbs and the organic market on Nieuwmarkt, also on Saturdays.
Again, because it’s harvest, now is a really good time to try one of Amsterdam’s (many!) farm-to-fork restaurants. The concept is that ingredients are locally sourced, fresh and menus change according to what’s available on the day. Our favourite farm-to-table restaurants in Amsterdam are De Kas in Park Frankendael, As in Beatrixpark, The Rijks restaurant (just to the side of the Rijksmuseum), and Gartine in the centre of town, which is especially good for afternoon tea.
No matter where you are, autumn is also a good time to try some local craft beers. Amsterdam has become a bit of a haven for craft and microbreweries and so you don’t have to try too hard to find one. The two that have been around the longest; Brouwerij ’t IJ (which is located under a windmill) and De Prael, which is a social enterprise employing those with learning difficulties or experiencing other setbacks should definitely be on your bucket list. Yes, you can also go and visit the Heineken Experience, but therefore you’d must have booked many weeks tickets in advance.
You should for example try the Bokbier, which is a ‘seasonal beer’ available only in the Netherlands, and only from October to February. With its uby red colour and caramel, light sweet and warm flavour, this Dutch beer fits the Amsterdam autumn like a glove. Named Herfstbok (Autumn bock) or just Bokbier, this lager is produced by many small and large brewers, but Amstel Bokbier is generally considered one of the best.
Not really into beers and alcohol overall? On October 24, a chocolate-inspired dinner will launch Amsterdam’s Origin Chocolate Event with a main course by Chef Chris Naylor of Michelin star restaurant Vermeer. The Origin Chocolate Event offers a range of different activities. For anyone who loves real chocolate it is an absolute must; special presentations, meetings, debates and of course tastings of culinary delights made by top patissiers and chocolatiers. Experience origine chocolate with wine, beer, rum and other food combinations and learn everything you ever wanted to know about origin chocolate.
Unlike in other parts of the world where Father Christmas doesn’t appear until December, the Dutch St. Nick likes to get the most out of the season, sailing into town in late autumn on a kilometre-long parade of floats and boats, welcomed by upwards of 400 000 spectators. The Sinterklaas parade takes place in mid November, with the feast of St. Nicholas itself falling in early December.
And last but not least!
This year, is the electro-music-related festival named Amsterdam Dance Event bigger than ever. Over 2500 artists will perform between 17th and 21nd October, during 5 days of dance music bliss. Party the night away with the finest tunes of the best DJ’s in the world. Enjoy the new day program which features special events at roof top terraces, clothing shops and cinema’s… fun for everyone! Tickets are already on sale.
As I’ve already mentioned in the beginning, Amsterdam is beautiful all year round. But during the fall…well, then it’s just something unbelievable. So when you’re considering a visit to A’dam and you’ve got no idea when…go in autumn! You won’t regret it!
And here are some photos of the “grachten” (channels) :
One more thing! Don’t forget to dress up warm, because it may be 21 degrees Celsius, but the wind is really cold and it will feel like 12 degrees!
Have a great day!