The Shallow Man guide to Amsterdam Zuid
The Shallow Man recalls a great song that he loved during his salad days which talked about a place where membership was a smiling face and one could brush shoulders with the stars. I never found that place, but am still looking. I also recently heard a song by Phil Collins called another day in paradise, which I believe nicely sums which brings me to the subject of today’s post. Amsterdam Zuid.
The shallow man has lived, hunted, loved, drank, ate, shopped and partied in this part of Amsterdam for such a long time, that it has become his adopted home. I am more than qualified to provide a review of the pros and cons of the area. My comments may upset some people and if as a result I’m forced to sit through the entire Sinterklaas arriving in the Netherlands ceremony and am surrounded by Zwarte Piets, all of whom insist that they are not racist and are black because they’ve been through a chimney. I’ll look at my critics and say “Fight the Power”. The things I do for my readers!
Say it loud, say it proud, the shallow man loves Amsterdam Zuid. I’ll start my journey through Zuid in a place where I’ve been known to spend time and hard earned money, the PC Hooftstraat. This is the main upmarket (expensive) shopping street in the Netherlands. Full of exclusive stores such as Armani, Jimmy Choo, Church menswear and several jewellers with collections that will make your eyes water.
In the PC Hoofdstraat, the usual laws of nature are ignored. Silver Foxes walk from shop to shop with young chickens arm in arm. In spite of the Netherlands being a supremely flat country, the street is full of 4×4 Porsche Cayenne’s, and Range Rovers, very handy for navigating any off-road shortcuts or hills that might suddenly appear in the middle of the city. If you’re interested in learning Japanese, hang around the Chanel store, as hordes of Japanese people can be seen running from there onto Louis Vuitton, Burberry and other boutiques in the street.
If you are able to recognize Dutch celebrities, then this is the place where football players, celebrity Lawyers, actors, chefs and various reality tv C to D listers like to be seen. Lots of intense looking women, with deathly stares, high heels, Louis Vuitton handbags and sunbed tans can be seen flitting from store to store while simultaneously shouting into their smartphones.
Wealthy types in Aston Martins, Ferraris and other luxury cars can be seen driving slowly up and down the street. Then usually sit at one of the several cafes, where a number of Golddiggers hover, ravenously like vultures, waiting to pick over the carcass of a discarded antelope.
From the PC Hooftstraat, take a walk along the Van Baerlestraat and you’ll come to the fabulous Conservatorium Hotel, a five-star masterpiece, which in spite of allowing Justin Bieber to stay there, is still a nice place to visit. Having snared their prey in a PC Hooftstraat cafe, the next stop will be on to the Tunes cocktail bar for some of the best cocktails that you can find in Amsterdam. A cosmopolitan crowd tends to migrate here. Golddiggers, old money, the nouveau riche, expats, curious locals and wealthy guests of the Hotel all mingle to create a fabulous atmosphere in this unusually well designed and run establishment.
Walk further along and you have the Concertgebouw, an acoustic and visual beauty of a place. Behind the Concertgebouw, you’ll find homes that contain an interesting mix of Amsterdam old money, the newly rich, be it through death or divorce, and a smattering of Expats. There are some delightful restaurants in this neighbourhood described in more detail in some of my other posts. Property in the Museum Quarter is incredibly expensive. Unless you are about to divorce a wealthy partner or about to come into a lot of money, I would think twice before looking to live there. It’s reassuringly overpriced.
Head East along the Van Baerlestraat and you’ll come to Roelof Hartplein. Beyond there you’ll enter the neighbourhood called the Pijp which is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. Bars, cafes, restaurants, delicatessens (Foodies) and more bars. The Albert Cuyp market, where I’d advise you to check your fruit carefully before parting with your money, as there are a few charlatans selling fresh fruit on top which hides rotting mouldy produce underneath, not unlike illegal aliens packed into the back of a lorry. The Pijp is a wonderful, vibrant exciting place. Rental prices are typically high, however, there are some good deals if you are not in a hurry. It’s also a good time to buy property in the area as prices have remained fairly static in the last couple of years due to the economic crisis. Many apartments in the neighbourhood have students or young people sharing. A certain well-known consultancy firm has also been cramming as many of its overseas employees into apartments as possible, which has led to some issues with the local council. If you are a car owner, you’ll need lots of patience as it’s easier to find a straight Lady Gaga fan than a parking place in this neighbourhood after six pm.
An often overlooked part of Amsterdam is the Rivierenbuurt. A stone’s throw (if you have huge muscles and a good aim) away from the Pijp and Amsterdam Rai. A lovely little suburb full of an interesting mix of yuppies, young couples with families and traditional working-class families that have lived in the neighbourhood for generations. It’s a friendly, Gezellig (pleasant) place. The Maasstraat has some terrific Wine Dealers, cafes and restaurants. It’s safe, clean and has the added benefit that property prices for both buying and renting tend to offer better value for money than the Pijp or other Amsterdam Zuid neighbourhoods. It’s also home to one of best Italian deli’s in Amsterdam, Feduzzi.
If you go to the Palladium and manage to bag yourself that footballer, gangland kingpin or law firm Senior Partner, they will most likely live in this street that also appears in the Dutch version of monopoly. Grand houses and spouses are much in evidence. As are the absolutely essential Range Rovers and Porsche Cayenne’s to deal with the challenging terrain that runs from the end of the Churchilllaan to the Apollolaan Hilton. If you have several million Euros that you’ve lost down the back of your sofa, then buy an apartment here. If you are incredibly overpaid and have between 5 to 10,000 Euros a month to spend on rent, then this is the place for you.
The Stadionbuurt, home to upper middle classes, expats and even more expats. It’s the only neighbourhood in Amsterdam Zuid where you can receive two parking permits per apartment, without a waiting list. There isn’t too much to do in the neighbourhood itself, but the advantage is that whether by bike, public transport or car it’s easy to reach any other part of Amsterdam. The posh and the working their way towards poshness, live close together in this area like bats in a cave. It’s upper-middle-class suburban heaven. Minorities are usually “staff” for the residents of the neighbourhood and the nearby Apollolaan, who like the shallow man are too good to do their own cleaning, ironing or navigate the complex technology that makes up modern household appliances. Rental prices here are extremely high, hence the number of Expats in the area who are on company relocation packages and have failed to negotiate with the cheap suited estate agents, thus keeping the rental prices artificially high.
So ends my summary of Amsterdam Zuid. No drivers of four-wheel drive cars or silver foxes were hurt during the writing of this article.
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