For us creative souls, there is nothing quite like finding inspirational treasures when we visit a new place, yes? If you’re anything like me, you’ll love to stray away from the beaten touristy track, away from large department stores and retail chains, and search out the real identity of the place – the kind of things you don’t find in tourist guide books.
But now, if you are thinking about a trip to Amsterdam, there is a guide book that will take you to just these sort of places. Amsterdam: Made by Hand, beautifully compiled by the lovely Pia Jane Bijkerk, is the best guide book for Amsterdam, and I can say that because I used it myself during a recent trip and it led me to discover all kinds of lovely around this charming city.
Boekie Woekie – a bookshop with over 8000 unusual and interesting titles created by artists
If you get your hands on this little gem of a book, the first thing you’ll notice is Pia’s exquisitely soulful photography which in itself is so rich in inspiration that it will get your creative juices flowing at the first flick.
Swarm – an atelier where old oil paintings are reinvented – by appointment only
The book is divided into ‘wanders’, perfect to help you plan how you want to spend your time in the different areas. It doesn’t come with a map, but each featured place comes with an address, opening times and phone number. So when planning your trip, all you need is Google Maps to help you pinpoint the exact location of the place you want to visit, and a paper map of Amsterdam where you can mark it.
Tip: If you have an iPhone, Amsterdam The Map is a very handy app – http://www.themap.nl
The Frozen Fountain – a treasure trove of design and craft
There are so many amazing places featured in this book that I had a very difficult time choosing only a few to photograph for this review. Truly, Amsterdam is brimming with creativity and I love this book for helping the reader discover some of these treasures. Amongst the pages are also recommendations for cafes and restaurants. Pia also encourages the traveller to create his/her own wanders… do this, and you will be rewarded with discovering even more lovely and yummy!
Knopenwinkel (translation: Button Shop) – cute as a button on the outside, filled with lovely buttons of every kind on the inside
Anneke Schat – metal sculptor, jewellery artist and painter