Why Amsterdam is so much more than the stereotypes

Why Amsterdam is so much more than the stereotypes
Jan Luyken

Attracting over 18 million tourists a year, Amsterdam has become the hot spot for travellers across the globe.

Filled with tree-lined streets, picturesque canals and some of the finest culinary creations and art, the Dutch city has something for everyone – despite the stereotypes. Now, we can't speak about Dam without addressing the elephant in the room.

You could be a foodie; an art enthusiast; a world traveller, or simply passing through the city on a connecting flight – but you'll inevitably be asked by friends, family and peers about your smoking habits – or lack of.

Yes, it's legal – but it certainly isn't the be-all, end-all. In fact, tourists who have had the pleasure of visiting Amsterdam recently would have noticed the absence of smoke in the air, which is down to a newly enforced rule last month.

There's much, much more to the beautiful, culturally enriched city.

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Nestled in the Museum Quarter of the city resides Jan Luyken, a newly-renovated property surrounded by depths of culture and an elegant shopping street. Think, the Bond Street of Amsterdam.

From rich-coloured walls graced with contemporary art to grande mirrors and fringed lampshades, it's no surprise l immediately fell for Jan Luyken.

The moment you step into the hidden gem, you feel the essence of laidback luxury and incredible attention to detail woven throughout. There's not a corner in the hotel that ignores the memo, from the reception area adorned with delicate glassware and vibrant flowers to the rooms that boast comfortable beds, stunning Amsterdam views and tons of natural light.

Jan Luyken

Jan Luyken is also home to a host of some of the friendliest staff members I've met on my travels, happy to assist with any questions during my stay.

They were also equipped with recommendations on some of the area's best fine-dining restaurants and world-famous museums.

There are also plenty of shared spaces dotted around the ground floor – perfect for winding down after a long day exploring the city.

There's a library decked out with an array of books and lifestyle magazines that truly make Amsterdam feel like a home away from home – especially for a solo traveller like myself.

Jan Luyken

The hotel even provides guests with a kitchen, complete with top-of-the-range Smeg appliances and complimentary baked goods, beverages and fresh fruit.

The garden terrace adds an extra special spin, as outdoor spaces are often considered quite a rarity among hotels. It's located next to an aesthetically pleasing gym that makes working out feel that little bit easier.

With a hotel so impressive, it can sometimes be tempting to stay in and around it – but with 48 hours in the city, I had to temporarily leave my newfound home comforts to prove that Amsterdam is much more than the stereotypes.


Amsterdam does many things well, museums being one of them. The city is jam-packed with cultural experiences, from fine art to photography and history. Two days certainly won't get you through the array of galleries across the city, but there are two in particular that should not be missed.

  • Moco Museum: Founded in 2016, the independent museum boasts a variety of modern, contemporary, and street art. Here, you will find pieces from Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Icy & Sot, JR, KAWS, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Yayoi Kusama, THE KID, Andy Warhol, Studio Irma, among many more.
  • The Museum of Prostitution: While Amsterdam's sex industry remains open, there's still an air of mystery surrounding it. At the world's first prostitution museum, you will learn about the Red Lights Secrets through an interactive experience. Without giving too much away, the museum delves into the history of sex work in the city, what a typical room looks like and positive testimonials. It also does not shy away from the darker truths of the industry, such as trafficking and unsolved murder cases.


  • Vondelpark: Considered one of the city's most famous parks, this charming area makes the perfect destination to wind down from walking around the city after a long day. During the summer months, there's a host of activities, bandstands – and it even has its own Picasso sculpture hidden along the path.


  • Dinner in the Pulitzer Garden: For the foodies, this al-fresco dining experience is a must. Inspired by modern-Dutch cuisine, it offers a wide range of impressive culinary creations and beautifully crafted cocktails. This gem is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an idyllic view of the tranquil gardens.

For more information about Jan Luyken, click here.

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