Alright people, here we are on the last stop of my summer European extravaganza – it’ll soon be on to everyone’s favorite cozy season of the year! But before you slip on those fuzzy bunny slippers and order your first pumpkin spiced latte of the year, let’s savor the last bit of summer in the Netherlands.
My last stop in Amsterdam was a spontaneous addition to my journey, but I figured why the heck not? I was already halfway across the globe anyway. Plus, there are a few countries in Europe that are Jedi Masters of the ‘cozy’ culture and happy living, the Netherlands being one of them.
The people most famous for secrets to happy living and a cozy lifestyle are the Danes (*wink wink* on an upcoming destination), as they embody a concept known as ‘hygge’ (pronounced hoo-gah.) But there is an inherently Dutch concept similar to hygge, known as ‘gezellig’ (pronounced heh-sell-ick, starting and ending with the typically Dutch ‘g’ sound.)
The concept of gezellig is said not to even have a direct English translation but everything about it suggests coziness, homey, snuggly, friendliness, enjoyable atmosphere, and gregariousness. This concept could refer to anything from a enjoying a meal with friends to bike riding on a perfectly sunny day (also with pleasant company). But the concept of gezellig can also show someone belonging, time spent with family and loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or the general togetherness that gives people a warm feeling of community.
According to Slate columnist, Seth Stevenson, the only common trait to all descriptions of gezellig “is a rather general and abstract sensation of individual well-being that one typically shares with others. All descriptions involve a positive atmosphere, flow or vibe that colors the individual personal experience in a favorable way and in one way or another corresponds to social contexts.”
But rather than try to explain this enigmatic concept to you, I thought I’d share a few gezellig eateries scattered around Amsterdam which I had the pleasure of visiting. It wasn’t very difficult to find them. As you can imagine, the Dutch take extra care to carve out spaces and time for cozy, delightful, “gezellig moments.”
Kinkerstraat 112, 1053 ED Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lot Sixty One is surely a coffee lover’s paradise. Great tasting coffee that’s roasted fresh daily on location in Amsterdam Oude West. Owners Adam Craig and Paul Jenner thought the location was so picturesque, it the perfect spot to share their passion for Aussie coffee culture.
The interior features warm warn in wood tones with a back-drop of subway tiles who harbor stories of commuters from their previous lives. This is the perfect setting for an L12 Probat coffee roaster, which takes centre stage on roasting days. – Lot Sixty One
– Gezellig moment –
The feeling of time slowing down comes over you, sipping on your freshly brewed espresso lounging outside on a sunny day near the canals. Cyclists and pedestrians alike going about their day while you take in moments of pure bliss, happy just where you are – just you and your espresso on a bench outside Lot Sixty One soaking up the gentle warmth of the sun.
Singel 180, 1015 AJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
The shop is a rustic chic lined with marble counter and glass vitrine for pastries. The rest of the cafe is old worn down wood and exposed brick for a rugged yet cozy feeling. Relax at one of the marble topped tables in the back and be sure to check out the beautiful antique sink that sits rather nonchalantly in the middle of the shop walls. Or perch on the benches outside the front window and watch the world play out at this busy intersection on the Singel canal.
– Gezellig Moment –
After you and your cafe hunting bestie nibble on the sticky stroop waffel that sat warm atop your coffee cups – you pace your indulgence knowing that just next door there is delicious cheese at Reypenaer and across the street, world class bonbons await you at Puccini. All to be enjoyed accompanied by the natural flow of conversation that only occurs between two people who’ve been friends since they knew how to spell ‘gezellig.’
Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Once an old tram depot, newly renovated into a hall of food! Inspired by indoor food markets around the world, Foodhallen is a loft like space where you can travel the world tasting the best “culinary Amsterdam” has to offer. Various hospitality concepts will serve a selection of small (signature) dishes from over 20 stalls, varying from Michelin star concepts to “streetfoods.” A foodie hot spot so good, I came back here three times!
– Gezellig Moment –
Not all gezellig moments are calm and serene – they can be filled with lively music, laughter and warm chatter, and great cocktails. Grab your fittest foodie friends and have a night out sharing all the different tasty treasures Foodhallen has to offer! The more friends you have the more food you can share! In this case, more really is more…
Ceintuurbaan 282-284, 1072 GK Amsterdam, Netherlands
What used to be a Rijksmonument art deco theater, is now a relaxation oasis – bean bags, couches, low tables, bar seating, nooks, mezzanines, you name it – all the spots are picture perfect for kicking back with your friends. White and rustic wood furnishings create a chic but relaxed chill out vibe in the spacious and airy four/five story building.
– Gezellig Moment –
Plopping down on a fluffy bean bag high in the mezzanine while sipping on your coffee enjoying the chilled out vibes like “taking off your shoes, letting your hair down and dancing in the warm sand.” Coffee & Coconuts celebrates the abundance of life among passionate makers and bakers, in a space of creative spirits feeling the calming beach vibrations. Right at the heart of the beautiful buzzing city of Amsterdam.
– CT Coffee & Coconuts
Jan Evertsenstraat 136, 1056 EK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Darkness fades when a visitor steps into White Label, both literally and figuratively. Nothing and no one is left in the dark – at this cafe it is all light and lightness. The walls are white and the floor a gentle blonde wood. Oriental rugs, whimsical artwork, and luscious houseplants invite customers to set down their laptops and observe the world we so easily let pass by. Even more so, the owners and baristas are friendly, warm and welcoming and share everything they know. Keeping you in the light about how your coffee was sourced, roasted, and brewed with the utmost care.
– Gezellig Moment –
You’re among friends here. Friends who share everything they know. No secrets, no sneaky ploys. Just open hearts and open minds who love to linger around with you savoring the fruits of successful loving partnerships in a single cup of perfect coffee.
So, are you ready to get your G E Z E L L E I G on?