Man-about-town, Personal Stylist to the good and great of Amsterdam and Canal House Ambassador, Bodo Breg, tells us why he loves this city he calls home ...
Where do you live? Tell us about your neighbourhood ...
I moved from the residential "OudZuid" to the more lively "OudWest" just weeks ago and I love discovering the neighbourhood! It's incredibly vibrant and varied with lots of tiny local shops, friendly people, leafy trees and the Vondelpark is just around the corner. An early morning walk in the park is the best way to start any day. The little square I live on has a few picnic tables frequently used by locals and a communal book cabinet, I love that idea.
What do you do on a Sunday afternoon in Amsterdam?
That totally depends on my mood. On rainy days I like to stay in or get comfortable with a book in a cosy hotel such as Canal House. Catching a movie in the Art-Deco theatre "The Movies" or enjoy time in the kitchen, trying out new recipes and having friends over for dinner. I love to wander around art galleries and museums, such as the Hermitage or FOAM.
What do you love most about the city and people?
The compactness, diversity, liveliness and authenticity of Amsterdam never cease to amaze and inspire me. Every area has its own character and uniqueness, yet it only takes 30 minutes by bike to cross Amsterdam from East to West. Amsterdam has all the facilities of a large urban city, yet the feeling of a village. This contradiction can be found in the general character of Amsterdam people too.
Best way to relax?
I love to read, so for me, a new book is always the ultimate escape. Or I book a deep tissue massage at Skins Spa, Babassu or City Spa.
Favourite cocktail bar?
I'm not really a cocktail man, but am pro wine and champagne! Vyne is a great bar to enjoy a wide variety of wines and bites. Freddy's Bar is legendary and boasts a spacious yet cosy feeling tobacco room.
Favourite restaurant or café?
Hard to pick one favourite since it depends on what I'm craving at the moment and the overwhelming amount to choose from in Amsterdam. But just a few: Segugio for their to-die-for truffle risotto. De Kas when I'm in a vegetarian mood (located in a huge greenhouse). Bistrot Neuf for classic French bistrot cuisine and terrific wine cellar. Wilde Zwijnen in up-and-coming, East Amsterdam, features mostly organic food and has great service. De Joffers isn't the city latest hotspot, but it remains a cosy place with one of the best terraces in town. Luxembourg has a Grand Cafe vibe and the Plantage is set at the heart of Artis Zoo, which creates a surreal and magical backdrop. My biggest guilty pleasure are croquetten in all their varieties, from shrimp to veal and truffle to goats cheese!
Best places to shop?
Depending on my needs: Spiegelstraat for the best antiques, Cornelis Schuyt and PC Hooft when I'm in a designer label mood, Petit Salon and Hazenstraat 18 for fabulous vintage finds. Even though the Nine Streets area are more popular for their wide variety of boutiques, I prefer the Herenstraat and Prinsenstraat. The Pijp area for more funky shops as well as the Albert Cuyp market. Most of my perfumes come from Annindraya Perfume Lounge and shoes from Friseau, an upcoming Dutch shoe-designer. And I can hardly wait for Hausmann to open its doors on the Rokin.
Describe your own personal style?
When in town and in my professional life I tend to have a classic style: dark blue jeans, cashmere sweater, crisp white shirt and a tailored jacket. And wherever I travel, I always seem to find that one scarf that was missing from my ever-growing collection ... hence I wear one every day.
Top 5 things you recommend to do in Amsterdam?
1. A private candlelit boat tour at night through the canals, pure magic!
2. Dinner at Le Ciel Bleu, best view over Amsterdam and one of the finest restaurants in town.
3. The Concertgebouw is one of the world’s finest concert halls with an astounding musical repetoire to suit anyone’s taste.
4. Het Grachtenhuis tells all about Amsterdam in the Golden Age in just 45 minutes, great for children too.
5. Book a Hofjes tour: to see hidden treasure gardens behind the facades of the monumental houses and learn about one of the earliest social systems.
Recommend something off the beaten track that tourists don’t know about ...
Take the late afternoon ferry behind Central Station, see a great movie at Eye and from its amazing terrace watch how the city lights come to life as the sun sets over the skyline.
Photography: Amanda Griffioen