Model, beauty guru, owner of Indigo Cosmetics and Canal House Ambassador, Silke van der Laan, gives us an inside look at her Amsterdam ...
Where do you live / describe your neighbourhood?
I live in a beautiful but kind of stuffy part of town. I find it offsets my life the best. :-) I love being close to the Vondelpark and cycle through it whenever I can, even if it means a detour. It's great for checking out the seasons, the weather, the people...and dodge all the kamikaze tourists on bikes. Twice not so successfully I'm afraid.
What do you do on a Sunday afternoon in Amsterdam?
I like to walk around the city and discover stuff. I also like to do real mum things when the kids are around like baking, reading, playing ball. The city is full of fun things for them as well; art classes at the Rijksmuseum, for example. In my mind I also do exercise on Sunday, but this almost never happens in real life.
What do you love most about the city and people?
I love most that you can cycle anywhere and that it's extremely beautiful, especially at night, cycling over the canals.
I couldn't generalise what I love about the people, like you can do in some cities. Some are great, others not. I could do with a bit less '...I'm just being honest'. :-)
Best way to relax?
Yoga with Dorrith from Delight Yoga. I don't mean this in any way as an insult, but she puts me right to sleep! Once every six months that is, because between business, children, and having a social life, relaxing drops quite far down the list of things to do, or better, to not do.
Luckily, I manage the art of relaxing while I work, by hiring amazing people that I enjoy being around, and also got very lucky with my kids.
Favourite cocktail bar?
I thought about this and came to the shocking realisation that I have never been in a cocktail bar I DIDN'T like... I find this very shallow. But still, not embarrassed in the least!
Favourite restaurant, café?
The Gebr. Hartering - I LOVE that place; the food, the ambiance, the location. Also, there is a GREAT cocktail bar next door!
I’m still looking for a favourite cafe though. I love old style ones like Welling and the Wetering, where we have the 'dolle donderdag' meet-up once a month with a group of friends. For health food, People's Place on the Overtoom is great. They manage to make healthy food SO tasty.
Best places to shop?
No doubt SPRMRKT on the Rozengracht. The owner, Nelleke, finds the most beautiful things from the most beautiful brands, and is one of the best people I've met in my entire life. I much rather spend my money on good things and good people.
Describe your own personal style?
I dress well, I hope; I like nice clothes, and feel comfortable in many different styles, left over from my modeling days perhaps. I really like to dress my mood. But I also notice since the selfie came about, that there is always something wrong with my outfit; there is a hole somewhere, a button missing, forgot to iron a sleeve, that sort of thing.
Top 5 things you recommend to do in Amsterdam?
1. Walk on local shopping streets. The Jan Pieter Heijestraat is one of my favourites for antiques, great little restaurants, off beat clothing stores, etc.
2. Get a hot chocolate at Urban Cocoa (across from SPRMRKT, how convenient). Also buy the rest of their chocolate - as much as you can carry!
3. Have a coffee at Toasty's on Overtoom. The proud owner was barista of the year, and all though the place looks simple, the coffee is GREAT.
4. Take a walking tour with a good guide. The history of the city is so interesting. Also, most of the tours take you past the place that has the best Dutch fries in the Regenboog Steeg – the queue can reach the Heilige Weg, but you will still thank me for pointing it out.
5. Go to a small museum, like the Van Loon. Instead of LOOKING at history you really feel what it was like to live here in the Golden Age. You can also have tea in their lovely garden.
Also, cycle all the way along the Amstel. In summer, that is. There are lovely spots where you can have a drink, and even swim if you're brave enough.