An interview with Lilian and Eltjo...

Founders of Sincerely Yours, Lilian Tilmans and Eltjo Stopel, create bespoke tours and open doors to Amsterdam’s most exceptional experiences.  They give us an exclusive look into custom-made Amsterdam …

Photo by: Neeltje de Vries.

Lilian and Eltjo, tell us a bit about you and what you do for a living …
Eltjo organises events and Lilian arranges content for international journalists who visit Amsterdam.  We decided to team up at an event Eltjo organized and Lilian attended for press. We then decided to make the best bespoke tours for private and corporate clients ever. We know so many interesting people in Amsterdam thanks to our different backgrounds. They are our friends and we are proud to work with them. Designers, photographers, couturiers, artists, they all like to host and provide insights into their Amsterdam, thus creating unique experiences.

Best place to experience Dutch design?
For an overall view, we recommend the Stedelijk Museum. But the best way to experience Dutch Design it is by joining our private tours. We take you to the workshops of designers.  You will meet Amsterdam’s creatives and share ideas. Let your mind be surprised. We love to show you around.

Culinary highlights of the city?
For different magazines and international food critics Lilian visits chefs.  The Amsterdam culinary scene has become very exciting! To name a few Chef Jaimie from Moon restaurant, Chef Michiel from C and Baut, Chef Joris  from Rijks, Chef Freek from Breda, and Chef Richard from the new 212. They all want to pamper their guests with the best food available.  We very much applaud the attitude of these enthusiastic chefs.

Where do you take clients who want to explore the history and heritage of Amsterdam?
For us freedom of expression in all senses is what makes up the history and heritage of the city. Amsterdam thrived on newcomers with new ideas and that is still the case. In the Golden age the city grew thanks to freedom and the wealth from that era is still alive today.  So to us, we show you the people that make the city, because they make up the Amsterdam DNA.

Most underrated museum or gallery?
For a good understanding of Amsterdam we would suggest The Grachtenhuis. Here you can see how the canals were designed. After a visit you definitely look in a different way at all the magnificent canal houses. And while you are at it, visit Museum van Loon. Here you get a glimpse of the history of the wealthy merchant families.  For more history, the Amsterdam Museum will do nicely. But we also like the Museum of handbag and purses, the National costume museum and we also love FOAM. And you know what...., they are all within 10 minutes walking from each other.

What’s Amsterdam’s best kept cultural secret?
We think the Six collection with all these fabulous masterpieces in a private house of the family Six. You can make reservations on the website. But also the festivals like Milkshake or Open Air. Sunday afternoon performances in the Vondelpark on a sunny summer day is definitely a great way to see Amsterdam at its most relaxed. Free and fun for all.

Best place to go when you want to live like a local?
We recommend all areas in Amsterdam... but on bike.

There are cycle paths everywhere... so maybe take your bike on the ferry to Noord, like Amsterdam people do and just cycle cycle cycle, climb dutch mountains... the bridges. We do recommend to stop for red traffic lights, so DO NOT act like the locals in this case.

If you had 24 hours in Amsterdam, what would make your must-do list?
Go up the A’DAM tower. It is the lowest observation deck in the world. But since Amsterdam is below sea level, you get a great view of the city. Then continue your historic trip through the Zeedijk or Warmoesstraat, the first streets of Amsterdam. Grab a lunch at one of the many small restaurants like Le Lion Noir. Vondelpark is next, stroll around and have a beer at one of the terraces. Order bitterballen as a snack and sit back and relax watching the people go by.

 For those with time on their hand... Try to make a reservation for Vuurtoreneiland. The boat will leave around seven and will take you to Vuurtoreneiland for a culinary experience you will never forget. You will be back around midnight.