Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands and a city of inherent contrast. A place of colour; built on the foundations of the Golden Age, when Dutch art, technology and innovation were at the forefront of global sophisticated thinking. Fast forward to the modern day, and the city’s reputation is bathed in red light, where stags on wild weekends are anything but enlightened. Then there’s the food; you can enjoy the finest that molecular European haute cuisine has to offer, with plates elevated to high art; or, you can elevate yourself higher by dining on the city’s notorious cakes. And of course, Amsterdam is home to world-renowned museums and art galleries, where you can get as high or low brow as you like.

Basically, there’s something for everyone in this great city. With travel from the U.K taking just an hour and English spoken everywhere, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is what’s going in your limited luggage space. Well, we’re here to help; here are 5 IDEAL things to pack for your winter weekend getaway in Amsterdam.

CYCLE FRIENDLY CHIC

Consistently named as one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world, Amsterdam is, without doubt, best explored on two wheels. The city is as flat as a Dutch pannekoeken and has four times as many bikes as cars, nearly a million in total. Everyone is at it, and doing so in their normal threads too; no lycra and carbon road shoes here. That means you’ll be wanting to pack clothes comfortable enough for a good ride around the city, but not too sporty, if you get what we’re driving at. Or should that be cycling at? Tights are a must if you’re in a skirt or dress, a helmet is optional (style your hair accordingly) and shoes fit for both a peddle and a dance are ideal. Which brings us on to…

STURDY SHOES YOU CAN WALK & DANCE IN

Versatile shoes are essential when strutting your stuff in the ‘dam. You’ll need ones comfortable resting on pedals, walking on cobbled streets and doing their thing on the dancefloor. Winter gets cold here, and snow is always a possibility, so something padded is a must. A lot to ask huh? A good, comfy leather ankle boot should do the trick; helping you keep up the pace and keeping your toes snug and warm.  

ADJUSTABLE WAISTLINES

The food in Amsterdam is, to put it bluntly (no pun intended), a little stodgy. It’s also incredibly moreish, and not just because you might be in a permanent state of ‘hunger.’ Going to Amsterdam and not eating pannekoeken, a Dutch version of pancakes, would be a real crime. Traditionally, the Dutch rendition is larger and thinner than its English and American counterparts, and can be enjoyed in sweet or savoury form. We love the version at Upstairs, housed in a tiny 16th century house, with quirky and kitsch decorations including 100 hundred teapots hanging from the ceiling, and interesting pictures of the Dutch Royal Family and old paintings of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam’s Cheese Museum also has plenty of free samples, and the Netherland’s first indoor food market, Foodhallen, keeps the munching possibilities going ‘till late at the weekend. Basically, you’re going to be doing a lot of eating, so pack some trousers with a waistline flexibility.

THE LOCAL LOOK

We’ve already mentioned that you’ll want to be dressing warm, but if you want to fit in snugly, there’s a unique style aesthetic you should be channelling. The Dutch are very fashion conscious, in a low-key kinda way,  with lots of dark shades and muted tones determining the colour palate. Leather jackets are popular all year round, and the 2018 hot trend for layering is big news here. Perhaps they defined it.

NOT VERY MUCH AT ALL

Amsterdam is home to loads of vintage shops and luxury boutiques, and as such, it may be prudent to travel lightly to save room for some shopping during your weekend away.

Jordan is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, and plays host to many of the best opportunities for a fashionable find; Westerstraat is perhaps the grooviest street market in this area. Also, each Saturday, the whole of Lindengracht becomes a market, selling everything from handcrafted items to cheese (of course). Finally, the hipster 9 Streets canal district is a brilliant place to head for shopping in the afternoon leading into a night on the tiles.

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.