Suspended Coffee

NT_coffeeIt’s an Italian concept and was originally known as “caffè sospeso“. The idea is that when you buy a coffee you buy a second one for someone else, someone less fortunate who will come to the cafe later in the day. Snopes declares it true and has collected some stories of it in action.

In Dutch it’s known as “uitgestelde koffie”, which literally means “deferred coffee”. Here’s how to say it in Dutch, although in Amsterdam you can probably get away with saying it in English.

Obviously it only works if the cafe is ready to take part. There are cafes in Amsterdam that do take part;

Dragon’s Delight Tolstraat 200

Cafe Pollux Prins Hendrikkade 121

Koffiebar Maling (in the public library, on Roelof Hartplein)

Bagels & Beans De Clercqstraat 22hs

Mezzo IJssalon Dapperplein 36

Cafe Toussaint Bosboom Toussaintstraat 26

Eetlokaal LT Javastraat 116a (uitgestelde soep = deferred soep)


These are the ones I found via an internet search – if you know of others please let me know in the comments.

How low are the low lands?

Pretty low.
About half the country is more than a metre above sea level, mostly that in the east and south of the country. Most of the rest is below sea level, including where I live.

The government puts a lot of work into managing the water across the country, given that it’s a coastal country and laced with rivers this is a challenge.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 22.03.19

There is a whole government department devoted to managing water, they do a lot of pretty interesting innovation, including the huge movable surge barriers in Rotterdam – bigger than the Eiffel tower and they float.But where is “sea level” measured from?

Sea level for Amsterdam, in fact for the Netherlands and much of Northern Europe is measured from the “Normaal Amsterdamse Peil”, or the Amsterdam Ordinance Datum. This is shown in the City Council office by Waterlooplein.


The level of the NAP was estabished in 1684, and based on the average high tide of the IJ between September 1683 and September 1684, and represented a high-water mark. It was then marked on stones on the locks around Amsterdam by order of the Mayor, Mr Hudde. There is only one of these stones remaining in situ, it’s on the Eenhoorsluis, on the corner of Korte Prinsengracht and Haarlemmerdijk.


Even Schiphol is below sea level. This mural is at the city council office on Waterlooplein.


Towers from Drones

The three towers featured are;

REM Island, which started out as a pirate radio station back when there were no commercial radio stations allowed in the Netherlands. It’s now a restaurant with a seafood theme, you can book a table by calling them.

Faralda NDSM Crane Hotel, a hotel built into a crane, the views must be spectacular, and so are the prices. You can book online via the Faralda website.

Ransdorpertoren, a church tower in North Amsterdam, you can visit it during the weekends in summer from 11 – 5, it’d be a nice bike trip out to see it if you were feeling energetic.

(The videos were made by Flying Mikes.)

Overheard on the Train

The trains here have silent carriages, marked with “Stilte/Silence” on the windows. In these carriages you’re supposed to be silent. No phone calls, minimal chat. Silent. It’s a rule that’s taken seriously, and there’s always someone in the carriage who will play policeman if you do chat. Which is what happened today.

On the train today a man from the UK answered his phone, and stayed on it chatting.

A Dutch man got up and pointed to the sign on the window that says silence.

UK man waved his hands and kept chatting.

This was repeated.

Then UK man got up and went to talk to Dutch man – still in the SILENT carriage. This was the exchange.

UK Man

Could I just explain, I’m here in the Netherlands researching what happened my family during the war and that’s what the calls were about.

Dutch Man

That’s fine; you need to take the calls out of this carriage.

Ferry Commuters – Amsterdam

Need to practise, but I like the idea of showing the fast ferry turn around at Amsterdam central station.

Saturday Market; Funny Faces

I was wandering around the second hand sellers on the Noordermarkt today and it struck me that there were lots of funny faces at the market,