March 23, 2023



My fiftieth birthday celebrations in Amsterdam

6 min read

Turning 50 is a fairly large deal within the Netherlands. I’ve usually seen indicators of it in Amsterdam and across the nation – household and mates enhance the home of the one celebrating with festive bunting, banners and balloons emblazoned with “50”, and typically outstanding, inflated figures on the entrance garden! The birthday particular person is known as ‘Abraham’ or ‘Sarah’, a customized that celebrates the knowledge gained over fifty years, and is predicted to throw a celebration (and foot the invoice). That is how I celebrated my fiftieth birthday in Amsterdam.

No means I used to be having one thing like that in my entrance yard! (picture courtesy of FaceMePLS/Flickr)

After I ushered in 2022, I keep in mind my ideas drifting to the ‘milestone’ forward and the stress of planning one thing particular. I had 9 months to plan my fiftieth birthday. Within the months that adopted, numerous concepts and plans have been formulated and scrapped. Would I favor a giant social gathering or a small, intimate celebration? Ought to I organise a single occasion or a number of occasions over the course of some days? Plan one thing in Amsterdam or elsewhere? I couldn’t make up my thoughts. I knew one factor for positive: I didn’t need any bunting and undoubtedly no inflatable figures!

Then someday, about two months earlier than my birthday, it hit me! What I actually wished and knew I might get pleasure from, was to rejoice my fiftieth birthday in Amsterdam with my family members, doing issues I like. I created a birthday itinerary that just about had ‘me’ written throughout it! Haha! And you realize what? It turned out to be an unforgettable day stuffed with laughter, love and fabulous meals, and a storm, sunshine and some rainbows thrown in!

how to spend a 50th birthday in amsterdam
I used to be all smiles the entire day!

A non-public birthday cruise

We began out within the afternoon by boarding a ‘notary boat’, a 100-year-old boat that was previously used for enterprise dealings. I’d organized a 1.5 hour personal cruise round Amsterdam full with excessive tea and wine. It was chilly and wet after we boarded – good factor I employed a ship with a roof! – and located the excessive tea fantastically laid out on the desk. There was a mixture of sandwiches, wraps, desserts, goodies, macarons and scones. Within the little bar, there was a collection of wines and champagne. The pleasant skipper welcomed us on board and promptly served us a scorching cup of tea.

It was pouring after we received to the boat!
fiftieth birthday celebrations in amsterdam
Excessive tea on board

A number of minutes after leaving the pier, the darkish clouds made means for brilliant sunshine, permitting us to open the home windows and benefit from the view. I chosen a bottle of wine earlier than tucking into the scrumptious excessive tea. We ate, drank and listened to the skipper as he instructed us tales concerning the landmarks we handed. Amsterdam seemed completely superb within the sunshine.

Listening to the skipper’s commentary
Blue skies and sunshine as we cruised round Amsterdam.
amsterdam private birthday canal cruise
We cruised within the Elisabeth, a 100-year-old ‘notary boat’.

I’d been on quite a few personal cruises earlier than however this one, with its scrumptious excessive tea served on porcelain, and a non-public bar with top-notch wines and champagne, felt extra becoming for the event. Everybody had a superb time, and I couldn’t cease grinning from ear to ear!


Fabrique des Lumières

After the cruise, we made our strategy to the Fabrique des Lumières within the Westergasfabriek. I attended the opening of this digital artwork centre just a few months earlier. The exhibition of the works of Klimt and Hundertwasser was completely magical and I knew my mates would find it irresistible too.

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art attraction amsterdam
The Fabrique des Lumières within the Westergasfabriek.
The primary exhibition at Fabrique des Lumières options the works of Gustav Klimt.

We spent greater than an hour there watching the multimedia present in complete amazement. Learn my submit about Fabrique des Lumières, which additionally features a video of the expertise.

An structure stroll

From the Westergasfabriek, we walked via the leafy Westerpark to the Spaarndammerbuurt, a district identified for its Amsterdam College of Expressionism structure. I’m a giant fan of this architectural fashion so it was a pleasure to tour the neighbourhood, which additionally has some cool wine bars and eating places.

amsterdam school architecture
Het Schip museum, a major instance of the Amsterdam College architectural fashion
Spaarndammerbuurt has many examples of the Amsterdam College of Expressionism.
The Amsterdam College of Expressionism fashion even extends to the fonts used for home numbers.

Our structure stroll continued within the adjoining Houthavens district. This space was once a part of the Amsterdam port, which was as soon as one of many world’s most essential service provider ports. This new neighbourhood, constructed on a number of islands and piers, is designed to be local weather impartial. I like the combo of architectural kinds, from vibrant cubes to a contemporary tackle the historic canal homes.

Houthavens houses
A contemporary tackle historic canal homes.

We stopped on the Karaat bar/restaurant for a drink and a snack earlier than making our strategy to our dinner spot.

Karaat cafe and restaurant in Houthavens.

Dinner at REM

For my fiftieth birthday dinner, I wished a restaurant at a singular location, ideally with a view and that served glorious meals and wines. For me, this was a very powerful a part of my birthday itinerary. It needed to be spot on! I took my time researching eating places in Amsterdam and selected REM. Housed in a former communications platform that was moored within the North Sea, REM actually ticked the field when it comes to a singular location. I requested for a desk with a view; one other field ticked! I additionally learn many evaluations concerning the meals and nearly all of them have been optimistic.

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REM restaurant

REM is moored on the finish of a protracted pier on the Houthavens. As we have been midway alongside the pier, a storm handed and immediately, we have been battling sheets of rain and the howling wind. The rain miraculously stopped and blue skies returned simply as we approached the restaurant! We have been drenched however my greatest buddy assured me that this was an indication of excellent issues to come back. Haha!

We took the carry to the highest and stepped straight into the restaurant. The massive home windows supplied panoramic views of the Amsterdam Ij-Harbour and town skyline. We have been led to a desk in a nook so we had improbable views on two sides. The view of the harbour, mixed with menacing rain clouds and patches of blue, was merely spectacular!

cool restaurant amsterdam
Contained in the REM restaurant
Feeling very blissful!
Spectacular clouds
At one level, we have been handled to the sight of a double rainbow!

4-course Chef’s menu at REM

We opted for the chef’s four-course dinner and it was excellent! Every course was a deal with in itself, that includes recent components, ingenious flavour combos and exquisite plating.

The beautiful starter
The meals was top-notch!
And dessert was an indulgent finale!
One final have a look at REM earlier than we left.

It was a really unforgettable day stuffed with fantastic, usually hilarious moments with my family members. For me, it was the right strategy to rejoice my fiftieth birthday in Amsterdam. It positive was essentially the most fulfilling birthday I’ve ever had!

Would you want to rearrange the same day for an important day in Amsterdam?

Comply with these 3 steps:

  1. Guide the Elisabeth and excessive tea association right here. Alternatively, e-book this personal cruise with drinks, or this romantic cruise with bubbly
  2. Buy your tickets right here for Fabrique des Lumières
  3. Guide a desk at REM.

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