The Hallen

I’ve only recently moved to Amsterdam after having lived most of my live near the second biggest city of the Netherlands, Rotterdam. Trading in a city full of raw, modern architecture and a laid back atmosphere was not so easy. Luckily, Amsterdam, with its beautiful canals, quaint houses and cool events, has the ability to charm almost everyone I speak to! However, in my exploration of Amsterdam thus far, I feel a bit confronted with places that are solely aimed at tourists, trying to sell a fabricated Amsterdam experience. These places make it hard to experience the ‘real’ Amsterdam. Even though I feel genuine Amsterdam hot spots can be crowded or expensive as well, at least their aim is to provide everyone, locals, pretend locals (me) and tourists alike, with a good, genuine experience. In this ‘Around Amsterdam’ series I’ll try to uncover some of Amsterdam’s gems, while hoping to avoid the tourist traps.

This first time, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I ventured out to the Hallen with my cousin. The Hallen is a former tram depot in the west part of the city, where Amsterdam’s first electric trams were being serviced. The tram depot has been recommissioned and now houses things such as a library, shops, a cinema and a food court.

We entered the Hallen via de Hannie Dankbaarpassage, a roofed passage way with a few little trinket shops. Coming into the main building, you get the feeling of walking into a big movie studio, with its high ceiling and industrial character. We first walked all the way to the back to the Maker Store, where we browsed through books, jewelry, clothes and homeware. Afterwards, we walked towards the biggest part of the Hallen, the food court, aptly named the Foodhallen. The food court is filled with cute little stalls serving up street food from all over the world. Wandering through the hall it became increasingly harder to pick what we wanted to eat, as everything looked appealing. We discovered that most stalls serve tasting platters with a selection of smaller versions their dishes. The food can be a bit pricey, so we figured we would try the tasting platters and try out more food for less money! We opted for a dim sum platter, a taco platter and some fries on the side. I really loved the atmosphere of the Foodhallen while we were eating, but I unfortunately wasn’t blown away with the food itself. It was nice, I just expected a bit more. Luckily, there are plenty of other booths to try out next time!

Next to the food court is a cinema named the Filmhallen. Standing in front of the quaint little cinema, we spontaneously decided to catch a movie. Tickets for Atomic Blonde were already sold out, so we decided to just pick something random off the list, as we didn’t know the other movies. We ended up enjoying ‘The Edge of Seventeen’, a slightly cliche coming-of-age story starring Hailee Steinfield, whilst sipping on some cocktails. Not a bad way to end the day.

Still from ”The Edge of Seventeen’ – STX Entertainment