eco travels: amsterdam, the city of freedom

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the city of freedom + fantasy

while walking along the tree-lined canals of amstserdam on a clear day, a svelte gentleman in a finely-tailored, navy blue suit whizzed by on a scooter. not an unusual sight in the world of blithe bicyclists and zippy commuters on vespas in europe; however this particular gentleman had in tow about 100 pink helium balloons cascading behind like an inflated liberace cape or a one-man pink parade; so many balloons, in fact, i felt i'd been transported inside the animated pixar film up, a fantasy world come to life. 

in that moment i made the decision to simply soak in the smile-inducing spectacle; i left my camera in its case as i watched him ride into a bubble-gum pink sunset. i did however snap shots of some of my fave museums, green spots + plant-strong restaurants to share with you here, including some fabulous cafes with savory vegan dishes to keep you healthy, happy + extra alert when an unexpected personal one-hued rainbow floats by. without further ado, let's draw the curtain on this beautiful, green city!

amsterdam, known as the city of freedom, is one of the world's most multicultural cities and has a fascinating history of tolerance in the netherlands. originally a small fishing village in the 12th century, amsterdam would eventually become one of the most important ports during the 1600s and a haven for religious dissidents. referred to as the world's most liberal city by author russell shorto, he shares, "it was also the publishing centre for the racy philosophical tracts that were too hot to be printed in france or england." * so no burning of the books here, oh la!

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the world's most liberal city

i didn't understand why people continued to ask me if i smoked before, during + after my trip to amsterdam. i realize now that they weren't referring to cigarettes. but i do know about delicious, nourishing food + museums filled with vibrant works of art. here are my faves: 1. van gogh museum so much has been written about the prolific artist, but you'll never know the depths of this passionate painter until you've spent a day in this museum. give yourself ample time to listen to the heartfelt letters exchanged between edgar and his brother theo, as well as artists paul gauguin and emile bernard; 2. fashion for good museum if you wear clothes + you love to learn, come hither. this museum creates a light, colorful + edifying environment where visitors can learn about the pioneers and innovators in the slow fashion world. become involved in a movement to accelerate positive change within the fashion industry and to protect workers + the earth; 3. rijksmuseum just a stone's throw away from the van gogh museum is the dutch national museum, housing objects of history from 1200-2000 which include glorious  art pieces from the "golden age" by masterly painters rembrandt + vermeer.


green spaces + smiling faces

4. wondel park i read about the most visited park in the netherlands, welcoming over 10 million visitors each year, but it wasn't until i was sitting in my very own little corner of this vast, green space that i realized why travelers are drawn to this lush park + broad landscape. there is so much energy from travelers near + far. free concerts are offered at the open-air theater during the summer months + the historical pavilion houses terrace cafe vertigo. dogs, bicyclists, children, runners, relaxers are all welcome; 5. nature's fast food if you're a snack-powered voyager like me, then try stach for fruit, granola, nut mixes + homemade chips with salsa and juice brothers for the most energizing smoothies, vegan pudding + vegan cheesecake too! multiple locations throughout the city for eco boys + girls who need to refuel.


waste not, want not: rescued food + recovered energy

a city with a lofty energy + environmental agenda, amsterdam is increasing its solar and wind powered energy capacity in hopes of being energy neutral by 2025.* amsterdam's solid waste is burned to produce heat + power for the city, and a number of earth-friendly enterprises are also providing green alternatives: 6. meatless districtlocated in the old west, this restaurant + bar offers a changing seasonal menu of organic + vegan dishes. one of the best burgers i've had during my travels was here. phenomenal service and a warm, inviting atmosphere. cool kids of all ages dress up + gather here seven days a week. call ahead for reservations; 7. alchemist garden is a relaxed cafe serving up raw + vegan fare. they have a fun selection of natural + organic gifts including chocolate + teas. free live music later in the evenings draws in the crowds for a lively, buena vista atmosphere; 8. instock learning that 1/3 of food production is wasted was eye-opening, but finding eco entrepreneurs who are using unsold food picked up at local supermarkets to create great plates of healthy cuisine is heartening. instock uses the bounty of this city's produce to turn food surplus into savory meals in a sophisticated environment {see below}. creative chefs at this singular cafe craft dishes made from thoughtfully chosen ingredients. a quaint, expansive space with vegan + gluten-free options. for more veg options pop on over here

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politically progressive, socially integrated and beautifully atmospheric, amsterdam is a city with many draws, and i encourage visitors to pop in to the growing number of inventive + unprecedented green enterprises in the city of freedom!