This blog post will go into detail about my day-trip to Amsterdam! This is the information I learned while researching safe restaurants there, the language details, and then I’ve compiled things I learned while traveling there in Amsterdam. I had a great experience in the city eating out and getting around. I did safely eat out, but please remember to contact any place for yourself and do what you’re comfortable with, and always bring your epi-pens, as everyone’s allergy is different.
Amsterdam reminded me a lot of one of my favorite cities- Copenhagen! So, in short, I absolutely loved it. I definitely want to return to explore it again and also see rural Holland in the Spring when the tulips are in bloom!
I contacted a number of restaurants in advance, trying to cast a wide net and have a few options, but we only actually ate at one: The Avocado Show. I was prepared here with my Dutch and French chef cards I made, but everyone spoke English in Amsterdam. I had a safe meal, albeit it was slightly underwhelming. They definitely hype it up with the décor, but the meal was only so-so. However, I did not have a reaction of any type and they were understanding and knowledgeable about allergies.
I also emailed Vapiano/Vapiano People, which is an Italian type of chain restaurant with multiple locations around Amsterdam, and they let me know that no peanuts or peanut oil was used. When we got there I felt uncomfortable eating because it was buffet style, so there is no server to talk to. We were in a hurry to catch a train, but if we had more time, I would’ve talked to the hostess more about my allergy and likely felt comfortable eating there. These are situations when it’s important to bring safe snacks for yourself, because that was my “dinner” for the night to hold me over until we got back to our hotel room where I could heat up a meal in the microwave.
Two additional places I contacted that I heard back from that DO use peanut products were:
- Pancakehouse Upstairs – a popular local spot in a home dating back to 1539, at the time in 2018 they let me know they do cook the pancakes in peanut oil.
- Brouwerij ‘t IJ – a brewery with one of the last remaining windmills in Amsterdam. They have peanuts on their menu and were very upfront about it and warned me to not come in for a beer tasting.
For grocery stores, Marqt and AH Grocery both looked like nice stores there with big selections, but we didn’t end up needing to go since we brought so many snacks with us! I did wear my N95 face mask on the train in and out of Amsterdam from Belgium when we were nearby people, but luckily it wasn’t a super packed ride in, so I was able to take it off some. I did wipe down the seats before sitting down and was careful to not touch my hands to my face.
At the Van Gogh Museum I had no issues with peanut products out & about, it didn’t seem like people were snacking or eating there, so that was a nice surprise! When I did see food for sale, I did not see any peanuts or peanut items. We also took advantage of the canals and rented a pedal boat (which I wiped down with a wet wipe) to sight-see a different way on our own! We also walked around exploring the Red Light District, Jordaan Neighborhood. and the floating flower market with no issues either- Amsterdam was super walk-able!
Months before we even traveled abroad, I reached out to places inquiring on peanuts, and also contacted some other surrounding areas, because I wasn’t sure if we would have time to explore elsewhere in the Netherlands. We did not, but I liked being prepared so I didn’t have to spend my vacation time looking for peanut-free places.
Here is the more general Netherlands research I did:
- If you’re into classic cars, 1hr -1 ½ hr away by train is the Lowman Museum.
- Haarlem is only 15 minutes outside of city by public transit, it has a Dutch windmill, lots of shops, and monuments dating back 800 years, it was once a major North Sea trading port.
- Haarlem to Bloemendaal aan Zee beach is only a 30 min bike ride, or 15 min bus ride! Bike through Zuid-Kennemerland national park https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g188587-d1065752-r395896009-Bloemendaal-North_Holland_Province.html (much less crowded than Zaandvort beach)
- Zaanse Schans is a 15 min train ride followed by a 10 min walk – In its 18th and 19th century heyday, the Zaan region was an important industrial area dotted by hundreds of windmills producing linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, paper and other products. Many choose to visit the Zaanse Schans as part of a guided tour or excursion, but the village is also easy to reach under your own by car or public transport – just catch the train from Amsterdam’s Central Station. A 15-minute train ride will take you to Koog-Zaandijk and it’s a 10-minute walk from the station. Just look for the windmills!
That’s all I’ve got! I hope this is helpful, I highly recommend Amsterdam to anyone even remotely interested in visiting. It didn’t feel as touristy as I thought it would, and was very clean and quaint, and it was a perk that there wasn’t a language barrier if you’re traveling from the U.S.!