Amsterdam isn’t traditionally thought of as a health capital, despite its well-documented abundance of bikes. We admit it; ‘coffee shops’ aren’t in short supply, and us Amsterdammers love the occasional portion of deep-fried Bitterballen, Kaasstengels, or even a calorie-dense Kapsalon after an evening out for drinks (don’t judge us – it’s tastier than the photos would have you believe). Healthy or not, we also fully recommend tasting these local snacks when you’re here – consider it cultural immersion. But…
…putting this muffled view aside, Amsterdam is full of delights for health-conscious business travellers. The city is happily riding the new ‘health wave’ currently sweeping the globe, meaning it’s easier than ever to avoid falling into the common trap of poor diet choices and a disrupted exercise routine when travelling for business. It’s not just about maintaining a healthy body, but a healthy mind too – and that’s where Amsterdam excels.
To provide some substance behind our words, here’s a 5-point summary of what makes this city so attractive for travellers wanting to maintain their healthy habits. We’ll introduce you to some of our favourite spots, of course – which we’ve pinpointed on this handy map for you.
1. AMSTERDAM IS THE BIKE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
So what does this mean for business travellers? It means that it’s super easy, safe, and quick to cycle to work. Amsterdam is designed for bikes, so the chances are that you can cycle to and from the workplace much more quickly than via public transport. As cycling burns roughly 200 calories in a 30-minute ride, this makes for a very nice workout to fit effortlessly around your working schedule.
Hire bikes can be picked up from one of the hundreds of rental stores throughout the city. If you’re staying at Zoku, you can rent one of our black, two-wheeled VanMoof beauties for €10 a day – just ask a Sidekick.
2. CLEAN EATERS DEFINITELY WON’T GO HUNGRY
For every snack shop in Amsterdam, there’s also a healthy foodie hotspot. Picking up a quick healthy bite during a lunch break is easy, and vegetarian or vegan business travellers will feel more than at home with the variety of meat-free outlets.
Spirit Amsterdam – a conceptual, veggie buffet restaurant with a unique philosophy that we can really get behind. All ingredients are organic, sugar-free and really, really yummy.
SLA – a Dutch chain serving make-it-yourself salads, with ingredients that are 100% organic, plant-based and often vegan & gluten free.
The Avocado Show – one of the newest kids in De Pijp, this lunch destination is already the subject of international press. Like the name suggests, each of the artful dishes contain the so-called ‘superfood’ Avocado – we recommend The Poke Bowl (mmm). Be prepared to queue, though – even on a weekday.
Pluk Amsterdam – hidden on the mezzanine inside an airy lifestyle and interior store in the heart of The Nine Streets. It’s the perfect healthy lunch spot for a quick sandwich, salad, or juice.
3. STAYING HYDRATED IS A BREEZE – JUICE BARS ARE AROUND EVERY CORNER
And that’s without mentioning the range of fresh juices you can pick up at the local Albert Heijn supermarket.
Juice Brothers – for delicious, nutrient-rich cold pressed juice, you can always rely on Juice Brothers. There are now five locations in Amsterdam. Our local outlet is within High Studios, which resides as a brother to Zoku within the Metropool building.
Roots – an organic, slow-juice bar, serving tasty detoxing ‘herbal elixers’, smoothies and a range of statement juices.
Dr Blend – this place has one of the most extensive juice lists we’ve seen. Need to visit the juice doctor? This is your place. The Dr Green juice is our favourite!
4. UNBEATABLE EVENTS AND VENUES TO GIVE YOUR MIND (AND SOCIAL LIFE) A HEALTH-KICK
Healthy mind, healthy body, as the saying goes. In our humble opinion, this is the most important and commonly overlooked challenge for busy, corporate jet-setters (yes, we’re looking at you). Good news! Amsterdam has more than enough to offer – here’s some recommendations:
The Conscious Club – this ultra-calming space and its events are designed to awaken your mind, body, and spirit. Hosted in the Zen Hall and other Sacred Spaces are a range of events & classes including workshops, meditation, yoga classes and talks. There’s no feeling of pretentiousness or ‘tree-hugging’ here – just good, chilled out vibes.
Go park-hopping – Amsterdam has a total of 40 parks, which are great places to head if you’re looking for somewhere to let your mind wander – or barbeque with new friends or colleagues. Vondelpark is always a hit, but for somewhere less touristy, Sarphatipark in De Pijp and Westerpark are a few of our favourites. For somewhere to really get lost in, head to Amsterdamse Bos.
A City Made By People – a monthly, evening event series made by Amsterdam citizens, for its citizens. The meetup is held at Zoku each month (lucky us!) and every time, we are introduced to inspiring locals with unique & inspiring stories.
The School of Life – the lessons hosted here focus on developing emotional intelligence, and are held during after-work hours. Some favourite classes of ours include ‘How to be more creative’ and ‘Better views on happiness’. Another great place to meet new faces.
5. THERE’S A VARIETY OF UNIQUE & COMMITMENT-FREE EXERCISE OPTIONS
Because let’s face it: signing up for a gym as a business traveller, even just for a month, is inconvenient at best.
Delight Yoga – with one of their locations just around the corner from Weesperstraat, this lesser-known and yes – delightful – yoga studio is a favourite of ours. Pop in for a pay-as-you-go class for €15 and you’ll be on your way to obtaining all the health benefits you’ve heard about: muscle strength, restful sleep, reduced anxiety, stress management, and so on. They offer various subscription options if you plan to stick around for a while, too.
VondelGym – the contemporary aesthetic and unique, friendly atmosphere gives this venue an edge over other ‘regular’ gyms. Their waiting list subscription system means the space is never packed out, and for €15 you get full-day access to crossfit, bootcamp, gymnastics and running classes. That’s in addition to a range of premium fitness equipment.
High Studios – are you ready for a serious workout? Then forget running or lifting regular weights at the gym. These high-intensity classes will get you results, fast (see you soon, six-pack!). Classes can be booked individually for €18, or for a reduced price of €15 if you’re a Zoku resident.
You can check out more of our favourite Amsterdam hotspots here.