Dutch Design Week kickstarts a creative streak

Hallo again!

So as some of you may know from personally hearing me babble on about it, I was really looking forward to Dutch Design Week and was beyond elated to have the timing of my visit align so perfectly! As if my time in Amsterdam wasn’t enough to make me fall in love with all things Dutch, Design Week sealed the deal. Eindhoven is located just over an hour south of Amsterdam and is home to a major university, as well as a prestigious design academy.  Design Week takes place every October, and takes over the entire city- transforming what is normally kind of an aesthetically simple industrial area into a pulsating assemblage of inspiration and creative force. The educational institutions, libraries, galleries, and design studios make elegant displays of their hard work- everything from cleverly-designed handicrafts to more abstract and conceptual works focusing on humanity and the world around us. The diversity of work is not only inspiring- but almost dauntingly immense in imaginative scale that it brings the viewer to question whether it is possible to draw a line between design, art, and anthropology.

Here is a slideshow of some of the work I found interesting, and what I was able to capture is merely the tip, of the tip, of the iceberg.

After a long day of cycling between exhibits we worked up quite the appetite and we spent quite sometime deliberating on where to eat. We started cycling to a restaurant where they apparently make an excellent Stamppot (these names!), a dish I have yet to try but am pretty excited about. Somewhere along the way we saw a random grouping of picnic tables dripping with candles, and Johnny Cash streaming onto the street. There were temporary walls put up with blown-up monochromatic photos and a towering industrial pipe whose base doubled as a wood-burning stove encircled in bench seating. A pop-up called Atelier van Asseldonk had taken residence of the space in partnership with a Dutch beer company called Beerze. A popular attraction at Dutch Design Week, this (one of many) pop-up restaurant had lured us in, and before we knew it our bikes were locked and we were sipping beer and awaiting our €15 dinner. The kitchen was totally makeshift- one catering oven, one grill/smoking egg, and a bunch of cutting boards. It was dark out, and we in the middle of an industrial lot- but that night it was something magical. I put my phone away and enjoyed dinner without taking photos or bothering with social media. This little temporary spot did a great job of stealing us away from the night, and our plans. Also, dinner was shockingly delicious- and way beyond our expectations.


here is a terribly dark photo of the pop-up, the last attempted photo of the evening

Before heading to Eindhoven I had a wonderful dinner at Wilde Zwijnen, located on an unsuspecting corner of a brick building in Amsterdam. The design of the restaurant was industrial-chic but still managed to maintain that lovely Dutch gezellig-ness about it. A three course chef’s menu at €30 includes a starter, entree, and dessert- we forfeited the dessert and instead opted for two starters. They were very accommodating about this, and were happy to oblige. The first starter was a beautifully cooked fillet of fluke with a squid ink sauce, mussels, homemade creme fraiche and the pillowiest, most delicious little blinis. I could have eaten a bowl of those blinis.The second course was a celeriac and turnip soup which seemed to be thickened with potato- tasty but not very photogenic as it lacked any garnish. The final (main) course was a medium-rare sliced steak on a bed of sautéed cabbages, red wine root vegetable sauce and a slice of Brabants worstenbroodje. (A south Netherlands sausage rolled up in crispy bread and baked) Overall the meal was satisfying, and flavourful- but at that price point I would say my expectations were a little higher. I am hoping to save up and sneak in a meal at this place upon my return to Amsterdam.

photo 3photo 2

I will be returning to Holland from Italy for my last 3 days in Europe and I have a short to-do list:

– Try stamppot

-Visit Utrecht

-Eat more herring

-Drink some jenever

– Visit a beer brewery

…This to-do list sure beats the ones I make at home, that is for sure. And, probably more realistic.

More photos of Amsterdam to come- I have had a bit too much Valpolicella and is time to cook the pasta for dinner.

xo. alicia.

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