Amsterdam isn’t just sex, weed and stag dos as I soon discovered on a recent visit. It has plenty more to offer for those looking to get their otaku fix. Go down the right alley of the Red Light District and you can find anything… namely Amsterdam’s very own China Town. Amsterdam was the first ever European country to have it’s own China Town, and like the UK it is full of quirky shops selling everything from chopsticks, pop! vinyls and the latest manga.
My visit happened to fall on the weekend over Chinese New Year which meant there was a street parade. Crowded, I could barely see and had to push through the masses to even get a glimpse of the dragon! Forgoing the parade and swarm of people I decided to make the most of my limited time in the city and explore the shops that China Town had to offer.
Highlights included a comic store called Gojoker which sold new and second hand issues, a shop selling oriental kitchenware from chopsticks to dim sun baskets and the funky Outland which sold a wide variety of pop! vinyls and other quirky figurines and plushies. The biggest delight was HENK a shop dedicated to anime and manga; very similar to Tokyo Toys in London but narrower and longer, like most of the buildings in Amsterdam. The shop was very crowded which was great to see with a variety of ages browsing the shelves. The shop was great featuring a section dedicated to My Little Pony an extensive manga library, figurines and even a few cosplay costumes.
Inbetween Amsterdam Central Station and Dam Square (where that big tall genital like statue is) there was a niche geek/game clothing shop, with no signage outside I didn’t catch the name, but it is very distinctive with sonic the hedgehog painted on the door and ninja turtles on its walls. The shop sells bags, clothes and accessories of your favourite shows and games from Adventure Time, Ninja Turtles, Wonder Woman and Batman.
Away from Chinatown, along the road where the Anne Frank House is lies ‘A Space Oddity’. Unfortunately it is shut every Sunday and Monday so sadly I never got to see the inside but basically the outlet can be compared to Forbidden Planet focusing on selling sci-fi merchandise with one difference its all vintage dating back to the 70s. Pop in on you way to Anne Frank’s.
Japanese food seemed to be popular in Amsterdam with Japanese restaurants dotted all around the city central, a particular chain that caught my eye was Sushi Daily (similar to Itsu) I enjoyed a salmon nigri and California roll set – fresh and great for on the go. After our nights out partying we stopped by Wok to Walk, (apparently there is one in the UK – where for out thou?) Chinese cuisine and much healthier than a late night kebab…right?
If you get to visit Amsterdam do check these places out, they are all within walking distance of each other. Additionally if you are looking for more things to do visit this site with the ultimate 50 things to do in Amsterdam: http://www.netherlands-tourism.com/things-amsterdam-ultimate-top-50/
Full album of images here: COMING SOON