Celebrating Thanksgiving in Amsterdam

Events, Food — By Anna Bandurska on October 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend, and American Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  If you find yourself in Amsterdam on any of these days and are feeling a bit homesick, here are some tips on how to re-create the experience in a country that is completely Thanksgiving Day devoid.

There are some very nice restaurants around the city, and even if they don’t serve turkey, you will still be able to have a warm, hearty meal made with some homey ingredients.  De Silveren Spiegel is a  classy restaurant located in a historical 17th Century building, serving interesting meals out of traditional ingredients.

If you’re looking for something more casual and easier on the wallet, check out the Stoop en Stoop near Leidseplein.  The restaurant specializes in traditional Dutch dishes, and what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving abroad than with a stampot (mashed potatoes mixed with leek and a meatball on top).  It sounds weird (and it kind of is), but it’s quintessentially Dutch cuisine.

When abroad, never underestimate the power of a good steak, and one of the best is at the Nacht Wacht in Rembrandtplein.  Steak is not really a Thanksgiving meal, but its delicious and familiar, while the Nacht Wacht is a great place to meet with friends before heading out for a night of partying in Rembrandtplein.

If you really want a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, the American Book Center occasionally organizes such an event at the American Community Center (run by the same people).  You can meet expats and travellers alike, and enjoy some of the more familiar dishes.  Visit the American Book Center for more details.

Finally, for the more ambitious visitors who may have access to a kitchen, you can try to cook your own Thanksgiving dinner, but this will be difficult.  You will be able to find basic ingredients such as potatoes and corn at one of the city’s many grocery stores.  The Albert Heijn is the country’s leading grocer, and you can find the biggest one right behind Dam Square.  If they don’t have what you need, there is also an Albert Heijn at the north end of the Bloemenmarkt (flower market) and near Waterlooplein.

All your other ingredients will be more difficult to find, and items such as stuffing and canned cranberry can only be bought at shops specializing in imported foods.  A turkey can be pre-ordered from one of the butchers on the Albertcuypmarkt (the city’s longest street market), but the whole experience will be difficult, frustrating, and possibly yield no results.  That being said, plan to celebrate your Thanksgiving in Amsterdam at a restaurant.