Raised in Massachusetts. University years in New York City. Graduate school in Utrecht. Amsterdammer...
Top summer terraces in the Netherlands16 July 2014, by Benjamin Garstka
In summertime, it’s one of the most valuable assets in the Netherlands: outdoor space.
With that first bit of sun (and it really only needs to be a bit) cities around the country transform as parks, streets, squares and canals fill with those in need of some therapeutic vitamin D.
Sunshine in Holland is a genuine catharsis: not only does the scenery change, people’s personalities do too. But the real question remains: when the sun calls, where should you go to answer?
The choices can be overwhelming, but the following mix of roof-top, canal-side, flâneur-friendly, sun-soaked terraces and patios will have you sporting a tan that will make all of Ibiza jealous.
Amsterdam's alternative terraces
From the edges of North to the bustling centre, the Dutch capital takes the art of lounging to new heights with a mix of terraces that rivals café-cultures of cities worldwide.
Address: TT Neveritaweg 59
This gem in the former harbour area of Amsterdam North is the perfect summer hang-out: an urban beach with artistic seating, a winning indoor-outdoor arrangement and a view on the IJ that gives you that holiday vibe.
Address: Theophile de Bockstraat 1
Just outside the southern gates of the Vondelpark, this corner café spills onto the street in the summer. Beat the crowds in the centre and lounge among locals while sipping a delicious Belgian import on the edge of the river Schinkel.
› Café P96
Address: Prinsengracht 96
Not technically a terrace, Café P96 opens the top deck of the adjacent boat located at the heart of the Prinsengracht for the summer. It’s self-service, but worth every penny with views on the Westerkerk and activity on the water.
Address: Funenkade 7
It would be impossible to make a list of top terraces without including the brewery set in a windmill! The terrace of the tasting room fills up quick and is full of friendly Amsterdammers, internationals and tourists drinking craft-brews made on site.
Rotterdam roof-tops and views
When it comes to terraces, the horeca managers in Rotterdam certainly play to their contemporary urban advantage and offer some of the best (and most spacious) roof-tops and viewpoints to have a drink.
Address: Museumpark 25
Formerly the NAi (Nederlands Architectuur Institute), the tranquil terrace of Het Nieuwe Instituut right on the water in the Museumpark remains one of the sunniest in Rotterdam.
Address: Stationsplein 45
Although the terrace on the ground-floor is nice, the roof-top café and bar of grand café Engels is spectacular. Take in views of the skyline and keep an eye-out for DJs, live-music, barbeques and other events.
Address: Willemsplein 77
With more than 250 seats, there’s never a shortage of space at this terrace. Throw in a wind-protected lounge area and a killer view on the Erasmusbrug and you’ll see why this terrace is top!
Eindhoven's hidden terraces
Not known as a café city, Eindhoven is home to some sun-drenched gems that are sure to surprise visitors.
Address: Bilderdijklaan 10
You don't need to be visiting the museum to enjoy their wonderful café. With a pavilion extending over the Dommel, the terrace is as delightfully contemporary as the art inside.
Address: Alberdingk Thijmlaan 18
Large, quiet and on the edge of the Stadswandelpark, this terrace is ideal for lunch, dinner or borrels with friends.
Address: Kleine Berg 16
With an inner garden that mimics a Mediterranean patio, this grand café does great basic meals and has a reputation for friendly staff.
The Hague's tranquil terraces
Cities serving as government centres can sometimes be a bit of a drag, but The Hague bucks this trend with a concentration of first-rate restaurants and lively cafés.
Photo by Flickr user Fabio Bruna.
› De Paas
Address: Dunne Bierkade 16-A
Grab a local brew or a rare import at this popular beer café with an assortment numbering over 170. From March to November they open their terrace boat on the adjacent canal allowing you to catch some rays in quintessential Dutch fashion.
Address: Haagsche Bluf 70
Relax and have a mid-afternoon tea in this shopping centre’s inner court. Along with the sounds of the small fountain, there are plenty of peaceful corners to be found.
Address: Madepolderweg 100
Set in the Madepolder area, the terrace of this restaurant has magnificent views on the water and is nestled in the greenery on the edge of The Hague.
Utrecht's charming terraces
The compact size of the medieval city in combination with, arguably, the most beautiful canal in the Netherlands (the Oudegracht) makes Utrecht an absolute pleasure on a sunny day.
Address: Wilhelmina Park
With the outside looking reminiscent of a woodland home, this upscale restaurant has a great terrace to have a drink or an afternoon coffee while watching the flow of bicyclists go about their day.
Address: Korte Nieuwstraat 14
With the monumental façade of the old courthouse as a backdrop, this terrace in the heart of the city is a fenced off oasis begging you to take a long lunch break.
Address: Oudegracht a/d Werf 159
Set in one of the picturesque old wharves on the Oudegracht, this wine-bar is one of the most romantic in Utrecht. Stop by for an evening glass of one of their delicious selections and enjoy the boats passing you at eye-level.