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Hidden Gem: Huygens’dok

blog_HuygensDok_1_Sheila_SchenkelThe words ‘hidden gem’ might have a tendency to be used lightly. Huygens’dok café is exactly that, though. Hidden. No wonder: walking past their building, you can’t see it.

Walking into the building feels like trespassing: who would ‘just’ enter a building and walk up the stairs? One that looks like an office, no less. To have a drink or bite at Huygens’, you must: the café is on the first floor, with nothing but a small note in the window on street-level to inform you of its existence.

Don’t Google it now and judge it on the one picture provided by Google Maps… It doesn’t do the place justice. Hopefully you’ll find my pictures do—if not, then surely the ones on Huygens’dok’s website will!

Huygens’dok is a very spacious place, aiming to be affordable, to provide great service and a real good lunch. As I’ve only been once, and just had a coffee, I can only judge their service on that very day only. If it’s anything to go by: YES! Great service indeed!

I arrived bursting with cyclist’s adrenaline, perfectly in time for an important meeting in that very building, yet too late to order a drink. The girl behind the counter: “No problem, sit down, would you like a glass of water?”

Later on, after the meeting, as the café closed, she asked me to pay the bill (naturally) and welcomed me to stay and finish my work. I stayed for another hour, sitting right next to the open window—one that seemed to stretch out as wide as the café itself.

Even though there were a few laptops, Huygens’ dok wants to be kids- friendly, too. Judging on the reviews on Google, they succeed. “Stroller-friendly!” one person commented. That being said: they are laptop-friendly, too, offering free Wi-Fi (password right now: pastinaak, parsnip).

For those travelling with kids and in need of an hour at the gym… There’s one on the very same floor: LifeCity. Quite a good idea to swap fun-task one and two with your partner. All you have to do is decide who goes for coffee first, and who starts working up a sweat.

Pretty cool: on LifeCity’s site, you can enjoy a virtual tour. (If your virtual self turns around and clicks on the blue ball in the corner, you can see the café!)

Quite handy, too: there’s a huge supermarket on the ground floor.

One thing is for sure: you’ll probably find yourself surrounded by locals only. It’s not in the centre, and –if that’s anything to go by, and I assume it is!—their site is in Dutch only. Pictures don’t need a translation though, and on Huygens’dok’s website you will find plenty! Perhaps their menu is not as cryptic either; I’m sure you’ll find you recognise more than a word or two.

Interestingly enough; they say they want to create ‘an unlike-Amsterdam atmosphere’. I will leave it to each of you to wonder what that could mean. Interpretations welcome in the comments!


WHY It’s a spacious, beautiful café, for those coming with laptops and/or kids and/or empty stomachs, etc…
WHERE Helmholtzstraat 61 B-1
WHAT A café that is not your typically ‘brown café’. Despite its spacious venue, it’s far from ‘modern cold’ though! WiFi: pastinaak.
WHEN Weekdays only! 9-17 hrs / 9am-5pm.
WWW Twitter * Facebook * Site


CC Photos Sheila Schenkel; Text © Amsterdam Culture/Sheila Schenkel

1 Comment So Far

admin says:

Please note: between 12 and 1330 it’s a bit more busy; it’s when Huygens’dok functions as a company restaurant for ‘de Alliantie’, one of the companies within the building.


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