With respect to the success of the Amsterdam Bachelors & Bachelorettes, I feel inspired to write a post about the best first date outings in Amsterdam. Whether you like these ideas or not, do take it from me as a social psychologist, that the outing should allow conversation without having to talk ‘to keep the date going’. In other words, this rules out going to Loveland, going scuba-diving or getting absolutely wasted.
A little bit of action is always good, this reduces the stress of ‘being on a date’, particularly when there are butterflies in the game. The adrenaline causes the opposite gender to like you more, this is called transfered anxiety (Schachter-Singer bridge experiment).
So, what does Amsterdam have in store for first date?
Bike or hike to Durgerdam
If you’re a nature-lover, show your date the beauty of the meadows surrounding Amsterdam. There are numerous biking and hiking routes, you can picknick or have a bite at a bar. The 10km route to Oudekerk aan de Amstel is fantastic and offers great rewards: lunch at one of the lovely bar/restaurants along the Amstel. While biking, or hiking, you don’t always need to keep up the conversation and prevent ‘awkward silences’. Renting a tandem is not adviced - it can cause arguments, you can’t see each other, and it is just very unsightful! Google to find routes or buy a book at ABC/Waterstones.
Attend a Dutch football match
Or speed-skating match, basketball game, or tennis match, concours hippique… just anything where you can see some action, talk and make a bet about who’ll win.
Bike to the Bostheater and watch the play al fresco
At the theatre in the Amsterdamse Bos, right outside the A10 south, there’s an open-air theatre. Every summer, plays are performed there. Though the language is in Dutch, booklets with English translation are available. Take along your blanket, picknick basket and bottle of wine. Bostheater (website is in Dutch, check iamsterdam.com for English information.
Visit the Artis Zoo
Unless you are dating a parent, chances are your date hasn’t been to the zoo in ages. The Artis is the country’s oldest zoo, boasta an acquarium and is located close to the centre. Despite the many children present in the zoo, do keep your longing to have your own baby for yourself, for the time being. Artis Zoo, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, Amsterdam.
Play a round of bowling at Knijn Bowling
The informal, non-stressful ambiance, the pleasant noise of pins being knocked over, the mixed clientele and the ease of the game may make a round of bowling & bitterballen & beers a fun evening out. Knijn Bowling, Scheldeplein 3, Amsterdam. T 6642211. Reserve by phone.
Go watch an outdoor movie at Pluk de Nacht
In the summer, you can watch a movie outdoors. Typically, watching a movie is not ideal as a first date: (1) you can’t talk (without being hissed at) and (2) it shows a lack of first-date-creativity. An outdoor movie is very nostalgic, and on a warm summer’s evening very romantic. Pluk de Nacht, different locations in Amsterdam
Take a wall-climbing or golf lesson together
Try something new, active yet not too touchy-touchy like salsa dancing or worse, wrestling. The shared experience may create a bond and, especially with wall-climbing, the adrenaline can heighten the interest between the two of you. Make sure the teacher is not Mr/Miss Casanova. And if you’re smart and want to extend the date: suggest to take a course of 4 lessons! ;-) Wall Climbing at Klimmuur Dijksgracht 2, Amsterdam. T. 4275777 Amstelborgh Golf Course, Borchlandweg 6-12, Amsterdam. T. 5633333 Website is in Dutch but the pro’s speak English.
Have a laugh at comedy
As most theatre shows are Dutch-language-related, the only performances in English are improv/stand up comedy. Check out our list about comedy shows in Amsterdam. These shows are very relaxed and easy-going. Arrive early to have a drink at the lively bar before the show.
Go ice skating on Museumplein or Rembrandtplein
If you can skate and break on the ice -we don’t want you to fall on top of your date, right away-, go and have some wintery fun. After a half an hour of struggling, enjoy poffertjes and hot cocao. Who really cares what you’re really doing? As long as you have got something to laugh about and have fun. Ice rinks open in October and close in March, but may differ per year.
Enjoy live music
Live music at pubs is not the standard in Amsterdam. Therefore, taking your date out to a jazz bar will be something special and shows that you’ve thought about the date (or read this blog post). Check out our list of jazz bars in Amsterdam.
You can always play tourist and visit the Van Gogh Museum (on Friday evenings when there’s a DJ present), the House of Bols (quite interactive and fun) or the Foam museum (who doesn’t like photography?). I’ll blog more about ‘playing tourist in Amsterdam’ in the near future, if all goes to plan. Source photo: vangoghmuseum.nl
Attend a cooking workshop together
My personal favourite and still on my wishlist (in case I ever become single again): attending a cooking workshop together. As a cooking-dining-and-wining lover, there’s just something about kneeding dough and making something that can be enjoyed pretty quickly. The elements of learning, talking and eating are ingredients of a fool-proof fantastic date. Google to find workshops.
A first date at 15h30 with someone you've never met... what to do, where to go? That's a question one of the Life in Amsterdam bachelors asked me last week. This is what I advised:
Option A Have a cocktail or glass of wine at Momo
Momo's is a righteous Amsterdam hotspot: the interior (incl staff) is stunning, the bar tenders know how to shake it, the Asian food menu is impressive. In the evening, it gets crowded, but during the day the funky tunes and ample day light still makes Momo's one of my favourite meet up places in town.
What to order: If you're not in the mood for a cocktail, then opt for the Chardonnay by the glass. Men generally love the spicy fried squid, but I prefer the Momo sushi roll as a luxurious bar snack.
Nice to know: I once made a bet about the nationality of the French-speaking bartender. I lost. He's from Cuba. Make use of this inside-information and make a bet with your bar date! ;-)
Momo Amsterdam, Hobbemastraat 1 (next to entrance Vondelpark, nearby Leidseplein), Amsterdam Centre.
Option B Visit Foam Photography Museum
Everyone loves photography... or at least everyone I've asked up until now. While wondering through the modern, bright museum, there will always be something to talk about. The museum is open till 18h, so you can have a drink afterwards. And if you seem to get along, then you can grab a bite after the aperitivo.
Good to know: Take your date to Foam on Thursday evenings; there's a free guided tour at 7h30. Every other week, it's in English, check agenda.
Foam Amsterdam, Keizersgracht 609, Amsterdam Centre.