While I’m in Haarlem visiting a friend (and share some moments of the day on Insta stories), another friend is sliding into my DM expressing some concerns. ‘She really needed to get something off her chest’ (which she rarely does by the way so this must be serious). ‘Why I never visit Almere (where she lives)? ‘Is it perhaps because’, she continued, ‘Almere is not hip or trendy enough like Amsterdam or Haarlem?’ When I tell her that is not the case (and tell her that she is more than welcome to stop by my place too, because her trips to my place haven’t been very frequent either) I promise to visit her soon. Coincident or not, I received an invitation at The Trend Attendant HQ if I would want to come over to Almere to discover the city. Did you know that Almere has one of the best city centers and therefore also has the title: ‘Best city center Almere Center 2017-2020’? You didn’t? And that they recently organized their first super fun mind / body festival Festival LOF? Oh and architecturally Almere turns out to be super interesting. So, in this blog, dedicated to my friend J, a proud Almere chick (who unfortunately was out of town that weekend) I’ll explain why we should finally make ALLY happen. 😁
Before I went to discover Almere as a shopping city, up first: Almere’s Mind & Body festival, Festival LOF. Next to my regular gym sessions I also try to keep my sanity by occasionally following a yoga class. Meditation is also high on my list of skills that I want to master but this is still a tricky one. Instead of emptying my head, I fill it with shopping lists and to do lists. Next to meditation classes, you could also follow a few yoga workshops. And this right in the middle of nature, so relaxing. The weather cooperated perfectly and instead of starting a ‘agility contest’ with my neighbors (yes, totally not yoga, I know) I was finally able to let go of everything and just ‘do yoga’. You were also allowed to participate in various tea tastings, make your own jewelry, make your own all natural lip balm and body scrub. You could also bust a move during the silent disco (silent, so that the animals in the area weren’t bothered 😌). And all this in a beautiful setting, the Oostvaardersplassen.
After all the workshops it was time for the three course dinner, starting with a pumpkin soup. This was followed by a delicious vegetarian meal salad and a piece of chocolate cake for dessert.
After this wonderful ‘zen day’ it was time to grab some drinks in town first. Then for a nap of at least eight hours. I stayed in the Apollo hotel in the middle of the city center.
As an ‘Amsterdammer’ you often think that the Netherlands ends when you reach the holy city up outside the ring. You have everything in your own city district and if you live in Noord you probably won’t come to Zuid that often. And if you live in East, West is really too far away. Shopping is sometimes an issue because, although online shopping is of course always an option, I think it’s safe to say that us ‘Amsterdammers’ avoid the Kalverstraat like the plague (hopi busy!).
Only 30 minutes by car (from Amsterdam that is) and just 20 by train and you’re right in the heart of Almere. Branded Beste Binnenstad Almere Centrum 2017-2020, a true shopping paradise. Located between the Gooimeer and Markermeer there is always a nice breeze, (so decided to name Almere the Chicago of the Netherlands, however the municipality has done something about that by placing half-open canopies in some places). In addition to the large chains, you will also find local shops and boutiques, so there is something for everyone. Open seven days a week and the biggest advantage: no bus loads full of tourists! The stores are spacious and you can easily spend a whole day in the versatile City Mall. Almere also has a beautiful library where you can sit down with a book and a cup of coffee. As a student, you can reserve a private study room (if you live too small or are distracted too much at home).
City library meets modern architecture, when town, definitely worth visiting.
Shopping in one of the many specialty shops, sweet stuff to go with your coffee at ‘Bij Drewes‘. There are also countless restaurants to choose from. Really enjoyed the burgers at Hudson Bar & Kitchen.
Doesn’t this just look like a drawing, how cool would it be living right here? When you’re on Hudson’s Bay roof terrace, you have a view on these super nice properties. In the middle of (and above) the city surrounded by greenery and further on a view of the lakes, just lovely innit?
This square slowly transformed from a square full of shops into a square full of terraces. In the middle of the city you can choose from different cafes and find out where the sunniest spot is on the terrace.
Often on the ‘to visit’ list of Japanese holiday makers in the Netherlands: the former ‘Schouwburg Almere’. Now better known as Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland. Designed by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. With a partial view of the Weerwater and the City mall. With three halls and an exhibition space it is very worth visiting. If you are interested in modern architecture, then Almere will not disappoint you. The city owns a number of beautiful and distinct buildings. You can easily book an architect tour at VVV Almere and let the guide inform you.
So, did I spark your curiousity and would you like to know more about what the city of Almere has to offer (except 47,6% water😅) hop over to their site or better yet, hop on the train and discover for yourself!
*Ally = slang for ‘Almere’
This blog was made in collaboration with Gemeente Almere.