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Amsterdam’s expensive terraces — and the logical alternatives

Terraces on Amsterdam’s Leidseplein serve Holland’s most expensive drinks. That is, you pay premium prices for a simple cup of coffee or a standard glass of beer. Coffee will set you back €2,30, and the beer €2,70. You’re not likely to find half a liter of beer (a pint, more or less) going for less than €5,00.

The terraces at Rembrandtplein, also in Amsterdam, rank as second most expensive in the country according to a report by Consumentenbond, a consumer information service.

The report shows that prices for drinks enjoyed at outdoor caf&#233’s in Amsterdam are eight to nine percent higher than the nationwide average.

Alfresco Dining in Amsterdam

Outdoor café at Nieuwmarkt
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Researchers did notice some big differences between different terraces: one Rembrandtplein terrace asked €2,20 for a glass of beer, while people a few doors away paid €3,50 for the same amount. Specifically, café ‘t Centrum, café De Monico en The Old Bell are mentioned as having more reasonable prices than their neighbors.

The prices of drinks served on terraces depend in part on the cost of the permit for outdoor seating. In Rotterdam the City gets €424,00 for 50 square meters, while in Amsterdam a permit for the same size terrace sets the business back by €4,178.

For the least expensive drinks you’ll have to visit the outdoor cafes in Renesse, a beach resort in the far south-west of Holland.

Be Dutch: Shop Around

Most Amsterdammers avoid the tourist-oriented terraces in favor of smaller outfits geared primarily at locals. If you promise not to act too much like a tourist (you know what me mean), so should you. [If you don’t know what we mean, see: How to visit and Amsterdam café]

As always, getting off the proverbial beaten track can be immensely rewarding. At the very least, you’ll find a good cup of coffee — all or not served with apple pie — at a reasonable price. Chances are you’ll find a café that serves a wider choice of quality beer than you’d get at one of the tourist traps.

If it’s food you’re after, venturing away from the main streets and squares is also a good idea.

There are outdoor cafés just about everywhere there’s a bit of space — ranging from a couple of tables and chairs to large terraces along the canals. Don’t be afraid to check out the menu and to move on to the next terrace if the prices don’t suit you.

Safety Tip

When enjoying a bit of sun at an outdoor café (as, indeed, elsewhere) keep an eye on your belongings. Chairs are often in close proximity to each other and it is relatively easy for someone seated at a nearby to reach into the pockets of a jacket casusally hung over the back of a chair.

Too, don’t put your camera or handbag on the table — or anywhere where it can be grabbed by fast-footed opportunity thiefs.

For the same reason, tell your waitress how much of a tip to add to your bill. If you leave tipping money on the table, you may inadvertently be supporting the local drunk instead. [See also: Tipping in Holland]

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This post was last updated: May. 18, 2011