This week we spoke with Jelte, who has been working as a tour guide in Amsterdam for more than 14 years. With his experience as a food tour guide combined with his background in architecture and urban planning, Jelte can answer all your questions about Amsterdam: whether it is about the food or about the buildings and architectural styles. He can also give you tips for discovering the best places to eat or relax with a drink.
Here are his answers to our questions:
Q: How did you become a tour guide?
A: I started touring as a side job while I was at university. Everything I learned during the History of Architecture classes could be integrated into my tours.
Q: Why would you recommend doing a food tour?
A: As someone on my tour once said: “If you know the food, you know the culture.” I totally agree with them. You learn so much about the Dutch way of living through the way we cook and what we eat.
Q: What would be your number 1 tip for someone who has only a few days to spend in Amsterdam (besides a food tour)?
A: Explore the inner courtyards and gardens of the canal houses. These are very quiet places in the middle of the busy parts. Some of those canal houses have been turned into museums so one can enjoy the gardens. Another tip is Amsterdam North, which is accessible by ferries. That side has the sunny side of ‘t IJ waterfront.
Q: What is your favorite food, and where in Amsterdam do you most like to eat it?
A: The Kimchi croquettes at Abbey, with a nice Blurred Lines NEIPA from Jopen – that is heaven.
Q: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned during your time as a (food) tour guide?
A: Referring to the question of why you should do a food tour: how curious the Dutch cuisine is and how it integrates foreign ingredients. We have good apple pie here, but let’s make it better with cinnamon. We have good sausages and cheese, but let’s make them better with clove, nutmeg, and cumin.
Q: What other tours do you provide, besides the food tours?
A: I also teach architecture to the generation of our parents. People that are retired or close to retirement age, have seen the world and still want to do a course about a cultural subject. They are very eager and willing to discover the newest designs around the globe. And I have my own company, Cityloop, where I provide architectural tours abou old and new Amsterdam, aimed at housing and ways of living.
For Jelte, one of the best parts of being a tour guide is that it gives him the opportunity to interact with so many different people and to understand different perspectives. When you do a tour with Amsterdam Food Tours, you get a real chance to have conversations with one another, to ask questions, and to learn about many different aspects of Amsterdam’s (food) culture.
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