This week we spoke with Marc, who is one of the newest additions to the team of tour guides at Amsterdam Food Tours. While he lives in Hoorn, he has been working in Amsterdam for over 36 years. As a result, he is highly knowledgeable about the city. And he can give you plenty of tips when it comes to finding the best food, drinks, and activities.
Here are his answers to our questions:
Q: How did you become a tour guide?
A: I discovered Amsterdam Food Tours via a friend. This happened around a year ago, when I was looking for a new challenge. Before I started working as a food tour guide, I worked at the Amsterdam Exchange. But after more than 30 years, I knew that it was time for something different.
One of the things that I really enjoy about working as a tour guide is that I get to meet many different people. I also enjoy being outdoors. Every tour is like a new project. This means that I need to perform and be focused every time to ensure the best experience for our guests.
Q: Why would you recommend doing a food tour?
A: With any tour, you get shown around the city. But a food tour adds something extra, because you meet local people at the food spots we visit. You learn about the local food, and this enables you to become more deeply familiar with the city.
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: Don’t stay only in Amsterdam. If you have a little time, take the train to the beach at Zandvoort aan Zee. You can either stop there for a meal or take a walk along the beach to Bloemendaal aan Zee and stop there for refreshments. You can then take the train back to Amsterdam from Zandvoort. On your way back, it’s also fun to stop in the beautiful city of Haarlem for a walk and a snack. This makes for a lovely day out. It’s a mini adventure, but it’s really easy. You also get to see a different part of the country.
Q: What is your favorite food, and where in Amsterdam do you most like to eat it?
A: Indonesian food. I like to go to the Indonesian restaurant Sie Joe across the road from the Amsterdam Exchange. The food here is authentic and made fresh on the spot.
Q: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned during your time as a (food) tour guide?
A: When doing research for my tours, I learned that in the past, Amsterdam made a lot of money by importing and exporting beer. During the early 14th century, it was one of only two Dutch cities (the other was Medemblik) that was allowed to import and export beer. Most of the imported beer came from Germany. It was then distributed to the different cities in Holland. Later the Dutch breweries started to imitate the German beers and these beers were exported to countries such as Belgium, France, and the UK.
Q: What other tours do you provide, besides the food tours?
A: In addition to the food tours, I also give beer tours and walking tours in Amsterdam. In my hometown of Hoorn, I give bicycle tours.
For Marc, becoming a food tour guide has given him a fresh perspective and enabled him to learn many new things. Before becoming a guide, he wasn’t all that interested in history. But now that he is a tour guide, history is his new hobby. And now that he has looked more closely, he’s realized that knowing the history helps you to understand why things are the way they are. And he is enthusiastic about sharing this knowledge with others.
Want to discover the real Amsterdam with us?