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An Interview with Eddy Bierman

Concierge

What does your role at The Dylan entail and what does your typical day look like?

I am one of three concierges who work at The Dylan. I am there for the guests, to meet their needs and fulfill any wishes they might have, like if they want to book a restaurant or a flight or arrange transportation. Whatever their request, I am there as a concierge to take care of it.

What did your career look like before The Dylan?

I started out as a doorman at the Golden Tulip hotel in the centre of Amsterdam. After a year I became a starting concierge, I was fourth in line of the concierges. I worked myself up as a department head and then worked in that role for seven years. It was quite challenging, I had a department of about ten people. Balancing this responsibility along with those of my personal life became overwhelming, so I decided on my own to reduce my role to be just a concierge and not the head of the team. The hotel manager at the time understood and appreciated my honesty. So I became a concierge again.

Do you prefer this change?

Definitely. I love my role as it is now. After a year or two as a concierge again, my colleague Michael asked me to work at The Dylan. So I was at the Golden Tulip for twenty years and then now twelve years at The Dylan. It’s a big change to work for a hotel with several hundred rooms to one with only forty or so. There is more contact with the guest and you can give great personalised service. That’s difficult in a hotel with two hundred rooms. There it’s like a factory.

You make recommendations to guests – how do you stay informed about things going on in Amsterdam?

The Dylan is one of the most well-known hotels in Amsterdam, so a lot of event organisers come to us and inform or invite us to new experiences, like restaurant openings. On top of that, we are three people in the concierge team, so we keep each other informed. It’s a team effort. Since everyone has their personal interests and different networks, we bring those together.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

The people, for sure. I understand people quite well. I can recognise quite quickly what kind of guest I have in front of me and what their needs are, what they want out of their stay. Of course it’s not 100% accurate, but I can definitely read my guests and this helps to tailor their experience.

And what’s the most challenging part?

I always hope that guests enjoy their stay and that they leave satisfied by the entire service throughout the hotel. That’s how we keep our guests coming back. Our service level in every department is incredibly high and we all work together to keep it that way. Everyone wants to do their job well and that’s the challenge every day.

In your opinion, what makes an excellent concierge?

You have to be a listener and truly understand what a guest needs. You must do your best and always try to go above and beyond. It’s important to see the little details that make an entire stay memorable, from the limousine pick-up at the airport to the welcome, the rooms and also the goodbye. The guest can feel if you do things with passion – even if something doesn’t go as expected – so the more fun you have at your job, the better you are at it.

What’s the most fun / interesting / memorable request you’ve ever had?

Over so many years, of course there are many memorable guests and situations. As a concierge, I get a variety of questions or requests. One that stands out is during the release of the new 101 Dalmatians movie, a guest asked where would be the best place in Amsterdam to find a puppy! And then I start researching to find a solution to the request. Of course there are more simple wishes. If a guest tells me a little bit about their expectations and I recommend a certain restaurant, and after they return and tell me it was exactly what they had hoped for, then that’s a great feeling.

What would you recommend to guests to do in Amsterdam?

What I always recommend to guests who are new to Amsterdam – and it doesn’t matter where they’re from – I tell them to first not make any plans. First just walk through the city and explore. I have several good routes they can take. It’s a much different experience of the city, much more purposeful and you can really take in the surroundings and the sights. Then after a first exploration, I recommend renting a bike and then experiencing Amsterdam in that way. There is so much to see and so much variety, and that’s what makes the city so special.

 

 

Concierge’s Choice October: Amsterdam’s Best Interior Design Stores

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that life starts all over again when it becomes crisp in the fall. As the leaves turn into a golden brown and the sun hangs lower in the sky, we wave a slow goodbye to summer and look forward to cosy times spent indoors. Of course we have all seen plenty of our own four walls these last months, so maybe it’s time to freshen things up a bit. Below we suggest the top Amsterdam destinations for interior makeovers: where to shop and be inspired for everything home & living.

Moooi
Westerstraat 187

When visiting Amsterdam, a stop at Moooi is certainly a must, not in the least for its magnificent showroom. Located just a short walk from The Dylan, Moooi sells a perfect mix of decadent yet modern furniture as well as beautiful conversation pieces that give your home an elegant edge. To top it all off, Moooi also offers their own collection of luxury bath products and fashion accessories.

Blom & Blom
Chrysantenstraat 20A

Nothing beats the creative partnership between two brothers: A shared love for industrial artifacts inspired brothers Kamiel Blom & Martijn Blom to work together to recover and restore vintage light fixtures and also to design and develop their own unique creations. Schedule a visit to their showroom in Amsterdam Noord.

Hay House Amsterdam
Spuistraat 281 abc

From our neighbors to the north comes the cheerful Hay House, its Dutch flagship settled happily on Spuistraat in Amsterdam’s center. Quality Danish designs meet affordability with a full range of furnishings, accessories and objects to spruce up every part of the home. Hay strikes the balance between Scandinavian minimalism and much needed whimsy – so make sure to pop in!

The Modern
Jacob Obrechtstraat 26

Any design lover will probably have Charles & Ray Eames on the top of their inspiration list. For the best selection of Eames furniture in Amsterdam, head to The Modern in the museum district. Shop classics like the lounge chair and ottoman as well as a selection of other contemporary brands, like Fredericia, Massimo, or WDSTCK. Their team of interior stylists is also at the ready to help makeover your home project.
The Frozen Fountain
Prinsengracht 645

For nearly 30 years, The Frozen Fountain in De 9 Straatjes has been curating the very best of Dutch design. As a platform for both established and emerging local designers, this shop offers a colorful blend of furniture, lighting, wallpaper and fabrics as well as delightful accents that also make wonderful gifts for friends and family.

 

 

Sommeliers Choice: Veuve Clicquot Champagne

The story of the Wine House Veuve Clicquot starts with Mrs. Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin who made the company to what it is today.

In 1772 a banker and wool merchant Mister Phillippe Clicquot-Muiron started producing sparkling wine in the Champagne region of France. His son François Clicquot married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1798. They shared their passion of making Champagne and where actively present with the production of the Champagne. In 1805 François past away and gave the opportunity to 27 year old Barbe to take responsibility of the company.

Mrs. Barbin was the one that gave the name to the Champagne “Veuve Clicquot”, “Veuve” is French for “widow”. It was very unusual in that time as a woman to take the responsibility over a company but with the support of here family and father in law she was able to succeed.

During here time as the first female CEO she was very involved with the production of the Champagne; she even helped developing new Champagne production techniques. For instance the “table de remuage”(riddling table) to clarify the Champagne and innovated the very first blend of rosé Champagne.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Madame Clicquot made strides in establishing her wine in royal courts throughout Europe, notably that of Imperial Russia, thus becoming the first Champagne house to ship Champagne through the blockade to Russia in 1811.

As a female sommelier, I love telling the story of “The Grand Dame” of the Champagne. Next to a beautiful historical history it is a delicious glass of Champagne, which we use as our house Champagne. Next time you have a reason to celebrate, enjoy a glass of Veuve Clicquot and remember this historical lady.

Natasja Noorlander
Maître Restaurant Vinkeles

 

 

Amsterdam Canal with a bridge with bicycles

Naughty Amsterdam

The Dutch and their openness

De Wallen is the oldest, prettiest yet most controversial part of Amsterdam. So, why did this area become a red-light district? We could only give a complex answer to this seemingly simple question. But in the end, it all comes down to the history, liberalism and economy of the city.

When Amsterdam started to flourish in the 15th century, its locals began to cater to the growing number of sailor men who visited the city. Once on shore and far away from home, these folks traditionally sought their distraction in alcohol and ladies of virtue.

Today, 400 years later, prostitution is still an elementary part of De Wallen, simply because the Dutch pride themselves on being liberal and tolerant. That is why schools, offices and apartments casually blend in with entertainment venues to naturally enforce a sense of social control. This interesting balance between liberalism and political sensitiveness makes the red-light district worth a visit.

Discover De Wallen district

Start exploring De Wallen at Quartier Putain: a coffee bar serving some of the most delicious coffees and cakes. From here, you can get a glimpse of how the area forms the backdrop of the daily lives of couples, families and blush-cheeked tourists.

Then move on to PIC: a visitor centre telling you all about the stories that hide behind the red-lit windows. Join one of the guided tours through De Wallen and meet with former ladies of easy virtue who will help you to place the district in its context.

End your discovery at the Oude Kerk: the oldest building of the city, located right in the centre of De Wallen. The old church is now a hub for contemporary arts and has always exposed a remarkable contrast between its serenity and edgy surroundings.

 

 

 

Concierge’s Choice September: Meet The Dylan’s Culinary Partner De Kaaskamer

With our unbeatable location on the prominent Keizersgracht, surrounded by the charm of the 9 Straatjes, The Dylan lives and breathes the Amsterdam spirit. That’s why we collaborate with local powerhouses to bring you the most authentic experience during your stay.

For this month’s Concierge’s Choice, we are introducing you to one of our culinary partners: De Kaaskamer. De Kaaskamer and The Dylan Amsterdam are practically neighbours and we use this proximity to bring guests the ultimate in culinary craft and delight.

Decades of an Unbeatable Cheese Experience

The Netherlands is known for its cheese. But as Loek de Loor, the founder of De Kaaskamer, knew, not all cheeses are created equal. He founded De Kaaskamer almost 30 years ago with the purpose of curating and selling cheese delicacies with the finest flavors. With this in mind, he started visiting small farms across Holland, Belgium and France, to scope out the best the world of cheese had to offer. Nowadays his daughter Sophie and her husband Joost run the store with the same care and attention to quality.

De Kaaskamer are experts in cheeses and everything that goes along with that. More than 400 cheeses from around Europe are on offer in their central Amsterdam location, including local specialties, like over 100 different types of Gouda.

The Road to the Best Cheeses

“We still drive daily through the Netherlands, Belgium and France to discover and select our favorite cheeses,” describes Joost Hammann, co-owner of De Kaaskamer. “Amsterdam covers a critical audience in terms of quality and taste. As a small store with lots of competition, we want to make a difference in assortment, heritage, quality and taste.”

Those unfamiliar with the cheese market might assume it ends there. But, after the cheese is selected and purchased, it still has to age. “This is called affinage,” explains Joost. “It’s our job to age the cheese as perfectly as possible, so when it is served on your cheese platter, the flavor and structure will be at their absolute best.”

Culinary Class at The Dylan

The fromagers from The Dylan Hotel, Jasper van Amerongen at Vinkeles and Jouke Veenstra at OCCO, work together with the team at De Kaaskamer to select the most suitable cheeses for the menu and the season. Considering that we are neighbours, our fromagers visit De Kaaskamer in person to do this on a daily basis. On occasion, we get together to learn more about the current offerings and receive training and insights from De Kaaskamer, in order to learn more about their products and presentation possibilities.

“It’s a close partnership,” says Joost, “And that’s important when you work with a product as complex as cheese.”

You can sample De Kaaskamer’s offerings during your next meal at The Dylan. Make it a full spread by adding on savory meats and luxury nut mixes, also available to purchase from the De Kaaskamer shop at Runstraat 7.

 

 

Sommeliers Choice: La vie en rosé

– by Natasja Noorlander, Maître at Restaurant Vinkeles

The sun is out, so it is my job to make sure that we have enough rosé wine in store.

This nice refreshing wine is great to drink in the sun on the terrace. However, rosé is not only for us to enjoy outside, it can also be delightful with dinner indoors.

Rosé is made by red grapes, but can be combined with white grapes. The skin of the blue grapes gives the colour to the wine, this is because the juice of the grapes is always transparent. With a short skin contact the wine turns pink, with longer contact the wine turns red. So, how longer the contact, how darker the wine. The origin of the grape plays a large role within the taste and colour of the wine. Together you get a wide variety of colours and flavours: from a light and elegant rosé to tasty, powerful wines.

It is not allowed to create a rosé by combining white and red wine. This probably gives the colour of the rosé, but never the fruity and fresh characteristic of a rosé wine. Within the European Union, red- and white wine may only be combined in the Champagne region to make a rosé Champagne.

From the worldwide total wine production, is less than 10 percent rosé. Nowadays, rosé wine is produced everywhere, but France is the largest producer. In France, the most well-known region for rosé wine is the Provence.

At The Dylan Amsterdam, we serve a rosé per glass from the Coteaux d’Aix-and-Provence. That is a appellation in the Provence. The wine of Château Barbebelle is very light of colour because the skin only had short contact with the juice. This makes the wine fresh, but still gives the beautiful typical red fruit aromas that you are looking for in a rosé.

This chateau is a family business. The father takes care of the vineyards and his daughter is responsible for business and sales. She also came up with the label with the hipster man with his flower beard. Do not let yourself be judged by the label or the colour of the wine. The wine has enough intensity to be enjoyed on the terrace, but is also delicious with fish or a salad.

 

 

”The first woman on the Dutch stage” – Ariana Nozeman

The architect, Jacob van Campen, was commissioned to build a stone theatre in 1632.

Van Campen was inspired by classical Italian architecture, as was later shown when Amsterdam Town Hall (the current Royal Palace on the Dam) was built. He must have been mainly influenced by the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, a building by the hand of his great mentor and presumed teacher, Andrea Palladio. The theatre was already too small within thirty years, though it was possible to appreciably expand the complex by the purchase of several neighbouring buildings.

The play “Gijsbrecht van Aemstel” was performed during the opening ceremony in January 1637. This play was written by Holland’s greatest poet, Joost van den Vondel. Its success was enormous and formed the basis of a tradition that has come down to us in the present century. “Gijsbrecht van Aemstel” has been performed in Amsterdam every January since then. Many national and international companies have performed it over the years. Many Dutch plays were performed, and also ones written by Shakespeare, Molière, Voltaire and Corneille.

It is of particular note that Ariana Nozeman was to make her debut here in 1655 as the first woman on the Dutch stage. She made her debut in 1655 in the drama ”Incomparable Ariana”. Men used to play all the female roles before this time. She is credited as the first ballet dancer in The Netherlands. She was often seen on stage together with her husband Gillis Nozeman either as a couple or as antagonists. Their daughter Maria Nozeman (born 1652) followed in her mother’s footsteps; she entered the stage at the age of six years.

The Nozemans supplemented their theatre incomes by running an inn called The Camel on one of the Amsterdam canals.

The present day Ariana Room at The Dylan Amsterdam is named after Ariana Nozeman.

 

 

 

Jouke’s Choice: Cheese

It is time for ‘’cheese’’ in this new issue of The Dylan Mag. And the honor is mine to tell you about it.

My name is Jouke. I have been working at Restaurant Vinkeles and Bar Brasserie OCCO since 2011 and since a couple of years I am the one who is responsible for all the different kinds of cheeses we serve in our Restaurant and Brasserie. I took this responsibility just because I am crazy about cheese. You can wake me up for every kind of cheese actually.

Cheese is a beautiful product, available in different kind of milks and countless varieties: fresh cheeses, young and old cheeses, blue cheese, with an ashy layer, creamy and soft, sharpness, you name it. Even the craziest cheese you can imagen is being made in the most fantastic way. The most familiar milks which cheese is being made from are of the cow, the goat and the sheep. But there are also examples of the ones from the buffalo, horses, donkeys, camels, reindeers and yak milk.

Cheeses are being made all over the world. Why do we limit us in Vinkeles to only Dutch cheeses? The answer is simple; everywhere across the world you can consume French or Italian cheeses. Dutch cheese, except for a few Gouda’s or Edammers, aren’t available in other countries. With great pleasure we want to share the knowledge about our pearls of the Dutch cheeses, something we are proud of.

For example think about the goat cheeses of Hanneke Kuppens from Zevenhuizen. She is involved from the beginning until the end and that is something you taste. We will always serve a piece from Hanneke’s creations. Just as the Remeker cheeses of Jan Dirk van de Voort from Lunteren. This farm produces on a biodynamic way since 2004 and I think this is the way that the most beautiful, hard cheeses of our country are made.

The last year I have become familiar with the cheeses of farmhouse the Oudwijker in Lopikerkapel. They make a lot of cheeses from among cow- and buffalo milk. All the cheeses are remarkable, piece by piece. Come and enjoy of the Colosso or the Fiore! These names doesn’t sound Dutch, because they learned the technique in Italy. Although they make it on their Utrechtse farm and on their own way.

There are many more and we like to get inspired. We work closely together with the Kaaskamer, a cheese store on the corner next to the hotel. The two owners are really enthusiastic who will let me taste all new cheeses. This in combination with the different seasons gives us a nice regularly change on our plateau.

The cheeses are presented on two large shelves in the size of the table. The wow-effect that the guest have when I show them our plateau is such a great feeling. Guests don’t have to be modest, they can choose as much as they want and we’ll come back with their favorite cheese just to enjoy one last piece. It’s served on marble of different sizes. Also the confiture and types of bread are served on these marble plates. The table is full and that looks so good, for a perfect photo moment.

With great pleasure I welcome you in Restaurant Vinkeles and I hope you will agree that a piece of cheese is a must after the main course…

 

 

Concierge’s Choice August: Meet The Dylan’s Culinary Partner Stooker Specialty Coffee

With our unbeatable location on the prominent Keizersgracht, surrounded by the charm of the 9 Straatjes, The Dylan Amsterdam lives and breathes the Amsterdam spirit. That’s why we collaborate with local powerhouses to bring you the most authentic experience during your stay.

For this month’s Concierge’s Choice, we are introducing you to one of our culinary partners: Stooker Specialty Coffee. Our collaboration runs deep: You can encounter Stooker at several touch points at The Dylan. Read on below to discover what makes our collaborateurs an Amsterdam hotspot and why our cooperation is so unique.

 

Introducing: Stooker Specialty Coffee

Sweet, young, collaborative: This is the specialty coffee scene in Amsterdam. And no one captures the experience better than Stooker. The name comes from a building on Kastanjeplein, in which alcoholic beverages used to be stoked and where the Stooker HQ now sits. The same attention to craft and the desire to bring people together still remains.

Founded by coffee lovers and entrepreneurs Onno van Zanten and Florian Hessel, Stooker roasts and brews a wide selection of specialty coffees. They help entrepreneurs to serve specialty coffee and support them throughout the entire process, crossing all T’s and dotting all I’s: paying farmers proper prices, supplying cafe partners with consistent machines, training all baristas in their SCA certified academy and so much more.

“Everything we do is custom,” says Florian Hessel, “but it’s always with the same goal: To make sure the served cup of coffee is as good as it can possibly be.”

 

The best cup of coffee at The Dylan Hotel Amsterdam

Florian and Onno work with our Director of Operations Roel Ruijs and our Food & Beverage Manager Sam Hilkens to uphold that promise at Bar Brasserie OCCO and Restaurant Vinkeles, both located in The Dylan hotel.

“The coffee served at OCCO and Vinkeles at the moment is a single origin Brazilian coffee from the Minas Gerais region,” explains Florian. “We picked this one together with Roel and Sam, because it has loads of chocolate flavors and a full body. It’s a feel good coffee that works great with milk and is super consistent for the baristas to brew.”

This special Stooker brew is the perfect companion to the traditional Dutch custom of having a cookie alongside a coffee. And when visiting OCCO, this tradition is extra special: The cookie that is served with an espresso or cappuccino will elevate your coffee experience to the next level. “Sip on that cup, take a bite of the cookie and focus on the flavors for a second,” suggests Florian.” You’ll be pleasantly surprised!”

Quality coffee in a cosy Amsterdam hotspot

Though simple for some, coffee can also be a complex and highly versatile product. And that is what excites the teams at Stooker as well as at The Dylan. Ever the innovators, Florian and Onno believe that there is still lots to discover and to show and tell the guests at OCCO and Vinkeles.

“It’s a treat to be able to work together with people like Roel and Executive Chef Dennis Kuipers, who understand the diversity of the flavors that can be found in coffee and who are not afraid to try out different things,” enthuses Florian. “The whole hotel breathes quality, and that’s why we’re very proud to be a partner of The Dylan.”

Sample a delicious cup of Stooker Specialty Coffee during your breakfast, afternoon break or as an after-dinner treat while staying at The Dylan or dining at OCCO or Vinkeles. And visit their location at Kastanjeplein 2 in Amsterdam’s east end to pick up a bag of beans.



Portrait by Roel Ruijs.
Images of the roasters by Onno van Zanten.
Image of the Stooker Academy/HQ by Marten van Wijk.

 

 

Concierge’s Choice July: The Great Outdoors

Restaurateurs are sweeping their terraces, the parks have turned into a sea of green. Time to pack a picnic, dig out your swimsuit and soak up the warmth and joys of the great outdoors. In Amsterdam, that means lounging in the soft grass of a city park, going for a swim in the Amstel or people-watching on one of the countless terraces. See our July recommendations for all these activities below.

City parks for a (distanced) picnic
Various locations

Amsterdam is one of the greenest cities in Europe, thanks to its large variety of parks and grounds. No matter where in the city you currently find yourself, there’s a luscious speck of green nearby. Take a trip to the west and discover the beautiful Rembrandt Park, with its number of ponds, playgrounds and picnic spots, as well as De Uylenburg, Amsterdam’s oldest petting zoo. If you’re exploring the east, why not take a peek at the Oosterpark and its impressive sculpture garden and charming pavilion.

De Hortus Botanical Garden
Plantage Middenlaan 2a

For a more curated nature experience, we recommend visiting the De Hortus botanical garden near Amsterdam city centre. Currently they are offering an interesting exhibition titled ‘Brilliant Plants’, which examines how exactly plants eat, sleep, communicate and reproduce. You can also stroll through the greenhouses, including one filled with hundreds of tropical butterflies. Be sure to book your visiting time online in advance.

ARTIS Zoo
Plantage Kerklaan 38-40

Lions, tigers, bears – but also giraffes, ostriches, zebras and countless botanic treasures are waiting for you at the ARTIS Royal Zoo in Amsterdam’s centre. The planet’s natural diversity is represented here, from the forest to the savannah, from the aquarium to the planetarium. Whatever lifeform you’re curious about, you can book a timeframe online in advance and look forward to a colourful day of monkeying around.

Charming outdoor terraces
Various locations

For a different kind of zoo, we recommend sitting on one of the many gorgeous outdoor terraces in Amsterdam and doing some people-watching. Observe a parade of interesting passersby from the Brouwerij Troost in Westerpark or the terrace of cafe Brandstof in the Jordaan neighborhood. For a quiet drink, visit Bar Brasserie OCCO at The Dylan, which has a private secluded inner garden for ultimate relaxation after a long day of sightseeing.

Go for a swim

Various locations

Dip your toes or take a full dive into the cooling waterways of Amsterdam. If you’re keen on going for a swim in the city this July, your options are practically endless. Though you could head to the beach in Zandvoort, we recommend getting your hair wet like a true Amsterdammer: in the ponds. There are many spots along the Amstel, like at the Martin Luther King Park, where you can jump from the pier and splash around in the mighty river. Or visit the popular man-made beach area in Sloterplas in Amsterdam’s Nieuw West for a tropical time without leaving the city.