Café Int Aepjen is one of Amsterdam's oldest wooden houses. It was once a house, trading location, inn and pub — Photo courtesy of Café Int AepjenMany tourist guides and travel websites often talk about Amsterdam's famous brown cafe. You may be wondering, “What the heck is a brown café?” The brown café, or the “bruine kroeg” in Dutch, is pub or cafe, easily identified by its smoke-stained walls and dark wooden accents. (Walls are discolored from the many years of people smoking inside.)
The brown café is part of Dutch culture, a place where people go for a drink after work or to hang out with friends on the weekends. They are great spot to unwind and relax. The atmosphere is “gezellig,” a Dutch word that cannot be directly translated to English. “Gezellig” is more of a feeling or an experience. However, many say “gezellig” best translates to “cozy” or “intimate.”
If you want an authentic Amsterdam experience, the brown café is the place to start. Some date back to the 1600s, while others are more modern. Most brown cafes serve beer, wine and jenever (similar to gin), so order the drink of your choice. Try something Dutch. Please note most establishments do not accept credit cards. Therefore, it is best to stop by an ATM before you go. All brown cafes have their own character and charm, each one promising a unique, “gezellig” experience. Whichever one you choose, you’ll instantly feel at home.
To speak with an Amsterdam travel agent specialist, for free, click here.