Elena Koestler

  • Adventurer
  • Lover of life
  • Big hitter

Four years ago, Elena felt the urge to leave her comfort zone—so she went to Amsterdam to study psychology in Dutch without speaking the language. Since then the love for exploring the human brain and Amsterdam has not stopped!

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24 hours Amsterdam

The best way to breath in the air of Amsterdam is on a bike. I go slowly, look around, feel the vibe of this awesome city. Most of the time I am surprised how many food places and nice stores have opened. There is always a lot to discover.

I kill my hangovers at Beter en leuk in Amsterdam East. Nice vegetarian food, prepared with love, that definitely brightens up the morning after a long night.

The day doesn’t get any better than when I go for a nice long run on the Amstel site. Normally I run through the “Rhododendron jungle” in Amstelpark and return home. It is also a great place to enjoy “Pure Markt” (www.puremarkt.nl) on Sundays.

The chateau called Frankendael is exactly the place where I go to read a book in the sun. Their French garden in the back is also a very good place to enjoy a glass of good wine, seeing no tourists or hipsters and fully enjoy the sounds of the birds.

My perfect day can’t go by without a few hours on a boat. I bring my swimsuit and a bottle of dry Prosecco that I bought in the Kerkstraat/Utrechtsestraat. This is also the street where I get “Haring”, a little Dutch fish snack before I hop on the boat.

Another thing I love to do is cycling along the river called “Vecht” from Amsterdam to Utrecht. One beautiful castle next to the other, such a peaceful and entertaining bike ride, it is unique!

A fun place to hang out and enjoy a dose of Dutch contemporary art is at Bright Side Gallery. The variety of artists is stunning.

I love to end the day with a nice drink on the terrace of the W Hotel. The former telecommunications building has been transformed into a beautiful hotel with stunning architecture and design. I stay there for a drink with friends, watch the sunset and go out for dinner afterwards.

My favorite restaurants in Amsterdam are the restaurants Wilde Zwijnen or Terpentijn. Jansz has such an amazing interior design. It used to be an old pharmacy and definitely shows you that dining in Amsterdam can be very NYC sometimes. When the tummy is full I go dancing at Café Cox or De School. But the nightlife scene in Amsterdam has so many faces that I end up somewhere else every weekend, feeling surprised about the fact that Amsterdam can still offer so many surprises even after four years of great fun.

Another activity you mustn’t miss when you’re in Amsterdam, especially if you are keen on seeing more of the surrounding area: going for a nice swim at Stenen hoofd or Nieuwe Meer. My favourite picnic spots in A’dam are spots next to the river Amstel, at Stenen hoofd, at the lake Nieuwe Meer or on the beach in Bloemendaal. My favorite race bike tour is from Amsterdam to Driehuis to Noordwijk. There is also a beautiful tour through the National Park Zuid Kennemerland. You bike through the dunes in complete solitude, except for some Scottish Highlanders. Fresh air from the sea and the sun in your face. It can’t get better. Another favorite tour is from Amsterdam to Utrecht along the river Vecht. If you’re lucky and these festivals take place while you’re here, you should definitely put on your dancing shoes and check them out: Henk op de Helling, Ruigoord or Park am See.


Beter en leukEerste Oosterparkstraat 91, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Great vegetarian food, you’ve never had such a great veggie burger.
AmstelparkAmstelpark, Amsterdam, Niederlande

So many nice, tiny gardens in one park are very entertaining during a long run and beautiful to look at.
Chateau FrankendaelMiddenweg 72, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Good wine and very yummy snacks. 100% tourist and hipster free!
Kerkstraat/UtrechtsestraatKerkstraat, Amsterdam, Niederlande

This is where I buy stuff to take on a boat ride, like Prosecco and Haring.
Bright Side GalleryPrinsengracht 737, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Awesome contemporary art. Definitely worth paying a visit to!
W HotelSpuistraat 175, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Rooftop terrace, outdoor pool, DJ nights and great cocktails. This combination gives you the same feeling the Standard Hotel in NYC does, plus it is a great place to watch the sunset.
Wilde zwijnenJavaplein 23, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Great, hearty food!
TerpentijnRokin 103, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Beautiful interior and lovingly prepared dishes!
JanszReestraat 8, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Amazing interior design in a former pharmacy in the middle of the 9 Straatjes.
Café CoxMarnixstraat 429, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Great upcoming DJs and musicians perform here. A place to dance the night away.
De SchoolDoctor Jan van Breemenstraat 1, Amsterdam, Niederlande

De School not only has amazing food but partying there is just great!
Stenen hoofdWesterdoksdijk 705-c, 1013 Centrum, Amsterdam, Niederlande

You can come here for a nice swim and to hang out.
Nieuwe MeerNieuwe Meer, Niederlande

Another favourite spot of mine where you can take a dip on hot summer days!
River AmstelAmstelzijde 22, 1184 VA Amstelveen, Niederlande

Sit down next to the river and have a relaxing picnic with friends. A perfect Sunday!
Bloemendaal BeachParnassiaweg 1, 2051 EC Bloemendaal aan Zee, Niederlande

Make it a beach day and don’t forget to bring a nice picnic!
Zuid KennemerlandNationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Zeeweg, Overveen, Niederlande

This wonderful national park is perfect for riding your bike for hours without seeing anybody.
NoordwijkNoordwijk, Niederlande

You can go from Amsterdam over Driehuis (next to the National Park) to Noordwijk with your bike and back, it is a very nice tour!
River VechtVecht, Utrecht, Niederlande

Drive all the way along the river Vecht from Amsterdam to Utrecht and back with your bike. I love this tour!
‘I love the freedom of the Dutch mentality, the soft humid air, the great metropolitan variety of things to see, do and experience.’
  • The food is excellent and so are the drinks at Terpentijn! © Terpentijn.
  • Terpentijn has such a nice interior and a bright and light atmopshere. © Terpentijn
  • The castle Frankendael is my secret happy place - no tourists, just me, my book and a cup of coffee. © Frankendael
  • I love the modern art exhibitions at the Bright Side Gallery! © Bright Side Gallery
  • The W Hotel has a great terrace for enjoying sundowners and a cool and quirky interior. © W Hotel
  • If the sun is out, enjoy a glass of wine at the French garden of Frankendael. © Frankendael
  • The Bright Side Gallery collaborates with many great artists, such as Martine Johanna. © Bright Side Gallery
  • Wilde Zwijnen wins you over with its tasty food and its relaxed and cosy atmosphere. © Wilde Zwijnen
  • Check out the kick-ass rooftop of the W Hotel! © W Hotel
  • While waiting for your food, you can watch how they prepare it in the kitchen at Wilde Zwijnen. © Wilde Zwijnen
  • © W Hotel
  • Yep, that looks tasty! © Wilde Zwijnen
  • © Wilde Zwijnen

My thoughts about Amsterdam

What do you love about your destination?

The freedom of the Dutch mentality, the soft humid air, the great metropolitan variety of things to see, do and experience.

Which music fits best to your destination?


What‘s a "must do" in your destination?

Go for a boat ride, cycle in the country side, look at Amsterdam from the 18th floor of the brand-new Shell Tower. Eat Haring, laugh with an old Dutch man, touch a prostitute’s fake boobs, get drunk and dance.

Take a vacation into My life

What’s your background?

‘Freely floating through the exciting life of Amsterdam, enjoying the long nights of summer, diving deep into the Dutch culture and inspiring mindsets. Amsterdam reveals the best in you. No shame, no ties, honest, true and happy living.’ This is how I would describe my life in Amsterdam for the past four years. I came here to study Psychology, which was a great challenge because I’m studying in Dutch (I am German). Just finished my bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Cognitive Neuroscience and can’t wait to learn more about the human brain when I start my master’s in September. I am a 24-year-old, Bavarian red head that wanted to truly experience more of the world than just the ‘hometown’ (Munich). I thought I might stay in Amsterdam for a year and go back to Munich. Still hasn’t happened. Now I live at the Amstel river, studying hard, partying hard, painting and enjoying all the great opportunities this life has to offer.

What is the best moment of the day?

The mornings! Sipping my first cup of coffee on the balcony. Still a bit tired, with a little smile on my face thinking back to last night.

What inspires you?

A lot and nothing! Nowadays ‘inspiration’ is everywhere, especially on the internet. This is why nothing really inspires you anymore. Nothing is new, you have seen everything already. There is just too much out there. This is why I find it very inspiring to switch off the phone, shut down the computer, get on my bike. It is surprising how much inspiration comes from a moment of relaxation.

How would a good friend describe you?

Spontaneous. Crazy. Loving. Honest.

Your lifestyle in 5 words?

Jumping into cold water!

Which books, newspapers or magazines do you read?

The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin. Konzert ohne Dichter by Klaus Modick. Farbenlehre. National Geographic. Lots of study books of course.

Which films blow your mind?


Person you’d like to sit next to in an airplane?

My mother. Then we would finally have enough time to catch up.

What are your favourite destinations around the globe?

The places I haven’t explored yet. Next stops will be Bali, Sweden and Iceland.

Your life philosophy?

Say it and do it now. Tomorrow might be too late.

Suitcase, Backpack or Weekender?


What else should we know about you?

This is a tricky question :)

Travelling is…


Life is…



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