rondkijken: searching for workspace


Last fall, I officially joined the throngs of freelancers. My little bedrijf, Erin van Santen-Hobbie Freelance (creative, I know) was born and I committed to myself and to the government on working an average of 25 hours per week.

Because Estella is in the crèche on Fridays and Frans has his papadag on Thursdays, the end of the week becomes my much-anticipated work time. I average 16 hours on both days, and then make up for the remaining 9 throughout the week. Think: naptimes.

Oh, how nice it must be to work from home.

Yes it would be, but I can’t. I just can’t work from home, no matter how hard I try. I even removed one of our nightstands and set up a desk in our bedroom, thinking Perfect! I now have an in-home office!

I have worked at the in-home office exactly 3 days in 2 years. Despite the 550 square feet of apartment cuteness we rent, I was miraculously able to carve out a little work niche. It’s not that. I just cannot work from home. I just can’t, with so many other things shouting at me.

Who knew laundry could be so loud? Or dishes in the sink. Or crumbs on the floor. Who knew that my inner voice of guilt could be so deafening as my little girl plays in the other room. A million things call to me all day, and usually those million things are louder than my work. Even silence is louder than work.

Cue the need for workspace.

I know that there are workspaces you can rent all over the city. But when you work only 25 hours a week, you’re trying to go for as cheap as possible. Like, for free. So I’ve been working in cafés all over the city. I’m a strong worker in areas bustling with people. Yes, you have to pay for a coffee or a tea, but I usually limit myself as much as possible and take a trip home for lunch, making my grand total no more than 10 euros per day. (Note: ‘coffee shops’ in Amsterdam denote marijuana shops. It took me about a year to break the habit of saying, I’m going to go work at the coffee shop, but now I’ve got the word café down pat.)

For over a year, I worked mostly at a café I loved and the servers and owners there actually became friends. The café made the decision to close, the owners moving on to bigger and better things, but man do I miss the warm and open community sphere in that café. It was a little oasis.

So now I’m looking for a little oasis of my own, and I thought it would be interesting to do a little review every now and again on the different cafés I’m trying out. So far the list includes: Anne & Max, Caffenation, and Drover’s Dog. If you’re in Amsterdam, I’d love to hear about your favorite cafés and/or workspaces!

4 thoughts on “rondkijken: searching for workspace

  1. The upstairs Starbucks at Central Station is rather big. You can sit inside or on the balcony looking down into CS. Great place and it brings you some USA. I also know some people have found great places to work at the airport, a bit far but for some I heard it’s worth the trip. I love Beans and Bagels: great coffee, good wifi and great atmosphere. I have always loved Paladium on Leidseplein but I do not know what they are like now. I know some museums have great coffee places too. And I love big libraries, those are worth looking into. Good luck with this!!

    • Thank you for this wealth of information, Maddy Christine! I will look into them. I’m sure you miss some Amsterdam cafes every now and then, huh? Liefs, Erin

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