In the centre of Amsterdam, bordering on the Vondelpark, you will find one of the most beautiful riding schools in Europe. ‘De Hollandsche Manege’ is an elegant 18th century school which is one of Amsterdam’s better kept secrets. If you are passing through, or live in Amsterdam, then I definitely recommend you visit.
Recently, I enjoyed high tea at the riding school’s restaurant, with a few girlfriends whom I met through the Amsterdam Women’s Social Meetup group. Membership of Meetup is usually free and if you would like to encounter sociable, expat women from all over the globe, then I recommend you join! It’s great for newbie expats but also more mature expats can widen their social circles through this friendly group. Meetup groups exist all over the globe and cater for a varied range of interests and age groups, so why not visit the site and find out if there’s one you’d like to join near you.
Dating from 1744, De Hollandsche Manege is the oldest riding school in Holland. It is open daily from 10am till 5pm. The foyer is open every day as well, and from there you are welcome to look at and pet the horses in their stables. At the top of the dramatic, winding staircase, where you half expect Scarlett O’ Hara to come swaggering down in her velvet riding habit, you will find the restaurant. It looks out onto the indoor school, and here you can enjoy high tea or just a snack. If you have riding experience it’s possible to book a lesson learning to ride side-saddle in combination with high tea. Not simultaneous activities, I hasten to add! You can also book a guided tour of the building. For prices for these activities click here.
Alongside that there are regular events to observe; dressage competitions, show-jumping and of course the daily lessons. If you’re visiting the school in winter and planning to eat in the restaurant, it’s wise to wrap up warm as it can be pretty draughty. It’s a listed building so double glazing is a no-no. The swing doors are also regularly banged open and shut by rosy-cheeked young amazons so don’t pay a visit in your little off-the-shoulder number, because you will freeze!
De Hollandsche Manege
1054 GT Amsterdam
From Central Station take Tram 1 and get off at the first stop on the Overtoom after the Leidseplein.