I watch as proprietor Tiel Netel makes his way around the tables to light candles as the afternoon light dwindles. In the seven years that I lived here, gezellig became my favorite Dutch word, and it can be used to describe a place, an occasion, or even food. Think of a candlelit café such as this, a best friend’s birthday, or Tiel’s famous appelgebak (apple pie) made fresh on the premises daily, and you’ll be on the right track. If there’s a city in the world that embodies gezellig, then surely it is Amsterdam. The 17th-century architecture and unique spider’s web of canals makes it one of Western Europe’s most charming cities, but it’s the size — so compact and manageable — that makes it so cozy. Spend just a day exploring and you’ll feel at home. There’s nothing more pleasing than wandering off the tourist trail.
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