History of Holland Village
Holland Village was established in the early 1900s by Singapore’s Dutch community. It housed many British Army personnel and their families. Plantations, colonial estates and nurseries once filled this neighbourhood. The European legacy is still preserved and reflected in the architecture of its peculiar shophouses, and low-rise buildings.
Characteristics of Holland Village
Since Holland Village still contains elements of past colonial rule, it is an architectural highlight of the country. There are many cafés and bars in this area, which is often considered to have the vibe of a small European village. This enclave is serviced by its ow MRT station (Holland Village MRT).
Things to Eat
Holland Village is home to many pioneering F&B concepts. The first wine-focused eateries are rumoured to have started here, and it’s still considered a major food destination. Notable, non-touristy favoruites include:
- 363 Laksa
- D’Good Café
- Umi Nami
- Sanpoutei Ramen
- Sinkee chicken rice
- Sunday Folks
- Project Açai
1. 363 Laksa
Hands-down one of the best Laksa stalls in Singapore. Fresh ingredients such as prawns and eggs are served in thick laksa broth. It’s thick and aromatic, and it’s said they start making a new batch every hour. Recommended for a rainy day.
Despite its terribly obscure location, D’Good Café has a good mix of (mainly western) cuisines; from appetizers such as Nacho Chips to main courses such as Poached Fresh Lobsters. Furthermore, they have desserts such as Deutsch Skillet Pancake to satisfy your sweet tooth. On top of these, there is an Instagram-worthy photobooth inside for you. So, if you like taking pictures and love Western cuisines, be sure to visit this café.
Project Açai is Singapore’s first dedicated Açai café, serving freshly blended Açai bowls and smoothies. Choose your preferred toppings and sauces to go with your smoothie base. If you are looking for thirst quenchers, their smoothies will do the job. In addition, this is a dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan-friendly and gluten-free friendly café.
Things to Do
What’s next after a hearty meal? There are many hidden gems in the area:
- Thambi Magazine Store
- Atelier Ong Shunmugam
- Khiam Teck and Party City
- Bynd Artisan
- Independent Market
- Wala Wala Café & Bar
Thambi Magazine Store
A hallmark of Holland Village, this newsstand was around decades before shops such as Popular and Kinokuniya. This family business was active in the 1940’s, serving a critical role for in the (then) kampong; it was the main source of newspapers and magazines for the villagers. Today, it retails over 3,000 magazines in different languages.
Looking for souvenirs or gifts for your loved ones? Make a trip down to Bynd Artisan. This local shop sells customised leather items such as notebooks, desk pads, currency wallets and passport holders. Furthermore, there are workshops such as Leather Trio Workshop and Modern Calligraphy Workshop for hands-on types.
Wala Wala Café & Bar
Small bites and drinks, with some mains such as pasta and pizzas. But this nightlife powerhouse is best known for featuring local live bands. As far as nightlife goes, it strikes a rare balance – fun for a night out, but in no way sleazy.
Holland Village is high rent, but great if you can afford it
Holland Village is not the cheapest area to rent or buy – $3.90 to $4.50 per square foot is common, and private properties in the area are mostly in the $2 million range. However, it is close to the centre of Singapore, and it’s noted for its lifestyle and entertainment.
You may not want to bother renting or owning a car though. The roads are more congested than the arteries at a fried chicken buffet, and trying to find parking will give you a fit (fun fact: people who don’t live in Holland Village constantly vie with you for parking space). But this is more than offset by the proximity to the MRT station, and being at the heart of the country’s infrastructure; so you don’t need a car if you live here.
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