A playful journey through Amsterdam
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS © WENDY VAN LEEUWEN
Let your next city trip be more than a walk between hotspots. Wander through secret passageways, interact with locals and learn about the city’s history, arts, food and other curiosities. Go where no tourist has been before. The digital discovery games of Secret City introduce you to all of Amsterdam’s hidden treasures.
In 2016, two female entrepreneurs from Amsterdam developed discovery games to make city tripping playful. With nothing but a smartphone, Secret City Trails sends both locals and travellers on urban treasure hunts. “Instead of looking down at your phone for directions or recommendations, our games challenge players to look up and around, and interact with the city,” co-founder Wendy van Leeuwen explains.
The games – which are played through your phone’s browser – serve you riddles that guide you from one hidden place to the next. “As you crack the riddles, we’ll share local tales with you and recommend our favourite spots to eat, drink or visit; in case you fancy a break.” Players can choose between games in the centre or in more off-the-beaten-path areas. “We have designed several adventures that take some distance from the usual highlights and let you discover another Amsterdam in the suburbs and even the forest surrounding the city.”
After two years of spectacular growth, Secret City Trails is active in 17 European cities. “Since we aren’t natives in all these cities, we team up with local game builders. Everyone can create games for us in their hometown and, in return, they receive half of the revenue we make on it.”