Amsterdam City Experience Empowers Blind and Hearing Impaired

See the city through the eyes of the blind


(S.Borisov /

Amsterdam boasts gorgeous canals, an enviable bike culture, a vibrant art scene, and CtheCity, a recreation of the city that sits completely in the dark.

Visitors are led through the mock-town by a blind guide, and can feel what it’s like to navigate the world with ultra heightened senses. And the experience doesn’t end there.

CtheCity also has a coffee bar where deaf baristas serve food and beverages and customers order in Sign Language.

Customers learn useful communications skills, while also looking at daily activities from a different perspective.

The founders, Sandra and Bas, founded the hearing and visual impairment experiences in 2007, with Ctaste, a restaurant where customers eat in the dark and are served by blind waiters and waitresses.

Sandra and Bas also founded Ctalents, a program that mentors and coaches hearing and vision impaired people, eventually helping them find fulfilling jobs.

Through their city tour, dining experiences, and training program, Sandra and Bas are promoting an inclusive society where you don’t need your eyes or your hearing to take in the sights.

UPDATE: CtheCity closed its doors on May 13, 2019. "The people behind it are going to focus on other activities that have a bigger social import for people who are visually or hearing impaired. From the initial idea of CtheCity other businesses originated, like the talent matching company Ctalents and the Sign Language Coffee bar. These activities and the restaurant in the Dark Ctaste will continue," according to a statement on its website.

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