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Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam

30 August 2016

Words / Images: Sarah Freeman

To quite literally turn your back on ‘the other side of the river’ when you arrive at Amsterdam’s Central Station would be a big mistake. Like many neighbourhoods on the fringes, Amsterdam Noord has reinvented itself from a rundown, derelict wasteland to a buzzing, creative community. It may just be a free five-minute ferry ride from the ’Dam proper, but its festival-like ambience and delightfully traffic-free streets feel a million miles away from the likes of tourist-choked ’Dam Square.

Industrial cast-offs from its shipbuilding heyday have been repurposed into craft breweries, cool art spaces, clean-energy cafes, creative start-ups and the biggest flea market in Europe, IJ-Hallen. From futuristic, multimillion dollar builds like the EYE Film Museum and A’DAM Toren, to the historic dike houses on Nieuwendammerdijk Street, and reclaimed industrial warehouses lining the wharf – its architectural landscape is refreshingly eclectic.

Deceptively small (the Noord is a third of the size of the entire city), the best way to navigate between the main areas of NDSM wharf and IJ Promenade opposite Central Station is on two wheels. A bike will also come in handy if you want to venture into the nearby open countryside, where a vision of chocolate-box Waterland villages, windmills and historic chalk mills awaits.

Quirky, hip and fast becoming the city’s foremost creative hub, you’d be hard pushed to find another neighbourhood where you can bed down in a crane-turned-hotel, dine alfresco on an urban beach and watch a free movie in your own private pod.

EYE FILM MUSEUM

Hovering over the water like a giant cyber shark, the sleek and sculptural EYE Film Museum has not only changed the face of the Noord’s waterfront since opening its doors in 2012, but has become one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Its world-class film archive – running the gamut from rare colour silent movies to the latest digital productions (not to mention a collection of over 35,000 film posters) – has cinephiles heading here in their droves. Perfect if the weather is on the turn, you can get cosy in one of the interactive basement’s free mini-cinema pods, or head upstairs to their state-of-the-art cinema halls, which screen everything from documentaries to Dutch movies. Don’t miss the iconic Hollywood camera used to film Citizen Kane, amongst its vast collection of film paraphernalia.

IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT

Tel: +31 20 589 1400

eyefilm.nl



Also in the area...

3D Print Canal House

Fancy seeing large-scale 3D printing in action? Make an appointment to see the expo-site of DUS Architects, who are building the world’s first life-sized printed house.

Asterweg 49, 1031 HM
Tel: +31 20 229 1786

3dprintcanalhouse.com

TOLHUISTUIN

Venues don’t get much more eclectic than Tolhuistuin – a former Shell staff canteen that has been transformed into the cultural hub of the Noord. Although open for business year-round, the multi-art complex really comes alive in the summer, hosting pop-up concerts with multi-music genres from gospel to jazz, an open-air cinema and literary events in its chilled Toll House Garden. The building’s moniker can be traced back some 350 years, when it collected tolls from ships passing through the Buikslotertrekvaart canal.

Indoors, there is a small contemporary art gallery and dance studio where Amsterdam’s first hip hop school, Solid Ground Movement, rehearse and host free lessons for children. Located conveniently behind the Buiksloterweg ferry terminal, make this your first port of call in the Noord. You can grab breakfast on the THT cafe’s sun-drenched terrace overlooking the river IJ, and rent retro bikes at the friendly information centre downstairs.

IJpromenade 2, 1031 KT tolhuistuin.nl

Tel: +31 20 760 4820

tolhuistuin.nl



Also in the area...

A'dam Toren

For jaw-slackening 360° views of the city, pop next door to the newly unveiled sky deck at the ex-Shell headquarters-turned-multi-venue tower.

A’dam Lookout
Overhoeksplein 5, 1031 KS
Tel: +31 20 217 059
adamlookout.com

NIEUWENDAMMERDIJK

If you thought the Noord was all up-cycled shipping containers and mod architecture, think again. Some areas have a delightful rural village feel. For a taste of its more bucolic character, cycle to one of the city’s most historic and picturesque streets; Nieuwendammerdijk. From the IJ Promenade, cruise along the Noordhollandsch Canal and cut through Noorderpark until you reach the mile-long embankment lined with crooked dijkhuis (dikehouses), which date back to the Dutch Golden Age.

Once a late medieval settlement and village called Nieuwendam, the area is now part of the Noord neighbourhood. The former homes of traders, fishermen and shipbuilders may look like handsome stone canal side houses, but their structures are crafted entirely from wood to lighten their load on the dike. Hit the brakes at numbers 202-204 (Half Moon Villa), once the residence of the famous De Vries-Lentsch shipbuilding family.

Nieuwendammerdijk 202-204, 1025 LV

foursquare.com



Also in the area...

Neef Louis Design

Step into industrial, vintage heaven at Neef Louis Design – a huge hangar festooned with mid-century chairs, 1970s sofas and some salvaged maritime treasures.

Papaverweg 46, 1032 KJ

Tel: +31 20 486 9354

neeflouis.nl

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