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Written by R Majid   

Amsterdam Noord

 

Located on the north side of the River IJ is a spacious, green, inspiring and vibrant district known as Amsterdam Noord (Amsterdam North). Separating the area from the rest of Amsterdam is the River IJ, with regular free ferries departing from the southern port behind Central Station. 

 

Once across the IJ River, it is hard to believe you are still in Amsterdam, with Noord’s picturesque country villages with quaint gardens and houses. The area itself was once a collection of rural villages, so it’s no wonder Amsterdam Noord is the ideal place for a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city centre for a quiet bike ride. During the 19th century, many shipyards were built in this neighbourhood, and some have remained in operation up until the 1980s. The only standing shipyard is the NDSM shipyard, now known as the NDSM Wharf. Nowadays it is used as a cultural centre and venue for parties and concerts. Located on the grounds is a large indoor skate park. 

 

One of the greatest attractions of the Noord are the waterside restaurants and cafes, offering breathtaking views of the River IJ. The IJ-Kantine, a former canteen of the NDSM shipyard, is a wonderful, large family eatery. Noorderlicht, with its fabulous terrace and a transparent dome, is the perfect restaurant for a relaxed evening. Closer to the Buikslotermeer ferry port, is De Pont, popular with local creative and artistic types for drinks, dinner and dancing, as well as extraordinary panoramic views of the river. For Dutch pancakes, why not book yourself a place on the De Pannenkoekenboot (Pancake Boat) for a cruise along the IJ harbour while eating as many pancakes as you like. This unique boat excursion offers various different arrangements for friends and families, including a Children’s Party cruise and a romantic Valentines cruise. 

 

Once your stomach is full you can explore this district and its historical villages with authentic Dutch farmhouses or Stolpboerderijen, square houses with a pyramidal roof, along with wooden houses with impressive views. Drop by the Museum Amsterdam Noord to learn about the area’s history and culture. Here local artists, architecture and industries are showcased, and you can even go out on field trips.

 

There is also a vibrant local art scene which is worth a look. Nieuw Dakota and Motive Gallery house a mixture of talented local and international artists. Tolhuistuin is open during summer weekends as what is referred to as a “cultural playfield”. Here, on the re-branded grounds of the former Shell Oil’s company restaurant, everything from art to dance and debate to academia and cuisine can be sampled. The shopaholics among you will find yourself in shopping heaven at Boven ‘t IJ (Above the IJ), a popular shopping centre with specialized outlets and free car parking .

  

There is a whole new side to Amsterdam awaiting to be discovered just north of the IJ. Amsterdam Noord might be off the tourist track, but it is well worth the visit. Only a boat ride away from the bustling centre of Amsterdam, the Noord can offer a wonderful getaway from city life, without actually leaving the city. Click here for a list of accommodation in the area and make your trip one you will not soon forget. 

 

Ferries to Amsterdam Noord depart several time per hour from behind Amsterdam Central Station only for pedestrians and cyclists. The area may also be accessed by car through the Coen, IJ, or Zeeburger tunnels and over Schellingwoude bridge. Though the area is not connected by tram, a Metro (subway) line is in the works to connect the north to the south. So watch this space! 


 

 

 

 

 

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