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Written by Rosina Majid   

Westerpark

Westerpark is one of Amsterdam’s much-loved districts, lying west of the city centre. One of the highlights of this neighborhood is a modern park located at the foot of the lively Haarlemmerstraat, which bears the same name as the area. Westerpark is a trendy park and attracts hordes of locals on sunny days, while the cultural playground Westergasfabriek situated behind the park, makes this a popular destination all year round. 


At the time Rembrandt was sketching the area in the 1650s, the park area was still quite wild. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Westerpark was built up as a residential area to accommodate local workers. Today it is a haven of multicultural diversity, brimming with cafes, restaurants and clubs where many Amsterdammers come to relax after work and during weekends. Westerpark is also a great place for a family visit on a summer’s day, as the little ones can play in the long paddling pool situated at the back of the park.

The park grounds merge with the Westergasfabriek, a former gas factory located just behind the park. The gas factory, established in 1891, was by the 1960s no longer in use, so it didn’t take long for squatters to move in, which coincidentally saved the site from demolition. The whole area was renovated, trees were planted and by 2003, the former gas factory opened to the public as the cultural park Westergasfabriek.

The Westergasfabriek exudes an avant-garde vibe and houses offices, galleries, restaurants, a club and a cinema spread out over its grounds. The cultural park is also the site of several annual events including Amsterdam Fashion Week and Cinekid Film Festival. Whenever you decide to visit, you will have a wide selection of places to visit and explore. You may wish to indulge in a spot of breakfast or high tea at De Bakkerswinkel, or eat, drink and dance the night away at Pacific Parc, while lounging at the Algerian restaurant Rainarai is also an option. For the art-house movie lovers among you, Het Ketelhuis offers daily screenings of Dutch and English spoken movies.

Once you have had your fill of Westerpark, you may like to head back towards Haarlemmerstraat, regarded as one of Amsterdam’s top shopping streets with all its quirky shops. The shop lined street has everything from cheese shops to vinyl stores, and from specialty to novelty shops. There are also many restaurants and cafes dotted throughout the street as well as an old-fashioned cinema. One place that is not to be missed during your visit is Small World. This delicatessen on a side street sells some of the best sandwiches in Amsterdam, but don’t go there expecting a sit-down lunch! This place stands true to its name and is very small. Your best bet would be to score yourself a seat outside their shop on the sidewalk, or better yet, get your order to go. There are plenty of spots to have a picnic in the neighborhood. If not at Westerpark, then along the Brouwersgracht canal.

From Brouwersgracht it is quite nice to go for a wander through the many breathtaking streets to take in the real Amsterdam. A short walk from the Brouwersgracht canal is the Noordermarkt (north market). Be sure to visit on Saturdays to snap up organic produce. When you visit the Noordermarkt, it is an Amsterdam rite of passage to stop by Cafe Winkel to taste their famous apple pie!

Located not too far from the popular Jordaan district, this area is one of the perfect places to stay during your visit. Click here to find accommodation to suit your needs. The park and neighborhood can be reached by tram 3 when exiting at Haarlemmerplein, or by tram 10, exiting at Van Hallstraat.


 

 

 

 

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