Just a short (and free) ferry from Amsterdam’s Centraal station “A Place Beyond Belief” can be found. This is literally the sign that stick out from the water on entering Amsterdam Noord, the area which was once the largest shipyard in Europe. Stepping off the jetty the remnants of the once abandoned warehouses have been transformed into a playground for art, experimentation and the surreal.
This industrial area looks like it has been hit by the apocalypse and rebuilt by a bunch of creatives – which is not far from the truth. Amsterdam Noord was an area cut off from the rest of the city, the area became derelict after the collapse of the Netherlands’ shipbuilding industry in the 1970’s.
Long uninhibited, in the 1990’s artists took ownership of the area, squatting in the large warehouse and making way for it becoming the city’s cultural creative hub.
What To See
If you are into urban art like I am you will have a blast just wandering around the huge area as there are hundreds of pieces of street art and installations to stumble across. Inside the boat house there are also many small creative studios which give an interesting insight into the creatives who reside here.
There is an indoor skate park which is a fun way to pass a few hours whether you are an observer like me, or are a little more energetic.
There are plenty of events on in the vibrant area many of which take place in the Tolhuistuin, a huge venue and cultural centre located within the former Shell Building which hosts gigs, food stalls, film screenings as well as making use of the large garden space.
Next door to Tolhuistuin is the EYE Filmmuseum with a large range of film themed exhibits and screenings.
Another neighbouring attraction is the newly refurbished A’DAM Tower which offers panoramic views and for daredevils a chance to swing 100 meters above the city.
Where To Eat
This café and cultural space made up of shipping containers is my favourite place to eat, drink and hang out in Amsterdam;because I love it so much I am going to make you wait for a full post.
This glass fronted brasserie is located right next to the NDSM Werf ferry docking point making it super convenient but, in my opinion, not the most atmospheric place in Amsterdam Noord. A perfect place to grab a drink whilst waiting for your boat back to central but a little more ordinary than its neighbours.
I have only had a drink at Noordlight, but this greenhouse-like hangout is a great lively spot to relax by the river.
I have not yet had the pleasure of checking it out, but De Ceuvel but from what I hear is an awesome hammock decorated waterside hangout serving up food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.
This is also high on my list for the next time I am in Amsterdam, a huge industrial space which is part parking garage, part restaurant serving up modern French cuisine.
Where To Sleep
An old 1920’s laboratory turned hostel, this a totally unique and inexpensive place to stay right in the centre of Amsterdam Noord.
Another budget friendly option; these rooms are basic but are on a boat with great views across the river
A pricey but unique experience, Faralda is a crane, TV studio, bungy jump platform and hotel made up of three rooms that offer 360° views.
or for the more main stream there is also a Hilton.
The industrial setting of Amsterdam Noord might not be everyone’s idea of cultural (or beautiful) but it is one of my absolute favourite alternative areas to visit in Amsterdam.
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