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Neighborhoods to Know and Go: Amsterdam's Noord

February 28, 2013 at 12:12 PM | by | ()

If you want to get away for a bit from the hordes of cyclists in the main tourist areas of Amsterdam, a ferry ride across the river IJ can do just that. The city’s Noord (North) neighborhood is the oldest and largest in Amsterdam, yet you don’t hear much about it. We think that’s going to change.

Formerly a shipping and industrial area, it’s becoming the cultural and creative center of Amsterdam with its mix of canal cottage villages, parks, architectural mix and the recently-opened EYE Film Institute. New condos are starting to appear on the waterfront and yet, if you’re looking for some early work of Rem Koolhaus, that’s here too.

In the western-side NDSM area of the Noord, creative types will have a field day. The area is growing with artist studios, cafes, shops, and even a three-star boat hotel (the Amstel Boatel) has opened.

When you start to roam around the eastern areas of the Noord, though, the experience becomes almost surreal. Tiny miniature houses are lined up along the small canals that used to make up small industrial villages. Most are prettily-manicured and each area has its own distinct look and feel (sort of like showing your gang colors). We believe people exist there, but compared to the rest of swarming Amsterdam, it feels like there’s been an alien invasion and you obviously weren’t a good enough specimen, because they chose to leave you behind.

Spend some time walking (cycling's an even better option) through the historic villages of Nieuwendam, Ransdorp and Zunderdorp to see authentic stolpboerderijen (traditional Dutch farmhouses), snack on herring at a local stand, walk along the IJ and finish your day on the terrace of the architecturally-distinct EYE Film Institute. One word of warning: When we say the area is the largest in Amsterdam, we mean it! So pace yourself. When we finally decided it was time for a food and bevvie stop, it took us about an hour-and-a-half to make it back to civilization.

Have a look at these pics of the eastern side – tranquil or what?

[Photos: Janice Tober/Jaunted]

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