Walk the Amsterdam Nieuwendammerdijk Area
If you don’t live close, this walk is definitely worth the time it takes to get here. Visit one of the old villages that Amsterdam Noord has to offer. Learn about the history of the area above the IJ water. During this tour, you will walk over the Nieuwendammerdijk and learn about its history and buildings. You will also be able to experience some nature in het Vliegenbos, a forest next to the village.
Enjoy your walk!
Total Walking Time: 45 min
Directions: Link or click the top right corner of the map to open full screen in Google Maps
FYI: the technology behind Google Maps is sometimes a bit shaky, so sometimes you need to click the link more than once, or zoom in to get the route view. Apologies for the inconvenience.
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Nieuwendammerdijk Area Route Highlights
Highlight A: Nieuwendammerdijk History (1/2)
The Nieuwendammerdijk is one of the old villages that has totally been absorbed by the city of Amsterdam. The dyke village was created after the previous dyke had been badly damaged. A new dyke was built (hence its name) and a new dam (Nieuwendam) at the beginning of the 16th century.
Highlight B: Nieuwendammerdijk History (2/2)
Nieuwendam and the Nieuwendammerdijk were part of Waterland, an area above the IJ water containing a variety of small villages. The villages were famous for fishing, trade (mainly in grains and peat) and ship-building. After the 80 year war more and more villagers started working for the growing Amsterdam port. Ships came to the port of de Nieuwendammerdijk for new ships and repairs.
Highlight C: Purmerplein
This square was built between 1924 and 1934 when Tuindorp-Nieuwendam already belonged to the city of Amsterdam. The style of the buildings is the famous Amsterdams School. The Purmerplein used to be a hub from where the roads led to villages close by, (Purmerweg, Volendammerweg) and was used as a connection to the other villages in Waterland, like Schellingwoude, Durgerdam, Ransdorp etc.
Highlight D: Physiotherapy for the elite
This 19th-century neoclassical building was a gift from a Swedish princess (Sophia van Nassau) to the famous doctor and masseur Johan Georg Mezger. First, he performed his services in the beautiful Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam. But the air in Amsterdam was dirty and it seemed to be a good idea to provide his services close to nature and still relatively close to the city. Some of his patients included the Elisabeth (Sisi) empress of Austria, Empress Eug’nie de Montijo (wife of Napoleon III), Lionel Walter Rothschild (politician and zoologist), and Justin Bieber.
Highlight E: Houses of the captains
Here we can see some houses dating back to the 18th century formerly owned by some captains. The facades look a little like the canal houses from the city, also displaying a Dutch clog gable. Yet, clearly these facades are made of wood. Wood is often used in these houses so as not to damage the dyke.
Highlight F: Augustine Church
The church was built in 1889 and hasn’t been used since August 2014. Last year, squatters had occupied the building. Unexpectedly, most residents of the Nieuwendammerdijk were happy to hear the church was used again, even though the usage was illegal. The squatters said they were willing to leave as soon as the owner clarified what the plans were going to be for this empty church. It is not clear whether they still occupy the church or not. You can find the church for sale online.
Highlight G: The Idea for a new forest
Housing shortage was a big problem at the beginning of the last century. The Vogelbuurt had just been built to house more people. The main residents were people from the working class. One of the city counsellors, Willem Hubert Vliegen, proposed the idea for creating a city forest: “A forest for the workers, under the smoke of Amsterdam, a piece of free nature, which the city seems to long for.”
Highlight H: Parisian Arches
The gates at the entrance of het Vliegenbos were placed in 2012 to celebrate the forest’s 100th birthday. The arches used to belong to one of the bigger fish-markets in Paris and symbolize the relationship between the old Dutch fish-towns on this site of the IJ and Paris, which dates back to 1300.
Your Fav Hidden Gems
The above highlights are just some of our favorite spots along the way. If something catches your eye while en route, share a picture with us so we can share with the group next week. Email is best to firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
We also really love to go on the bike to Amsterdam North and the countryside nearby. If you are interested you can always ask us to guide you on a Private Bike Tour to the Countryside.
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