Walk Amsterdam’s Van der Pekbuurt
It is common for people to underestimate Noord because it is separated from the city by the IJ-water. But having lived in Noord for most of my life I can tell you that paying a visit to this part of the city is definitely worth your time. Noord is booming right now, with its new restaurants, hotels, clubs, coffee-bars you name it, and most of it has yet to be discovered. You will probably be starting with a ride on one of the ferries. With the wind in your hair and surrounded by water and sun, this is the perfect time to take in the beautiful view of our amazing city. During this tour you will learn more about some of the sustainability projects in Noord and some of Noord’s history, and all that when burning away some calories.
Enjoy your walk!
Total Walking Time: 59 min
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.
☕ Best Roast en Route: Boka’s Coffeebar
There is a new coffee bar in town and, like Noord itself, it is booming. This coffee bar offers some of the best coffee in Amsterdam Noord. There is a lot on the menu. They serve everything from a cappuccino to a matcha latte, from healthy juices and smoothie bowls, to amazing pastries. This is the perfect spot to take a break during this week’s weekly walk.
Fun fact: Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, there is a street market in front of Boka’s. Saturday is my favorite day of the market as the locals come out to go to their favorite sustainable and delicious stalls. In the past, the market was set up around the corner at Mosveld, so that the residents in Noord did not have to go to Amsterdam. Since then, the market has grown to a well-known market, even pulling customers from the rest of the city. A perfect place to get some fresh groceries and a little snack on this walk.
Highlight A: De pont (ferry)
The ferry, here in Amsterdam, can be seen as the first form of public transportation created in the Netherlands. The first reference to the Buiksloterferry was found in a text from 1308, but a ferry had probably been in use before that. It was not until 1897 that the ferries came under the management of the municipality. Over time, a lot more connections were added to the ferry network. Most connections were added in the 20th century.
The ferry has a very personable impact on Noord. In a society that’s always rushing to go to ‘the next thing’, taking sometime to get on the ferry and slow down is a big thing. Also, there is the inevitable eye contact you make with others on the boat, making the ferry one of our favorite spots of the city.
light B: EYE & Adam Tower
Most eye-catching (pun intended) when you go to Noord from the city, are EYE and the Adam Tower. EYE is a relatively new building for Amsterdam, with the construction completed in 2012. The design of the building is phenomenal (it looks like an eye) and speaks to the purpose of the building itself, namely as a film museum. On top of that, the building sits on the banks of the IJ river, which sounds somewhat like the word ‘eye’. A lot to take in. The film museum has exhibitions and plays movies – both blockbusters and art house. The bar inside is also amazing. With great interior design and an amazing view on the water, it makes having your drink all the more exciting.
The Adam Tower truly embraces the spirit of Amsterdam, celebrating the combination between business and fun. Formerly an R&D center of Shell, the building was vacant for a few years until a group of entrepreneurs decided to turn the building around. In the basement you’ll find a club, most floors are offices, the top two floors are restaurants, and what would an Amsterdam Tower be without a lookout deck on the roof? For less than 20 Euro, you can take an elevator to the top of the building to enjoy the view from 100m height. If that’s not exciting for you, for a few extra Euros you can go ‘over the edge’; a swing that takes you over the edge of the rooftop to swing 100m up in the air.
Highlight C: Tolhuistuin
The Tolhuistuin is a cultural center full of entertainment. Containing a restaurant, paradiso Noord (concert hall), a dance school, workshops, room for exhibitions and more, this building has something to offer to everyone. Tolhuistuin likes to bring attention to important issues in our society, such as migration, health, inclusivity and safety. They do this through the art exhibitions, festivals, performances, garden events, podcasts, and workshops. The world cuisine food from the restaurant is amazing and the fantastic view of the IJ-water and Amsterdam central is a whole extra reason to pay a visit.
Highlight D: Cafe ONS
ONS, or ‘Ot ‘n Sien’ is the oldest cafe in Amsterdam Noord. The first owners founded the cafe in 1820. It was first just a coffee place for the workers that worked close by. Later, ONS was known as the typical old ‘brown’ cafe of Amsterdam Noord. A brown cafe means an authentic and old looking bar, often containing lots of wood, sand on the floor (on old trick to soak up spilled beer), all adding up to an intimate ambiance. A few years ago the ownership of the cafe changed. The cafe has become a lot more modern, with a stronger focus on sustainability. Instead of the greasy, typically-Dutch snacks, some more trendy food choices have made their way onto the menu. The cafe has changed with the neighborhood.
Highlight E: De Ceuvel
De Ceuvel is one of the most unique urban experiments of Europe. De Ceuvel is the breeding ground for a new, more sustainable world. The terrain contains old houseboats that have been transformed into creative working spaces for sustainable companies and where environmental projects are designed and carried out. The houseboats are surrounded by wild soil-cleaning plants, planted to clean the polluted water. You can access the houseboats by timber pathways, in a sea of vegetation. The terrain also includes a restaurant. The restaurant only uses products from sustainable brands, cultivates some of their own food in their garden in Amsterdam West and in a greenhouse on the rooftop. De Ceuvel is definitely one of the most fascinating places in Amsterdam.
Highlight F: Mosveld
Mosveld and surrounding areas used to contain a stadium for one of the then bigger football clubs Volenwijck. Volenwijck was a very successful club, during the early half of the 20th century. But in the ’60s the problems started. New plans were created for Noord, such as the construction of the IJ-tunnel and the construction of a new hospital (now NH-hotel Noord). The football club and stadium had to move further into Noord. Of course the club was financially compensated for the inconvenience of having to move, but sadly that was not enough. Many of the local residents did not like to go to the new locations and the club lost touch with their former neighborhood and many of their fans. Some of the club members also blamed some of the demise of Volenwijck on leadership, that did not seem to do enough to keep the club’s head above the water. Volenwijck still exists, but only as an amateur club. The leaning towers of this shopping center were created to imitate the light poles of the former stadium.
Highlight G: Sint Ritakerk
Built a hundred years ago, this church has a long history. The construction was dramatic, and the church partially collapsed only one year after the construction had finished. In 1943, during the war, the church was bombed by the invaders and badly damaged, with dozens of deaths and wounded. After the war, the church was restored, but instead of its former tower, this bulkier tower was placed. In the ’70s the church stopped functioning as a church and was split into the head office of Universal Studios and a local library. Recently the church was taken over by Bunk Hotels, which renovated and modernized the building. The church now contains a beautiful restaurant, with amazing food, their own Bunk Beer, and a stylish hotel. The beautiful location, in combination with the amazing menu and drink choice can not be missed.
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 the best.
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