Walk Amsterdam’s Bolo en het Erasmuspark
This route is best done by bike, unless you skip highlight G and H.
This walk we’ll whisk you around Bos en Lommer in Amsterdam West, or, as a sales brochure for a new housing development re-named it, the fancy sounding ‘Bois & Lombre’! The up-and-coming area of the city has a young, multicultural population, undoubtedly drawn to the outdoor market on Bos en Lommerplein, the many cultural attractions, and the neighborhood’s strong sense of community. From urban farm courtyards, to converted churches and pizza parlours, this weekly stroll is designed to introduce you to the hidden local gems of the area!
Enjoy your walk!
📐 Distance: 7km
⏱️ Total Walking Time: 82 min
🍴 Calories: 280
🧭 Directions: Hit this link, then 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.
Best Roast en Route: White Label Coffee
Amsterdam West is one of the most happening spots for specialty coffee, and this little cafe was one of the pioneers! For caffeine quenching delight, we recommend visiting White Label Coffee, nestled in between a few highstreet shops. If the high ceilings, minimalist interior and dynamic mezzanine-style seating areas of White Label aren’t impressive enough, just try their specialty coffee!
Highlight A: Erasmuspark (The Miracle Garden)
Welcome to Erasmuspark: a popular park used by all, all year round. Amble along, and you’ll soon discover The Miracle Garden, a unique flower garden designed by visual artist Elspeth Diederix. The garden was the winning proposal in a bid to bring the world of plants and flowers closer to the people of Amsterdam. Have a feeling you recognize these fancy florals? You might have seen them on billboards which pop up across the city, called the Miracle series! Local residents take care of the flowers which bloom all year round. If you’re still curious, each and every plant is recorded in the online Miracle Garden database,
Highlight B: Eetwinkel Buurman en Buurman
Pizza is a delicious running theme this week! Have we made you hungry yet? This local restaurant in particular has a great backstory. Buurman en Buurman was founded by two neighbors, who lived next door to one another on the Erasmusgracht. Noticing that the corner building in their area had been empty for years, the two local guys got together and created the area’s first, and now favorite pizza parlour! Their advice for when you spot that your area’s in need of a take away that uses fresh and local ingredients? Build one yourself!
Highlight C: Het Wilde Westen
Not only does this place make some of the best wood oven pizzas in Amsterdam (with a tasty 10€ deal on Mondays!), but you can also use it as a working space, show off your artwork, or get your zen fix at a yoga class. Wilde Westen is set in a stunning space: the former industrial insurance administration office, or Gak building. Built in the late 1950s, the building was the last creation of the city’s architect Ben Merkelbach. Over 3000 people worked in its offices, which accounts for the extra large windows!
Highlight D: Kolenkitkerk
One thing’s for sure: the Kolenkirker is quite an eye-catcher in comparison to it’s less dazzling surroundings! Designed by Marius Duintjer in the 1950s, the shape of the Kolenkitkerk’s quirky tower is why it’s now commonly known as the de Kolenskit – the coal scuttle!
Highlight E: Wow Hostel
Wow Hostel provides affordable accommodation for both urban explorers and recently graduated artists! This dynamic, contemporary art space houses a restaurant, and an urban farm in the courtyard which experiments with food production in urban areas. Primary colors have been used to decorate the rooms, appealing to artistic spirits. This is top of the list for anyone looking for a totally unique experience in the city!
Highlight F: Podium Mozaiek
Podium Mozaiek is known locally as both the pumping cultural heart and social soul of Bos en Lommer. It consists of a cafe, restaurant, music theatre and event space, complete with a beautiful sunny terrace. Housed in a former church, the space is now renowned as a dynamic cultural meeting place, and its patterned exterior has earnt it it’s apt nickname: the ‘theelichtje’ (the tealight!). Insiders tip: every weekend the cafe serves up a traditional Turkish breakfast with unlimited Turkish tea!
Highlight G: Marktkantine
Built in 1936 as a canteen for Dutch traders, de Marktkantine has a dynamic history of food, music and theatre. In the 90s, the club scene exploded in Amsterdam, and the Marktkantine became the go-to spot for ravers across Europe. With 3000 square feet of dance areas and stages, the venue is the ideal spot for a post-corona party! Who’s excited?
Highlight H: Molen de Otter
You’re looking at the last remaining sawmill in what used to be the industrial epicenter of the city. Constructed in 1631, Molen de Otter (the Otter windmill) was one of an estimated 49 other mills in the area, and is the oldest functioning sawmill in the Netherlands! Yep, this baby still works. If that’s isn’t a testament to Dutch engineering then we don’t know what is. Restored in the 1990s, and soon declared a monument by the municipality, the Molen de Otter is a superb piece of Amsterdam’s industrial history well worth protecting.
Highlight I: Wachterliedplantsoen (Augustanakerk)
The Augustanakerk is a truly heartwarming project in the Bos en Lommer neighborhood. When the 1957 Reconstruction-style church closed its doors following a series of budget cuts, its central communal role lived on. The Augustana church is now a protected living environment for people on a tight budget, its youngest resident is a spritely 24 years old, and the oldest is 94! The aim of its generation was to create a community where people can look out for one another: a neighborly function mirroring that of the church before it. Fun fact: re-use of materials was prioritized in its design. For example, the church floor became the furniture in the chapel!
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 🙂
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