A short ferry ride from Centraal Station and several hotels in Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Noord (North Amsterdam) is a completely different world from the bright lights of the city centre. It’s worth taking the time to explore this area’s quiet neighbourhoods and parks, either on foot or by bicycle.
You can catch a free ferry across the IJ lake on the north side of Centraal Station – simply follow the signs to “Noord”.
The boats carry foot passengers and cyclists to three piers on the north shore: NDSM, Buiksloterweg and IJplein. Leaving at frequent intervals during the day, but less regularly at night, crossings take only a few minutes.
As soon as you step off the boat, you’ll be surprised by the peace and quiet that reign here.
Amsterdam-Noord may now be a city neighbourhood, but much of it consists of small former villages that retain their original atmosphere.
You can wander along narrow cobbled streets lined with wooden homes, some of which lean at improbable angles. In the neighbourhood of Nieuwendam, you can take a break at ‘t Sluisje (Nieuwendammerdijk 297), an old café by a canal lock.
Parkland and countryside
If you feel like a nature walk, Noorderpark is 15 minutes on foot from Buiksloterweg pier, while Vliegenbos is two kilometres from IJplein pier. The latter park is home to one of Europe’s largest remaining stands of Dutch elms.
Those with a bike can reach open countryside within a matter of minutes. Around nine kilometres from all three piers is Broek in Waterland, a well-preserved village where most buildings are more than 200 years old.
Arts and culture
Amsterdam-Noord may be the city’s quieter half, but you’ll also find cutting-edge architecture and cultural events here.
As you cross the water, you’ll see a white, wedge-shaped building that dominates the waterfront. This is the EYE film museum, while nearby Tolhuistuin (IJpromenade 2) is an arts and entertainment complex with a restaurant.