When you arrive at Amsterdam Central railway station and follow the largest mass of moving people out of the station you will automatically arrive in the city centre and on the Grachtengordel (the Amsterdam Canal District). This is a beautiful part of Amsterdam that has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list for a very good reason. If you decide to head in the opposite direction and cross the river IJ with the ferry, you will arrive in a completely different type of Amsterdam. This part of the city is more laid-back, alternative, and low-key. Welcome to Amsterdam-Noord!
This former shipyard has become the epicentre of culture and gastronomy. It has just a hint of alternative hipster culture, as seen last summer when the grounds were filled with food trucks during the Amsterdam Kookt (Amsterdam cooks) music and food festival. Throughout the year, you are welcomed here by a number of creative hangouts like Pllek. Chill out on the little beach next to the water in the summer months, or go indoors on cold winter days into an industrial setting and grab a bite to eat and enjoy a drink. Or visit the IJ-kantine that serves food and drinks throughout the day. Kebec Micro Bakery is also a great place to visit. It’s a small, local pizzeria where you can just enjoy…well…pizza. Cultural café Noorderlicht is a place you simply have to visit if you’re up for enjoying a small-scale concert.
The Tolhuistuin is located right across from Amsterdam Centraal railway station. Started up seven years ago, the Tolhuistuin has since grown into a cultural, artistic, and culinary meeting and inspirational brainstorming spot. There is something on the agenda almost every day in this music venue by Paradiso-Noord. The collaboration between Paradiso (an Amsterdam institution) and Tolhuistuin have turned this location into a vibrant festival going on twenty-four hours a day next to the river IJ.
You can really chill out here on the pavilion, in a hammock on the veranda, or on the slipway café terrace next to the water. De Ceuvel is unique, as it tries to be as self-sufficient as possible. The café is built from recycled materials, including 80-year-old mooring posts from the Amsterdam harbour and a section from a cut-up rescue-brigade pavilion from the beach at Scheveningen. Even the kitchen waste is used as biofuel for cooking. Another bonus point is that the food is also delicious, healthy, and affordable.
Be sure to visit this spot if you’re a fan of beer. Oedipus Brewing is the result of four friends sharing a passion for beer. They decided to start brewing their own favourite drink with the result being beers with names like ‘Ring your mother XXXX’ and ‘Mannenliefde’ (‘love of men’). This shared hobby has become a serious undertaking and these guys have brewed so much beer that they are sharing it with the world.
The building in which Café Modern is located used to house a bank. The old wall with all the bank safes has been left as a feature and has been highlighted and expanded upon with an interior full of vintage influence and classic design. This café offers a new five-course menu every day for €40 and there is also a great alternative option for vegetarians.
In short, there is plenty to see and do in Amsterdam-Noord. While it is quite a distance from our location in Amsterdam-Zuid, public transport will have you there in a flash and you can always squeeze in a sight-seeing tour of Amsterdam as you make your way there.