When you think of Amsterdam, you picture the centre with its beautiful canals. You picture canal houses with some of the city’s finest architecture. You picture crowded streets with o-so-many bicycles. That or you picture the red light district and coffee shops. And I’m not talking about Starbucks if you know what I mean *wink, wink! Most tourists only explore the centre while some tourists want to visit the ‘not so touristic’ parts of Amsterdam. The centre is indeed very beautiful, but this city has a lot more to offer.
Even though I said Amsterdam is more than just the centre, I want to start with a neighbourhood in the centre. The Jordaan (west from Centraal Station, about 10 minutes of walking) is a place where tourists go, yet it remains a ‘quiet’ part of the centre. I personally think it’s one of the city’s most beautiful neighbourhoods. It is an old part of Amsterdam and it is perfect for sightseeing. A fun place to check out is the Johnny Jordaanplein. It has statues of famous musicians from back in the old days who were born in the Jordaan.
The south of Amsterdam is interesting. First you have Oud-Zuid (old south) and then you have Nieuw-Zuid (new south). Oud-Zuid is quite touristic because the Van Gogh– and Rijksmuseum are here. Besides these museums (which are worth the visit) the area around it is great for sightseeing. It is also known as the wealthy part of Amsterdam, so you will find a lot of beautiful houses here. De Pijp is one of my favourite parts of the city. Not only are the Heineken Experience and the Albert Cuyp market (Europe’s largest street market) here, it has a great atmosphere. Have a nice walk here or have a drink in one of the many cafes.
Nieuw-Zuid, in particular the Rivierenbuurt (literally the ‘river neighbourhood’, all the streets are named after Dutch rivers), is quite interesting. Built in the 1920’s, this neighbourhood is ‘young’ compared to the centre and Oud-Zuid. One of the most interesting facts is that this is the neighbourhood where Anne Frank used to live before she hid in what is now known as the Anne Frank House. Her house was at Merwedeplein, so in addition to the Anne Frank House this is also quite impressive to visit.
Like the south, the west of Amsterdam also consists of the old and the new. I will talk about the old (Oud-West) because I like this part better and I’m not really familiar with the new (Nieuw-West). When in Oud-West you should visit the Kinkerstraat and the area around it. This is a nice place for shopping or having a drink or a bite to eat. While I wouldn’t necessarily visit this neighbourhood for sightseeing, it has a great feeling to it and it’s a nice change from the centre.
In Amsterdam born and raised, on the playground where I spent most of my days. Chilling out, maxing and relaxing all cool….. Yes that was a really random Fresh Prince reference, but where I wanted to go with that line is that I love my city. I know it really well and I can’t picture myself living somewhere else. Not even some of the smaller cities around Amsterdam (spoken like a true Amsterdammer). So for all the (future) guests of Hostelle, come find me for some nice suggestions if you want to explore Amsterdam.