What do to in Amsterdam Noord? The North of Amsterdam has it all: space, nature, history, great old and new architecture, beautiful and ugly industrial areas and many great bars, restaurants and hangouts. Take the free ferry across the IJ waters behind Central Station or take the new metro and you arrive in Amsterdam Noord. It is a large, old neighbourhood that has become extremely popular to live and visit. If you want to go where the locals go, go to Amsterdam Noord.
10 things to do in Amsterdam Noord
1. Explore the NDSM former ship yard
The former shipyard NDSM is Amsterdam Noord’s most famous and most popular hangout. The ferry takes you there in less than 20 minutes. The large area hosts huge old warehouses, once used for the shipping company NDSM. The shipping company left in the 1980’s, squatting artists convinced the city council the large area had the potential to become a creative hub. The halls now house workspaces, a flea market, hotels, restaurants and bars. The area is often used as a festival grounds in summer.
RECOMMENDED READ: Amsterdam NDSM
2. Enjoy the view on the A’DAM Tower
You cannot miss the huge tower that stands facing Amsterdam Central Station. The tower of 22 floors used to serve as the headquarter of the Dutch Shell company. Since 2016, the iconic tower houses a hotel, a club in the basement and several restaurants. The bar and restaurant on the 20th floor has a great panoramic view. On the roof is A’DAM Lookout, where there is an spectacular swing! To get to A’DAM Tower, take the ferry to ‘Buiksloterweg’.
3. Visit the EYE Film Museum
Next to the tower is a impressive white creation. This is the Eye Film Museum. A place to see the best films of all time: the Eye has a collection of over 4000 films, from silent films to the latest favorites from the art house cinema. It’s also a great place to enjoy a drink, with a lovely view over the ships passing by. Don’t forget to stop by at their great museum shop.
4. Architecture at the Flower neighbourhood
From the 14th to the 18t century Amsterdam Noord was known as the Siberia of Amsterdam, or just ‘the other side’. And even today many think of ‘poverty’ and ‘social housing’ when they hear the words ‘Amsterdam Noord’. They refer to the ‘garden cities’ (‘tuinsteden’) of Amsterdam Noord: Vogelbuurt, Disteldorp, Van der Pekbuurt, Floradorp and around Kamperfoelieweg.
These villages were built by housing corporations between 1910 and 1944. The architects were inspired by the Amsterdam School, Jugendstill and art deco. It’s totally safe and beautiful to walk around here. The oldest and most beautiful is the Birds Neighbourhood (‘Vogelbuurt’, the streets are named after birds).
The first houses in this ‘village’ were built by housing corporations, financed by the owners of the shipyards, who wanted good housing for their employees. There are not just workers’ homes here but also villa’s for the directors of the companies. Look at the map to find this area. Get there by taking the ferry to IJplein or the metro and you will walk straight into the neighbourhood.
RECOMMENDED READ: Amsterdam School Architecture
5. Go antiques and vintage shopping
Amsterdam Noord is home to one of the best places to go antiques and vintage shopping. At Papaverweg, there are a couple of warehouses full of the best interior designs finds of Amsterdam clustered together. From simple second hand items to vintage household finds, classic design, industrial beauties and old school inventory that bring back memories, Van Dijk & Ko and Neef Louis have it all for you. Also a lovely spot to have a coffee and a sandwich.
6. Eat at the best restaurants of Amsterdam Noord
Amsterdam Noord has been going through some heavy gentrification – the prices of housing have risen sharply. This means there are now a lot of good and hip places to eat, sleep and drink! From informal places like‘t Mandelahuisje, Smaaqt, Café De Ceuvel for organic food, Brewery Oedipus, De Verkeerstoren, Rolling Rock Kitchen and Coba (taco’s) to full restaurants Hotel Goudfazant, Tolhuistuin, fish restaurant Stork, Pompet, Il Pecorino, Cafe Modern, Hangar and the rotating restaurant Moon at the A’DAM Tower.
Find them on the map above. Restaurants at NDSM are named in the blogpost about NDSM.
7. Bike along the lovely Nieuwendammerdijk
The Nieuwendammerdijk is beautiful street with traditional Dutch houses. This old village was once a bustling centre for the thousands of people who worked at the ship yards of NDSM and ADM. The houses are made of wood, a better choice because of the swampy ground, that doesn’t support heavy building material. Get lost in the narrow winding alleyways: Meerpad, Molenpad, Havenpad and Kerkepad. Enjoy a Jenever at Café ‘t sluisje, where time stood still.
8. Ride your bike along the IJ
If you keep to the water, you ride right into the Dutch countryside. The open gras fields, cows, windmills, homemade apple pie, not to miss! Follow the IJ Lake Bike Tour on this website for directions.
9. See a film at FC Hyena
FC Hyena calls itself ‘The Netherlands first boutique cinema’. I don’t know what that means, but I do know that FC Hyena is a great cinema to hang out if you are wondering what to do in Amsterdam Noord. It has a beautiful view over the IJ water, two film halls, great films (popular and art house) on the screen and restaurant with great reviews. They also have nice wines, all natural. And you can take your food and drinks into the cinema!
10. Have a swim in The Best Swimming Pool in the World
Still need a fun thing to do in Amsterdam Noord? Go swimming. The Noorderparkbad is not just some swimming pool, it is the best swimming pool in the world, according to the jury of Piscine Global. Its architecture is soft and flowing. Rain water is collected, cleaned and used in the swimming pool. There is an indoor as well as an indoor pool. The swimming pool lies in the Noorderpark, a great park for stroll.