The neighbourhood De Pijp Amsterdam lies just East of the Museum Square. The North side (De Oude Pijp) is bustling with people, bikes, terraces, restaurants and bars, mostly around the big Amsterdam Albert Cuyp daily market. The South side of De Pijp Amsterdam (De Nieuwe Pijp) is a quiet neighbourhood, with broad streets, a lot of green, playgrounds and small parks. De New Pijp hides some of Amsterdam’s most characteristic socialist architecture from the 1920s known as the Amsterdam School. De Pijp Amsterdam neighbourhood is a worthwhile area to shop, for night life and enjoy Amsterdam’s finest architecture.
Orientation in De Pijp
The Amsterdam Pijp neighbourhood is enclosed by water, but in the district itself there are no canals. De Pijp is bordered by the Hobbemakade (The Rijksmuseum) in the West, the Weteringcircuit (Heineken brewery) in the North, the Amstel river in the East and the Jozef Israëlskade in the South.
The 2 main streets in De Pijp are the Centuurbaan, stretching from the Hobbemakade, along the Sarphatipark all the way to the Amstel river. Most famous in De Pijp is the centrally located Albert Cuyp street with its daily market. Next to it is the Sarphati Park. The other main street is Ferdinand Bolstraat, which leads you into De Pijp from the big roundabout and the Singelgracht (Singel canal) all the way south to the broad canal along the Amstelkade.
Map of De Pijp Amsterdam
De Pijp: Quartier Latin of Amsterdam
De Pijp is a much busier and much more crowded neighbourhood than the Jordaan Quarter, which lies in a similar distance from the centre. The Pijp is also younger. While the Jordaan was planned in the 17th century, the Pijp filled up with housing in a fast pace from 1860. De Pijp is sometimes called the Quartier Latin of Amsterdam. There are many boutiques, small bars and good restaurants. In the old days, many students and artists lived in the Amsterdam Pijp quarter. Nowadays, a richer and older generation moved in and renovated the small apartments, creating spacious apartments.
Historically, De Pijp can be divided into 2 parts: the Old Pijp (De Oude Pijp, North side) and the New Pijp (De Nieuwe Pijp, South side).
The Old Pijp (De Oude Pijp)
Due to an explosion in population growth in Amsterdam in the second half of the 19th century ( the industrial revolution), an extension of the city was necessary.
The area we now know as De Pijp was an agricultural area, with lots of grassland, farms, waterways and windmills and was the perfect candidate to extend the city.
Unfortunately, the grand plan to make this part of town look like something from Paris, fell through. It was deemed too expensive and too difficult to get buy off the many windmills and make them search for wind elsewhere. Instead, the whole area was raised by 1,5 meters for drainage and sold off to whoever might have the money to build housing
New investors quickly took loans from banks and started to build housing in a fast pace. With cheap building material and of poor quality, the area was built chaotically and in the worst way possible. We call this type of building Revolution Building. For the first time, banks started to give out mortgages to investors who saw building houses as a way of making good money fast. You can still the result of the Revolution Building in De Pijp. The street plan still follows the old waterways of the agricultural function it once had. The streets are very long.
Housing in De Pijp: small and noisy
The front side of typical Pijp houses are small, only 5 tot 6 meters. But they are very deep, about 12 meters deep. The houses have 2 doors: one for the downstairs, where there is a shop or a house and one for the staircase that leads upstairs.
The houses have 3 windows. The staircases are super narrow, the rooms are very small, there is bad isolation against humidity, cold and noise. Only one small balcony to dry laundry. The floors are divided up into two separate apartments (front room and back room), each of 25 m2 in size. A family of 5 or 7 people lived here in tiny, humid and dark rooms. De Pijp was not as poor as the Jordaan District though. The people who lived here owned small businesses, were students or worked for the government, like police men, teacher or administrative.
De Pijp: cheap and poor quality houses
Still, the area, then known as YY, was ridiculed in the newspapers as a place you had to get out of as quickly as possible. Some buildings had started to collapse shortly after they were finished. The Pijp’s cheap and poor quality housing attracted the bohemians of the city: drunks, dreamers, pioneers and prostitutes. Beer houses and cheap hostels organised all sorts of clandestine entertainment.
Prostitution in De Pijp Amsterdam
The Pijp was soon known for its prostitutes. Along the Sarphatipark there were many brothels. Here, whores rented rooms for their customers for a short time. You can still find the remnants of this history along the Ruysdaelkade, where up to this day, prostitutes offer their services behind red lit windows. This was also the time and place a new literary movement started, called the Eightiers (Tachtigers).
Immigrants in De Pijp
Many immigrants looking for a better life settled in De Pijp. First, the Jewish families. Remnants are the the synagogue located at Gerard Doustraat and the beautiful diamond cutter of Asscher (see Nieuwe Pijp) In the 60s of the 20th century Spanish people, employed in the Heineken brewery arrived. Later, immigrant workers from Turkey and Morocco often on invitation by the Dutch government came and settled here, giving De Pijp its multi cultural face.
The new Pijp (De Nieuwe Pijp)
De Nieuwe Pijp, just south of Van der Helstplein, was created as part of large scale plan by famous Dutch architect Berlage in 1917, Plan Zuid. De Nieuwe Pijp consists of the Diamond Neighbourhood (Diamantbuurt) and the part between the Tweede Van der Helststraat and Van Woustraat.
Amsterdam School architecture
The entire area of The New Pijp is known for its expressionist Amsterdam School architecture. Best known example is the monumental building De Dageraad. De Dageraad is a complex of several building created made by Dutch architects Michel de Klerk en Piet Kramer on orders of the socialist housing corporation De Dageraad. The curls, swirls and waves in the buildings, the strange towers and fantastic plastic and exorbitant decoration make the buildings playful and human. The architects believed in the socialist principles of their clients. The aesthetically responsible housing would contribute to the uplifting of the working class. Inside, the houses had 3 or 4 rooms, a huge improvement. But the houses were not very functional. Aesthetics played a more important role than functionality.
Visit Visitors Centre De Dageraad
De Dageraad has its own Visitors Centre, free to visit Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 11am-5pm. Excursions in the area are organised by Museum Het Schip.
What’s up with Amsterdam also organizes tours in the area. See What’s up tours for more information and bookings.
One of the most famous novel in Dutch literature takes part in this neighourhood: De Avonden. Writer Gerard Reve lived on number 415 of Jozef Israelskade, corner with Diamantstraat, with his parents. Here he wrote his famous book in 1947.
The Diamond Neighbourhood in De Pijp
The Diamond neighbourhood in The New Pijp is (for Dutch people) recognizable for its names of precious stones: Diamantstraat, Robijnstraat, Saffierstraat, Smaragdstraat, Topaasstraat, en Granaatstraat.
The whole area is nice for a walk around because there are so many remarkable buildings and monuments. The ‘workers’ palaces’ you can recognize by their vertical lines and yellow-green window seels.
Diamond cutter Asscher
The monumental building of Diamond cutter Asscher is worth a look. The factory dates back to 1907. The Asscher factory made world news in 1908, when the British King Edward VII ordered the diamond cutter Abraham Asscher to polish the Cullinan, the biggest and most famous diamond in the world. In high times, there were 300 people working in this factory, most of whom live in the Diamond Neighbourhood. Abraham Asscher was not religious, but felt very connected to the Jewish community and fulfilled many public functions in Jewish organisations. Asscher returned from concentration camp Bergen-Belsen after the war, mentally destroyed and cut all ties with the Jewish community.
In the centre of the Diamond Neighbourhood stands the Bathhouse. Originally, this was the local bath house, a place where people came to get a bath before houses were equipped with a shower.
A part of the Diamond Neighbourhood in De Pijp Amsterdam consists of small workers houses, crated by architect A.L van Gendt. They were built in the 1890s as model houses for workers in the then agricultural area. This area is now a national monument.
The building known as Cinétol is totally different from the Amsterdam School architecture. It’s built in the New Building (Het Nieuwe Bouwen). Cinétol is the former temple of the Theosophical Society, built in 1927. Typical for the theosophical movement are the many geometrical figures like circles and triangles.
Unfortunately, Krishnamurti, seen as the reincarnation of Christ, left the movement shortly after the building was finished, thereby creating a split in its followers and a descent in its numbers. During and after the war Cinétol became a cinema. Nowadays it’s a public library with some archives of the old theosophical movement.
Bars & restaurants, boutiques and nightlife in De Pijp
Restaurants, bar, cafés and night life in Amsterdam De Pijp is concentrated around the Albert Cuyp Market (Gerard Douplein) and the side and parallel streets of Ferdinand Bolstraat. There are many eateries and fine restaurants, wine bars, cocktail bars, but also small boutiques for vintage, designer and second hand.
De Pijp today: hotspot
De Pijp today can hardly be called a poor district. On the contrary, De Pijp is a hotspot in Amsterdam. The new neighbourhoods in South-east (Zuidoost) and New-West (Nieuw-West) have taken over its miserable position. De Pijp is now a very central location, making it attractive to live.
After the artists, students and young entrepreneurs, finally families moved in. They have changed De Pijp into a popular, busy and trendy neighbourhood with lots of restaurants and bars.
Booming housing prices in De Pijp
But the prices of housing have also boomed as a consequence and some say De Pijp has been yuppified too much. When Starbucks arrived, people protested and realized the small boutiques by local owners might become a thing of the past when big companies will make the rental prices soar.
Things to do in De Pijp
The Heineken Brewery heads De Pijp at its entrance and marks the neighbourhood with its impressive industrial building. Since 1988, no beer is brewed inside the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam. Heineken beer is brewed outside of Amsterdam, in Zoeterwoude. But Heineken Beer is definitely from Amsterdam. It was the 22-year old Gerard Heineken who bought an old Amsterdam beer brewery in 1863 and made it into a very successful enterprise.
The Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam now sells itself as a tourist attraction, called Heineken Experience and promotes its own beer. The tour explains how beer is made.
Amsterdam Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market has been around since 1905 and was the natural consequences of the expansion of the city. Around 1900 around 50.000 people lived in De Pijp. And as people could only buy fresh produce at a market, soon enough a gathering of sellers of fresh products, sold from wooden carts, started.
By way of yelling out their products, the market venders could make themselves present and sell more. Up to this day, many of the market men yell out their wares.
A third of the market people were Jewish, which gave it its characteristic feel. Almost nobody survived the second world war and this left its mark on the market after the war.
The Albert Cuyp is well known everywhere in the Netherlands. It’s by far the most famous market. And the biggest. Especially on Saturday people swarm to this typically Amsterdam market, which is surrounded by many exotic shops and ‘gezellige’ cafés and restaurants. The market is closed on Sunday.
Breakfast, lunch in De Pijp
- Omelegg, omelet heaven with small wooden bench to sit outside
Ferdinand Bolstraat 143
- De Wasserette, sandwiches, not too expensive with outside terrace
Eerste van der Helststraat 27
- De Turk, a modern Turkish shop with lots of hummus, Turkish bread, fruits, veggies. Great for take away for a pick nick in the park
Van Woustraat 45bg
- BBROOD, bakery with old school desem brood.
Eerste van der Helststraat 49
- De Hutspot, über hip concept store with hairdresser and coffee and lunch
Van Woustraat 4
- Haastje Repje, long standing boutique with original women’s’ clothing
Ferdinand Bolstraat 96
- Sjerpentine, hysterical shop for women’s clothing and accessories
1e van der Helststraat 33
- Duikelman, long standing quality shop with kitchen ware for pro’s and amateur cooks.
Ferdinand Bolstraat 68-68A
Nightlife De Pijp
There are no clubs in De Pijp, only bars and cafés. Around ‘Gerard Douplein’ , the Marie-Heineken plein there are many bars and restaurants.
- CC Muziekcafé, bar with live music every night
- de Badcuyp, bar and restaurant with live music (mostly jazz)
Eerste Sweelinckstraat 10
- Brouwerij Troost (brewery) serves and produces its own beer
Cornelis Troostplein 21
- Café Kingfisher, long standing popular bar that’s always busy
Ferdinand Bolstraat 24-II
- Glouglou, a new (2015) winebar and shop with vins natural (natural wines, no additives)
Tweede Van der Helsstraat 3
De Pijp Amsterdam is a great neighbourhood to explore.