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Alternative Amsterdam Noord

Eccentric Noord

The creative (other) side of Amsterdam

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Text and photography by Iris van den Broek
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Old shipyards, sophisticated murals and creative meeting places: Amsterdam Noord is nothing like the classic city centre with its famous canals. Do something different and hop on the free ferry behind Central Station to explore this eccentric side of Amsterdam.

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Across the IJ

With the free ferry you will quickly cross the IJ to Amsterdam-Noord (North): the city's creative hotspot. There are two different ferry routes. One takes you to the NDSM-werf, the other to the EYE Museum and the A’DAM Tower.

A walk between these two starting points will take you to some of the most interesting parts of Amsterdam-Noord. You can walk this route in either direction.

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NDSM-werf

Edgy and adventurous

The NDSM-werf was once the largest shipyard in the world. But in the eighties, the Nederlandse Dok en Scheepswerf Maatschappij (NDSM or Dutch Dock and Shipyard Company) went bankrupt, and the lot was left vacant. Now this industrial wasteland has been transformed into one of the most exciting underground scenes in the Netherlands.

At the NDSM-werf, artists' initiatives follow each other in rapid tempo, and it is a guaranteed feast for the eyes.The old shipyard buildings now house concept stores and workshops, and along the water there are hip eateries like Pllek, a restaurant made of shipping containers. The character of this eccentric site lends itself well to festivals, which are held year round.

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Neef Louis

A warehouse full of vintage

Would you like to take some of the edgy NDSM-look home?Then you must stop by Neef Louis. This warehouse along the somewhat deserted Papaverweg is packed with retro furniture, vintage goodness and tiptop designer pieces.

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There are more than 1500 square meters of tables, desks, lamps, chairs and decorative objects. The products come from all corners of Europe and are hand selected by Louis. While you are there also stop by the neighbours across the street, Van Dijk & Co, to admire their fine collection of vintage furniture.

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Café de Ceuvel

Sustainability on the water

From an old shipyard to an urban oasis: Café de Ceuvel is alternative, creative and sustainable. Raw industrial heritage is combined with a casual hippie atmosphere of an Asian hostel. Everything about this place is unique: from the recycled 80-year old mooring posts from the harbour of Amsterdam to the patio seating on the slipway.

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De Ceuvel is mostly self-sufficient, and its mission is to minimize its environmental footprint. All waste is recycled, the food is organic and the garden helps to decontaminate the soil. You can dock your boot or walk inside through the large gateway.

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Pek & Kleren

Small department store

From café De Ceuvel it's just a short stroll to the Van der Pekstraat. The Van der Pek district is redeveloping fast. This neighbourhood of Amsterdam is one of the famous ‘garden villages’ that was built at the beginning of the 20th century in Noord to reduce the city's housing shortage. Now you can find here a growing number of fun bars and restaurants and shops.

One of the newcomers is Pek & Kleren, an irreverent concept store, or, as the owners Marike and Freya describe it, a small department store. The spacious interior was designed by them, and in addition to surprising clothes, you can also find home accessories, jewellery, plants and unique gifts.

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Fashion & Tea

Lunch and shopping

Tea, coffee, cake and sandwiches. But also trendy purses, dresses, earrings and shirts. At Fashion & Tea, also located in the Van der Pekstraat, you can shop and drink tea at the same time or one by one. You decide!

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The collection of this fantastic concept store includes known labels and up and coming designers. In summer, there is a lovely sunny garden in the back.

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A’DAM Toren

Swinging over the edge

Amsterdam finally has a view! Inaugurated in 2017, the A’DAM Toren rises 22 floors above the city. Ride the lift with a glass roof through a shaft filled with laser effects to reach the Lookout. From here you have a 360-degree view of the city. For thrill seekers there is Over The Edge, the highest swing in Europe.

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Before you grab the ferry back to the centre of Amsterdam, stop by the EYE Film Museum. The building's impressive architecture alone is worth a peek.

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