Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
Amsterdam derives its name from the Amstel, as does Amstelveen, the first and last large place you will encounter after Amsterdam. Take a detour and visit the Cobra Museum for modern art. Not much further on is the picturesque Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a village established in the 12th century and well-known for its extraordinary church alms houses, various churches and the historic Portuguese-Israeli cemetery Beth Haim from 1614. The graves of more than 27,000 people have remained intact in over 400 years.
Just outside of Ouderkerk is the largest, undeveloped area in the Randstad region of the Netherlands, the polder called De Ronde Hoep (the Round Hoop). The strange thing about it is that only the edge has been built upon, the polder itself being reserved for agriculture and meadow birds. Would you like a tour of Ronde Hoep? The 17-kilometre jaunt over the dike is very popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists. Even the famous painter Rembrandt was a fan of this rural area; Ouderkerk aan de Amstel and surrounding area make frequent appearances in his paintings.
Close your eyes for a moment and picture the 17th and 18th centuries with one giant country house after another along the bank of the river, owned by merchants who had seized their opportunity during the Golden Age and were coming here to enjoy the peace and quiet with their family. A few magnificent rural sites have been preserved, including Oostermeer and Wester Amstel.
Around 20 kilometres to the south of Amsterdam is Uithoorn, with the Thamerkerk from 1834 right on the water. The Fort aan de Drecht, completely renovated in 2000 and part of the Stelling van Amsterdam (Defence Line of Amsterdam), can also be seen here. A variety of walking and cycling routes have been marked out in Amstelland (the area around the River Amstel). But having a varied boat trip or cruise over the Amstel is also possible of course. Ask at the VVV (tourist information office) for the best routes. Various ferries sail over the Amstel for walkers and cyclists in the period running from April to September.