Discover an exciting world on the other side of the River IJ – Amsterdam-Noord (Amsterdam North). Noord is not only spacious and green, but also inspiring and vibrant. Here you will find an exciting mix of experimental festivals, picturesque country villages and stylish restaurants on the water. Explore Noord on a bike!
Free ferry across the IJ
To explore Noord, take the free GVB ferries situated behind Amsterdam’s Central Station. These run every few minutes and carry people, bikes and scooters. Just watching people getting on and off the ferries is fascinating in itself. Large digital timers count-down the minutes till the ferries depart – and there seems to be a sport in whizzing on at the last minute. If you have some time to spare, ferry-hopping is also a great – and very economical – way of doing a bit of cruising along the river IJ.
Take the ferry in the direction of the NDSM Wharf and disembark in the most creative and active parts of Amsterdam. Until the 1980s there was a shipyard here; nowadays the warehouses are a breeding ground for cultural entrepreneurs – like music channel MTV. Regular cutting-edge festivals and exhibitions are held here and more quirkiness is added to Noord by the presence of the Amstel Botel – a hotel on a boat.
Eat on the water
The rejuvenated vibe of Noord is reflected in the IJ-Kantine. This large buzzing restaurant was the former canteen of the NDSM shipyard. It occupies a wonderful spot at the water’s edge and is great for families. Another family favourite is Noorderlicht, a relaxed restaurant in a transparent dome with a fabulous terrace. Close to the Buiksloterweg ferry you will find the aptly-named De Pont (the Ferry) with a panoramic view of the River IJ. Or hop on the Pannenkoekenboot (Pancake Boat) to enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes while cruising.
In direct contrast to the cutting-edge vibe, Noord also has loads of lovely little villages that are ideal for exploring on foot, by bicycle or by water. Historic villages like Nieuwendam, Ransdorp and Zunderdorp have authentic ‘stolpboerderijen’ (traditional Dutch farmhouses built in the shape of a cheese-cover), wooden houses, locks and impressive views. Stop off at the exceptional cafés and restaurants along the way. Het Schoolhuis (the Schoolhouse) is a charming restaurant and terrace in Holysloot. Watergang is home to the nostalgic ’t Dijkhuis - in a former horse stable.