IJburg is a collection of artificial islands east of the city currently being developed to help deal with Amsterdam’s housing shortage. Projected to be a city of 18,000 residences and 45,000 citizens, it is already home to over 10,000 pioneers. Welcome to the windy and watery city.
IJburg is made up of three islands, Steigereiland, Haveneiland and Rieteilanden, in the IJmeer lake east of the city. The islands are connected by bridges along its main artery IJburglaan.
IJburg is also connected to the city with a main bridge and a 15-minute tram ride to Central Station. A biking/walking bridge connects it to Diemen and Amsterdam Oost.
The city of Amsterdam built this neighbourhood in 1996. The idea was to build on the success of the Oostelijk Haven area where all aspects of liveability were obsessively planned out. IJburg was to include schools, shops, sporting areas, restaurants, a beach and even a cemetery. In 2002 the first homesteaders arrived. While already providing a full spectrum of housing—from posh waterside condos to social housing projects—development has slowed during the current economic crisis.
Lovers of modern architecture and easy access to water sports are particularly well served here. Those with higher incomes even have the option to dock their boats in their backyard. Others can find other docking arrangements nearby. There is also easy access to green: whether the new park on Diemerzeedijk or the farmlands and traditional fishing villages that begin across the water in Noord.
Community groups are already working hard to give a sense of spirit to an area that is still a construction site on its eastern end. Things are changing quickly as more schools open and, hopefully, more spaces will be provided for smaller businesses as opposed to only major chains. The completion of Zeeburgereiland, an area between IJburg and Amsterdam proper, that is undergoing development at the moment, may help make the transition less extreme. A book and website Wachtland provides stunning pictures of its creation.
Eating, drinking, etc
With a brasserie called ‘Family’, IJburg will obviously never become a nightlife mecca. But it does have a party beach, Blijburg, that has been attracting sun worshippers and hipsters from the mainland for years. There’s also a very friendly neighbourhood cafe/theater Vrijburcht and a few higher-end bars clustering around the yacht haven. The area currently has only one hotel, the really very charming bed & breakfast Lieve Nachten.