Bound by the Canal Ring, Oud Zuid and the Amstel River and the Amstel Canal, De Pijp is psychologically centered on the Albert Cuypmarkt and its intersecting streets filled with cafés and restaurants. Residents usually describe where they live to visitors as the neighbourhood ‘behind the Heineken brewery’.
Built at the end of the 19th century on a landscape of marsh and windmills, De Pijp’s narrow streets are indeed quite ‘pipe’-like. Working-class families often rented out any spare rooms to students and artists for a fair price. For example, the artist Piet Mondriaan lived here to think about simple lines in an area that the writer Bordewijk once described as ‘a ramshackle bordello, a klog made of rock’. Eduard Jacobs became the father of Dutch cabaret by fusing song, comedy and biting social comment in the small bars of the neighbourhood. Naturally, brewers such as Heineken were on hand to supply the drink. It was only with the arrival of Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and other immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s that the neighbourhood began embracing the plus sides of family values and cheap ethnic food.
Yes indeed: the Albert Cuypmarkt is not only the ‘kitchen of Amsterdam’ but also the place to witness the city in action. With decades of practice, this is the area to experience multicultural reality in a very relaxed way. And with the Amstel River and Sarphatipark nearby, there’s always a quiet escape at hand. There are also many hidden treats to be discovered: from a building with gnomes throwing balls on its roof to a public library built on the principles of Theosophy.
For a very diverse neighbourhood, there are a lot of young mothers causing traffic jams with their cargo bike (bakfiets) as they shuttle their children around the neighbourhood’s many schools. Residents feel generally safe and are much more concerned about what will happen when the NZ-lijn metro finally opens under Ferdinand Bolstraat. De Pijp will have finally come of age with all the conveniences of urban living while still maintaining a very a strong sense of community. In short, it's the new Jordaan.
Eating, drinking, etc
While still the best neighbourhood to choose from a wide selection of ethnic food, more high-end bars and restaurants have come on the scene to service students and young professionals. In particular, along the market cross-streets of Frans Halstraat, 1e van der Helststraat and 1e Sweelinckstraat. Even further east along Van Woustraat, a former fast food strip, there are now several of the city’s more highly regarded restaurants. But perhaps most representative of the area is Bazar, a former church on Albert Cuypmarkt that has been reinvented as a funky pan-North African café.