Tucked away east of Centraal Station in the corner where the IJ River meets the Amsterdam-Rijn canal, the area is made up of a series on interconnected islands: KNSM, Java, Sporenburg and Borneo.
After the building of Centraal Station and the railway lines at the end of the 19th century, new deep water harbours were required to deal with the increasing trade with, and travel to, the Dutch East Indies. Warehouses were built and wave-breaking islands (KNSM and Java) were made to protect all the harbour activities from the moody sea.
During and after WWII the trade declined and by the 1980s the area’s abandoned buildings were taken over by squatters, artists and nomads. In the 1990s, the city was inspired by London’s invigorated Eastern Docklands and Sydney’s iconic boardwalk and decided to redevelop the area as both a residential and cultural zone.
Who needs green when you are surrounded by this much blue? And certainly those who want to live in icons of modern residential architecture with views over the water – such as The Whale – are very well served here. Of course, not everyone can live on Scheepstimmermanstraat or Sky Dome.
The area is less than a 15-minute bike ride to Central Station, and the route along Oostelijk Handelskade is developing into a major arts, culture and nightlife strip.
As a planned project, this neighbourhood features a well thought-out infrastructure in regards to schools and access to basic shopping (and even some designer furniture shopping on KNSM island). In the last decade, middle to high-income families have come here to take advantage of the sense of space without having to resort to moving out of Amsterdam.
In fact, one of the country’s greatest markets, the Dappermarkt, is only a 10-minute bike ride away.
Eating, drinking etc.
There are several cafes and restaurants along the KNSM island where you can dine with a view. The walkway that connects Centraal Station with this area features numerous attractions. There's the concert hall Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, the legendary jazz venue Bimhuis and the multifunctional Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA). Nearby is the Science Center Nemo with its interactive exhibitions for kids and itsm beautiful rooftop terrace, open in the summer.
Further down you'll find celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, the warehouse-turned-crossmedia centre Pakhuis de Zwijger, the globally acclaimed nightclub Panama and a former youth prison reinvented as the designer Lloyd Hotel.