Area

Zuidoost lies east of the A10 ring highway and west of the Weespertrekvaart waterway which connects with the Amsterdam-Rijn canal. To the north are the city of Diemen and its forest Diemenbos. To the south lies Nieuw Utrechtseweg and open fields, beyond which is the Amstel River-side town of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. The new architecturally-acclaimed train station Bijlmer provides easy access to Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands.

History

A mix of river and bog, the area was pumped dry during the Golden Age to produce grains. In 1960 it was annexed by Amsterdam to build a new city called Bijlmermeer. Inspired by the Swiss architect Corbusier, ‘De Bijlmer’ was to become a functionalist city marked by 10-story high-rises separated with plenty of green public spaces and different paths for traffic, bikes and walking. Its relative distance from the city made it less popular with middle-income families and it became more of a refuge for the many immigrants that came after Suriname independence in 1975. The separation of living, working and recreational spaces led to barren places by night. The area made headlines in 1992, when a 747 jet crashed into two apartment blocks and killed at least 48 people. Soon a massive renewal project was begun that included tearing down many of the larger blocks in favour of mid- and low-rise buildings. In 2007, the national government committed more funding for social, educational and economic infrastructure.

Highlights

Zuidoost is a remarkably green neighbourhood with the massive lake Gaasperplas and its surrounding forest as its centrepiece. There are also many other parks, sport parks, private garden allotments and a golf course. The urban core is centred on the Ajax ArenA football stadium, Amsterdamse Poort and the Amsterdam ArenA/Bijlmer train station, which together has developed into a major shopping and entertainment zone complete with cinemas and concert halls.

Eating, drinking, etc

Zuidoost has evolved into a major entertainment centre. Along with the Ajax ArenA, there’s Heineken Music Hall, Ziggo Dome, Pathé Arena, and Bijlmer Parktheater. There are also some excellent festivals such as the iconic Kwaku that combines food and football, as well as cultural ‘breeding grounds’ that are located throughout Zuidoost, organise many community-based arts projects and events.