Contrasting slices of Amsterdam culture

With a large concentration of high-rise, purpose-built housing, Bijlmermeer – colloquially known as De Bijlmer – is not conventionally attractive, although the area is surrounded by countryside and picturesque waterways. But you can’t come here and not feel something, whether that’s being slightly estranged by the high-rise flats or deeply fascinated by the contrasts you'll encounter here. Many of the Bijlmer’s inhabitants have Caribbean roots – the independence of Suriname in 1975 resulted in a large influx of Surinamese immigrants, for example – and so it is home to an exciting range of food and culture. Curiously, this area is also a hot spot for gleaming high-tech office buildings, so it is a true melting pot.

Heesterveld Creative Community Zuidoost Ronald Tilleman

A modern district

Zuidoost is now no longer a satellite of Amsterdam but has its own busy city centre, and global firms such as ING and Staples have their European headquarters here. Along the ArenA Boulevard there are numerous restaurants, hotels, offices and entertainment venues, including the Heineken Music Hall, the Ziggo Dome, the Pathe ArenA multiplex cinema and the Amsterdam ArenA, home to football club Ajax Amsterdam. You should also pay a visit to Amsterdamse Poort, which is actually Amsterdam’s largest shopping area. Along with the usual chain stores there are lots of smaller shops and stalls offering products from around the world – from spicy curry powder and exotic vegetables to hair extensions.