Explore one of the leading maritime collections in the world at the Maritime Museum
If you’re even remotely interested in ships or maritime history, then the National Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum) is an absolute must-see. It houses one of the world’s leading maritime collections, and the definitive collection on Dutch maritime history. There’s a lot to do here, for both adults and kids; the recently renovated museum’s three wings house stunning displays of ship decorations and navigational instruments, as well as maps, books, models, games and plenty of interactive, audio-visual presentations. It’s difficult to pick favourites, but the 1:1 scale, explorable replica of the East Indiaman Amsterdam may be the crowning experience; it is certainly one of the most unique.
Tour a brewery, and sample a selection of great beers at the Brouwerij ’t IJ
Tour a brewery, and sample a selection of great beers at the Brouwerij ’t IJ. A bathhouse and one of the city’s largest wooden windmills may not seem like a likely place for a brewery, but that’s exactly what musician Kasper Peterson turned this place into in 1985. The immensely popular Brouwerij ’t IJ now produces more than half a dozen house beers, three seasonal beers and the occasional, always interesting experimental brew. They have very affordable, English-language tours for individuals and small groups that include a run of the brewery and a free beer. The tour is best followed up with sampling some (or all) their house beers at the attached pub. And if you’re a fan of windmills, the beautiful wooden one next door is a must-see.
Get your recommended daily dose of literature, art, comedy and culture
Oostelijke Eilanden is also home to some of the most interesting cultural hubs in the city. The Pakhuis de Zwijger is a buzzing building with an extensive schedule of design sessions, presentations, movie screenings, think tanks and talk shows, all actively contributing to societal issues in the city. Similarly, at Mezrab, you can expect a programme full of music, comedy, literature, storytelling and various stage performances – not to mention short courses in acting and storytelling. And if you’re looking for a place to stay in the area, the 1-to-5-star Lloyd Hotel (a hotel that caters to all budgets) has an ongoing schedule of exhibitions, talks and events, and some good food to boot.
Take a stroll through modern architecture and award-winning bridges
While Amsterdam might be famous for its colourful canal houses, the city’s modern architecture also receives significant acclaim, even if it isn’t as prominent. Oostelijke Eilanden is a great place to glimpse examples of this. The Python Bridge for instance is a beautiful, twisted and award-winning pedestrian bridge that you should visit, situated in the equally quirky Zeeburg neighbourhood. And if you’re a fan of bridges there are a few more you should visit in the area. This includes a set of nine wrought-iron, artist-designed bridges scattered across Java-eiland that are beautiful to look at, and make for great photo-ops. The entire area is full of modern housing and building complexes though, so it’s worthwhile to take a leisurely stroll.
Listen to modern music on the banks of an ancient waterway
River views and live music join in harmony on the banks of the IJ at the Muziekgebouw and the Bimhuis, where hundreds of concerts are held each year. Though the Bimhuis is famous for hosting Dutch jazz, these days it is also home to modern, electronic and world music and a wide variety of performances by some of the world´s best musicians. The Muziekgebouw concert hall was added in 2005 and it has already grown into one of the most prominent stages in the Netherlands. The space was built to accommodate an eclectic mix of music, with movable ceilings, walls, chairs and floors, so it can be redesigned to bring out the best acoustics and experience for each show.
Explore more of Oostelijke Eilanden, or check out some other Amsterdam neighbourhoods!