As the former ship yards of the Dutch East India Company, the Oostelijke Eilanden (“eastern islands” or Eastern Docklands) have come a long way since the days of ship building and industrial use. The Kattenburg, Wittenburg, Oostenburg and Czaar Peter neighbourhoods are a prime example of successful urban renewal, and they continue to thrive and delight.

Truly modern cultural offerings in Amsterdam

The Oostelijke Handelskade constitutes the heart of the Oostelijk Havengebied. The waterfront stretch is home to the spectacular Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ concert hall, host to a programme of contemporary and classical music of the highest quality, and the jazz venue Bimhuis (which juts out of the side of the Muziekgebouw like a black shoe box). They are followed by an eye-catching row of pakhuizen – former warehouses that were built in the late 19th century and now, following massive refurbishment, house a variety of offices, studios and cultural venues.

Pakhuizen Oostelijke Handelskade Pakhuis de Zwijger Amsterdam

Architecture and design haven

The Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, a beautiful glass building in the shape of a wave, is typically buzzing with cruise ship tourists coming and going, as well as conference and event guests. To cross from Borneo Island to the Sporenburg peninsula, pedestrians walk over a distinctive bridge: the Pythonbrug (‘python bridge’). This 90-metre-long red bridge winds like a snake and ends up at the Scheepstimmermanstraat, where the residents have designed their houses themselves. Yet more surprising architecture can be found on Java Eiland with its contemporary canals and nine playful bridges, and KNSM Eiland with imposing residential blocks.

Going out

The area is also home to some great spots for a night out, from restaurants to clubs. And for a luxurious time out from dusk till dawn, you could do worse than dining and staying at the Lloyd Hotel, a hotel situated in a former young offenders’ prison where famous designers, artists and architects have left their mark on its interiors.

Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam Allard van der Hoek