Explore the colourful Heesterveld Creative Community
Enjoy the homely atmosphere and changing local art exhibitions in the colourful Heesterveld Creative Community. This former apartment block was once in a developing area but has since transformed into a cultural breeding ground, with ateliers in the former basement storage rooms and the artists' homes above. Painters, filmmakers, rappers and graffiti artists from all corners of the world regularly organise exhibitions and networking events. Admire the street art or visit GLLRY ZOH, an art platform and project space with its own Bed & Breakfast. When you’re feeling peckish, head over to Oma Ietje. Between tasty toasties and chunky sandwiches, artisanal coffee, the special beer of the month, and wickedly delicious homemade cakes, there is lots to choose from.
Check out what's on at OSCAM
The Open Space Contemporary Art Museum (OSCAM) was opened on the occasion of 50 years of Bijlmer to highlight the cultural diversity of the district. Working in collaboration with Amsterdam’s leading cultural institutions, OSCAM stages accessible exhibitions designed to attract youth to the Bijlmer through high-quality art, fashion and design presentations involving both known and unknown creative talent.
Swim, surf and suntan, or dance the night away at Gaasperplas park
Gaasperplas park is a gem of a space surrounding a manmade lake that looks anything but manmade. The park is an intricate web of streams and bridges, and paths for walking, hiking, biking and horse-riding. It also has a tonne of little nooks to relax in, and is home to a couple of beaches, including a family-friendly beach and a small nudist beach (from March to October). Gaasperplas, the lake itself, is a great place for sailing, surfing, rowing, canoeing and plenty of other watery activities. Free nearby parking and lots of facilities make this park an easy place to spend a day, and those wanting to dance the night away can keep an eye out for festivals like the Amsterdam Open Air and the Reggae Lake Festival, both regularly held in Gaasperplas park.
Attend the Kwaku Festival at Nelson Mandelapark
The Nelson Mandelapark (formerly Bijlmerpark) plays host to the fantastic annual Kwaku Festival. Kwaku started small, with street-football tournament in 1975. The tournament grew to attract more teams from across the city, and as it grew the festival was built around it. Today, while football undoubtedly still plays a significant role in Kwaku, the festival is a multi-weekend event with live performances, dozens of food and shopping stalls, and a host of lectures, debates and competitions. It’s also one of the best places to get some authentic Surinamese, Javanese, Hindustani, Caribbean, Creole and African food, so check their schedule and save your appetite.
Eat your way around the world (while staying put in Zuidoost)
If you’d like to pick up some African fufu, authentic Japanese sushi or a plate of grills from Turkey – and would rather not spend a fortune on airfare – then you’re in the right neighbourhood. Zuidoost has a lot of international food to offer, and the best place to start is easily World of Food. World of Food is 3000 square meters of multi-cultural cooking that attracts a throng a cooks and food entrepreneurs, not to mention hungry patrons. There are several notable restaurants, like Flavourtown and Taste of Africa, but you can also just get yourself to the food court and never, ever leave. If you’re looking for something more focused though, then you can’t go wrong with Lebkov & Sons and their delicious range of soups and salads from across Europe and the Mediterranean; some fans even boldly claim that their coffee is the best in the city. Want something quieter still? Why not pick up a few imported delicacies from Tjin’s International Food Store? We hear that Guatemalan refried black beans go very well with Chinese chili garlic sauce.
Be part of something big on ArenA Boulevard
If you want to go big, ArenA Boulevard is the place to be. There you’ll find some of the largest entertainment spaces in the city, like the Johan Cruijff ArenA, Ziggo Dome, Pathé ArenA and AFAS Live. This is where you’ll want to be if you’re looking for football matches, mega concerts or Star Trek Marathons; and their schedules are always full so be sure to check them out. The surrounding area also has a lot of cafes and eateries, plenty of shops and a large shopping mall (one of the few in the city) if that sounds like your kind of day. It’s also a popular area for overnight stays, especially for event attendees, so if you haven’t got your sleeping arrangements sorted be sure to check out the nearby hotels.
Spend a day at the farm and sample local beers
If you’ve been taking in the city for a few days, you’ll likely need a break. And if something quiet, green and smelling faintly of manure sounds like the perfect escape, Bijlmerweide is a beautiful, family-friendly farm and café. It has playground and gorgeous animals you can pet, and a menu that’s straight from the land: fresh eggs, house honey and a lot more. Bijlmerweide also has a handful of events every year usually aimed at kids, so check out their schedule and try to make it to one. A scenic walk away in the Diemerbos, you'll also find House of Bird Brewery where you can sample specialty beers in the brewery’s own tasting room. The owners take pride in their sustainable, seasonal menu made of locally sourced products and the nearby forest is perfect for a decompressing walk.