Reynold Reynolds took the long way to Amsterdam. Born in Alaska, he moved to Colorado to study physics before changing his focus to art and film, which eventually landed him in Berlin. From there, he made his way to Amsterdam, living in several neighbourhoods before settling in his home, Zuidoost.
Over the years, he’s witnessed the neighbourhood transform from a forgotten corner of the city into a bustling community with a growing creative scene that attracts people from all over the local area. He loves the sense of community, variety of things on offer and the unmistakable energy it offers.
How did you end up living in Amsterdam Zuidoost?
I moved to Amsterdam and after living in several neighbourhoods, I found Zuidoost. It was a little bit of a surprise because it wasn’t the stereotypical idea of Amsterdam with all the canals, but it turned out to be the right neighbourhood for me. It has just about everything I want, and I spend a lot of time here.
Can you tell us a little about the history of the area?
Well, this area is also known as the Bijlmer. Fifty years ago, there was nothing here and they had this idea to build a utopia. Like most of these utopian projects, it completely failed. Then a kind of miracle happened and a tremendous number of people from Suriname came over and revived the whole area. Now it’s a beautiful place to live and work.
That’s amazing. How do you start a typical day here?
In the morning, I like to make my own fruit and vegetable juice. I usually go to Tanger Market because they have a good selection and it’s quite cheap. You can get a kilo of carrots for 69 cents. There’s good pineapple and ginger too, but probably my favourite thing here is the rice. If you cook it properly, it’s probably the best rice you can buy in Amsterdam.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite places here?
The restaurant Oma Ietje is part of an arts centre here where they have a barber, art gallery and a hotel. I come here in the morning if I want to get a little work done because you can use your computer and they’ve got a really nice, cosy atmosphere and good espresso.
I also come to Bijlmer Parktheater every Saturday to bring my daughter to dance lessons and theatre lessons. And then I spend an hour here waiting for her because I just really like the building. They have a lot of programmes for kids, quite a few shows and other interesting stuff.
Do you think Zuidoost is a good place for families then?
Yes, I do. Riding a bike here is quite nice. You don’t have to stop for stop lights and you can avoid all the car traffic. There’s also the Nelson Mandela Park, a big sports complex with places for kids with swings, track, football. I like to bring my daughter there. We play on the swings, the slides and maybe kick a ball around a bit and enjoy the weather.
What do you do when you want to relax?
I usually drop by the Ons Lustoord, which is a garden where anyone can come and walk around and check things out. You can become a member and get your own garden house, which is what I’ve done. It’s nice and quiet and there’s a bit of nature.
I also like dropping by the Proefzaak, which is a restaurant that’s connected to the Brouwerij Kleiburg, so they have quite a few beers. It’s really good. Since I don’t eat meat, I like getting the nice vegetarian burger.
What do you like most about the area?
Zuidoost is kind of fresh and new. Things are changing and developing really quickly. It has a lot of energy, a lot of new people coming in and people starting projects and a lot of optimism. For me, that’s the kind of place I want to live.