Noord then and now
Located on the sunny northern shores of the River IJ, Amsterdam-Noord is a neighbourhood full of contrasts. On the one hand, it’s a hip and progressive area full of experimental festivals, modern architecture and stylish waterfront restaurants in converted industrial spaces. But you’ll also find a calmer side with picturesque rural villages, traditional architecture and lots of greenery.
In the Middle Ages, Noord, as we know it today, was no more than a muddy swamp area for peat extraction. It wasn’t until the construction of the North Sea Canal at the end of the 19th century, that the district began to grow rapidly. For the first time, Amsterdam’s ports became accessible for steamboats and Noord developed into the most important industrial area of the city. Workers flocked to the northern shores of the IJ, establishing villages such as Buiksloterdijk and Nieuwendam filled with low-rise wooden houses with eye-catching gables. In the 1920s, the municipality also developed new garden communities such as the Van der Pek neighbourhood and Tuindorp Nieuwendam - the only garden village built on stilts.
Today, just like at the NDSM Wharf, much of the industry has disappeared from this part of the city. When you step off the ferry into Noord, the wide riverside promenade leads visitors to a variety of amusements and eye-catching architecture such as the Eye Filmmuseum and A’DAM Lookout. This extends towards the floral Noorderpark and the vibrant Van der Pek street market flanked by an array of cafe terraces and hip boutiques. For those who like to discover a city through its restaurants, Noord’s dining scene should not be missed. Trendy hotspots like Hotel de Goudfazant redefine industrial-chic, whilst projects like Chateau, the city’s first urban winery and Cafe de Ceuvel bring fresh innovation to the area.
Noord’s historic empty warehouses and factories proved fertile ground for creative entrepreneurs, blossoming into nightlife hotspots such as Skatecafe and Garage Noord, Likewise, venues like Tolhuistuin and FC Hyena have grown the area into a much-revered bastion of Amsterdam’s alternative culture. Make your way through the urban jungle into the old-worldly charm of former workers’ villages like Nieuwendam. Strolling around here feels like walking through a history book with peaceful residential enclaves quaint churches, locks, and historic brown cafés such as ‘t Sluisje built more than 100 years ago.