Things to do in Noord
Amsterdam Noord has for many years now been a quaint and thriving hub of culture and activity. Often described by visitors as a village within a city, Noord is a beautiful, green and family-friendly area with many activities and attractions to explore. From scenic cycle routes to bustling street markets, glorious parks and Europe’s highest swing, you’ll find tons to keep you entertained.
Get a taste for heights at A’DAM LOOKOUT
Tower of many talents, A’DAM Lookout was re-born in early 2016 as one of Amsterdam’s most exciting nightlife and creative hubs. The building is home to Europe’s highest swing, an observation deck, a fancy boutique hotel, nightclub and a selection of top-notch bars and eateries. Don’t miss the This is Holland flight experience next door where some astonishing special effects projected on a huge domed screen will give you the breathtaking sensation of flying over the Dutch landscape.
Cycle into the countryside
Noord is the gateway to some spectacular Dutch scenery and you’ll find dozens of signposted bike paths to help you along the way. It’s always a treat pedaling through quaint villages such as Nieuwendam, Ransdorp and Zunderdorp known for their authentic stolpboerderijen (traditional Dutch farmhouses with roofs built in the shape of a cheese-cover), wooden houses, canal locks and impressive polder views. Alternatively, take the Waterland Cycleseeing route which passes an ancient windmill and a historic former cow market in the scenic town square of Purmerend. You can make the optional side quest to Het Twiske - a stunning nature area that’s perfect for swimming, boating and bird-spotting.
Explore the historic village of Durgerdam
In what seems like direct contrast to the cutting-edge vibe, Noord has loads of lovely little villages that are ideal for exploring on foot, by bicycle or by water. Durgerdam has protected status making it as good a glimpse of Dutch history as you’ll get outside a museum. It’s a short bike ride along the Ijsselmeer coast and there are plenty of food hotspots to rest and recharge along the way. The authentic Café 't Sluisje at the end of Nieuwendammerdijk lives in a building that’s nearly 500 years old, and serves delicious food, drink and desserts. If you haven’t tried Dutch apple pie yet, that should be your first stop. Or, stop by the Landmarkt for the best organic picnic you can put together. And if you want the best ice cream in Noord (and perhaps in the city!) walk down to IJskoud de Beste and prepare to be amazed.
Spend the day at Noorderpark
Noorderpark is a hub for cultural and family activities with a monthly programme which is well worth checking out and various must-see landmarks. Take for instance De (Roze) Tanker, a former gas station turned into brightly-coloured community centre where you’ll find everything from pop-up cafes to cultural workshops. Noorderpark is also a great place to go for a swim at the award-winning Noorderparkbad pool complex and the pavilions dotted around the park regularly stage live music performances and more.
Rummage for great finds at a street market
Lose yourself in the colours, smells and buzz of the Van der Pek street market which sells everything from bargain clothing to delicious street food, often including great organic breads and oils. Also expect fish stalls, soap stalls, pancakes and the unexpected. Off the main street you’ll find lots of places to keep you fed and watered as well, like Proeflokaal Kef and Café Keppler which is definitely worth your time.
Experience culture, architecture and cuisine all in one
Almost directly opposite Central Station stands the Eye Filmmuseum in all its futuristic glory. This cinema, museum, film archive and café/restaurant is a standout location and the building is already one of Amsterdam’s modern icons. Around the corner, Tolhuistuin boasts a café-restaurant, a sunny terrace along the IJ, an idyllic garden, three theatre and concert halls, exhibition spaces, a hip-hop school and a children's art centre. Have a read of our dedicated culture guide for more creative hotspots in Noord.
Have a ferry good adventure
To begin exploring Noord, simply board one of the free GVB ferries at the waterfront exit of Central Station. They depart every few minutes in daytime and even run (less frequently) through the night, transporting pedestrians, bicycles and mopeds. The most popular route is to Buiksloterweg (ideal to visit the Eye Filmmuseum and Tolhuistuin). Other main routes served are to IJplein (a little further east) and to NDSM Wharf (home to many cultural events, restaurants and creative hotspots). There’s also a route from Azartplein to Zamenhofstraat (perfect to get to Hangar or Hotel De Goudfazant) and from Pontsteiger to Distelweg (a short walk to Café de Ceuvel).
Learn about sustainability (and grab some green coffee) at De Ceuvel
Excellent coffee and a crash course in sustainability? The team behind Café de Ceuvel hopes to inspire everyone around them to go green. This community was built by a bunch of office-boating innovators as a cleantech experiment, over what once was a polluted harbour. Besides the excellent food and drinks, you’ll find several showcases of clean tech that the compound uses itself including a fascinating aquaponics greenhouse, heat exchangers, composters and treatment facilities for kitchen and toilet waste.