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Woman cycling on Nieuwendammerdijk past Blue House traditional houses
Image from Koen Smilde Photography

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

A'DAM Toren at sunset
Image from Koen Smilde

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

People cycling through 't Twiste.
Image from Koen Smilde

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 pedalling 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

Street view of traditional houses on Buiksloterweg
Image from Koen Smilde

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 cycle path with gardens and flowers in summer
Image from Koen Smilde

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 along Van der Pekstraat

Van der Pekmarkt with Surinamese flag and fruit and vegetable stalls
Image from Koen Smilde

Named after its 1920s architect, this vibrant street, a 10-minute walk from the Buiksloterweg ferry stop, has much to offer. From an eponymous market on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays to interesting spots such as the inclusive toy shop Colourful Goodies, colourful concept store Pek & Kleren, Indonesian eatery Kannibalen en Paradijsvogels, vintage décor-focused Treasure Depot, and preloved kid’s clothing store Rookie, there’s something for everyone.

Tip: Don’t miss Proeflokaal Kef, a cheese store and tasting room at the adjacent Van der Pekplein.

Experience culture, architecture and cuisine all in one

Eye Filmmuseum - film museum and cinema.
Image from Ruben Hanssen

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

A busy ferry is about to depart. A person quickly jumps off it with his bicycle before the valve closes.
Image from Jan de Ridder

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

Café de Ceuvel interiors with hammock
Image from Koen Smilde

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.