When you think of Amsterdam, I’m sure, like me, you think of tall town houses, canals, the red light district, bikes and coffeeshops. But when someone says Amsterdam NOORD, what do you think of? Naively I thought you would find all of the things listed above just with more green space. Turns out, that isn’t quite right. Yes, you’ll find coffeeshops and bikes but you won’t fine beautiful tall townhouses, canals on every street or a trace of the red light district. Instead you’ll find a thriving art scene, an old port which is being rejuvenated, a variety of start up businesses, plenty of quirky cafes/restaurants and of course the new Clink hostel.
I’ve never really appreciated visiting a non-touristy side of a destination unless I’m there with a local. I always think it too hard to find things to do without the wealth of information guidebooks provide on those must see sights. On top of that, these areas are often hard to get to and get around. My perspective on all of this has changed since being introduced to Amsterdam NOORD with Clink. I will admit we were shown around by a local who knows the area inside out but all of the places he took us to are easy accessible and all marked on the Clink NOORD map which is free for guests.
Experiencing Amsterdam NOORD
STREET ART. BREWERIES. CREATIVITY
These guys have been running for four years now and have grown continuously in size. Brewing started as a hobby for the four guys that run this place and it has evolved into something much bigger where they now share their beer with others. The tap room is open on Friday and Saturday nights to the public as well as during special events they run. During our visit we were able to taste two beers each, I opted for two of the pale beers with the most memorable being the one infused with elderflower which (if I’ve remembered correctly) is the Nestje. The Thai Thai beer also gets a special shout because never before have I actually been able to taste Thailand in a beer.
I am not really an ale kind of girl but these guys produce some really drinkable beers even from my point of view. They certainly know what they are doing and have a real flare for flavour. However, Oedipus Brewery are not the only ones brewing beer in this area, NOORD certainly gives you a range of choice of craft beers.
XYZ AMS Studios
As we walked into this studio space I was catapulted back to a time when I spent more of my waking hours in a studio than not. Radiated inside the four walls of this studio was creativity, passionate and collaboration. These guys work side by side each other, creating different projects but bouncing ideas between everyone. This all takes place upstairs in their studio with the downstairs part available for rent by photographers who need a space to shoot.
Although not necessarily a place you would come while exploring the city, these guys are closely linked to Clink NOORD with work hanging around the hostel and currently in the gallery space (although that is a temporary exhibition). XYZ AMS are just one example of the up and coming art scene in this part of Amsterdam.
This place felt like one of the most exciting places we would visit all day, problem was as we rocked up the heavens opened and the rain poured down. Not exactly the weather for exploring a place which is mostly outdoors, however, you could imagine what it would be like on a hot summers day, with good food, drink and music.
De Ceuvel cafe is made entirely from recycled materials and is built upon a former shipyard. The layout features many dry-docked boats which now have other uses within this park. The cafe is working on becoming completely self-suffiecnt, already they have a greenhouse in place for growing their own food on site and anything they don’t grow onsite is sourced locally. This place has big plans for the future and I’m certainly hoping to visit again on a better weather day.
To get here: Bike is best (as always in Amsterdam) although you can also walk here from ClinkNOORD (2km)
Address: Short Papaverweg 4 1032 KB Amsterdam
Rolling Rock Kitchen
We stopped here for lunch while exploring Amsterdam Noord, again it was one of those disappointing moments where we could have enjoyed a fabulous alfresco lunch but the rain was lashing too hard. Luckily there was enough space inside for us all and the funky exterior was carried through to the inside. This Dutch cafe is very much it’s own take on the hard rock cafe and really had that old school American vibe to it. The place just needed a juke box and some 60’s music to feel complete. There were photos hanging, vintage decorations and a quirky looking bar.
It wasn’t just the feel of the place that I loved about the Rolling Rock Kitchen though. The food we had was outstanding, despite the menu being nearly all sandwiches (I don’t eat bread), they we happy to serve me one without bread and it was still filling! They have daily specials as well as a lunch and dinner menu, all at reasonable prices. I would highly recommend heading here for a meal and if you get better weather than us take the opportunity to sit outside.
How to get here: Bike is best although you can also walk here from ClinkNOORD as again it is only 2km
Address: Distelweg 113, 1031 HD Amsterdam, Netherlands
Follow them here: Facebook
This ended up being the last stop of our tour and I’m so glad they had saved the best till last. This whole area of Noord where the IJ Hallen building is is where there used to be a big industrial old port. These days all of the buildings have become home to start up businesses as well as many container shops and container accommodations popping up. It really reminded me of the vibe I felt in Christchurch, New Zealand during our 2013 visit.
Anyway on to IJ Hallen… This building is huge, it is an old port building which would have once been used for dry docking shippings whilst repairing them. Today it is a space being used by creatives, the outside is decorated in some of Amsterdam’s best street art and inside hangs several large scale paintings. During our visit some photographers were using it as their studio for a fashion shoot and once a month it is home to a flea market. Peter, behind street art today, plans to fill the entire space with large scale art work by local artists and open this as a museum of street art early next year.
IJ Hallen isn’t open to the public (except on flea market days), however, you can still view the outside of these buildings which is where the bulk of the street art is.
How to get here from ClinkNOORD you can either cycle the 2.8km or take the ferry back to central station and then over to NDSM (the ferry next door).
Address: IJ-Hallen T.T. Neveritaweg 15, 1033 WB Amsterdam-Noord
Now you’re probably wondering how you get to the ClinkNOORD hostel or just to Amsterdam Noord in general… Well the good news is, it is absolutely free to get to. You can take a range of ferries from behind the Amsterdam central station over to the NOORD, the lengths vary depending on which one you take but it won’t take you more than 10 minutes. Either walk or cycle on to the ferries which run 24 hours a day and you’ll soon be in a completely different part of Amsterdam.
Have you visited Amsterdam Noord? What did you think?