Amsterdam's biggest shipyard NDSM (Nederlandse Dok en Scheepsbouw Mattschappij) closed down in 1979 when the shipbuilding business wasn't profitable anymore.
Since the late 1990's the wide NDSM area has been transfomed into an alternative district, which is a good contrast to the narrow streets of the historical city centre.
The area is dominated by the long NDSM warehouse building. It is nowadays used for exhibitions and artist offices. A rusty crane and some old colourful trams can be found here as well.
Further to the east stands the Cafe Norderlicht which invites for a rest in an old greenhouse. Just in front of the cafe the geWoonboot, an environmentally friendly houseboat, can be seen and on certain days also visited.
To the west from the ferry terminal colourful container dwellings are used as student accommodation. Not far from here the Amstel Botel is moored at the NDSM Pier3. It is a luxurious floating hotel on a ship with more than 150 rooms.
The former NDSM wharf is located on the northern bank of the lake IJ. The free ferry service from Amsterdam's Central Railway Station runs about twice per hour and needs about 15 minutes to get to NDSM.
The so called Overhoeks Tower and the modern EYE Film Institute seem to form an architectural ensemble on the northern bank of the lake IJ, even though they were built at different times in different architectural styles and for different purposes.
The 80 m tall Overhoeks Tower was completed in 1971 after designs of the architect Arthur Stahl. At that time it was Amsterdam's highest skyscraper and used as office space for the Royal Dutch Shell company.
Nowadys the Overhoeks Tower belongs to the municipality of Amsterdam, which is currently looking for a new purpose of the building.
Just next to the Overhoeks Tower stands the ultramodern EYE Film Institute. The building was designed by the Austrian Delugan Meissl Associated Architects. It was finished in 2012, which is also when the EYE Film Institute moved in. The outdoor terrace of the building offers panoramic views of the southern bank of the lake.
The Overhoeks Tower and EYE Film Institute are situated on the northern bank of the lake IJ, just opposite of the Central Railway Station. The easiest way to get there, is to catch the free ferry from the Central Railway Station to the the Buiksloterweg.
EYE Film Institute: http://www.eyefilm.nl/
The history of Amsterdam's Toll House (Tolhuis) dates back to approximately 1660. With the opening of the Great North Holland Canal (Groot Noordhollandsch Kanaal) in the early 19th century, the Toll House was redundant with limited prospects for future use.
In 1859 the current building was completed as a local restaurant and tavern. When we came across the Toll House in October 2012, the last oweners had just sold the place a month ago, so that it looked quite empty.
In the Toll House garden several statues of playing children can be found.
The Toll House is located at the street Buiksloterweg 7 on the northern bank of the lake IJ. It can be reached by free ferry with the destination "Buiksloterweg", which leaves directly behind the Central Railway Station.
Begijnhof,the photo of the plaque says just about all that needs to be said about this area except that it does not memtiojn that the ERC was the "home church" of the Pilgrams before they left for North America. See pictures of the ERC on my travellog page.
Four authentic "banning poles" or "boundary stakes" (banpaal in Dutch) can be found around Amsterdam. In 1544 emperor Charles V granted Amsterdam the right to ban criminals, vagabonds and other undesirable individuals to one German mile (7.4 km) outside the city gates. Six boundary stakes along the main approaches to the city indicated the borders of this banishment area. Exiles were forbidden to enter the area within the limits of the stakes until their banishment had ended. By entering the area they risked capital punishment.
Banning was a popular punishment for thieves and beggars, but also for cursing, gambling or prostitution. Nobody has been exiled since 1800.
On the banning poles is written "Terminus Proscriptions" and "Uiterste Palen Der Ballingen" which is respectively Latin and Dutch for "limit post of the banished".
Interestingly, in 1650 the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt made an etching showing one of these banning poles. This "Rembrandt pole" dates from 1624 and has been relocated several times. The lower part unfortunately has been destroyed, but the remaining part can now be found in the Geuzenbos at the Spaarnwouderdijk, close to its original position where it was painted by Rembrandt. The exact location is behind the water-pumping station near the Wethouder van Essenweg. You'll have to climb over a small wooden fence to reach it, this is completely legal to do, the fence is just there to keep the sheep inside (coordinates N52 23.521 E4 46.153).
The other 3 remaining banning poles can be found here:
- Sloterweg in Sloten, hidden in an alley between house numbers 1204 and 1208. The original boundary stake from 1624 along the Sloterweg in Sloten marked the southwestern extent of the banishment area and was replaced in 1794, since it was falling into ruin (coordinates N52 20.501 E4 47.927).
- Amsterdamseweg 210 in Amstelveen dating from 1625 . The banning pool on the Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen is close to the parks De Braak, Thijssepark and Broersepark in Amstelveen and a visit to the banning pole could be combined with a visit to these parks (coordinates N52 18.810 E4 50.826).
- Along the river Amstel, Amsteldijk Noord, close to house number 65. This banning pole from 1625 is included in a marked 10 km walk through the Middelpolder (coordinates N52 18.624 E4 54.278).
After WWII, 5,000 of Amsterdam's Jews returned to the city... thousands did not. The Jewish Museum is a monument to the past, present and future of Judaism. There are always temporary exhibitions and also some permanent ones. Between 5 January and late 2004, the Great Synagogue is closed for renovation. Across the street, one can visit the very old Portuguese Synagogue. Also of great interest is the Anne Frank House (a stop on the Canal Bus trip).. a tribute to the teenage symbol who still endures.
The Jewish Musum is at Jonas Daniel Meijerplein 2-4 near Waterlooplein Metro.
The most beautiful coffeeshop that I visited during my seven trips to Amsterdam is "Global Chillage" on Kerkstraat, right off the Leidesplein. It is very small and out-of-the-way and easy to miss since it is on a quiet side-street. It has original artwork for walls, handpainted murals by a very talented individual, and the music is ambient and lovely. The staff is friendly, the customers are chill, and the atmosphere is perfect. Also they have really good chai. This is my all-time favorite coffeeshop and I highlt reccomend it to those who like this sort of atmosphere.
You will almost certainly visit (or perhaps just pass by) the Oude Kerk, set in the middle of the Red Light district.
But you may not take the opportunity to look carefully at the Medieval (late 1400s) misericords inside (especially if you have only visited to see the tomb of Rembrandt's first wife).
Misericords are little shelves on the choir-seats, placed there for weary monks to rest themselves during long or night-time services.
In many Medieval churches they have fascinating carvings underneath and Ooude Kerk is no expception, although its misericords are more rustic simplicity than master-carvings. Luckily, they were not damaged during the 1566 iconoclasm in the church.
Many of the misericords in Oude Kerk represent homely sayings: don't pull too hard on a weak rope, money doesn't fall out of my arse, banging your head against a brick wall.....more photos in my travelogue.
I am dubious about one or two of them: the clothes are simply not right for the 1480s, and I suspect they were replaced in the early/mid 20th century.
Well worth seeking out.
I'm sure there must be a proper word for these rather lovely carvings, but I don't know what it is.
When most people could not read, these carvings were placed on the front of buildings so they could more easily be found.
I've seen them in other part of Europe too although, weirdly, we don't have them in the UK.
Amsterdam was full of them. all types, and many from the early-mid 1600s. Well worth keeping our eyes open and looking up as you wander the canalsides.
I saw so many I've had to make two separate travelogues about them!
Frankendael House is said to be one of the very few remaining stately homes in Amsterdam. It was built in the 17th century on reclaimed land that used to be a lake, hence the name Watergraafsmeer.
The house and park are on Middenweg. Follow the number 9 tram line to get there.
Second photo: The house itself is closed and seems to be empty, but the surrounding park is open to the public.
Third photo: Pond in the park at Frankendael.
I went to this museum because I had bought one of those Amsterdam Passes and it's entry was included. I walked there and it was almost like leaving Amsterdam as that neighborhood seemed so different to the city center.
This museum is different but interesting, nonetheless. It displays artifacts from not just Tropical countries but all warm-weather places, like the Middle East. Not exactly what one travels to The Netherlands for, but hey, it was interesting!
What I remember most about it is the display of Persian rugs made during the first Gulf War. Check this picture out in close-up to see what it's pattern consists of.
The Dutch used to flood their land against enemy attacks.
The fortresses that came with this technique are called the Dutch Waterline, you can read all about it in English here: http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/ and here http://www.noord-holland.com/ (things to do).
Walking routes around Amsterdam that visit the fortresses can be found under "wandelroutes" at http://www.noord-holland.com/stellingvanamsterdam/.
See my Netherlands page for some English/Dutch keywords to understand these search engines for walks in the Netherlands.
A similar defense line with fortresses was build around Amsterdam, see my Amsterdam Things to Do tip about the Stelling van Amsterdam (Defense Line of Amsterdam).
The Amstelpark is a big park in the south of Amsterdam, enclosed by the Europaboulevard, the highway A10 and the river Amstel.
The Amstelpark offers a broad diversity of things to do, for adults but also for children. A wide variety of trees and and flowers can be found here, as well as several kinds of animals like squirrels.
Things to do and see in the Amstelpark:
- Playground and farm for kids (http://www.speeltuin-amstelpark.nl/)
- Midget golf (http://www.midgetgolf-amstelpark.nl/)
- Pony rides for kids
- Tour by small train, April-October daily from 10.00-18.00, in the winter on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11.00-18.00)
- Mill (Riekermolen).
- Glass house (Glazen Huis) with exhibitions
- Gallery Papillon
- Rhododendron Valley with 8000 rhododendrons of 139 species
- Garden with endangered local plants (Heemtuin)
- Butterfly Garden
- Rose Garden (Rosarium) with 160 different species of roses
- Dahliarama with different kinds of dahlias and other plants
- Japanese Garden
- Conifer Garden
- Orangerie with exotic plants.
- Cafe De Hop
- Restaurant Rosarium (http://www.rosarium.net/).
The main entrance is at the Europaboulevard, opposite to the A.J. Ernststraat. The park can be reached with busses 69, 169 and 148, or by train/metro/tram to RAI station. For info about the Amstelpark: email@example.com
The Hollandsche Schouwburg was built as a theater in 1892, but during the Second World War it was taken over by the Nazis and used as a deportation center for Jews. Thousands of men, women and children were sent from here to the concentration camps, where most of them were murdered.
In 1962 the Hollandsche Schouwburg formally became a war memorial, with an open courtyard and obelisk where the theater stage used to be. On the first floor there is an exhibition about the persecution of Jews in the Netherlands. It is open daily from 11:00 to 16:00. (Closed on Yom Kippur.) Admission is free.
The address is Plantage Middenlaan 24.
Tram 9 and 14, get off at Plantage Kerklaan.
This tower,Schreierstoren in Dutch, was a defensive tower and part of the cities walls. It believed to date from the 1480s. How it got its name is debatable. Some say it was because the tower was positioned on a sharp 90 degree turn in the city walls. Others hold the more romanticised notion that it was named after the weeping women who gathered there to wave their men off to sea!
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