The es­sen­tial guide to hip Am­s­ter­dam

The Nether­lands’ cap­i­tal has a cool and arty vibe

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - FRONT PAGE - VIC­TO­RIA TROTT • iloveno­ord.com • iams­ter­dam.com

1 GET YOUR BEAR­INGS: On the north side of the River IJ (pro­nounced “eye”), reached by free fer­ries from be­hind Am­s­ter­dam Cen­traal train sta­tion, is the ul­tra-hip district of Am­s­ter­dam Noord (North). Off the reg­u­lar tourist track, the mix of re­gen­er­ated for­mer ship­yards, green spa­ces and tra­di­tional Dutch vil­lages of­fers a re­fresh­ing con­trast to the canals, broth­els and cof­fee shops of the city cen­tre. To find your way around, book a two-hour Ex­plore Am­s­ter­dam Noord pri­vate walk­ing tour with a lo­cal guide who will base the itin­er­ary on your in­ter­ests, such as the hottest art gal­leries, cut­ting-edge ar­chi­tec­ture or the best vin­tage shops. More: likealo­cal­guide.com.

2 EYE SPY: Dom­i­nat­ing the wa­ter­side is the un­mis­tak­able white, an­gu­lar form of the EYE Film­mu­seum. De­signed by Vi­enna-based Del­u­gan Meissl As­so­ci­ated Ar­chi­tects and opened in 2012, this tem­ple of the mov­ing image has four cin­e­mas show­ing in­ter­na­tional in­de­pen­dent films as well as ret­ro­spec­tives by in­flu­en­tial di­rec­tors, a per­ma­nent dis­play on the devel­op­ment of film tech­nol­ogy, and tem­po­rary ex­hi­bi­tions; this sum­mer will see a ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cus­ing on the work of Martin Scors­ese. A few kilo­me­tres to the north­west, in the old NDSM ship­yards, is Pllek, a su­per­cool cafe made from old ship­ping con­tain­ers where ope­nair movies are screened Tues­day evenings from midMay to mid-Septem­ber. More: eye­film.nl; pllek.nl.

3 CLASS ACTS: Fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the NDSM ship­yards in the 1980s, the de­funct in­dus­trial build­ingsb be­came the per­fect workspaces for artists and crafts­peo­ple. The Kun­st­stad (Art City) is home to about 250 cre­atives, in­clud­ing theatre de­sign­ers, film­mak­ers and ar­chi­tects, with reg­u­lar events and open­ings. Next to the ferry stop at NDSM-Werf, Nieuw Dakota aims to stim­u­late and sup­port the con­tem­po­rary art scene in The Nether­lands via a busy pro­gram of projects and oc­ca­sion­ally dis­plays works from pri­vate col­lec­tions. One of the lat­est gal­leries on the block is Fran­cis Boeske Projects, which spe­cialises in show­cas­ing artists from non-Western coun­tries who are un­der­ex­posed in The Nether­lands. More: ndsm.nl/gebouw/kun­st­stad; nieuw­dakota.com; fran­cis­boeske­pro­jects.nl. 4 TA­BLE TREATS: One of the most de­sir­able ad­dresses in the area is Stork, a seafood restau­rant i in an old in­dus­trial build­ing next to the river. The fo­cus here is on sus­tain­able, sea­sonal fish and shell­fish with spe­cials in­clud­ing seafood plat­ters and whole baked fish, although you can also just call in for a snack or a drink. Lo­cal, sus­tain­able and or­ganic in­gre­di­ents are also on the menu at Stroop, a pan­cake restau­rant housed in the for­mer can­teen of a foot­ball team; there’s an out­door ter­race and plenty of space for kids to run around. Try one of Stroop’s so-called world pan­cakes, such as the Chi­nese-flavoured Yau Chung Ban or the Chilean sopaip­il­las, ac­com­pa­nied by a lo­cally brewed craft beer. More: restau­rantstork.nl; restau­rantstroop.nl.

5 CAFE SO­CI­ETY: The Dutch love their cof­fee and one of the best places to get a caf­feine fix is The Cof­fee Virus in the lobby of A Lab, next to the EYE Film­mu­seum; this co-work­ing space for cre­atives and young tech com­pa­nies is in a for­mer Shell lab­o­ra­tory. For at­mos­phere, you can’t beat No­order­licht Cafe at the NDSM Wharf; lo­cated in a huge green­house, with a beer garden for warmer days, this quirky wa­ter­ing hole serves or­ganic and ve­gan food and fea­tures live mu­sic on Sun­day nights. The ram­shackle Cafe de Ceu­vel is part of a sus­tain­able of­fice park cre­ated by en­trepreneurs and artists; there’s a packed events cal­en­dar fea­tur­ing the likes of yoga classes and kom­bucha-mak­ing work­shops. More: the­cof­fee­virus.nl; no­order­licht­cafe.nl; de­ceu­vel.nl.

6 FES­TIVE FUN: From mu­sic and dance to street food and sto­ry­telling, Am­s­ter­dam Noord is the l lo­ca­tion of some of the city’s hippest fes­ti­vals, with most tak­ing place at the NDSM Wharf. Top of the list is the Am­s­ter­dam Dance Event Sleep­over in Oc­to­ber, when a tem­po­rary camp­site and “fes­ti­val-within-a-fes­ti­val” is set up dur­ing one of the world’s big­gest an­nual dance mu­sic gath­er­ings. Am­s­ter­dam Kookt, at the start of Au­gust, is a free week­end of street food, cook­ery demon­stra­tions, vin­tage fash­ion and live mu­sic. In Novem­ber, racon­teurs from around the globe spell­bind au­di­ences dur­ing the week-long Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val. More: am­s­ter­damkookt.nl; sto­ry­tellingfes­ti­val.nl; adesleep­over.com;

7 GO GREEN: Am­s­ter­dam Noord of­fers a cou­ple of good op­tions to es­cape city life. Two kilo­me­tres north­east of the EYE Film­mu­seum is No­order­park, with 45ha that en­com­pass cy­cle and walk­ing paths, a stage for mu­sic con­certs, out­door bar­be­cue area and a pub­lic swim­ming pool that was named the most beau­ti­ful in the world at the 2016 Piscine Global trade fair in Lyons, France. This be­ing The Nether­lands, the best way to get around is by bike so make a day of it and ei­ther head east to check out the tra­di­tional Dutch vil­lages of Nieuwen­dam, Rans­dorp and Zun­der­dorp or con­tinue north­west to Het Twiske, a 650ha na­ture re­serve fea­tur­ing out­door ac­tiv­i­ties such as wa­ter sports. More: no­order­park.nl; het­twiske.nl.

8 JOIN THE CLUB­BERS: Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent ar­ti­cle in dance mu­sic mag­a­zine Mix­mag, Am­s­terd dam is the club­bing cap­i­tal of Europe thanks to sev­eral new open­ings, some of which have 24-hour li­cen- ces, such as Shel­ter, sit­u­ated in the base­ment of the A’DAM Toren; the re­gen­er­ated tower block is also home to sev­eral other hip bars and restau­rants. Next door is Tol­huis­tuin, a cul­tural venue in for­mer Shell of­fices with three per­for­mance spa­ces in­clud­ing Par­adiso for live mu­sic, an ex­hi­bi­tion hall and a cafe-restau­rant. Fans of craft beer should head for Oedi­pus Brew­ing where the tap­room has 12 ro­tat­ing taps fea­tur­ing this young com­pany’s brews; of­ten there’s also live mu­sic and food trucks. More: shel­ter­am­s­ter­dam.nl; tol­huis­tuin.nl; oedi­pus.com.

9 BUY, BUY: If you like wan­der­ing around mar­kets, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed in Am­s­ter­dam Noord. Pek­markt at Van der Pek­straat has a gen­eral mar­ket on Wed­nes­days, Fri­days (also an or­ganic food mar­ket) and Satur­days, while IJ-Hallen hosts an out­door week­end flea mar­ket once a month (next dates are June 3-4; July 8-9; Au­gust 12-13), billed as the largest in Europe and in­clud­ing ven­dors of vin­tage clothes. Am­s­ter­dam Noord is gen­er­ally a good place to shop for vin­tage fur­ni­ture, which you’ll find at Neef Louis and Wood­ies at Berlin; the lat­ter also makes home dec­o­ra­tions. Pek & Kleren is a con­cept store that sells men’s and women’s cloth­ing, ac­ces­sories and other life­style items. At Fash­ion & Tea, en­joy drinks and snacks while brows­ing clothes, jew­ellery and bags by emerg­ing brands. More: neeflouis.nl; wood­iesat­ber­lin.nl; pek-en-kleren.nl; ijhallen.com; fash­io­nandtea.nl.

BEST BEDS

10 OUT OF THE BOX: The north side of the city of­fers some of the quirki­est ac­com­mo­da­tion. A favourite with vis­it­ing celebri­ties and VIPs, five-star Ho­tel Far­alda con­sists of three suites in a ship­yard crane, pic­tured; the steep nightly rate in­cludes a cham­pagne break­fast and use of the top-floor hot tub. The most pop­u­lar ad­dress is the Sir Adam Ho­tel, on the first eight floors of the A’DAM Toren (for­mer head­quar­ters of Shell) next to the EYE Film­mu­seum, where the 108 stylish gue­strooms (from €128) have floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, works by lo­cal artists and record play­ers with a se­lec­tion of vinyl. Nearby, the ClinkNOORD hos­tel in a dis­used 1920s lab­o­ra­tory has dorms and pri­vate gue­strooms plus a cock­tail bar. More: far­alda.com; sir­adamho­tel.com; clinkhos­tels.com.

From mu­sic and dance to street food and sto­ry­telling, Am­s­ter­dam Noord is the lo­ca­tion of some of the city’s hippest fes­ti­vals

Am­s­ter­dam along the river IJ with the new EYE Film­mu­seum, top; NDSM wharf in Am­s­ter­dam, above; Pllek cafe, above right; Rans­dorp vil­lage, be­low

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