A favourite walk of ours when the weather is good is along the Amstel river from Amstel station to De Pijp, one of Amsterdam's most interesting neighbourhoods. The walk ends around Marie Heinekenplein and is up to 4 km (2.5 miles) in length.
See the map at the bottom of the page for route and points of interest.
|START at Amstel Station which can be reached in a number of ways: tram 12 from Museumplein; NS train or metro lines 51, 53 and 54 from Amsterdam Central Station. Before leaving Amstel station do look at the large 1930s murals inside the main station hall (below left).|
Then head out of the western end passing the Hoogeschool Amsterdam college building and walk towards the river. The surrounding area is known as Omval.
You will notice a few large office blocks around, all named after famous Dutch painters - the 35-storey Rembrandt Tower, which at 150m (including 15m antenna) has been Amsterdam's tallest building since its completion in 1994. The 32-floor, 123m high Mondriaan Tower built in 2001 is home to insurance company Delta Lloyd; Breitner Tower, the 23-storey, 94m high Philips headquarters was also completed in 2001.
On reaching the road adjacent to the river (Weesperzijde) turn right at and walk northwards. You will reach a crossroads (Berlage Bridge/Meester Treublaan) - you could stop for some caffeine at the nearby Coffee Company (Meester Treublaan 18), a Dutch coffee chain which has over 30 stores in Amsterdam.
Or continue by crossing both the main road at the lights and then Weesperzijde to walk north along the east bank of the riverside. A few benches on the terrace here give you the opportunity to sit and enjoy some fine views of the river.
The Berlage Bridge (1932) is named after famed Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934) whose works include the Beurs van Berlage in the city centre. The bridge has plaques commemorating the arrival of Canadian forces who helped liberate Amsterdam in May 1945.
Continue your walk northwards along the riverside path. You will see a number of houseboats permanently moored along the Amstel - from early 20th century converted freighter ships to the more modern concrete-based houseboats. Amsterdam itself has something like 2,250 houseboats in total. The path is a popular spot for local joggers and dog walkers; the river has a number of rowing clubs as well.
|Side trip: You may wish to check out Canvas, a 7th floor rooftop café and club at Wibautstraat 150 which offers nice views of the area. From Weesperzijde head down Gijsbrecht van Aemstelstraat and turn left onto Wibautstraat.|
After a few hundred metres along the riverside, you will reach Nieuwe Amstelbrug, a bridge also designed by Berlage and completed in 1903. Head over the bridge - which also has some great Amstel views from the middle - and continue down the Ceintuurbaan, a residential and shopping street.
At Ceintuurbaan 251-255, a late 19th century neo-Gothic residential building, look up at the roof and spot the green goblins playing ball. Keep walking down Ceintuurbaan passing over the crossroads at Van Woustraat, a main shopping street. There is a branch of EkoPlaza, an organic store at Van Woustraat 80-82.
After a few hundred metres you will reach Sarphati Park - possibly Amsterdam's best small park and a nice spot to chill out for a while. It is named after the noted Dutch doctor and city planner Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866) who led initiatives to improve the city's public health at that time. A monument to Sarphati can be found in the park, which was opened in 1885 - though consider it was once a proposed site for Amsterdam Central Station!
There are some lovely houses surrounding the park, particularly on the northern flank - all of which have monumental status. Walk up to the 1e van der Helststraat - you are now in the middle of De Pijp, which was a working class neighbourhood built in the 19th century. It now has a very Bohemian, multicultural feel. Being just a little way out of the tourist centre it has a more local and authentic atmosphere. Spend some time exploring the area.
Have a wander through the Albert Cuyp Markt, which has been Amsterdam's main market for over 100 years. If you like fish then do try some raw herring with onions or gherkins - a real Dutch delicacy. The market is open Monday to Saturday.
Ferdinand Bol straat is the main shopping street and thoroughfare of the district, named after the 17th century Dutch artist. The street has been a bit of a building site for the last decade due to the construction of the North-South metro line, due to be finished in 2017.
There are loads of cafés and restaurants in the area - examples are Groene Vlinder (nice café at Albert Cuypstraat 130); Bazar Amsterdam (atmospheric restaurant in an old church building at Albert Cuypstraat 182); for excellent gourmet burgers try either Burgermeester (western end at Albert Cuypstraat 48) or The Butcher (Albert Cuypstraat 129); mouth-watering fresh pastries at Bakken met Passie (Albert Cuypstraat 53, open Tue-Sat 0730-1800).
Taj Mahal (decent Indian at Marie Heinekenplein 1); quality French dining at either Le Restaurant (2e Jan Steenstraat 3) or Juuls (Albert Cuypstraat 19).
If you need to stock up on some basic supplies there is a Dirk van den Broek supermarket at Marie Heinekenplein 25.
You may also want to explore Frans Hals straat, a quieter back street adjacent to Ferdinand Bol straat which also has a few stores, cafés and restaurants.
From Marie Heinekenplein (near the old Heineken Brewery) it's a 10 minute walk to Leidseplein. Alternatively hop on trams 16/24/25 which run in the direction of Dam Square and Central Station.
Have a look at the route on the map - click on the icons for info.