A pleasant walk to take is from the back of Amsterdam Central Station along the recently developed IJ waterfront and across to Java and KNSM Islands. While Amsterdam can feel quite crowded this walk gets you out of the city centre to experience open space and water.
Total distance is a shade under 3km or about 5km if you walk back. There is a map at the bottom of the page showing the route.
|START at Amsterdam Central Station and walk out to the back (north) exit. Cross over the road (De Ruyterkade) and head right (eastwards) along the IJ waterfront. Note there is ongoing development work around the waterfront area by the station, so the first part of the walk is not too pretty.|
You will see the GVB ferries which operate to various points in north Amsterdam. Buildings of note are the Overhoeks tower built in 1971, the former Shell HQ now being redeveloped as Twenty4Amsterdam, an office/hotel/panoramic bar due to open in 2015. The stunning EYE Film building houses Amsterdam's film archive.
Back to the walk, head east onto the Piet Heinkade. To your right you will see Amsterdam's OBA central library at Oosterdokskade.
Continuing along Piet Heinkade you will appreciate the striking modern architecture from a number of buildings. Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is a contemporary classical music theatre opened in 2005, with the black box-like Bimhuis jazz venue attached. You could walk up the gangway to have a look inside the building - perhaps stop for a drink/snack at the in-house Star Ferry café.
Nextdoor is the imposing Mövenpick Hotel, a 4-star hotel whose rooms offer great views of the IJ waterfront, click here to book; the wave-like Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) where over 100 cruise ships per year arrive in Amsterdam, you may see one berthed; and the 19-storey 80m UP Office (IJ-tower) building.
Further on you will also pass some redeveloped old dockside warehouses such as the Pakhuis Amsterdam, home to Jamie Oliver's popular Fifteen concept restaurant.
Turn left on Vemenplein and cross over the bridge - this opened in 2001 and is known as either Javabrug or Jan Schaeferbrug, being named after a Dutch politician. This will get you over to the residential Java Eiland, a redeveloped area designed by a host of architects including the renowned Jo Coenen and Sjoerd Soeters. Java Eiland is directly connected to KNSM Eiland and also by bridge to Borneo Eiland.
Continue walking east on the southern waterfront (Javakade). The residential blocks have been divided by small canals (grachts) very much in the style of central Amsterdam. You will notice some very quirky architecture on both the houses and bridges. After a few hundred metres you will reach an open park space (Bogortuin) which is a nice place to wind down and take in the view.
At the end of the park you have reached KNSM Eiland, named after Koninklijke Nederlandse Stoomboot Maatschappij - the Royal Dutch Steamboat Company. There is a small square with a few shops - if you want a drink/snack try Sissy Boy Homeland.
To get back to the centre hop on tram 10 which goes via east Amsterdam to Leidseplein; alternatively, walk south across the Verbindingsdam bridge where you will a larger shooping area. This includes a Albert Heijn and C1000 supermarkets plus an Estafette organic store (Oostelijke Handelskade 1043). From around here tram 26 can take you back to Central Station.
However, if you are still up for more walking continue back via Oostelijke Handelskade - which has some interesting buildings. The large Lloyd Hotel is a listed building from 1918 which has previously been used as a shelter for immigrants, a prison and creative artist space. Panama is a contemporary café/theatre/club housed in a former port authority building.
After this, rejoin the Piet Heinkade back towards the station.
The map gives the walk route, click on icons for information.