A short distance away from the centre of Amsterdam, on the other side of the Ij lies the northern district of the city: Amsterdam Noord, a perfect blend of new and old. Nowadays this part of the city is well connected to the city centre. Depending on where you are headed, you can ride the ferry or take the NoordZuidlijn metro. Amsterdam Noord is mostly known for its landmarks such as the Eye Museum, the A’DAM Towers, the IJ Hallen (the biggest flea market in Europe) and the NDSM wharf. Read on to discover more about this lovely area in our Neighbourhood Guide: Amsterdam Noord.
In 2022, Noord was ranked at number 32 out of 51 by the Time Out magazine as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. According to this publication, when going from the centre of the city to the northern side it is as if one steps into “a different world”. A more vibrant and coloured world that has managed to retain its “post-industrial charm” and become a central point for innovation and art. In fact, the NDSM is known as one of the most significant artistic incubators in the Netherlands, housing around 400 artists, designers, and architects.
The Northern part of the city started to take shape with the opening of the North Sea Canal in 1876, and the construction of the Oranjesluizen near Schellingwoude in a focused effort to stop the threat of the Zuiderzee. Around the same period, massive stretches of the Ij were reclaimed on the north side of the canal. At first this space was used for heavy industry and port-related activities. As the people working for these companies needed easy access to get to work, the ferry services were created that we are using to this day. The more people were circulating back and forth, the more obvious it became that it was necessary to create more living spaces on this side of the IJ. As a result, in 1900, Johan van Hasselt, then the director of the Public Works Department, developed a design meant to create living and working spaces in Amsterdam Noord. This plan was considerably adapted for residential construction in the area and in 1921, Amsterdam Noord was annexed to the city.
Amsterdam Noord successfully combines traditional, industrial, and modern architecture. However, the renewal and development of new neighbourhoods has recently made necessary a new division of this district of our city. As such, it is divided into 3 parts: Oud-Noord, Noord-West and Noord-Oost. As the name indicates, Oud-Noord includes the oldest neighbourhoods in Amsterdam Noord as Buiksloot, Nieuwendam, and Vogelbuurt, with small houses built in traditional Dutch style. While Noord-West consists of neighbourhoods made up mostly of apartment buildings and old and new Dutch houses (Banne Buiksloot, Kadoelen and Oostzanerwerf). The Noord-Oost part of Amsterdam Noord is considered the heart of this district, with its recently built houses and apartment buildings in Buikslotermeer, Elzenhagen and Waterland.
Family fun/Places of Interest/Parks
- Noorderpark is in the heart of Amsterdam Noord. Usually there are some activities or creative workshops organized at the Gele Pomp and at the Roze Tanker there are concerts or shows. Children can play at the Bloemenkwartier playground and during the summer can have a fresh dive into the Noorderparkbad. At the entrance of the park is located one of the best ice-cream parlors in Amsterdam, Ijskoud de Beste.
- The Tolhuistuin is one of Noord’s cultural oases. Where culture, art and culinary innovation come together. On its grounds, you can find a concert hall, a restaurant, a garden, a dance school, exhibition spaces, and workspaces. In collaboration with various organizations, they create concerts and performances that go from hip hop lessons to vegetable gardening workshops.
- The Vliegenbos is the oldest forest in Amsterdam, and it is full of elms. If you are looking for a bit of adventure let yourself wonder it’s winding paths.
- Situated at the outskirts of Amsterdam, NoordOogst is a unique and inspiring urban farming project that has a wild beautiful garden and its own nature playground where children and adults alike can climb, roll, jump, root and play with water to their heart’s content. The playground is always open during the day and the access is free of charge.
- Het Twiske is a considerable recreation area above Amsterdam Noord where you can enjoy nature, walk, cycle or sail. There are places where you can bask in the sun and you can take a swim, as well as a playground, a petting zoo and adventure park for children. There are viewpoints where you can watch birds and a small port where you can rent a boat.
Activities and clubs
- De Sterrenmakers organize many of the neighbourhood clubs in Amsterdam Noord. Children are invited to choose from a wide range of activities such as cooking, art, film making, design and fashion.
- Noordje is a non-profit organization that has a mission to make art and culture accessible to all children. To stimulate children’s creativity, to increase their confidence and self-awareness, and to teach them how to work together, they organize Writing and Reading Labs in different parts of the neighbourhood as well as Art Labs.
- Amsterdam Noord has its own Muziekschool. Here children learn to sing, dance, and play a wide range of instruments such as electric guitar, drums or piano.
- Telekids Musicalschool offers musical, dance and singing lessons for children from 4 to 16 years old.
Education in Amsterdam Noord is a mix of old and new, that caters to various education methods. There are schools that offer an education based on the Montessori concept such as Montessori Boven ‘t Ij. Also, schools based on a Waldorf concept such as Vrijeschool Kairos and Waldorf aan de Werf. If you are interested in the Dalton method of education, the most known schools are De Ijsbreker and De Zeven Zeeën. And should the Jenaplan concept have caught your interest, the best schools in the area are De Biënkorf and Het Wespennest. But if you are looking for a more experimental education style, you will find the Kindercampus Mokum and Klein Amsterdam schools more to your liking.
In Amsterdam Noord there are also secondary schools such as:
- Hyperion Lyceum a public secondary school that offers education for vwo level (gymnasium- en and atheneum+).
- Metropolis Lyceum which offers a Dalton education style for vwo-, havo- of mavo level.
- Xplore Agora Amsterdam is a secondary school based on an experimental concept for vmbo-t, havo and vwo level.
- Damstede Lyceum that offers education for havo and vwo level (gymnasium and technamsium).
Noorderlingers know that the biggest shopping center in Amsterdam-Noord is Winkelcentrum Boven ’t Ij near Buikslotermeerplein. Since the opening of the Station Noord, the shopping center has become accessible to residents of Amsterdam from other areas too. No doubt one of the attractions is one of the biggest Amazing Oriental Supermarket in Amsterdam.
Van der Pekstraat
Open on Wednesdays from 09:00
T.T. Neveritaweg 15
Weekend, ± every 3 weeks
- Biologische en boerenmarkt Amsterdam
Winkelcentrum Boven ’t Y
Open on Saturday from 08:00 to 09:30
- Markt Buikslotermeerplein
Monday 12:00 – 18:00
Tuesday – Saturday 08:00 – 18:00
- Buiten Markt
Every first Saturday of the month
From 11 to 16, at Noordoogst
For a first-hand account, from fellow Mamas, about living in and around Amsterdam, check our Neighbourhood Guide Series.
Nicoleta Bridinel works as a volunteer at ACCESS Netherlands. She and her husband have 2 beautiful children. Whenever she finds a bit of free time, she works on her Dutch and studies the laws of this country. Traveling the world with her family, learning about the history and culture of other countries, and reading a good book on a rainy day, brings her happiness.