There are different kinds of travelers, the kind that
This post makes me a tad uncomfortable because one of the reasons I love this part of the city is because it’s calm and has a great neighborhood feeling. While I don’t want tourism to take over our humble area, it’s a perfect place to see a different side of the city. And my home is not too close to any of the most visited areas, so it’s all good in the residential neighborhood. 😉
Why visit Amsterdam North?
Amsterdam Noord used to be all about industry, specifically ship-building and gas. The more they built up companies on this side of the IJ (pronounced eye) River, the more connected it became to the center of the city for commuters. Then they realized, maybe people should live up here, too! Awesome idea, in my opinion. But, they didn’t want to build the “high rises” of 4-5 stories, so you typically see much lower older buildings. Nowadays they are building bigger to accommodate the population, but I appreciate the initial thought the builders had to keep things low.
The industries have moved away and where the gas company, Shell, was located is now a fully re-energized area with the A’DAM tower, the Eye Film Museum, and much more. The ship-building areas haven’t been fully converted, but that’s part of the charm of the north. It gives it a very distinct personality and stays a little bit industrial and a little bit edgy.
How to get to Amsterdam Noord
It’s all about the FREE ferry from Amsterdam Centraal Station (more info below). There are a few docks for ferries that go to different places, so just double check the sign says it’s going to where you want to go. Once there, having a bike is super helpful. You can rent one from a company like NDSM bikes where they will get you fitted and ready to go. These bikes are orange which is great for locals to know to maybe give you a bit more space.
You won’t find me saying you must bike in central Amsterdam as part of some Amsterdam experience, but cycling in Noord is very calm and there is more room to do so. Just make sure you have them explain the rules of the road to you before leaving!
This one goes to the NDSM area with incredible street art, lots of restaurants and the perfect place to wander.
This ferry goes to the Eye Film Museum, The A’dam tower with the viewpoint and swing, and the This is Holland 5D flight experience.
Things to do in Amsterdam North
Eye Film Museum
The Eye Film Museum isn’t your ordinary museum. There are movies being shown in proper theatres, each with a different them. Legendary movie posters line the halls. Discover a new favorite while chillin’ in your own pod to watch films from their library. Learn about and play with a green screen (the technology that lets you put any scene behind you. As a bonus, there’s a bright and open cafe you can use whether you visit the museum or not. It also has a gift shop that is actually worth visiting.
This is Holland 5D Flight Experience
Imagine hang-gliding over the tulip fields of Holland, or zipping past a windmill and feeling the wind against your skin. This 5D type of experience at the This is Holland building pretty much gives you wings and all your senses are engaged to explore more of the Netherlands in a completely new way.
The A’dam tower (A’DAM Toren)
The story behind this very distinct tower is super interesting. It used to belong to the Shell company — the people who sell gas. But now it’s full of energy with The Butcher Social Club on the bottom (one of my favorite spots for burgers), a hotel in the middle, and lots of art and dance going on inside as well. The tippy top is for those who love to get up high. While this isn’t my favorite spot for a view of Amsterdam, it does give a nice panorama of the IJ (river) and Amsterdam Central Station. What makes it epic is the “Over the Edge” swing that sits at the very top of the building and swings you over the edge. Would you do that?
On the NDSM side, things get a little funky. There is street art everyone. You just keep walking around and snapping pictures and suddenly it’s a couple hours later! Towards the end of
In addition a museum on this art opening soon, you can take a street art tour in the NDSM area with Alltournative tours. They have a bunch of options for all over the city, some tours are in the center, but much of them are outside the main attractions and you get a very local feel when discovering street art.
Definitely check out the IJ Hallen’s website to see when they are holding their market, but if you are in town during this, go check it out in the NDSM area! It’s one of the largest flea markets in Europe and is fun! There are a few food carts, including my favorite, pofferjes, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby as well if you get peckish. The IJ Hallen is its own beast. It’s big, it’s busy but not packed, it’s lively. You’ll definitely want to bring cash here.
Where to eat in Amsterdam Noord
Set in a bunch of shipping containers, Pllek is a unique and fun spot to grab a bite to eat or a drink. Since it is riverside, you can take your food and drinks outside (when it’s nice) and pretend you’re at a beach! Vegetables are at the forefront of the menu, but they do offer a couple of meat dishes if you’re really feeling it.
If you are seriously craving some meat, come to Cannibale Royale. I mentioned above that The Butcher was one of my favorite burgers, but this place has my favorite burger of the city. My ideal night is with a burger with fries and a G&T at this place. They are also known for their ribs, too. It’s pretty cozy inside and can get a bit loud. If you know you’re going, try to make a reservation ahead of time.
Noorderlicht is basically an icon in the NDSM area. It’s a very chill and neighborhoody place to go. It’s also on the water, not too far from Pllek, but gives a completely different feeling. It’s a place that friends go to catch up and grab a drink and sit outside. I feel that Noorderlicht embodies what Amsterdam Noord is all about, chill, friendly, creative, and up & coming.
The Butcher Social Club
By the other ferry, the Buiksloterweg one, and in the A’DAM Toren is The Butcher as I mentioned above. There are a few of these restaurants around Amsterdam, but this one is a bit different. It’s a burger joint that’s very open, has varied types of seating, and even has games! The main thing you notice when you walk in is the big bar in the middle of the room. They seem to change their mind at times whether they will come and take your order or if you should order at the bar. So just ask when you go inside. Oh, and get the burger! Any burger.
For something a little more local and quaint, check out Cafe ONS which is just up the road from the ferry. It’s a small place with a ton of charm. Order the ONS
Known as the best pizza in Amsterdam Noord, Il Pecorino is worth the walk from the ferry. It has that oh-so-comforting pizza shop vibe. The options are plentiful and there are regular Italian dishes as well…in case you just aren’t feeling like pizza. Since it’s an Italian place, I highly recommend you grab a glass of wine as well.
Where to stay
I haven’t had to stay in any of these hotels since our house is nearby, but they either have pretty good reviews, or are just plain interesting.
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam – NDSM Wharf
The Doubletree is a modern hotel in a quirky spot. I like being able to be close to where I need to be but still
Looking a quirky hotel? The Botel might be what you are looking for…it’s a boat and a hotel. Not the most stylish of places, but you are on the water so that counts for something.
For a truly unique experience, stay in a crane! Yes, those are the right words. There is a crane in the NDSM neighborhood that is fitted out as a small apartment. Super quirky and fun but a bit pricey.
If you want to stay in the A’DAM tower, you can! The hotel inside is called Sir ADAM and it’s super convenient. There are nice restaurants towards the top of the building and The Butcher at the bottom. But there’s always the ferry that’s 5 minutes away from Central Station if you want to hit up the center for dinner.
There you go! A guide for our part of the city. As hesitant as I was to publish this, I truly hope you love the fresh, funky, quirky vibe of our neighborhood. If you have visited, please let us know in the comments what you liked most about it!
Wishing you love and travels!
Ready to take the trip?
Here’s your toolkit full of links so you don’t have to go searching!
- Get more info on your destination through guidebooks.
- Find the right hotel for you on Booking.com through the incredible amount of filters available.
- Discover the perfect experience through GetYourGuide. From transit tickets to food tours, it’s all right here.
- Need a flight? Gotcha covered with Skyscanner (USA people, THIS link is for you).
- Already in Europe and just need a bus or train. We always use Omio because it’s so easy!
Now, go and have an AMAZING time! Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram (@awanderlustforlife) so we can see your memorable experiences.