Amsterdam Neighborhoods: Guide for the First-Time Visitors

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Amsterdam is by far one of the most visited cities in Western Europe. The Dutch capital is a colorful, interesting blend of the very old and the very modern. If you happen to be taking a vacation to Amsterdam in the near future, it’s worth exploring the city’s neighborhoods. These communities are home to unique Dutch culture as well as ethnic minorities who’ve made their home in The Netherlands. Here are five of Amsterdam’s best neighborhoods to visit.

Amsterdam Centrum

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Centrum is home to some of Amsterdam’s most iconic features, including the canals and old, multicolored brick homes that are renowned throughout the globe. Many tourists head down this way specifically to see the Canal Ring, but they also take in the museums, charming shops, and modern shopping plazas. History abounds in Amsterdam Centrum. Visit Anne Frank House or many of the Medieval–era castles and palaces. Science Center NEMO is also a popular attraction.

Oost

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Walking through the streets of this enclave, you might think that you’ve not only gone back in time, but you’ve visited the Middle East or Latin America instead of The Netherlands. Living in this neighborhood of 19th-century buildings is a large Turkish and Surinamese community. While you’re in Oost, it’s worth the time to check out the ethnic restaurants and bakeries. On a nice, sunny day, walk through Oosterpark. The Dappermarkt, which is open every day except for Sunday, features 200 stalls where vendors sell everything you could imagine.

Noord

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Noord is a perfect example of well–executed urban planning. This residential and commercial neighborhood is located behind Amsterdam’s Central Station. Here, you’ll find vast green spaces dotted with newly-grown evergreen trees. Residents live in communities that resemble small villages or apartments made of containers. Noord is also home to some of the city’s most up-to-date architecture. There is so much to do in Noord including festivals, artist studios, as well as FC Hyena, which is a small cinema where people eat, drink and socialize after they’ve watched the film of the day.

Oostelijke Eilanden

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Oostelijke Eilanden is Dutch for Eastern Docklands. This downtown district features buildings with marvelous glass architecture as well as historic warehouses that date back five centuries. In Oostelijke Eilanden, you’ll find many high-priced hotels as well as the ultramodern shopping center Design 020, which has 6,000 square meters of shops selling the most popular clothing brands, home décor, and appliances. And no vacation to Holland would be complete without tasting some of the local beer. Brouwerij ‘t IJ (the IJ Brewery) is a small brewery in this district. It opened in 1985 by Dutch musician Kaspar Peterson. What’s even cooler is that all of the beers are certified organic.

Zuidoost

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Zuidoost is a flashy entertainment district with endless possibilities for finding things to do. Zuidoost is also a very diverse neighborhood and residents from over 150 ethnicities. This diversity is reflected in the Kwaku Festival, which takes place every summer and celebrates the rich African heritage of the area. The AFAS Live (formerly known as the Heineken Music Hall) features many big-name concerts, dance parties and an assortment of events.

Planning your trip to Amsterdam? See also:

Amsterdam: Short Guide for the First-Timers

Getting Around Amsterdam by Public Transport

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