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Lily's Mini Travel Guide - Amsterdam West

Amsterdam West

Amsterdam doesn't need an introduction. Everybody has heard of it and knows what it's famous for: canal cruises, coffeeshops and museums (world class are the Van Gogh and the Rijks).

But there is more to it. Step outside the touristy city center and take a look at the borough of Amsterdam West. A lively residential area with a rich variety of people, cultures and history. We'll take a closer look at the northern half of the borough.

Things to do and see

Lily designed walks through the various neighbourhoods along some interesting sites. The walking tours are drawn on this customized google-map.

Sloterdijk

Sloterdijk used to be a tiny hamlet. Then it became an office district around the new train station. And now it is transforming into a residential area.

  • Leave the train station via the south east exit, signed "Changiweg". Walk down Changi road. See the Train Lodge on your left. Behind it across the tracks is the casino. Pass under the ring road. When there's a low tunnel on your right, turn your back to that, cross the street and take the steps up the ramp on your right.
    This is one of the 13th century dykes protecting Amsterdam from the then untamed IJ. Note the typical houses build on the dyke and the small St Peter church with its ancient cemetery in five distinct sections from different eras.
  • Continue south and cross the Haarlemmervaart and Haarlemmerweg. Now you enter Bos en Lommer.

Bos en Lommer

Bos en Lommerweg is the main shopping street of this neighbourhood. It's the wonderful multi-cultural mix with lots of small shops and Turkish and Moroccan cafes and patisseries, alternated with hip and trendy cafes.

  • If you come from Sloterdijk, continue the walk here. Behind the Lidl supermarket parking lot is a leafy footpath along the ring road.
    The western part of Leeuwendalerspad is a block of tiny houses. Note the hatch that was used to fill the coal cellar.
  • Walk a section of the Bos en Lommerweg mentioned above and through some greeneries. On your right is a small petting zoo with interesting aviaries.
    Over the foot bridge is the Erasmuspark. The eastern section has some old trees and flower fields.
    In summer you can have a drink at cafe Terrasmus.
  • Walk down Vespuccistraat, often called "the most beautiful street of Amsterdam": majestic houses in the Amsterdam School style. The Jeruzalem church is a prime example of the Amsterdam School, with its brickwork, symmetry and art work.
  • De Krommert is the remains of a former river, visible just north of the junction Jan Evertsen / Admiraal de Ruyter. You can actually walk over the old river bed between the houses.
  • Slatuinenweg litterally means "lettuce garden road". Note the lower streetlevel, this was the original level of the countryside before it became part of the city.
  • Continue north along de Kostverlorenvaart, a major shipping route. Rijpgracht is the shortest canal of Amsterdam. The planned continuation was never realized, but there is an underground waterflow to the Erasmusgracht. Take the footpath to the right off Willem de Zwijger passed the houseboats.
  • keith haring Karel Doorman­straat / Willem de Zwijger­laan: admire the huge 1984 Keith Haring mural across the canal. The building is part of the Food Center, the food distribution hub of Amsterdam.

Industrial heritage walk to Westerpark

  • Start at the Kesbeke gherkins factory, One of the last family-run factories in town. It's open for public on special occasions only. There is a small outlet opposite the factory for exclusive pickles - nice for souvenirs or gifts.
  • molen de bloem Windmill "De Bloem" at Nieuwpoort­kade / Haarlemmer­weg is an original windmill, 350 years old, and occasionally running.
  • Former drinking water facilities. Amsterdam water comes from the dunes near the North Sea coast and still enters the city via the Haarlemmerweg. See the small photo exhibition inside the entrance of Cafe Amsterdam. See the water tower and old storage building.
    (Consider a small detour at this point to visit Koffie ende Koeck, the best patisserie in town.)
  • Cross the Haarlemmerweg and the Haarlemmervaart. This barge canal was the main transport line between Amsterdam and Haarlem, until the first Dutch railroad was built, which still runs parallel to the canal
  • Westerpark, a former gas factory from the days of gas lighting, now contains lots of cultural hot spots and hip and happening cafes. Two former gas holders are now ponds, a third one is a studio or theatre.
    Walk along renovated factory buildings. Do you know Tony Chocolony chocolate? Here's their outlet and showroom.
    20th century office ceiling painting in bar kantoor Have a look at murals in Hotel Conscious and the painted ceiling in Bar Kantoor depicting early 20th century office life (by Machteld Schouten).
  • The most western tip is the old city park - no festivals there.
    A pedestrian tunnel gives access to the Spaarndammerbuurt.

Zeeheldenbuurt, Spaarndammerbuurt, Houthavens

These three sections connect at the Pontsteiger jetty.

  • brickwork het schip Walk through Spaarndammer­buurt. The whole neighbourhood is a showcase of the architecture and decorative art of the Amsterdam School as well as social housing in the early twentieth century.
    Enter Spaarndammerbuurt through the tunnel in Westerpark. Take a left in Zaanstraat (watch for details in the brickwork, note the house numbers), look at museum Het Schip, continue into Zaanhof (the cutest courtyard) and Zaandammerplein.
    pontsteiger Cross the S102 tunnel and have a look at the brand new neigbourhood Houthaven, with the giant Pontsteiger building dominating the skyline.
  • Walk through Prinseneiland and Bickerseiland in the Zeeheldenbuurt. Miniature Amsterdam with canals and old houses. At the south end of Pontsteiger cross Westerkeersluisbrug, Van Diemenkade (left off the street, pedestrian strip with nice harbour views, Van Diemenstraat, Westerdokdijk, have a look at Het Stenen Hoofd. Backtrack via Barentszplein to Barentszstraat, via Zoutkeetsplein to Zoutkeetsgracht, via Zandhoek to Bickersgracht, via tunnel under the tracks and Buiten Oranjestraat where you take bus 21 west or continue to Haarlemmerdijk (shopping street).
  • Make a minicruise over the IJ on the free public ferries. Take the (free!) ferry from Pontsteiger to NDSM (Coffee break?). There you can take a ferry to Central Station and bus 21 back to West (or vv).

Getting around

Amsterdam is small and doable by foot, but in the end it is a lot of walking to get around. Especially if you commute between West and the city center.

sloterdijk train station West has its own train station, Sloterdijk, just ten minutes from the airport. International buses also terminate here.
Bus 21 is the artuary between West and the Central train station.
Tram 19 takes you from Sloterdijk, via Bos en Lommer, to the cinemas and theatres of central Leidseplein and further to the Rijksmuseum.
sloterdijk train station Metro 50 connects train stations Sloterdijk, Lelylaan and Zuid; stop De Vlugtlaan is convenient for Bos en Lommerplein and Bos en Lommerweg.

To get around by public transport, the best deal is to get a 1- 2- 3- up to 7-day GVB day ticket as soon as you arrive. 1 ride/1 hour is 3€, 48 hours for €12.50, 72 hours for €17.50. Day tickets are for sale in the GVB office in the white building opposite Central Station and at the train stations Bijlmer, Zuid and Lelylaan (NOT at Sloterdijk). Or from the newsagents Primera (Bos en Lommerweg 277) and Frans Ridder (Bos en Lommerweg 167).

If you plan to do some travel in the Amsterdam region, you may consider the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket. For €18.50 (1 day, €33.50/3 days) you get to travel all trains and buses to/from Zandvoort, Haarlem, Zaandam, Volendam, Marken, Hilversum, Almere, Lelystad Aalsmeer en Schiphol airport. Check their website for locations of sale - one is the Connexxion booth at Schiphol bus station (platform B11-B13), another a vending machine in Schiphol Plaza.

Or get the I AMsterdam city card, which includes public transport, museums and a cruise. Rather more expensive.

Getting to/from the airport

From Schiphol Airport, take a train into town. There are no less then 4 possible train stations.

  • Go to Central station and then take bus 21 to Staatsliedenbuurt or Bos en Lommer, or take bus 22 or 48 to Spaarndammerbuurt.
  • Sloterdijk station and then walk or take tram 19 into Bos en Lommer. Please note that Sloterdijk is the only train station in this list that has no GVB sales point.
  • Lelylaan station and then take metro 50 to De Vlugtlaan; from there walk or take bus 21.
  • Zuid station and then take metro 50 to De Vlugtlaan.

All of this works to as well as from the airport. And then there's bus 247 from Bos en Lommer to the airport, it only runs one way and only has three runs very early morning

Dinner and drinks

All of these can make you something vegetarian, even if it isn’t on the menu.
(*) = Highly recommended

Bos en Lommer

  • buongiorno Buongiorno, coffeebar, breakfast, lunch, Admiraal de Ruyterweg / Bos en Lommerweg (*)
  • Betawi, family-run Indonesian restaurant, dinner, Admiraal de Ruyterweg (*)
  • Bir Tat, Turkish lunchroom, Bos en Lommerweg
  • Kratiam Thai, Thai restaurant, dinner, Bos en Lommerweg
  • Loving Hut, Taiwanese vegan restaurant, lunch and dinner, Admiraal de Ruyterweg
  • Podium Mozaiek, cultural center, breakfast, lunch, coffee and drinks, Bos en Lommerweg

Staatsliedenbuurt

  • koffie ende koeck Koffie ende Koeck, superb vegan patisserie, coffeebar and lunchroom, Haarlemmerweg (*)
  • Surikitchen, authentic Surinam take-away (some seating), Tweede Nassaustraat
  • Vlees noch vis, vegan take-away (some outdoor seating), Van Hallstraat / Schaepmanstraat
  • Croissanterie Balans, plain Maroccan patisserie, coffeebar and lunchroom, Van Hallstraat / Schaepmanstraat
  • Uitvlugt, lively Surinam cafe, lunch, dinner and drinks, Van Hogendorpstraat
  • Amsterdam, cafe, drinks, Watertorenplein

Westerpark

  • Buurtboerderij Ons Genoegen, informal country feel, drinks, lunch and dinner (limited), gardens, Spaarndammerdijk
  • Westergasterras, trendy cafe, drinks, Klönneplein

Spaarndammerbuurt

  • Dophert, vegan restaurant, dinner, Spaarndammerstraat

Accommodation

Amsterdam West has plenty of hotels in all price ranges. They are slightly cheaper than in the city center, but don't expect a bargain (except mid-week off-season).

There's a cluster of hotels around Sloterdijk train station. Meininger; Teleport Amsterdam Hotel; Hotel2Stay; the Train Lodge, where you sleep in old sleeper train carriages; XO Hotels Park West. Though it is getting better, the Sloterdijk area still has the feel of a business district, so don't expect lively street scenes or cozy cafes.

More into the residential part of the borough, there's XO Hotels Blue Tower; WOW Amsterdam, another hostel; Camp Inn.

For a very quiet stay try one of the B&B's next to Vredenhof cemetery (They only come out at night), they have just one or two guest rooms: Minties floating B&B, Bed Boot Vredenhof or a cosy houseboat.

Map

Go to Google Maps Click the map to go to a customized google-map, showing main public transport routes, walking tours, main sights and selected restaurants.
The walking routes allow lots of shortcuts.

On a small screen, tap the title to see key to map symbols. If you are signed in to google, you can use the map to navigate.




*last update 2018*

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