This alternative visitor guide to Amsterdam explores what I’ve coined the ‘Corners of Amsterdam’ (i.e., lesser-known parts of the city). It is targeted at repeat visitors and first-timers who may be looking to discover more than Amsterdam’s well-known touristic highlights.
Let’s face it, Amsterdam is world-famous! You don’t need to have travelled there to be able to mention a few iconic things about the city – canals, the Anne Frank Museum and Red Light District to name a few. Answers may differ depending on the type of traveller you ask.
However, most visitors rarely venture beyond Amsterdam’s city centre, not realising that there is a whole different vibe beyond the canals. In the corners of Amsterdam, you will find dynamic neighbourhoods which marry the history of Amsterdam with modern art and architecture, all waiting to be explored.
See brick warehouses converted into modern art spaces, hip eateries, whimsical canal-front houses and old port buildings turned into restaurants in the Eastern Docklands (Oostelijke Eilanden) neighbourhood of Amsterdam.
Once a heritage area, at the arrivals hall for the Royal Dutch Steamboat Company, you can grab a light lunch while enjoying views over River IJ or simply admiring the 1950’s interior which the Kompaszaal restaurant has to offer. With its old accents remaining intact you would think you have stepped into a time capsule.
Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands area is known as a hub for shipping activities. Take a short stroll towards the National Maritime Museum and hop on-board the replica of the old sailing vessel ‘The East Indiaman Amsterdam’, a particular favourite for kids, to experience life in Golden Age Amsterdam.
With their quest for prosperity and exploring the world by sea, you will discover the role the Dutch and other European countries played in colonising and exploiting ‘new’ countries. The story of slavery – a bitter and dark part of global history is highlighted in the museum.
Sure, you have heard of Heineken or Amstel beers. However, keeping with the theme of Amsterdam’s “lesser-known” highlights, Brouwerij ‘t IJ, a brewery housed inside a converted municipal bathhouse is a must-visit.
If drinking craft beer beside a 300-year-old windmill is not enticing enough, just pop in for the charming atmosphere created by locals and visitors alike.