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.

Thanks to amsterdam&partners for hosting this press trip to showcase Amsterdam’s lesser-known neighbourhoods of Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Docklands) and Oud-West (Old West).

 

Eastern Docklands (Oostelijke Eilanden)

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.

Eastern Docklands, Amsterdam | An Alternative Visitor Guide to 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.

Eastern Docklands, Amsterdam | Views from National Maritime Museum

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.

View of Brouwerij ‘t IJ brewery in Amsterdam - Producers of organic blonde and dark beers | An Alternative Visitor Guide to Amsterdam

 

Where to eat in the Eastern Docklands

“Thou shalt not waste food!” is the unwritten commandment behind the Instock Restaurant which specialises in creating delicious and sustainable meals from surplus food.

Instock Restaurant Amsterdam serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner

At this neighbourhood favourite, enjoy dishes like cauliflower leaves turned into kimchi for a gnocchi dish. How about Moroccan couscous with slow-cooked carrot, carrot emulsion and hazelnuts? Yum! Eat here and be good to your body and your wallet while saving the planet.

 

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Where to stay

Built as a hostel for migrants then later used as a prison, Lloyd Hotel, in its current incarnation, stands as a hip design hotel. From backpackers to business travellers and even locals in need of a break, all are welcome.

Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam | Oostelijke Handelskade 34, 1019 BN Amsterdam

Though the hotel boasts as being “the first 1-5 star hotel in the world”, the room categories in this bohemian hotel are not what you would normally associate with the latter star rating. From rooms with shared bathrooms, fold-away bathrooms and even enormous penthouse suites, some rooms surely work better than others.

View of room in Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam | Oostelijke Handelskade | An Alternative Visitor Guide to Amsterdam

For more ideas of unusual accommodation in off-the-beaten-track areas of Amsterdam, see this list of 10 x unusual hotels in Amsterdam complied by iAmsterdam.



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Old West (Oud-West)

As if the list of things to do in Amsterdam did not already seem endless, during a walking tour with Street Art Museum Amsterdam, you will hear stories behind the street art in the New West district.

Street Art Tour in Oud West | Old West | Amsterdam | with Street Art Museum Amsterdam

Graffiti can often be seen as vandalism but the Street Art Museum has a different opinion. Stories of immigration, inclusion and environmental justice have fuelled the artwork from artists such as Stinkfish, Bastardilla, Pez and Btoy to name a few.

Street Art Tour in Oud West | Old West | Amsterdam | with Street Art Museum Amsterdam

 

Where to eat in Old West Amsterdam

Located in a cultural complex in Amsterdam’s hip Oud-West neighbourhood, eat your way through Foodhallen, an indoor food hall. From tempura to tacos, Foodhallen stands on what used to be an old train track now regenerated and transformed into a go-to hangout spot for foodies. Foodhallen hosts over 50 food vendors in one place.

 

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There’s more to Amsterdam…

Since 2016, amsterdam&partners have worked on rebranding lesser-known parts of the city. Multiple campaigns continue to encourage visitors to go beyond the city’s well-trodden paths and to experience the unique character and charm of Amsterdam’s other neighbourhoods.

In this city of around 850,000 residents, to combat overtourism and its impact on their city, Amsterdam has had to find innovative ways to distribute the tourist numbers that continue to rise.

Yes, Amsterdam’s city-centre remains this liberal city’s heartbeat with its live-and-let-live attitude, red-light districts, “coffee shops” and electric bars. However, the curious traveller will find even more character and culture in the corners of Amsterdam; in places like Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Docklands) and Oud-West (Old West).

I hope this alternative visitor guide to Amsterdam has given you additional insight into a different kind of itinerary when planning your next visit.

There’s a lot more to Amsterdam. You just need to look in the corners.

 

Caroline was a press guest on behalf of HDYTI. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this ‘Alternative Visitor Guide to Amsterdam’ remain hers. Thanks to amsterdam&partners for inviting her on this trip.

For other Netherlands itineraries, see our travel articles on Utrecht and The Hague.

 

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An Alternative Visitor Guide to Amsterdam for first timers and repeat visitors

Caroline Sande is the Founder of TravelEatSlay an apparel brand for travelling millennials. Her aim is to share travel experiences, explore global food cultures whilst expressing a fashion statement within a growing community of travellers. Through hosting group day trips around Europe, Caroline is passionate to show how accessible travel can be whilst connecting like-minded travellers.