When I wrote this post, I had no idea a time would come when I would actually contemplate about having a place of my own in Amsterdam. As three of my friends and some other people I know are currently involved in the process of buying an apartment in this city, at different stages, I have decided to give it a thought myself and see what I would do/choose if I were in this case.
Where exactly would I like this place of mine to be located and what should it look and feel like? Overwhelmed by the variety of possibilities Amsterdam offers? Surely yes!
To narrow these options a bit, first of all in terms of area, I will start with those places in which I can actually imagine myself living, simply because they give me a good feeling whenever I am there. Luckily enough, for each of these preferred areas I also found a short video, which may give you a better representation of their specific vibe.
For those of you who do not know, Amsterdam is divided into eight “stadsdelen” (districts), each of them comprising a number of neighbourhoods. For example, Centrum is a district, while Jordaan, Plantage, Nieuwmarkt are neighbourhoods, small divisions of the big(er) Centrum district.
On the plates with the street names, right below the name of a specific street, you will see the name of the district it belongs to, written in smaller letters. The neighbourhood`s name is never on the plate and it is most of the times known only by locals.
If you are familiar with this blog, you already know I have always declared myself a big fan of the Western part of Amsterdam and preferred it to all the others. I justify this by the fact that this is where I first lived when moving to the city, so I must have developed a special bond with the area, but also due to its down-to-earth, unpretentious feel and for containing all things cool about Amsterdam. This post is therefore dedicated to those specific places in the West where I would like to live. Let`s go West!
My number one choice in this case, without any hesitation, is the Oud-West neighbourhood, which used to be a district of its own before merging with Westerpark, Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes to form Stadsdeel-West (District West) in 2010. The name of Oud-West, however, is still visible on the name plates, no idea why!
It comprises all those streets I walked down so many times in my early years here: Overtoom (I used to live at the end of it), Bilderdijkstraat, Kinkerstraat and the little neighbourhoods around them: Helmersbuurt, Da Costabuurt etc.
I like Oud-West for its slow paced and neighbourhood feel, for the locals (quite a mix of nations), the nice bars and cafes (which seem to have doubled in the last year), the family owned restaurants and for its proximity to Vondelpark.
If I lived in Oud-West, my house would be facing the water somewhere on Da Costakade, I would be a frequent client of the small bars hidden between residential streets such as Bar Berlijn in Da Costabuurt, I would go for movies at Lab111 in Jacob van Lennepbuurt, would do brunch at Dish Global Kitchen and would have Ethiopian dinners at Addis Ababa, both located on Overtoom. On a Saturday morning, I would go to buy fresh fruits and flowers from Ten Katemaarkt in Kinkerbuurt.
And here is the movie I found!
My number two choice in the Western part of Amsterdam is, obviously, Westerpark neighbourhood (which, just as Oud-West, used to be a district before 2010)! Because you cannot say West without saying Westerpark, most probably one of the coolest areas in the city.
What I love most about Westerpark is the people and the park which gives the name to the entire neighbourhood.. This park, which they call a “culture park” is a real urban playground comprising, among others, a huge music and exhibition venue (Gashouder), a cinema (Het Ketelhuis) and plenty of nice cafes and restaurants – all developed on the grounds or even within the buildings of a former gas factory. The actual park is just a small fraction of this playground.
In Westerpark district, I also like Frederik Hendrikbuurt, with its beautiful Oldenbarneveldstraat and the nice area around Hugo de Grootplein.
If I lived in Westerpark, my apartment would be in one of these houses facing the water and the park, I would be having afterwork drinks at Pacific Parc, would see movies at Het Ketelhuis, brunch (even more) at De Bakkerswinkel and have lovely Algerian dinners at Rainarai. I won`t miss any food market or festival of the many organized in Westerpark during Summer months and I would most probably double my chances of getting an available fatboy at Westergasterass on a sunny day!
And now, this is the movie to put you in a Westerpark mood!
My third preference as where to buy a house in the West is the famous Jordaan neighbourhood, part of Centrum district.
I love the Jordaan for its network of small streets and picturesque canals, most of them named after flowers, trees or derivates, for the relaxed atmosphere and for all those amazing small shops, restaurants and cafes. Jordaan has always been the part of Amsterdam which attracted artists (famous Dutch painters, writers and photographers lived here) and free spirits.
If I lived in Jordaan, my apartment would be situated in one of the buildings along Westerstraat or Elandsgracht, I would go for evening drinks at one of the many bars along each of these two streets or at Brandstoff, on Rozengracht, I would see movies at the oldest cinema in the Netherlands – The Movies, on Haarlemmerdijk, I would have Saturday morning coffee at Two for Joy or at Coffee Company, both on Haarlemmerdijk, would buy fresh food and flowers from Noordermarkt, I would go for brunch at Small World Catering on Buiten Oranjestraat, and, from time to time, I would dine at De Belhamel restaurant on Brouwersgracht. And, maybe, I will finally manage to get a seat at Winkel 43 in Noordermarkt to taste what they call the best apple tart in Amsterdam! There really is plenty to choose from in the Jordaan.
However, I must admit I have some mixed feelings about this neighbourhood, in which the good ones, which I have expressed above, prevail. The not so good feelings derive from the fact that Jordaan is also a very touristic part of the city (and who can blame a tourist for wanting to see its splendour?), thus it can get rather crowded in some areas. Just try to cross Haarlemmerdijk on a common day or to simply walk or bike along it, and you will see what I mean!
But let`s see the movie dedicated to this jewel of Amsterdam and put an end to the Western chapter of where I would buy a house in this city!
Next on the list: where to live in the East (Oost) and where to live in the South (Zuid)!
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One can never keep up with all the new places appearing in the West of Amsterdam. 🙂
I cannot imagine living in the West without regurarily going to all these (relatively new) places: