Amsterdam`s historical identity may be summarised in two words: sailing and trade. This is where its power and pride came from and this is something visible even today. Not only is it to be found in the DNA of each real Amsterdammer, it is also very easy to see on the occasion of a simple walk down the city`s streets.
The place in Amsterdam where I feel most connected to its sailing and trading past is neither the old centre (as one might think), nor the famous canal belt. It is the Eastern Docklands!
Whenever I find myself walking down this area, I can clearly see and feel the things which made Amsterdam the special city it is today. The harmonious co-existence between human and water is nowhere else in Amsterdam more visible than here.
People live in the Eastern Docklands in modern, spacious buildings by the water, above the water and – in most cases – facing the water. All these buildings are currently standing in the same place where once the harbour of Amsterdam was to be found. Ships returning from as far as the Dutch East Indies were moored along these docks in the late nineteenth century.
Whereas most of the buildings in the Eastern Docklands are new, there are some historical ones as well, such as the Lloyd Hotel or the complex of warehouses along the Zeeburgerkade named after the days of the week (“Maandag” to “Zondag”). These warehouses were transformed into spacious and comfortable apartment buildings, however preserving the old façades. Even the new buildings are made with continuous consideration for the history of this area, for example by incorporating old materials dating from the harbour`s days or by using certain elements of design which point out to the specific these surroundings held in the past.
Although the surface on which the Eastern Docklands are spreading is quite big (it consists of four artificial islands/peninsulas), the photos below are focusing on the aforementioned Zeeburgerkade area and the KNSM Eiland – all on a windy, cold and rainy day such as yesterday:
See also my older posts about the Eastern Docklands, here.