Looking back to my early times in Amsterdam, I cannot believe it took me two years of living in this city before discovering the Entrepotdok, before setting foot in Flevopark and, in general, before discovering the “secrets of the East” – as the people living here call them.
Coming back to the purpose of this post, which is me sharing with you those places in the Eastern parts of Amsterdam where I would like to live, there is one thing that needs to be done first: we really have to pretend we don`t care that the Oost (“East”) is actually Amsterdam`s most sunken area, situated some 5,5 meters below the sea level (compared to 2 meters below sea level, in the West). Once this accomplished, we can relax, look around and breathe in all the beauty and diversity this area has to offer.
Like so many other cases in Amsterdam, Kadijken area is nothing but an island connected to other stripes of land or islands via bridges. But what makes it so special to the point that I could move there tomorrow is the long line of former warehouses, used for storing spices brought from Dutch East Indies during the Golden Age (17th century), now housing beautiful and very expensive apartments.
As you may have guessed, we are talking about the Entrepotdok and I could easily picture myself living here, right in one of these buildings:
What I like about this area, apart from its interesting history (from base for the ships sailing to the Dutch East Indies to artists squat, then to social housing for the poor and eventually to an amazing residential area for those who can afford it), is its proximity to the city centre, to leafy Plantage neighbourhood and to the Ostelijke Eilanden (“Eastern Islands”).
Besides, I simply love the extremely relaxed atmosphere, that makes you question if what you see is happening for real , just 2 minutes away from the Central Station, in one of Europe`s most visited capitals! To me, this is nothing but “la dolce vita” – the Dutch way!
So, as a lucky resident of the Entrepotdok, with a nice apartment at let`s say the second floor of a former warehouse, my spare time would split between spending long hours in the sun at Orloff, coffee and lunch at Bloem (basically, right in front of my house!) andromantic dinners at Arabic Lounge.
I couldn`t find a professional movie about the Entrepotdok to share with you, but I was happy to have found quite a funny one instead. Take a loot to get a better idea of this place.
The number two area in the East that I could call home is the Plantage (or Weesperbuurt). Just as the aforementioned Kadijken, Plantage is also part of the Centrum district and is just as breath-taking, but in a more classical, elegant manner:
Plantage literally means “Plantation” and it points back to the time when this used to be a green area outside the city walls, where Amsterdammers came for recreational purposes. It kept this characteristic alive throughout the years and even today, despite all construction works done in order to extend the city, Plantage remains one of Amsterdam`s greenest areas. It is home to Amsterdam`s Botanical Garden and to a series of cultural institutions such as theatres, academies, musea.
I love Plantage for all these and I will add yet another aspect: it is very close to Amstel neighbourhood, a very nice part of Amsterdam.
If I lived in Plantage, my apartment would definitely be in one of the beautiful houses along the Nieuwe Prinsengracht (pictured above), on Nieuwe Keizersgracht or on Sarphatistraat – the only street in Amsterdam which has the air of a boulevard, of course one without cars!
On a sunny day, I would have lunch right in front of my house and a glass of wine on the terrace, at Kriterion, before or after watching a movie in one of their cinema rooms. Or I could just as well head to Oosterpark for a picnic or to listen to music during a festival. Brunches would happen at T, on Roeterstraat, and a Coffee Company would be just a few meters away on the same street. If in the mood to go to the market, then I could go to Dappermarkt, just accross Oosterpark.
But most probably I would skip the market and go to Flevopark instead. After a long afternoon on the grass, I would go for a cold beer – also in the park – and drink it while watching the sunset over the lake. I would then head towards Thai Tiger, in Javaplein, for a delicious curry dinner. If no need to go home after dinner (imagine a warm Summer evening), then there is plenty of time to go to Studio K, just around the corner, for another drink or so!
All the places I mentioned starting with Flevopark are no longer in Plantage neighbourhood, but in Indische Buurt (“Indian neighbourhood”), part of Stadsdeel-Oost (“District East”). Although not exactly on my shortlist of areas I would buy a house in, Indische Buurt definitely owns some of the best kept secrets of Eastern Amsterdam and it is always a pleasure to go and “taste” them once in a while.
There really is a lot to do in the East and the more I am digging into it, from one neighbourhood to the other, the more surprised I am with my discoveries. Take for example this oasis for relaxation or this one – both hidden somewhere in Watergraafsmeer neighbourhood (part of Stadsdeel-Oost as well), in Frankendael Park! If you are coming from the Middenweg, this is exactly how Frankendael will welcome you. Quite impressive, I must say.
But let`s not forget about my apartment on Nieuwe Prinsengracht in Plantage, my starting point of exploring the Eastern beauties of Amsterdam! This is the movie introducing to you the type of feeling I would have whenever stepping out of the house to go for a walk in the area (it captures some fragments of the Entrepotdok as well)!
OOSRELIJKE EILANDEN / EASTERN ISLANDS
My number three option for getting a house in the East is the neighbourhood called Oostelijke Eilanden, (“Eastern Islands”) which, just as my favourites Kadijken and Plantage also lays in the Centrum district, towards the East.
There are two specific places in the Oostelijke Eilanden where I would like to live: Czaar Peterstraat (more photos here and here) or Kattenburgerplein (right accross the street from Scheepvaart / “Maritime” Museum). They are very close to each other and just a few meters away from my favourite places to hang out in Amsterdam during warm months: Roest, Hannekes Boom and Zouthaven. With a house in this area, I would be an even more frequent client of them!
What I like most about the Oostelike Eilanden is the fact they offer you the chance to live in a typical Amsterdam house and yet to be just a few steps away from the modern Oostelijk Havengebied (“Eastern Docklands“), a legitimate part of District East and characterized by an impressive architectural style, by innovation and a remarkable alternative air. Needless to say this is another place where I could easily live!
I don`t have a movie to show you about the islands in discussion, but here is one of the modern Oostelijk Havengebied – just to get an idea of how cool the East can be and how much variety it brings from one neighbourhood to the other!
I can`t help but notice that all the Eastern areas in which I would like to live are actually part of the Centrum district: Kadijken, Plantage, Oostelijke Eilanden… What conclusion should I draw? That, as much as I love to explore Stadsdeel-Oost and enjoy all its hidden treasures, I would rather buy a house which is in the Centrum, but slightly directed towards the Oost? I think this pretty much reflects my views.
If you liked this post, check also Where to Buy a House in Amsterdam / Part 1: Go West.