Vogelbuurt en Ijplein has an above average violent crime rate and an average property crime rate for Amsterdam.
Most people crossing the IJ river make use of the frequent 24/7 ferry crossing to Buiksloterweg. A little less crowded is the ferry that leaves just east of that spot and makes its way almost straight across to IJplein. Plein is the Dutch word for square, but it’s not so much a square as an open space between the dull looking 1980s apartment buildings and the water. Dull though they may appear, they were designed by acclaimed architect Rem Koolhaas.
The IJplein leads into Meeuwenlaan, the gateway to Vogelwijk, a former workers neighborhood. The first few houses along Meeuwenlaan are remarkable villas, designed for the owners and directors of the companies that set up shop in nearby Nieuwendammerham in the beginning of the 20th Century.
In the same era are the gabled duplex homes that line the streets and squares behind Meeuwenlaan. The architecture was inspired by the garden villages seen in other parts of Noord, and many well-known architects were involved. The neighborhood offers very few thrills, but will enthuse architecture buffs.
Most of these former working-class apartments are still social housing, but more and more are being sold into the free market. The whole area is in need of a revamp, however. It lacks cohesion and could do with a better offering of retail options. But like other parts of Noord that are so close to the soon-to-be-opened North-South metro line, it is a matter of years before this part of town will be booming, too.
This has already started across Meeuwenlaan, in the industrial zone of Vogelwijk, named after the polder IJplein and Vogelwijk are in: Nieuwendammerham. One- and two-story warehouses, car repair shops and the occasional historic building are scattered across an almost American pattern of blocks with wide streets. In between, new developments, loft conversions and trendy restaurant indicate that this soon will be considered a neighborhood in its own right.
Because of the diversity in vibe and architecture, the area attracts an equally diverse crowd. The social housing is home to the working class, immigrants, and Amsterdam locals who joined the waiting lists at the age of 16 and now are eligible for an apartment here.
But the free market rental units and the homes for sale attract people looking for starter homes: young couples and families alike. Some even buying adjacent units to join into one.
Prices vary too. The smaller apartments in the gabled duplexes are still relatively cheap, yet sometimes big enough to house a family with kids. The lofts and new apartments in the industrial zone are much pricier, as are the few detached villas and townhomes along the outer streets of Vogelwijk.
Oddly enough, the apartments along the IJ river, right by the ferry, are not for sale for as much as one could expect, so deals can be had. Some of these units on the ground floors have small gardens and some boast marvelous views of the river.
Living here might require a bit of a pioneer mentality. But if you have the time to sit it out for a while, you are almost certain to see a huge return on investment to both your wallet and your living environment.
Hotel de Golden Pheasant: there are sexier names imaginable. Yet this is a very popular dining spot, and the name was likely chosen to mislead in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. On the way there, you’ll likely think you’re being fooled a few times too, as it is set in the back of an unattractive industrial zone.
But once there, that's all soon forgotten. The expansive views of the IJ River and Eastern Islands in Central Amsterdam are spectacular. The restaurant itself is located in a massive industrial warehouse which means acoustics are not the best. But the menu is worth not being able to hear everything your dining partner says. This also means that the fellow guests won’t always appreciate loud children, but there is a large playroom available.
This branch of Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo feels like a deli. The high ceilings in the former warehouse combined with the layout almost gives it the feel of an open market. If you like sampling and tasting or are looking for something more than just groceries, you’ll love it here. There’s a small restaurant that offers lunch and breakfast, as well as the option of eating food purchased in the store.
On a peninsula in the IJ River, at the southernmost tip of Amsterdam Noord sits a small wood paneled house with red and white shutters. It was once the home of the site manager of the Sixhaven marina, but is now Amsterdam’s most difficult-to-reach hotspot with unmatched views.
It houses a one-room inn which is often used for cultural activities, too. In summer months, the summer terrace offers a marvelous spot for a coffee, tea, wine, beers, and a modest menu. The owner was inspired by Nelson Mandela’s Ubuntu philosophy hence the name and programming. It’s an 8 minute hike or three minute bike ride from either of the two ferries straight across from Central Station
This small, beautiful building was once the bathhouse for people living in the garden villages in Vogelwijk. Now it houses the Museum of Amsterdam Noord. Two permanent exhibitions tell the history of Amsterdam Noord borough, the bathhouse, and adjacent garden village Vogeldorp.
A welcoming place to chill, have a drink, enjoy some good food, and test the indoor skate ramps. Two business savvy friends and and a chef opened up this unusual but very popular hangout in an old warehouse. The original plan was for a year only since future of the area and building it's in made it uncertain to commit for longer. Rumor has it, however, that they might be here for a bit longer. Make sure to check the website before you head over there though.
Photo Credits: Thanks to @anakaradarevic, @windowsofamsterdam, @aanuurii, @mauricejan, @dock_amsterdam_noord, @flying.dockerzz,@robertcbrand, @dimmy75, @andrewrichard72, @jaap_1981, @stkasperisms, @dancarinastropicais, @anakaradarevic, @onahazymorning, and @nickhetisumecht for your great photos of this neighborhood!