Amsterdam may be known for its compact size and bike-friendly distances, but the city is constantly growing. No longer restricted to the historical Canal Belt, its cultural life is now spreading beyond its traditional boundaries. Whether you’re looking for urban arts, outdoor pursuits or inventive cuisine, head to Nieuw-West for an under-the-radar taste of Amsterdam.
Summer days in the neighbourhood are all about exploring the green spaces, vibrant micro-communities and new foodie addresses of this up-and-coming neighbourhood. From live music to water-sports, here are some tried-and-tested spots to discover.
Amsterdam may be an unusual setting for bit of water-sport, but in the summer, it’s the perfect way to cool off. Thrill-seekers and nature-lovers should head straight to Sloterplas for an alternative to the more crowded Vondelpark. Swim, surf and sail on the lake, or head to the petting zoo to hang out with goats, sheep and exotic birds.
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Few sights are more iconic in the Netherlands than a windmill. Nieuw-West is home to the last working one in Amsterdam, an impressive canal-side structure that’s been regulating water levels in the area since 1847. The Molen van Sloten is open daily for tours. Climb to the attic for sweeping views; if you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to catch the miller in action.
Amsterdam may be a picturesque city, but rooftop hangouts in the city are few and far between. So climb to the 17th floor of the Ramada hotel for a bird’s eye view. The rooftop terrace is open year-round, but really comes into its own in the summer. Expect DJs, fitness classes and alfresco movie nights alongside tantalising tipples and locavore cuisine.
Buzzy and youthful, this cheerful hangout spans the ground floor of the Student Hotel. International travellers gather here for round-the-world food, drinks and music. Work up an appetite with a game of ping-pong, then tuck in to a crowd-pleasing menu of expertly made burgers, pasta and pizza.
Just outside the Sloterdijk train station, Bret has good vibes down pat. From the outside, the shipping-container structure screams industrial cool. Inside, the decor takes a turn for the rustic with an attractive timber mezzanine. In fine weather, grab a spot on the outdoor benches or the rooftop. Drop in for organic bar snacks, DJ nights and the occasional beer festival.
London and New York may need no introduction on the street-art scene, but Amsterdam is starting to get something of a reputation, too. Founded as a way to foster the local art community, the Street Art Museum Amsterdam maintains a collection of more than 200 pieces. A guided tour of Nieuw-West takes in works by Dutch and international artists in striking urban locations.
Escape rooms have gained enormous popularity in the city, and for a taste of Amsterdam’s first and finest, head over to the Room of Riddles. There’s no need to be locked indoors, though, thanks to its new outdoor experience. Turn a city tour into an interactive game: the longer you play, the more unmissable landmarks you’ll see.
Image credits: © Marie-Charlotte Pezé-Rechtenvrij; © Marie-Charlotte Pezé-Rechtenvrij; © Paul Berendsen; © Floor 17; © The Commons; © Bret; © Street Art Museum; © Getty