One of Europe's most LGBT-friendly cities and a hotspot for creative professionals, Amsterdam has a vibrant energy with cool and unusual things to do and see, a world-class arts community, and a scenic skyline from its canals to its modern architecture.
Sign up for exclusive destination guides from the trendjetter bi-weekly digital magazine. Compared to other international cities, Amsterdam is small—a direct contrast to its role in world history. The first multinational cooperation, stock exchange, enlightenment, liberalism and even the birth of New York City all started in Amsterdam. Amsterdam was built below sea level, on swamp ground, and required creative solutions to stay above water. When the city expanded in the 17th century with the famous canal belt, Amsterdam saw not just the importance of buildings and brownstones along the canals, but they specifically planned the city with plenty of green spaces.
Hop on a bike through Amsterdam and the nature is suddenly apparent! The most popular Dutch foods tend to have strong tastes, like the salty haring, strong gouda cheeses and licorice.
And then there are the sweets—so many Dutch sweets! Stroopwafels a cookie sandwich with melted caramel in the middle are popular with a nice cup of coffee or tea, and there are the mini-pancakes poffertjes and Dutch apple pie popular for desert. Many other typical Dutch foods are snacks which you can eat at one of the snack bars in Amsterdam; FrikandelKroketBitterballen and Kaassoufle are a few examples. And with that comes a huge array of international cuisines—from Japanese and French to Indonesian and Surinamese.
Taste Dutch food specialities on an Amsterdam food tour. Eating Amsterdam offers food tours through the Jordaan neighborhood that include a boat ride through the canal, plus many of the Dutch food specialities such as bitterballenpoffertjesharing and more. Each meal looks like a piece of art, and all at a decent price, too!
While their original location is in the south of Amsterdam, they now have different locations across the city. Choose to sit at the bar for the moving line of sushi for a more fun experience, though tables are also available. Their menu focuses on healthy food options from local and sustainable providers. De Brakke Grond, however, is named after the swampy ground close to the Amstel river where this part of the city is built on.
The restaurant serves traditional Flemish food; a hearty and tasteful meal with a nice Belgian beer will make you feel satisfied for the rest of the day. With their great wood-fire, stone furnace, their pizzas taste great for a reasonable price in an ambient setting. The Foodhallen is an indoor market where you can both shop for gourmet groceries or enjoy a quick meal. They also have some coffee bars throughout the Rijksmuseum if you just need a quick pick-me-up.
Yamazato is the only Japanese restaurant crowned with a Michelin star outside of Japan. Coffee stores are the places where hipsters meet and work throughout the day and naturally they want a different environment at night. From impressive old masterpieces to great modern art expos, Amsterdam has it all. Amsterdam is also home to contemporary famous designers; Marcel Wanders famous for the knotted chair is an example of one of them who still has his studio in the Jordaan.From Singapore to Stockholm, whole neighborhoods have been overrun with raw denim, ironic sunglasses, and a deep appreciation of the superiority of vinyl records.
Here are 10 of the biggest hipster colonies in the world. Cafes and obscure book shops line the renovated streets, and the second-hand stores bustle with snappy dressers looking to up their vintage sock game.
Protip: Hipsters are called "modernos" in Spanish. Translated to English, it means "people who totally liked Edison bulbs before they were cool". Singapore Built in the '30s, Tiong Bahru used to be the part of town where rich businessmen stashed their mistresses. Nowadays, though, it's packed with foodie-approved eateries, overpriced coffee bars, and trendy shops selling horn-rimmed glasses and mustache wax. Sure, the locals would never admit that they're hipstersbut isn't that what all true hipsters do?
That "I prefer the drummer" t-shirt is a dead giveaway.NETHERLANDS summer in Giethoorn (hd-video)
Like all hipster hangouts, this place's working-class origins made it the perfect destination for the infinity scarf set. It's now home to such tech companies as Last. Stockholm, Sweden The Swedes love Brooklynso it should come as no surprise that Stockholm's hippest hood seeks to emulate the place.
Melbourne, Australia The Fitzroy district is home to the annual Melbourne Fringe Festival, and as such it attracts all manner of quirky, open-minded artistic types. While you'd think this might foster a welcoming attitude, the locals know it's only a matter of time before the scale is tipped and Fitzroy becomes inexplicably "uncool". At that point, they'll all jump ship and start the whole process over again in Brunswick -- it's arguably the second-most hipster part of town.
Copenhagen, Denmark Formerly known for its sex industry, as well as the large number of butchers who worked there no connectionVesterbro's become a beacon of trendiness in an already hip town. It's even home to the smallest coffee shop and hotel in the city. If that wasn't enough, consider this: we've already established that Copenhagen's one of the world's most bike-friendly citiesand if there's one thing that hipsters love, it's bicycles.
Much to the dismay of the locals, the seeds of gentrification have already been sown here: Red Bull and MTV have opened up offices on the waterfront, and smaller startups are also starting to reshape the landscape. Tel Aviv, Israel A TV show from the '90s with the same name put Florentin on the map, but it's the blend of traditional culture and contemporary style that ultimately drew the hipster crowd there. New York, New York Come on, you knew it was coming; like a guy named Silas getting "Hold Fast" tattooed on his knuckles, it was inevitable.
While there are certainly arguments to be made for places like Portland, Seattle, and Boulder, the simple fact remains: If hipsters have a mecca, it's most certainly Williamsburg. A world of bow ties, trilby hats, and suede chukka boots, where everyone's an amateur photographer with an unnecessarily expensive DSLR camera, Billyburg Ed note: Yuck is the German vagina sculpture from which all hipsters are birthed.
Wondering where the rest of America's hipster hubs are?Great, but where to live in Rotterdam? Where should you even start looking when it comes to neighborhoods of Rotterdam? In truth, speaking of all of Rotterdam West is quite deceiving because when one speaks of West, they refer to a large and very diverse neighborhood of Rotterdam. Housing prices vary quite significantly from very cheap to very expensive, sometimes only due to a one block separation. While Rotterdam is struggling to improve neighborhoods without pushing old residents out, it seems that many streets in Rotterdam West are still mostly holding on to their identity through the process.
Rotterdam Noord is another up and coming neighborhood in the city. New initiatives, bars, stores, and restaurants seem to be popping up daily. Kralingen is known for hosting the Kralingse Bos, a park that hosts a lake where Rotterdammers regularly sail and swim. Perfect for sunny days if those ever occur. Rotterdam is often called the city without a heart due to the bombing of the city center in the Second World War. You could even get away with not owning a bike if you manage to snag an apartment in the center.
For some reason, the Noordereiland is often overlooked by those seeking to live in the city. Situated between the Center and Zuid, the island connects to both areas by the Willemsbrug and De Hef respectively. Unlike most of the center, however, Noordereiland largely avoided damage during the bombardment of As a result, the island is covered in much older structures than most of the city. Not to mention the island provides a great view of Rotterdam in almost any direction.
Be warned, though, the public transport options to and from the island are still a bit wanting and not ideal for a daily commute that is, at least compared to the rest of the city. Unfortunately, Zuid has a pretty bad rap amongst most of the northern population of Rotterdam.
It also seems odd to group the whole of Zuid into one category given the sheer size of the area. Not to mention the rest of this list actually includes sub-sections of Zuid already. However, without this section, we would be missing a very significant portion of the places to live in Rotterdam. Oh, the horror….
Originally it developed as a result of harbor workers who settled in areas near the port. The busier parts of the port have since shifted westwards, but the residents have remained.
Much like West, the south side of Rotterdam is currently undergoing a slow gentrification. The municipality is struggling quite a bit, in fact, with improving the neighborhoods while not pushing current residents out. Despite the issues with how this is working out, though, Zuid has plenty of affordable housing and a significant amount of hidden jewels worth visiting.
Fun fact! Most of the neighborhood consists of the Wilheminapier, which is where the Holland-America line used to depart from. The region is not a cheap option, but Kop van Zuid certainly does provide some very nice views. Known widely for the Fenix Food Factory, the area is rapidly evolving from an old harbor into a gentrified paradise.
In many ways, it feels reminiscent of Amsterdam Noord, but time will tell how the region develops. Delfshaven is another one of the lovely neighborhoods of Rotterdam to live in nowadays.Rotterdam is divided in 14 districts which are further subdivided into neighbourhoods. Below is a selection of the most interesting areas and neighbourhoods in Rotterdam.
The Rotterdam Centre area consists of six neighbourhoods. One of them is the so called City Triangle Stadsdriehoekfor a long time the original centre of Rotterdam. The Maritime Quarter Scheepvaartkwartier is a worthwhile neighbourhood on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas. The Wilhelminapier, part of Kop van Zuid and Feijenoord, is located opposite the centre on the south bank of the river Nieuwe Maas.
This peninsula is a great place for architecture geeks with a great offer of special skyscrapers including De Rotterdam building of architect Rem Koolhaas. Katendrecht is a peninsula on the south bank of Rotterdam situated between the Rijnhaven and the Maashaven, that can be easily reached from Wilhelminapier.
In the past this district was famous by sailors for its nightlife, brothels and the first Chinatown in Europe. A positive effect was the construction of the Rijnhaven bridge that connects Wilhelminapier with Katendrecht. Delfshaven is a wonderful neighbourhood to stroll along historic buildings, art galleries and pubs to drink a local Pilgrim Beer.
This district until an independent municipality and therefore part of Delft has a rich history dating back to Delfshaven also enjoys international renown for the Pilgrim Fathers Church that attracts many Americans. The area Oude Noorden is a historic and emerging neighborhood in the northern part of Rotterdam. Kralingen is a green and attractive neighbourhood, traditionally one of the richer areas of Rotterdam.
Well-known places are the recreation area Kralingse Bosthe student pubs around Oostplein and the Erasmus University. Areas and Neighbourhoods in Rotterdam. City Centre areas. Oude Noorden.This neighbourhood on the southern banks of the Nieuwe Maas river was mainly associated with shipping until relatively recently. However, over the past few decades its older, abandoned buildings have largely been replaced with ultra-modern skyscrapers and Kop van Zuid is now among the most developed neighbourhood in Rotterdam.
Although the area features many stunning high-rises there are still several monumental historic buildings in Kop van Zuid such as Hotel New York or Entrepot Gebouw.
Unlike most other parts of central Rotterdam Delfshaven was largely unharmed by areal bombings during World War II and still features many buildings and landmarks that predate the 20 th century. Its historic docklands and canals are particularly charming.
Although this neighbourhood has existed since the Middle Ages it was massively damaged during World War II and has been completely redeveloped over the subsequent years. Historical records show that Cool District has existed at least since the 13 th century but unfortunately lost most of its historic buildings during World War II. Over the past sixty years the neighbourhood has changed considerably and now contains many important sights and landmarks including several popular shopping streets and de Rotterdamse Schouwburg theatre.
This green neighbourhood was once part of a large country estate that was owned by a local, wealthy family called Van Hobboken. During the 20 th century many cultural buildings were constructed amidst Dijkzuigt older villas such as Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Kunsthal and Het Nieuwe Instituut. Today, the neighbourhood has the largest concentration of museums in Rotterdamwhich mainly gravitate around Museumpark.
The neighbourhood began to develop at the tail end of the 19 th century as a shipping district and was only lightly damaged by German bombers during World War II meaning that many of its older buildings are still intact. Select currency. The Coolest Neighbourhoods in Rotterdam.
The city itself is divided into several distinct neighbourhoods that have their own specific charms and appeals. Kop van Zuid. Cool District. Nieuwe Werk. Read Next.The Rotterdam experience starts with a sense of amazement.
After wandering around the city for awhile, you will soon discover why. Instead of rebuilding its historic centre, this forward-thinking port town employed an army of mad architects to completely redesign the city after it was flattened by German bombs in May They did a great job and created a new heart for Rotterdam that is not only modern and functional, but arresting and unique.
It is famed for its festive summers, which makes up for the long winter. Since Rotterdam is situated on the river Maas and crossed by many canals, which in turn fill a number of old harbors, there is lots of water in the city center.
Consequently, many activities in Rotterdam involve: boats! One rather unusual mean of transportation is the water taxi. With their wooden interior and black paint it is a classy way of going around. One route which you can integrate well into a city walk is to take the water taxi from Leuvehaven in the city center close to the Maritime museum to the old and stylish Hotel New York situated on Kop van Zuid.
This mighty pontoon cost about 75 million Euros to construct and, simply put, the outcome is fantastic! Come back at night and walk over the bridge, looking up the meter high pylons and let your gaze wander over the illuminated city skyline.
The Coolest Neighbourhoods in Rotterdam
If a water taxi strikes you a bit dull, you might prefer to take a speedboat. And speaking about boats, there are some that house restaurants.
A not only culinary but also cultural highlight is the Spanish tapas boat Tinto that also organizes weekly outdoor cinema on their decks cult, arthouse and classic movies, every Saturday at 9pm — if the weather is bad they move into the basement. In the basement of the Black Zwan, a pirate ship, you can find a Lasergame playground. Lasergame is a hide and seek shooting game comparable to paint ball.
Taking place near-monthly in the summer season, the Swan lifestyle market has diverse and creative offerings that include jewelry, vintage clothes and affordable art. A great opportunity to watch locals or get a snack for lunch is the market at Blaak. A great place to take a break is Kralingen Plasabout 15 mins by bike from the city center. Its long boardwalk perfect for relaxing — most beautiful is the lake and the view over the city skyline at sunset.
Rotterdam is famous for its action-packed festive summer season. The biggest and most colorful one is the week long summer carnival in June, which mimicks the famous Brazilian festival and includes Crowning of the Queen, Battle of the Drums and a Street Parade. A guide to all festivals is available here. A great thing to do if you have a day to spare is a bike ride through the scenic flat meadows to Delft, the home of the painter Vermeer.
The ride takes about one hour if you go straight. Delft will reward you with its cute historic city center — check out the market place and climb the church tower of the Nieuwe Kerk.
A new modern way to experience the city, with a hint of indulgence, is on a hot tub tour of the waterways check out my report! Meanwhile Bazar is a small oriental hotel, with individually decorated rooms in the style of different Latin American and African countries. The recently reopened Mainport Hotelapart from providing Rotterdam with a new architectural landmark, offers a modern and stylish stay for luxury travelers.
Areas and Neighbourhoods in Rotterdam
Many rooms have spa options like a whirlpool. A great location for dance events is the old factory outside the city center that houses both Massilo and factory These funky clubs are only open for special dance-events so check the online party agendas!
GiveSoul organizes techno parties in different locations across the city. BIRD is cool venue for live music. For events, check out the local guide. Roodkapje has info about artsy events, parties and exhibitions. Sadly, there are not many city guides only about Rotterdam.But in recent years, the city has become the European base for a slew of global companies, from Netflix and Tommy Hilfiger to Nike and adidas, thanks to its tax breaks for skilled migrants and its dedication to creating work—life balance for its residents.
And so, naturally, Amsterdam has seen an influx of incredibly talented, creative types and, over time, the city has evolved. But to truly get to know Amsterdam, you should take the time to explore some of the different neighbourhoods, each with its own unique charm, that piece together to create this characterful city. Vestiges of this fascinating urban history are still visible throughout De Pijp and the neighbourhood is known for its typical, narrow townhouses, which were originally built to accommodate low-income families.
With its cool boutiques and brunch spotsthis area is where trendy twentysomethings like to reside. Although De Wallen often gets a bad rep because of its connection with prostitution and drug tourism, it is actually the oldest neighbourhood in Amsterdam, and has acted as an important cultural centre for over years.
Red Light Radiofor example, broadcasts shows from inside a set of former prostitution windows, while elsewhere in De Wallen, visitors can sample delicious beers at a socially conscious brewery called Brouwerij de Prael or enjoy vintage coin-op arcade games at TonTon Club Centrum.
Nieuwmarkt en Lastage trails southwards from Centraal Station towards the River Amstel and contains several diverse areas. For instance, the northern side of the neighbourhood revolves around a large, formerly industrial harbour called Oosterdok, that has developed into one of the most architecturally innovative parts of the city over the past few decades.
Many other cultural hotspots reside beneath these structures, including Mediamatican eco-conscious creative initiative that organises events and exhibitions related to sustainability. Two regular markets also take place here, namely Waterloopleinmarkt, which mainly centres on second-hand goods, and Nieuwmarkt, which features a wide selection of food stalls. If culture and learning are what feeds your soul on a getaway, then make Nieuwmarkt en Lastage the base for your trip.
These together contain a wide range of cultural buildings, including cinemas, a film museum, several restaurants and a subterranean nightclub. Although Buiksloterham may appear further afield than other neighbourhoods, a ferry service from Centraal station regularly travels to two ports along its coastline. For anyone who has visited Amsterdam before and ticked off all the tourist hotspots, this neighbourhood will give you a totally different outlook on what the city has to offer.
Named after the largest park in the neighbourhood, Westerpark is among the greenest parts of Amsterdam. Besides its wonderful recreation grounds, Westerpark also has an impressive concentration of Amsterdamse School architecture — a style of earlyth-century urban design characterised by red-brick facades and graceful, flowing arches. With its green spaces and iconic architecture, Westerpark is a wonderful area for families. Despite its centrality, Oud-West is relatively laid-back and features several exceptionally wide streets lined with dozens of trendy bars, restaurants and concert venues.
Each of these roads has its own distinct vibe and its fair share of excellent watering holes. Foodies and cinephiles should definitely stop by De Hallen on Kinkerstraat, which contains a massive indoor food hall where local culinary experts sell their wares, as well as an independent cinema decked out in Art Deco panelling.
For foodie couples, Oud-West is the ideal base from which to explore the city. The neighbourhood boasts the Rijksmuseum with Dutch and European art and artefacts from the Middle Ages to the present day. At night, head to traditional Italian restaurant Le 4 Stagioni for its glorious pasta and pizza selection and then saunter along to the corner of Cornelis Schuytstraat and Willemsparkweg to grab a drink at one of its brasseries.
If you want to take in the cultural highlights and perhaps you have a penchant for shopping, then Oud-Zuid is worth a stay. Amy Lawrenson contributed additional reporting to this article. Select currency. The Coolest Neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.
Where to live in Rotterdam? The guide to the neighborhoods of Rotterdam
Amsterdam has a lot more to offer than its X-rated windows and various coffee shops. See a different side the city by visiting its many neighbourhoods. De Pijp. De Wallen Red-Light District. Nieuwmarkt en Lastage. Buiksloterham Amsterdam-Noord.