I have been to Amsterdam so many times and even lived there for 1,5 years but somehow I have never properly explored the Eastern Docklands area (Oostelijke Eilanden) until my recent trip this spring. If you, like me, have seen most of the touristy places and are looking for alternative things to do in Amsterdam, this post is for you.
Brouwerij 't IJ (the IJ Brewery)
If you are looking for a windmill in the city centre of Amsterdam, you can’t miss this place. What’s more - there’s a brewery too! The IJ Brewery is a small brewery located next to the De Gooyer windmill. The brewery offers guided tours and tastings and has a pub with an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy their organic beers. I was there early in the morning but next time I will come back for a tasting too.
After taking photos of the windmill or enjoying a beer tasting, walk up on Czaar Peterstraat. This street is great for independent shops and cafes.
Amsterdam Roest looks like a great place for a chilled summer evening with friends. it’s only open from Friday to Sunday and was unfortunately closed when I passed by.
The National Maritime Museum
I’m still questioning myself how it’s possible I haven’t visited this wonderful museum before. It’s particularly great if you are travelling with kids but is equally interesting for adults too. Built in 1656, the former national naval warehouse was once used by the Dutch navy as storage. Since 1973 it has been home to the National Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum). The museum offers a number of exhibitions. The most interesting one is the famous replica of the Dutch East India Company ship ‘Amsterdam’ that is open to explore inside and outside, and children of all ages really enjoy it.
A boat made of tires that you can find on Oostenburgerdwarstraat.
I didn’t stay at Hotel Jakarta during my recent trip but I had an opportunity to go on a tour of the hotel and enjoy a lunch at its restaurant, which you can do too even if you are not staying there. Hotel Jakarta is a unique sustainable 4-star hotel located on Java island, exactly where the ships used to leave for Jakarta. I loved the hotel’s indoor garden with the plants supplied by Amsterdam Botanic Garden and panoramic views over river IJ from its rooms. You can enjoy a meal at Café Jakarta or get a drink at Malabar on the top floor of the hotel. Every little detail of the hotel is well thought through and the connection with Indonesia is striking too, which was particularly interesting for me as I just came back from West Java.
Don’t miss the striking Python Bridge, officially known as High Bridge. The bridge crosses the canal between Sporenburg and Borneo Island. It was built in 2001 and won the International Footbridge Award in 2002.
Bonus place: Bar Botanique
Technically not in Eastern Docklands but easily reachable from there is this very instagrammable cafe-bar. Bar Botanique is a great place to unwind with a drink or a bite to eat.