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Oud West Amsterdam: A Guide to My Favorite Neighbourhood

Most visitors to Amsterdam rarely venture beyond the city centre, which is such a shame. Here’s a guide to Oud West Amsterdam, one of my favorite neighborhoods.

Fun fact: Amsterdam is a lot more than marijuana brownies and prostitutes.

Amsterdam’s compact medieval centre may be packed with coffeeshops, red light windows and shops selling Dutch cliches like clogs, cheese and tulips. But there’s a whole different world beyond the Canal rings that surround the city centre, also known as Centrum.

Surrounding the city’s Centrum are nine different neighbourhoods, each with its own own character and flair, and unique variety of restaurants and attractions. A visit to one of these Amsterdam neighbourhoods will give you a chance to experience the city like an Amsterdammer. Since moving to Amsterdam, we’ve found ourselves exploring further away from Centrum and into its various neighborhoods.

oud west amsterdam

Why I Love Oud West Amsterdam

Oud West Amsterdam is my absolute favorite among all of the Amsterdam neighborhoods.

It’s a triangular area located west of Centrum and surrounded by greenery, with Vondelpark to the south and Rembrandtpark in the west. It has a perfect location in our opinion: close enough to the city centre and yet within a comfortable distance from the tourist crowd.

I love that it’s a residential area near where we live, and yet it’s lively and buzzing with energy. There’s always something going on here, whether in the form of a craft market, beer festival or cultural event. There’s a real village feeling in Amsterdam Oud West, but it’s also very cosmopolitan, with a hodgepodge of ethnic restaurants, vintage shops and outdoor markets.

Alberto and I love ethnic cuisines and we literally spend every weekend trying different restaurants that serve dishes from Ethiopia to Japan, Pakistan to Morocco, right in the neighborhood. There’s also a lot of diversity in the area — you can easily hear Spanish, French and Vietnamese voices in one place. 

oud west amsterdam

An Overview of Oud West Amsterdam

40 years ago, the Oud West was an underdeveloped area that was more like the “Wild West” back then. The neighborhood is the result of rapid urban expansion in the last quarter of the 19th century. 

Since then, Oud West Amsterdam has risen to become a dynamic and affluent neighbourhood. Many young families are choosing to settle here, because of the lively atmosphere and kids-friendly infrastructure. It’s also now home to some of the best restaurants in Amsterdam, as well as several new concept stores and convivial cafes.

The main arteries of the neighbourhood are the shopping streets of De Clercqstraat and Kinkerstraat, which are lined with commercial shops, cafes and restaurants. The smaller Bellamystraat that crisscrosses the Ten Katemarktstraat, gives the area an old-fashion village vibe – complete with dance studio and blacksmith. Another major road that marks the southern end of Oud West is the Overtoom, which has become a major interior design boulevard. And to add to the area’s child-friendliness, the Bosboom Toussaintstraat with its many children-oriented stores is referred to as ‘Amsterdam’s delivery room’.

oud west amsterdam

What to See in Oud West Amsterdam

De Hallen Cultural Complex

At the heart of Oud-West is De Hallen, one of Amsterdam’s coolest developments. In 2015, this former tram depot completed its transformation into a hip cultural complex and is now one of the most popular places to go in Amsterdam. This network of cavernous, glass-roofed workshops house a multicultural food hall, three restaurants, a library,  a bike workshop, a cinema and a boutique hotel.

The jewel in the crown is FoodHallen, a covered food market that rivals Covent Garden in London and La Boqueria in Barcelona, with stalls serving everything from dim sum to jamon iberico. Some of my favourite things to eat here are the fresh rice paper rolls (Goi cuon) from Viet Viet, the taco platter from Taqueria Lima, and the famous bitterballen from De Ballenbar, owned by Michelin-starred chef Peter Gast.

oud west amsterdam - de hallen

oud west amsterdam - foodhallen

FilmHallen is the biggest independent cinema complex in the Netherlands, and it screens all types of movies from Hollywood blockbusters to indie films and documentaries. In addition, film festivals and special events take place here regularly. Check out Room 7, also known as the Parisien Room, decked out in salvaged Art Deco panels from the original Cinema Parisien.

The Hannie Dankbaar Passage, a glass-ceilinged walk, plays host to the monthly Makers Market, which is the place to go for some of finest locally-made craft goods. If you miss the market, head into The Maker Store which carries the best of Amsterdam innovation under one roof (from hot sauce to recycled bags). Denim City is another place worth checking out: it’s a foundation that works on developing sustainable ways of making jeans. You’ll find a huge array of jeans on sale, including jeans made of wood and plastic bottles.

oud west amsterdam - makers market

oud west amsterdam

Ten Katemarkt Market

Oud West Amsterdam is home to one of Amsterdam’s best outdoor markets, Ten Katemarkt. More than 100 stands selling fresh local produce, flowers, fish, plants and everything under the sun really (from fabric to shoes and steel household items). It’s a great place to buy fresh fish and try street foods such as the Dutch gouda cheese, raw herring and Vietnamese loempia (spring rolls). You’ll also find many cured meats, olives and dried fruit from other parts of Europe here.

I think the prices here are better than in the popular supermarkets. If you get here close to the closing hours, you’ll often find discounted prices for fresh produce. The market sprawls across Ten Katestraat and continues on the other side of Kinkerstraat. The outdoor market is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm.

oud west amsterdam - ten katemarkt

oud west amsterdam - ten katemarkt

Pied à Terre Travel Store

This travel and globe bookstore is a dream come true for every travel geek! Pied à Terre is the largest independent geographic travel book store in the Netherlands. It’s not just a normal book store — it has a huge collection of globes, maps and travel-related items. It’s my absolute favourite haunt in Amsterdam and I can easily spend hours browsing through the hundreds of travel books, custom-designed maps, globes and travel-themed knick knacks.

Pied à Terre plays host to lectures, book launch parties and readings from time to time. Check their website for the schedule. The store is housed in an old historical building and spread across two levels. The creaky wooden floors and cosy interior give it an old world feel. There’s also a small kids’ corner where kids can watch a film or hang around the cushioned area. If you’re as obsessed with travel as I am, then don’t miss this place.

oud west amsterdam - pied a terre

oud west amsterdam - pied a terre

Lab 111 Film Complex

LAB111 is a quirky cult cinema housed in a monumental old pathological anatomical laboratory in Oud West Amsterdam. 30 years ago, this area was the medical hub of Amsterda. But since LAB111 opened in 2016, the area is undergoing a revival of sorts and becoming an artsy area.

The cinema screens everything from in-depth documentaries, modern classics and small public films to unconventional genre films. They have several special features, including Docu Tuesdays, Expat Cinema (foreign films screened in the original language), and Film & Brunch. You can basically have brunch or dinner at their in-house restaurant, Strange Love, along with a movie, for an affordable combo price.

The film complex also has an exhibition space, which showcases the works of artists and photographers. Each exhibition has a different theme, from pencil sketches to video art. Currently, it’s hosting two exhibitions: Flat Space, a photography project that attempts to depict several buildings in Amsterdam, and Geneatography, a family tree of photos generated from a life-size image of a leaf. The exhibitions are open to the public for free, between 15:00 and 00:00 on weekdays, and until 02:00 on Saturdays and Sundays.

oud west amsterdam

oud west amsterdam - lab111

Depot by Johnny at the Spot Concept Store

In case you’re wondering what a concept store is, it’s basically a shop that sells a curated and unique selection of products that connect to an overarching theme. Often they evoke a lifestyle that appeals to a specific target audience. That’s exactly what makes Johnny at the Spot such a unique store.

Johnny at the Spot started as a small fashion shop in the beginning of 2005, and now offers a wide collection of fashion, design, accessories and homeware. You’ll find many Scandinavian brands here and the general style of the shop is minimalistic yet functional and stylish. I’m a fan of the household and kitchen items here.

oud west amsterdam

Kids-Friendly Things to Do in Oud West Amsterdam

Wijs West Kids’ Concept Store

There are technically two Wijs West stores in Oud West Amsterdam. Wijs West is a kids’ cafe and shop with items for babies and mothers; while OnWijs West is a toy store, clothes shop and kids home and decor all in one.

We like spending time at Wijs West, a great space for families with kids to hang out comfortably. There’s a play area for kids (mainly toddlers aged 2-5), so we can just leave Kaleya in there to play on her own while we chat with friends. The cafe serves mainly sandwiches, coffee, healthy snacks and juices. Prices are pretty typical of kids’ cafes, with tostis (toasts) at around 4 euros and a coffee for 3 euros.

Wijs West also runs different programs for kids: including kids yoga (for ages 2-4) on Wednesday and Friday mornings, kids’ hairdressing service on Saturdays and storytelling sessions on Sundays.

oud west - wijs west

oud west amsterdam - wijs west

Goochem Speelgoed Toy Store

Established in 1984, this classic store is one of the biggest and most popular toy stores in Amsterdam. Goochem Speelgoed is Amsterdam’s answer to Harrods in London (just smaller). It started out selling only wooden toys that were made in the adjacent furniture workshop, but has since expanded to a two-storey store that sells all types of toys for kids of different ages.

Our 2.5-year-old daughter Kaleya really likes coming here. She can spend an hour trying out new toys, figuring how to play the musical instruments on display, and experimenting with boardgames. The toys here are not cheap, but we’ve found small toys that cost less than 3 euros that can keep Kaleya happy for awhile.

oud west amsterdam - goochem

oud west amsterdam - goochem speelgoed

Restaurants & Cafes

Happyhappyjoyjoy — Modern Asian Street Food

Funky and chirpy, Happyhappyjoyjoy (what a name!) is a modern Asian restaurant that makes me smile with its brightly coloured interior. The playful, organized eclectic chaos is inspired by the typical Asian local markets and busy streets, and it will make you feel like you’re right in the middle of it all. Steaming pans, sizzling barbecues and hot woks in the large open kitchen are at the heart of the restaurant.

What makes this restaurant stand out is also its diverse menu of street food dishes with Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Chinese influences. I love how traditional courses are replaced with small, tapas-style platters, so people can experience the Asian tradition of sharing meals. While each dish here looks cheap (6-12 euros), you’ll need around 3-4 dishes to have a full meal. My favourite dishes here are the Vietnamese pho, steamed mussels in XO sauce and gyoza with duck meat.

oud west amsterdam

oud west amsterdam

Staring at Jacob — American Brunch Bar

Staring at Jacob has gained quite a following as the go-to American brunch bar in Amsterdam. They serve a range of funky classics and daring dishes, and are great for family style brunches but also perfect for just good coffee and toast. We actually stumbled upon this restaurant by chance and had no idea how popular it was — but the food absolutely took us by surprise.

The menu changes regularly but steak and eggs, fluffy pancakes, chicken and waffles and creative eggs benedict are some of the typical brunch options. You can also choose from a variety of fun wake-up cocktails such as mimosa, bloody mary or screwdriver.

In the evenings, it transforms into a whole different place, as the team of Ku Kitchen & Bar takes the floor with modern fusion Japanese dishes. We love their soft shell crabs served with a jalapeño dip, yakuza chicken karaage and spider roll. Their yakitori skewers are all prepared with a unique binchotan powered grill to ensure the authentic flavour.

oud west amsterdam - staring at jacob

oud west amsterdam

Kanarie Club — Multifunctional Bar and Club

Housed in De Hallen, Kanarie Club is an awesome space for creativity and inspiration in the day, and cocktails and fun by night. It’s a bar, restaurant and workplace, designed for people to spend all day in one spot.

With a wide range of flexible workspaces, sufficient electrical outlets, meeting facilities and good coffee, this is the ideal place to flex a day. It’s a big area spread out over two floors, and that means there’s plenty of space for those looking to socialise and hang out. It’s surprisingly kids-friendly, with lots of room for active toddlers to run around.

Besides breakfast, they have an extensive lunch and dinner menu. A three-course menu costs 32 euros, four courses 39 and five courses 45 euros. We like their bar bites menu, which consists of quirky dishes like oysters ceviche style, kimchi ribs, goat cheese bitterballen and seaweed spring rolls. They’re not overly expensive and are really fun and tasty.

Once the clock hits 5pm, Kanarie Club is the place where night owls and ball bananas come together for a good drink with friends or family. In addition to the central bar in the restaurant, there is also room for a cocktail at the top of the Poolbar, some bites and a little dance, even with large groups!

oud west amsterdam

oud west amsterdam - kanarie club

Stach — Local Organic Food Store

Stach is a popular Dutch brand that emphasises on fresh, healthy local organic food. It has stores all over Amsterdam, and this one in Oud West Amsterdam only opened at the end of 2016.

Stach food stores usually sell a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, organic bread, muesli, granola, and juices. This branch on Overtoom is slightly different, with the additional offering of ready-to-eat Japanese poké bowls, sushi, spring rolls and Asian salads. It’s also got a comfortable cafe where you can sit and enjoy the fresh food with coffee.

oud west amsterdam - stach

oud west amsterdam

Sticky Fingers — Eco Patisserie

Sticky Fingers is an eco-patisserie that fulfills sweet, savory and sticky cravings. The treats vary from tartelettes to macaroons, muffins, quiches, bretzels, popcorn and more. I highly recommend the flammbuchen (tarte flambée) goat cheese and the pumpkin quiche.  Besides yummy pastries, they also serve delicious organic fair chain Moyee coffee and tea.

A great way to enjoy all their sweet treats is going for the Slow Tea special, which costs 19.55 euros for unlimited tea, a variety of tartelettes, quiches, sandwiches, muffins and a dish from the next-door organic restaurant MOER. It’s the perfect setting to have a coffee with your travel buddy and refuel for a day in town. One way or the other, you’ll get some sticky fingers for sure!

oud west amsterdam - sticky fingers

Where to Stay in Amsterdam Oud West

Hotel prices in Amsterdam Centrum can be really high. For more affordable prices, I recommend staying in Oud West Amsterdam to see Amsterdam from a local’s perspective and a less touristy experience. Centrum is so near to Oud West Amsterdam that you can easily walk to many of the museums and sights easily.

The Tire Station

The Tire Station is a 112-bedroom stylish eco designer hotel close to Vondelpark. As with many innovative developments in Amsterdam, this hotel was converted from a Michelin tire station. What I like most about The Tire Station is that they are truly self-sustaining, using energy from renewable sources (they have their own underground aquifers). They also have a Eco roof with a hive for wild bees and the tables in the hotel rooms are made from recycled yoghurt pots. The apple juice they offer comes from local apples without air miles and the beer served is locally brewed. It’s no wonder The Tire Station was nominated in the category ‘BEST HOTEL CONCEPT’ by Entree Awards 2017.

Check the latest prices of The Tire Station here.

oud west amsterdam

Hotel De Hallen

As part of the De Hallen complex, this trendy design hotel is also a heritage hotel because of the history behind the architecture. The stunning classic building is given an urban vintage design, with an industrial touch. Think trendy Scandinavian vintage interior design in a blue steel, rusty red setting with plenty of green and an abundance of plants and modern art. All of its 57 rooms feature neutral colors with industrial-style furnishing and ultra comfortable COCO-MAT beds.

Hotel De Hallen is also home to a French/International restaurant, Remise47. The urban bistro serves breakfast to hotel guests in its large, sunny terrace, as well as an extensive list of French/international dishes like steak tartare and sirloin steak.

Check the prices for Hotel De Hallen.

oud west amsterdam - hotel de hallen

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by iAmsterdam. Some of the links above are affiliate links. I earn a small commission if you can a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 

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The post Oud West Amsterdam: A Guide to My Favorite Neighbourhood appeared first on Wild Junket Adventure Travel Blog.

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Oud West Amsterdam: A Guide to My Favorite Neighbourhood


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