EASTERN DOCKLANDS AMSTERDAM
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Walks and cycletours

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Attractive walks and cycletours, busy and quiet routes with beautiful views of innovative and historical architecture. Interesting shops, sculptural art and restaurants on the way.
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Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - view at KNSM island

All photographs give a general indication of some walks and cycletours in the Eastern Docks.
For detailed planning, you will need a more detailed map of the area.

The sign 'S' means: advised starting point. This is a main stop for public transport.
The sign 'R' means: restaurant or cafe. In most cases there are several of them around the indicated spot.


Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk around Borneo and Sporenburg islands

1. Walk around Borneo and Sporenburg islands (about 3 km).

This is a tour along quiet roads with a good view of some innovative architecture.
It is only open for pedestrians; some parts of the route are inaccessible for cyclists.

It is an easy tour.

Starting point is the central stop of buses, metro and streetcar in the central area of the Eastern Docklands.
From this point you can walk north to the IJ lake. Go to the IJ tower. It is clearly visible.
Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - modern white tower in the central areaYou are also near the white bow bridge leading to KNSM island and Java island, but you will not cross this bridge. Stay on this side of the water.

Now it is basically a matter of following the waterfront of Sporenburg island and keeping the lake on your left hand side. You are walking in a quiet residential area now. You will get a good view of the innovative architecture on the southern side of KNSM island.
At the end of Sporenburg island you will pass a statue also shown on the art page, and when the weather is fine you can also see the large lake Markermeer.

Then cross the high red bridge also shown on the bridges page. It is only accessible for Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - high red bridgepedestrians. You are now on Borneo island. Crossing this island you will get an impression of some smaller, attractive back streets on this island.

At the southern side of Borneo island you will arrive at restaurant de Oceaan. It is situated in a historical building of one of the former shipping companies. This restaurant has an attractive terrace with a good view of the surroundings.
Go on following the waterfront of Borneo island. The water is still on your left hand side. In this part of the Eastern Docklands you can see many houseboats, both historical and modern ones. Some of them are shown on the ships page.Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk along the waterfront

At the end of Borneo island you cross the van Eesterenlaan, a broad, tree-lined street and one of the main streets in the area. Go straight ahead.
Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - houses on Borneo islandThe area west of this street mainly made of apartment buildings and it is more crowded than the islands Sporenburg and Borneo, although it is still much quieter than the center of Amsterdam.
It is possible to go on straight ahead, up to an elevated railroad track and some viaducts. It is also possible to explore some of the interesting smaller side streets here; it is easy to get back to the main road.


Go right when you are next to the railroad track. You will enter Rietlanden park, a city park near Piet Hein tunnel. Then cross the entrance to the tunnel and walk north. You will get a good view of some innovative buildings and some historical buildings of former shipping companies at Oostelijke Handelskade. Some of them are shown on the architecture page. There are several attractive restaurants and cafes with terraces on the northern side of the park. More information about them is found on the social life and nightlife page.

You are now back at the starting point of the tour.
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Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk around KNSM and Java islands

2. Walk around KNSM and Java islands (about 5 km).

This is a tour along the IJ lake and along quiet roads with a good view of some innovative architecture.
It is mainly attractive for pedestrians; some parts of the route are difficult to traverse for cyclists.
It is a fairly easy tour.

The tour starts in the central area of the Eastern Docklands.
Starting point is the central stop of buses, metro and streetcar in the central area of the Eastern Docklands.
From this point you can walk north to the IJ lake. Go to the IJ tower. It is clearly visible from the central bus stop.
Then cross the white bow bridge leading to KNSM island and Java island.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - Azart shipYou are now on Azart square, a square surrounded by two parts of the lake and by several historical buildings and pleasant restaurants. On the north side of the square you can see the Azart ship of fools. Another photograph of it is found on the ships page.

To your left hand side you can see the Bogortuin park. It is quite new. To the right you see the Mien Ruys park. This small park with pool is about 100 years old.
Go to the left and cross the Bogortuin, following the bikepath. It leads to the enclosed gardens of Java island. There are four of them. T
hey are interesting to explore. The smaller islands on Java island are connected to one another by means of so-called 'fools bridges'. These small bridges are quite extraordinary. You will see several of them. They are also shown on the bridges page.
Follow this bikepath until it ends at the western side of Java island.

Now you can turn south and follow the road that leads up to the large grey bridge, also pictured on the bridges page.  It leads up to the high green tower pictured here.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - green IJ tower       This high green tower is a central landmark in the
       western part of the Eastern Docklands.
       The surroundings are still under construction, as you can
       see on the photograph.
      
       At this moment the road on the southern side of the
       bridge is not very attractive, since it is still under
       construction.
      

Stay on Java island and follow the road at your left hand side, along the waterfront. It is a very pleasant, quiet tree-lined road made of cobblestones. There is a good view on some interesting architecture on Java island and at Veemkade across the water.
This road leads back to the Bogortuin park and to the white bow bridge at the start of this tour. Now you are back on Azart square.

When you cross Azart square you are reaching KNSM island. Go up to the main street, KNSM
laan. There are some interesting art & design shops in a large building called Loods 6, on the northern side of this street, that you may want to visit.Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - art at KNSM island
After passing the former KNSM passengers terminal (explanation about its history is found on the history page) go north to the largest part of IJ lake. You can easily see it from KNSM street.
There is a small, quiet road along the waterfront, with a good view of the lake and a bit of a view of the ancient villages on the northern side of the lake. Follow this road to the east: the water is on your left hand side.

Now it is simply a matter of following the waterfront around KNSM island. At the end of this island is an attractive, large, round, modern building. When the weather is fine, there is also a view of the big lake Markermeer in the east.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - cafe at KNSM islandGo on following the road along the waterfront. It leads to the southern part of this island. This part is busier than the northern part. A small road leads along several interesting pieces of modern architecture and art. For examples, see the art page. There are many historical ships and houseboats and some pleasant cafes and restaurants there.
See the ships page and the social life and nightlife page for more information.

There is also a very good view of the architecture on the southern side of the lake.  

At the end of this street you will see a small yacht harbor and the old Mien Ruys park. You are now near the white bow bridge leading back to the central bus stop in Rietlanden park.
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Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk in central area


3. Walk in the central area (about 4 km).

This is a tour along busy roads and quiet footpaths, with a good view of some historical buildings and industrial monuments in the Eastern Docklands.
It is only open for pedestrians; some parts of the route are inaccessible for cyclists.

This tour may be somewhat complicated. It is quite difficult to get lost in this area, but it may not be easy to follow the route at all points without a good map, since some smaller back roads will be traversed on this tour.

Starting point is the central stop of buses, IJ-tram and tram 10 in the Rietlanden park, part of the central area of the Eastern Docklands.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - building Hoop Liefde en FortuinGo south and cross the Rietlanden park.
It is situated around the main road to Piet Hein tunnel and the inner city ringroad.

There is a large, amazing white apartment building at the southern side of this park.
This building is called 'Hoop, Liefde en Fortuin' (Hope, Love and Fortune).
These were the names of the three windmills that were situated in this area in the 17th century.

Two small roads are leading through this building. Follow the western road (closest to the railway track) and continue south. After about 100 meters there is a small lake in front of you. In it is a small island with a restaurant, connected to the mainland by several small bridges, only accessible for pedestrians. The restaurant, 'Jaap Hannis' is named after a former
Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk in area around Jaap Hannis city bulwark close by.

Cross the bridges and go to the right; the waterfront is on your right hand side. It is worthwhile to look around in all directions, since there is a lot of interesting architecture around you. For examples, see the architecture page.

At the end of the path along the waterfront there are two historical railroad buildings, now both restaurants, next to the former cattle market (about 100 years old). A part of the old railroad track leading to the cattle market is also still there. Follow this old railroad track and go on to the east along a bikepath.
There are several interesting historical buildings on the way. After you passed the
Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - Sfinx building W10International Institute of Social History you will see a row of historical warehouses, called Monday to Sunday. They used to be entrepot warehouses. Now there are apartments in them. See also the architecture page.
Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - Sfinx building W3
Walk around these warehouses and go left, to the waterfront. Go left again and walk back to the central area. The waterfront is on your right hand side. You can see the warehouses from the other side and you will get an attractive view of some new architecture in the central area.
There is also a floating island nearby, made by the artist Jasper Grootveld. A photograph of this island is on the ships page.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk around Lloyd hotelWalk back to van Eesterenlaan. This is a broad, tree-lined street leading through the central area. Follow this road to the north, back to the starting point. There is a good view of some former docks and of Borneo and Sporenburg islands. You can also clearly see the Lloyd hotel from this street. This is a large historical building next to the IJ lake.

At the crossing next to the IJ tower, a high white tower you can see a small footpath leading along the southern side of Rietlanden park, along some silvery towers surrounded by poplar trees.

Follow this path. It leads along the back of some historical buildings, notably the former Lloyd buildings: the coffeehouse, the quarantine building and the hotel.
There are various beautiful trees and bamboo along this path.

The hotel was used by overseas travellers and emigrants to the Americas, who had to wait for a few days for the departure of their ships. More information about the Lloyd buildings is on the history page.
The houses with gardens used to be inhabited by officials of the former Lloyd company.
This back roads leads along the park and along a few pleasant terraces, belonging to the restaurants now in the three Lloyd buildings. See also the social life and nightlife page.

Follow this path until it ends near another historical building, the former steam factory of the Docklands. It is now used by the club Panama. This club has a restaurant with an attractive
garden terrace as well.Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk to club Panama
The area west of Panama is still under construction.

Walk back along Oostelijke Handelskade. Now you can see the front of the three Lloyd buildings, the former officers houses and the former warehouse Brazilie, now a shopping center.

After about 500 meter you are back at the IJ tower, the high white tower. It is next to a white bow bridge crossing the IJ lake. Cross this bridge and walk up to KNSM island on the other side of the water. There is a good view of the imposing architecture on the southern side of KNSM island. See the architecture page.

As you can see, there is a small yacht harbor on your right hand side. Walk along it, until you are next to an impressive large brown apartment building.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk in Mien Ruys parkThen go left and walk up to a small historical park with a pond, made by the famous architect Mien Ruys about 100 years ago. It is also interesting to take a look at the sculptural art in the brown Kollhoff building.
After crossing the park, go to the right and follow KNSM-laan for a while. There are some interesting art & design shops in a large historical building called Loods 6. The former departure hall of KNSM ships, next to it, is also worth seeing.

Walk around this large building and go to the left. Now you will see the wide, open part of IJ lake. Go to the left again and walk along the waterfront for a while. You are passing some old ships and also some workshops.
There is a good view of the northern side of Java island.

Walk up to the Azart ship of fools on the north side of Azart square. It is an extraordinary green opera ship.
Then cross Azart square and walk back to the white bow bridge. At the southern side of Azart square is a restaurant with an attractive terrace.

Cross the water and walk back to the starting point of the tour near Rietlanden park.
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Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk around Eastern Islands and Eastern Docklands

4. Walking and cycling around Eastern Islands and Eastern Docklands (about 8 km).

This is a tour along crowded and quiet roads, leading through the central areas of the Eastern Islands (19th century) and Eastern Docklands (early 20th century), together known as the Eastern Docks.
Some parts of this route are inaccessible for cyclists, but there is a short and easy way around these spots for cyclists. These spots will be indicated below.

This tour starts at Central Station (red mark on the left side of the picture) or, as in the first three tours, in the central area of the Eastern Docklands.

Compared to the other tours, this one is somewhat more tiring for pedestrians. It demands some skills of orientation of both pedestrians and cyclists. However, it still is a fairly easy tour.

Go east from Central Station square. You can clearly see the large green NEMO building. Walk up to this building, keeping the water on your left hand side. You may want to visit NEMO, a large, attractive museum of technology.
Then follow the main road. After about 100 meters you will see Scheepvaartmuseum, the city museum of sailing and shipping, on your left hand side. The museum can easily be recognised, since there are many historical ships, notably an old VOC sailing ship, surrounding it. It is worthwhile to visit this museum.

Then go on along the road to the east. This street is called Kattenburgergracht. On your right hand side there is a large canal and in front of you you can see a windmill. Walk up to this windmill. It is now used by the IJ brewery, a place with a beer garden offering a large choice of special beers and several kinds of local made beer. This spot is also a former city bulwark, used for defence in the 17th century.

There are many beautiful historical buildings on both sides of the road leading to the IJ-brewery; most of them were built in the 19th century. In this century the Eastern Islands were the main docks of Amsterdam. When these docks became too small for the growing demands of the town, the Eastern Docklands were built early 20th century.
See the history page for more information.

Go on following the road and keep the water on your right hand side. There is a viaduct under a railroad track: the Eastern Docklands are behind the railroad track.
Then go to the left: you will see the former cattle market (actually a 19th century place) and some historical railroad buildings, now restaurants with gardens.
Part of the old railroad track along the cattle market is still there, it is a museum track by now. Follow this track for about 50 meters.

Now, pedestrians can take a footpath to the left, along a somewhat unlikely building with a sculpture of clouds on top. It leads them to a small lake. A small bridge for pedestrians leads to a small island with a restaurant called Jaap Hannis. The place is named after a former city bulwark. Another small bridge leads to the mainland again. Then walk up to Water tower, a high white tower pictured below. You are now on van Eesteren laan. Go to the left and follow this street up north, to the IJ lake.Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - walk around Jaap Hannis
Some photographs of this area are on the architecture page.

Cyclists must go round this area. Follow the museum railroad track to the end, up to the International Institute of Social History. The Press museum is next to it. Then turn left and follow van Eesteren laan, a broad, tree-lined street leading up north to the IJ lake. When you are at the waterfront, walk up to the white bow bridge crossing the lake and leading to KNSM and Java islands.
A picture of this bridge is on the general information webpage.

There is a good view of both modern and historical industrial architecture in the central area of the Eastern Docklands. There are also some restaurants and cafes with terraces on the way. See also the social life and nightlife page.

From van Eesteren laan, an alternative track leads across Borneo and Sporenburg islands. It is only accessible for pedestrians, since there are some steps on the way. However, it is not altogether impossible for cyclists to follow this sidetrack; the obstacles for them are fairly small and almost all roads are open for cyclists as well.

On this sidetrack, there is a good view of some houseboats. Some of them are pictured on the  ships page. After a while, go north and cross the low red bridge from Borneo island to Sporenburg island. You will pass a floating island, a small floating park, at the other side of the bridge, next to an impressive silvery building in the shape of a large bird. Pass this building and walk up to the white bow bridge crossing the IJ lake and leading to KNSM and Java islands.

You are now on Azart square, a square with some restaurants and terraces with a good view over the lake.
Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - a fools bridge on Java island
There are some interesting art & design shops on KNSM street, next to this square. The historical Jugendstil Passenger Terminal of KNSM is also worth checking out.

Then follow the bikepath across Java island. It leads through four enclosed gardens in different styles, surrounded by interesting architecture. Java islands is made of several smaller islands, connected by bridges. The smaller bridges are quite special. They are called 'fools bridges'. Some photographs of them are on the bridges page.

Turn left at the end of Java island and cross the large grey bridge, returning to Central Station. From this bridge, you can clearly see Central Station about 200 meters ahead of you.

You will walk along the grand new Passenger Terminal for cruise ships and the equally grand new music theatre AAN T IJ. More information about this theatre is on the social life and nightlife page.
Both places have attractive restaurants with a good view over the lake.
A photograph of the Passenger Terminal is on the location and connections page.

On your left hand side you can see the City Museum of Modern Art, about 30 meters away. The large green NEMO building is also clearly visible from here.
All four places are worth visiting.

You will now approach the station from the north side, the side at the waterfront.
There are several restaurants around Central Station.

You are now back at the point of departure of this tour.


Orientation on the tours

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - classical white tower in central areaThe central area of the Eastern Docklands can be seen from almost any place on these routes.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - modern white tower in the central areaIt has two high white towers, a classical and a modern one, that are cleary visible from all sides. Both are 20 stories high.
They can serve as orientation points on the tour.
To the left you see a picture of the classical white tower. It is called Water toren. It is in the southern part of the central area.
To the right there is a picture of the modern white tower.
It is called  IJ-toren.It is in the northern part of the central area.


See also:

architecture
bridges
art
social life and nightlife
location and connections 
urban and outdoor leisure


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